“All Rise” has a history of ingloriously dumping unsuccessful subplots—I think Simone Missick running for state senate or whatever in season one warranted in-show commentary they dropped it so fast—but this new one, where Missick’s got the hots for law school ex Sean Blakemore, is something else. Maybe because the show’s on streaming now and has ten episodes instead of twenty, maybe because they didn’t test Blakemore and Missick enough, but it’s a bland disaster. It’s not terrible; Missick has the chops to act her way through it, but it’s a profound nothing-burger.
The episode opens with Missick having a From Here to Eternity dream about Blakemore, interrupted by a crying baby and a messy husband (Christian Keyes). Missick’s dilemma this episode is whether to have lunch with Blakemore, who’s probably moving to L.A., actually; something Missick (and the audience) find out from Wilson Bethel. Bethel’s got almost nothing to do in this episode. His most important contribution is standing around. Literally. It’s a Missick and Jessica Camacho episode; since Bethel’s not in court with them, he’s benched. The show’s got so many characters. So, so many.
Camacho’s representing falsely convicted John Marshall Jones (who’s so exceptionally solid he ought to guest star on everything). He’s been in prison twenty years for a crime he didn’t commit. An off-screen friend is coming forward with new testimony, and Camacho’s trying to get a new hearing. Marg Helgenberger—I was shocked to see she really came back—is the appeals judge, which means she gets some scenes with Missick later. Helgenberger grants a hearing, so there’s an episode and Camacho’s up against assistant DA Suzanne Cryer.
Cryer’s been on the show for ages, and it’s possibly her best episode. She’s had to build this character between guest spots, always playing the bad guy, and she finally gets some character development. It’s nice.
The trial plot is a fairly straightforward legal procedural. Camacho will find out things about her client, the witnesses, and the case. Since it’s an old case, everything will come through in exposition. Outside some early stumbling, it’s all solid. It helps Jones is great; it helps Missick’s sympathetic to his case but also under scrutiny from new Chief Justice Roger Guenveur Smith (who’s back to being weird and bad), though the wrap-up with Camacho is a little forced. The show’s keeping Camacho treading water, character-wise, like if it gets renewed, she won’t be back.
The subplot—outside Missick’s home life one—is Lindsey Gort and Samantha Marie Ware (back for the first time since the season premiere) and a contested will. As TV lawyer show cases go, it’s middling, but it does give Gort and Ware something different to do; it works out. Though the show entirely avoids whatever’s up with Ware since she failed the bar.
“All Rise” keeps on chugging. Unfortunately, the show’s ill-suited for a ten-episode season, so we’ll see how they wrap it up (they’re in the back half now), but hopefully, they figure it out.