I think I know “All Rise” continuity better than the writers because when they introduce previously unmentioned Third Musketeer Ryan Michelle Bathe (she went to law school with Simone Missick and Wilson Bethel), they bend the backstory about Missick and Bethel knowing each other as kids. Or they don’t completely break it—Missick and Bethel meeting up after undergrad at the same law school could work, though him then (apparently) dating Bathe, who—physical description-wise—is identical to Missick… It has a certain feel to it.
Bathe’s back in town to start a new law firm and she wants both Missick and Bethel to join her. It was their childish law school dream. And both Missick and Bethel are in enough of a state to consider it. Marg Helgenberger’s punishing Missick for not forgiving her white feminism—like, gently punishing, being an obvious jerk but not a Machiavellian villain—and Reggie Lee’s doing something similar to Bethel. Will the Dynamic Duo join forces and become the Terrific Trio?
Only the show never pushes it too hard. “All Rise” is a mostly happy place where Jessica Camacho—who’s got an obnoxious romance subplot with J. Alex Brinson this episode, just exasperating, also has a hashtag Girl Power story arc involving Bathe and now steadily recurring prosecutor Suzanne Cryer. Camancho’s client, Raven Bowens, is being pimped by Greg Tarzan Davis and Camacho wants to do something about it, involving Cryer, but then Davis hires Bathe and Camacho gets her involved. Then Bathe gets Missick involved, who then gets Helgenberger involved and basically it’s a very positive change thanks to women working together moment.
And Bowens is great.
It’s not a great plot and isn’t particularly compelling outside Bowens’s performance and it takes them a while to spotlight her, instead giving it to Camacho in the run-up, but the acting’s solid from the regulars, excellent from Bowens, and there’s a sincerity to it. It’s making the system work for victims.
There’s some more with Missick’s husband, Todd Williams, and the creepy campaign adviser guy, Nicholas Christopher, who apparently Missick’s supposed to have chemistry with but doesn’t because Christopher always seems like a creep. Williams’s got a nothing part; he doesn’t try to showboat it, he just plays it and goes on his way. Christopher tries to showboat and invades the scenes. It’s really weird and unfortunate, as pretty much everything involving Missick and romance is a drag.
She’s much better hanging out with Bathe and Bethel in her off time.
It’s not one of the better episodes, not one of the worse—Bathe’s a fine supporting player to recur… but doesn’t the show have to start worrying about renewal at this point. Oh, episode eighteen… we’re definitely in the renewal pageantry portion of the season—all right, let’s see what they’ve got.