I spent the entire episode not being able to remember Lindsay Mendez’s character’s name even though she’s been on since the pilot. But it’s Sara and there’s a Sherri and a Sam and I had to remember a new character’s name—Kearran Giovanni guests as the first chair in Audrey Corsa’s case. Corsa is Sam, by the way. I forgot her name at the beginning too. Seriously, the show’s got ten regular cast members and four recurring characters this episode, plus four more. And no one ever calls Mendez’s character her first name this episode. I’m pretty sure, anyway.
She bonds with recurring guest star Peter MacNicol, who’s the judge this episode. Last episode it was Emil from Robocop, this episode it’s Peter MacNicol because they couldn’t get Emil back? And they’ve got Simone Missick doing only FaceTime calls—which has this added aspect of “should we be worried about Missick, the person, having a baby during Covid and having to try to hold this show together remotely”—though I guess they’re at least giving Jessica Camacho the A plot, which is nice. Just as she was getting good the show pulled the carpet out. This episode she gets a relevant case—defending a Latino family where father Juan Carlos Cantu’s refusal to address mental health issues in the family is nearing a tragic conclusion—and the show tries really hard with it.
The B plot is Wilson Bethel walking around with his shirt off showcasing his bod while ex-girlfriend Ryan Michelle Bathe is crashing at his place. Except she’s crashing there because her law partner is Lindsey Gort, Bethel’s girlfriend. He’s also trying to get Steven Williams to come up out of the basement at the D.A.’s office and try cases again except boss Reggie Lee doesn’t like him. But since they’re all committed to making the D.A.’s office less about institutionalized racism they can all work together. I think Bethel and Missick talk once… an expository recap, but at least the show’s acknowledging they used to be the leads.
Episode writer Lucy Luna’s job is to set things up for when they can all get back to work and there are going to have to be some changes. There have been lots of changes this season so far, with “All Rise” unable to maintain stability between most episodes. When they started, trying to contend with the summer 2020 protests and Covid, “All Rise” got some real credit for trying. It’s fallen apart since. Especially with the Covid stuff. Bathe having a hard time as a single person in lockdown is like… a villainous origin story it turns out. And there’s a chance Missick’s husband has moved to L.A. from Washington D.C., something the show hinted at every episode then entirely dropped.
At least Shalim Ortiz—as Camacho’s dreamy beau—is charming.
I have been of the opinion doing whatever they need to do to get through Season Two and safer at home or whatever but… it’s not looking like the show’s going to be able to keep it together. It appears slapdash, whether it actually is slapdash or not.
Good performances from Cantu and MacNicol help. Gort’s still annoying. Marg Helgenberger has a scene and is fine. J. Alex Brinson is such a dick it seems like he’s on his way out too (Bathe being the other one).
“All Rise” is a forty-three minute CBS drama with eighteen people to track throughout. And they’ve dropped the Black female law clerk who… just got a new subplot about working with the white man to get ahead.
It’s a disaster.