There’s a lot going on with this episode of “All Rise.” In addition to a lot going on in the episode—it rushes through assistant district attorney Wilson Bethel getting stabbed and half the people thinking it was random, the other half thinking it was a warning from the L.A. County Sheriff, who Bethel’s investigating for attempted murder and it’s only a subplot for the first fifteen or so minutes of the episode—but episode writer (and show creator) Greg Spottiswood bites off a lot in terms of social commentary. Most relevant now being about to go on maternity leave judge Simone Missick being upset about the election response. How’s “All Rise” going to handle whatever happens next in the real world?
Because—and it’s a problem the show introduced at the end of last season—eventually all of the characters reach the conclusion they’re not really doing good work as prosecutors or judges and instead getting all aspirational. Last season, before the lockdown affected production, it sure seemed like Bethel was ready to quit D.A.’ing. This episode he seems ready too. And Missick seems ready to give up the robe to do something else too.
Now, these issues immediately resolve themselves because they’ve already got the sets built or whatever and the show is about Missick as a judge. But Spottiswood and the rest of the writers lean hard on the idea someone’s going to give up supporting the painfully obviously corrupt system and do something. Only for it just to be some drama they can turn around after the commercial break.
Though it appears J. Alex Brinson may actually get a subplot about it, which would be cool. Brinson’s only got a few things to do this episode but he does well with them. He’s really getting to be one of the best performances, though some of “Rise”’s problem—in addition to bad subplots and bad supporting casting—is just not sticking with the scene long enough. When Bethel goes off about injustice from this place of desperation, the show shuts it down immediately even though Bethel’s great at the passion.
Even Missick’s freak out about possible judicial misconnect gets rushed through. Ditto Jessica Camacho, whose professional subplot gets scrubbed to resolve a personal one with Lindsay Mendez. The episode’s recap reminder has some of the blowups at the Christmas party last episode—skipping Audrey Corsa being mad at Brinson and Lindsey Gort finding out her new law partner used to get horizontal with beau Bethel—and the Camacho and Mendez thing is really not worth the time. Especially since it’s a regular cast of like ten now.
But then comes what one would think would be the biggest flex… the L.A. County judges strutting into work while Little Green Bag (from Reservoir Dogs) plays. Because… they’re cool sociopaths? I mean, the stuff with Paul McCrane and Peter MacNichol bickering is adorable, but… it’s a strange move if you give it any thought. Especially the police misconduct and corruption angle, not to mention Missick’s potential misconduct.
Anyway. Two final notes. Gort finally tells Bethel why she didn’t want him to take the case about the attempted murderer cop—she thought the cops would kill him. Nice to get that one cleared up and it’s the most likable thing she’s said all season. And then Anne Heche starts what seems to be a recurring part as the lawyer for the accused cop.
Heche is fine but it’s a shallow, simple part and it’d have been better if she’d had some depth instead of just the meanest Karen in the room.