After a string of successful procedural crimeshows for CBS, Jerry Bruckheimer has set up his latest at Fox.
In “Justice,” a behind-the-scenes look at the way high-profile cases are tried in the media age, Victor Garber (“Alias,” “Titanic”) heads a Los Angeles dream team of four lawyers who join forces to tackle controversial and newsworthy cases.
Produced by Bruckheimer for Warner Bros. Television, “Justice” was created by David McNally, who also directs the pilot.
Garber’s character, Ron Turk, relishes being the face seen on every cable talkshow in the country. He’s adept at spinning a case and getting his way, but his abrasive style hasn’t made him a favorite of juries.
Turk’s bighearted first chair, Tom Nicholson (Kerr Smith of “Charmed”), is the brilliant litigator of the bunch, but he’d rather be as far away from the cameras as possible.
The team also includes the young and ambitious Alden Tuller (Rebecca Mader of “The Devil Wears Prada”) as the witness expert, and Alden Tuller (Eamonn Walker of “Oz”) as the “connected” guy whose specialty is assessing the merits of a case from both sides.
This fast-paced legal procedural explores all aspects of trying cases in the new millennium, from high-tech jury selection to the latest in forensic law. And as a capper, once the verdict is delivered, the show ends with a flashback to the crime to see if the defendant did the deed.
Jonathan Shapiro, an executive producer of the series and co-writer of the pilot (along with Tyler Bensinger), says the genesis of “Justice” was to show “the forensics of trying a case.” He worked for 10 years as a prosecutor and teamed with Bruckheimer for the first time in 2005 on the WB drama “Just Legal” starring Don Johnson.
“Jerry’s so curious about the law and loves to talk about it,” Shapiro says. “There’s the Bruckheimerian way of visualizing something that’s prosaic to people. … He finds the way to make that immediately accessible and thrilling.”
The new show is going against the grain somewhat, zigging with the defense while other shows are zagging with the prosecutor’s point of view. Shapiro doesn’t think the audience will have any trouble identifying with those behind the accused.
“As a prosecutor, the guy I always admired was the defense (lawyer),” Shapiro says. “I say, ‘On behalf of the United States of America,’ and the defense stands up and says, ‘On behalf of this guy.’ ”
Shapiro credits Bruckheimer’s discipline and demanding nature for getting the most out of a project. “He has an innate ability to capture the most profoundly important element of the scene,” Shapiro says. “Sitting in the edit bay with him, you see his understanding and appreciation of the written word.
“His intent is clear, and he demands a clarity of intent from you. It forces you to be ruthless with what you put on the page.”
Fox has enjoyed drama success with the likes of “24,” “House” and “Bones,” and this skein should get substantial promotion during the net’s coverage of postseason baseball.
Still, it has slated “Justice” for Wednesday at 9 p.m., where the tough competition includes ABC’s “Lost” and CBS’ “Criminal Minds.”
But with “American Idol” as a lead-in, it’s safe to assume that “Justice” will get every opportunity to find an audience.