It’s a Christmas episode and a two-parter, which is weird because when we get to the conclusion—which has a miscarriage of justice and most of the cast mad at each other—it doesn’t seem like there’s anywhere for it to go. If “All Rise” manages to roll back said miscarriage of justice, it’ll be impressive because then the show really will be in a legal fantasy land. More so than usual.
The case involves super-sympathetic Isaiah Johnson, who shot a guy and ran away and got busted but it turns out the guy was trying to shoot him and Johnson defended himself but evil D.A. Suzanne Cryer doesn’t care. Like, it’s obvious Johnson was justified, it’s obvious the other guy’s lying, no budging from Cryer. I’m not sure what Cryer’s clip reel looks like from “All Rise” but basically she’s really good at playing an obviously fully invested in white supremacy white woman.
The court is doing its first jury trial since the pandemic and there’s all sorts of issues with the case and eventually thinks go from bad to worse to worse, leaving us with the very predictable, very sad conclusion, which the show then cheapens with the “To Be Continued.”
All the friend fights are a little more amusing, like Jessica Camacho and Lindsay Mendez getting into an entirely ginned up fight, which starts in this episode—and involvers Mendez’s previously mostly forgotten grandparents’ bodega subplot—and it’s real silly. There’s also this fight between Audrey Corsa and J. Alex Brinson, which ought to be compounded with Brinson apparently giving up this season’s “oh, the cops are bad, actually” vibe when he gets the chance to pal around with obviously evil shit sheriff Louis Herthum, who’s only around to low-key threaten Wilson Bethel for investigating lying cops.
But when Corsa wants to make things official with Brinson—upgrading from their friends with benefits relationship—Brinson chokes at the moment of truth. Not great given Camacho is at the Christmas party with hot and heavy new boyfriend Shalim Ortiz and they’re having a great time being a real couple.
At the same Christmas party, Lindsey Gort finally finds out Bethel used to be romantically involved with Gort’s new law partner, Ryan Michelle Bathe, and it throws their evening for a spin. Apparently. Next time they’re onscreen they don’t talk about it, instead working on the “Gort hates Christmas while Bethel loves Christmas” subplot because they’re a Hallmark couple. Fingers crossed after the break Gort’s out and Bathe’s in but Christmas dreams don’t come true.
There’s some nice stuff with L. Scott Caldwell and Simone Missick, with mom Caldwell trying to sway judge Missick on the Johnson case because Caldwell doesn’t really grok Missick’s whole social justice from the bench approach. Probably because Caldwell knows “All Rise” is on CBS and there’s only so far they’re going to go with it. But it’s nice. It’s a real scene for Missick, who otherwise spends the episode waiting for offscreen husband Todd Williams to arrive in L.A.
What’s unclear is if Williams is coming to L.A. as a regular cast member like the previous episode implied—I’m sorry, explicitly stated—or if it’s just a visit, because they dropped that subplot entirely.
The show’s tried hard to do pandemic stuff—them all getting together for a Christmas party is disgusting, however, and they all deserve the Rona—and it’s done all right with some of it. But then they’re always soft resetting from episode to episode. Who knows what’ll be different when it comes back.
To be continued and all.