Courthouse (TV series)

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Courthouse
Genre Drama
Created by Deborah Joy LeVine
Written by Ian Biederman, Dennis Cooper, Dan Levine, Deborah Joy LeVine, Roger Lowenstein, Gina Prince-Bythewood
Directed by Ron Lagomarsino, Michael Fields, James Frawley, Dan Lerner, Alan J. Levi, Martha Mitchell, James Quinn, Jesús Salvador Treviño
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 11
Production
Executive producer(s) Deborah Joy LeVine
Producer(s) Dan Levine, Vahan Moosekian
Editor(s) Susan B. Browdy, David Post, Ron Rosen
Cinematography Michael Gershman
Running time 60 minutes (with commercials)
Production company(s) Kedzie Productions, Columbia Pictures Television
Broadcast
Original channel CBS
Original run September 13 – November 15, 1995

Courthouse is a short-lived drama television series that ran from September to November 1995 on CBS. The series was created and executive-produced by Deborah Joy LeVine.[1] Like Judging Amy, which would come a decade later, the Courthouse plot centered on a tough female judge,[2] and was partially inspired by NYPD Blue and the television coverage of the O. J. Simpson murder case.[3] Patricia Wettig led the cast which also included Bob Gunton and Robin Givens.[4] Wettig intended to leave the show due to "creative differences", with sources saying that she wanted the show to be more of a star-vehicle for her, rather than an ensemble cast, but the show was cancelled before her character could be written out.[1][5]

The show included Jenifer Lewis and Cree Summer as the first recurring African American lesbian characters on TV,[6] but the role was ordered to be toned down for broadcast.[3] Lewis played Juvenile Court judge Rosetta Reide, who was having a relationship with her housekeeper Danny Gates (played by Summer).

The show failed to catch on with audiences, the pilot ranked 47 out of 108 shows, according to the Nielsen ratings for that week, with 9.2 million viewers (16% share), and it was cancelled two months after it premiered.[2][7][8] One critic described the show as "a hopeless amalgam that strains the senses".[9]

Synopsis[edit]

Courthouse is a TV drama with lots of sex and violence; it follows the lives of the judges and lawyers and all the staff at a big-city courthouse in fictional Clark County. The court has a limited budget and an overcrowded case load, and the courthouse itself is falling into disrepair.[1]

The court is led by the no-nonsense presiding judge, Justine Parkes.[3] Then, amid all the turmoil, Wyatt Jackson, a hunky new judge, arrives from Montana.[10] He gets off to a shaky start with Parkes as he is not used to the way big-city courts are run, but there is a hint of romantic tension between the two.[1]

There are several romantic couplings among the staff, including an interracial coupling of two prosecutors in Moore and Graham[4][10] and a lesbian affair between Judge Reide and her housekeeper.[3][6]

New York magazine described the show as follows:[10]

"Ready to believe in Robin Givens as a tireless defender of public justice? Courthouse's idea of gritty moral realism is to divide the world into the good and the bad: Bad judges go to the opera while their charges die in jail; good judges have interracial affairs with members of their own gender; and the best judge of all rolls in from Montana looking like he just shot a 501 commercial".

Cast and characters[edit]

  • Judge Justine Parkes (Patricia Wettig) - the no-nonsense presiding judge
  • Judge Homer Conklin (Bob Gunton) - an autocratic "hanging judge" and a by-the-book traditionalist
  • Judge Wyatt E. Jackson (Brad Johnson) - a hunky, non-conformist recently arrived from Montana
  • Judge Myron Winkleman (Michael Lerner) - a neurotic Family Court judge
  • Judge Rosetta Reide (Jenifer Lewis) - a struggling, gay single mother presiding over Juvenile Court
  • Jonathan Mitchell (Dan Gauthier) - conceited prosecutor, was dating public defender Gilbert
  • Veronica Gilbert (Nia Peeples) - public defender, dating Mitchell
  • Edison Moore (Jeffrey D. Sams) - hard-charging young presecutor in a secret inter-racial affair with Graham
  • Suzanne Graham (Robin Givens) - an investigator for the D.A.'s office
  • Lenore Laderman (Annabeth Gish) - a naive young prosecutor just reassigned to the sex crimes unit
  • Danny Gates (Cree Summer) - housekeeper and lesbian girlfriend of Judge Reide

Other cast members included Jacqueline Kim, Shelley Morrison, Roma Maffia, Christopher Michael, Larry Joshua, Kelly Rutherford, Cotter Smith, George Newbern, David L. Crowley and John Mese.

Episodes[edit]

No. in
series
No. in
season
Title Directed by Written by Original air date U.S. viewers
(millions)[11]
1 1 "Pilot" Ron Lagomarsino September 13, 1995 (1995-09-13) 9.2
2 2 "One Flew Over the Courthouse" September 20, 1995 (1995-09-20) 7
3 3 "Conflict of Interest" September 27, 1995 (1995-09-27) 5.7
4 4 "Order on the Court" October 10, 1995 (1995-10-10) 7
5 5 "Sex, Law and Videotape" October 11, 1995 (1995-10-11) 7.3
6 6 "Child Support" October 18, 1995 (1995-10-18) 6.3
7 7 "One Strike and You're Out" November 1, 1995 (1995-11-01) 5.4
8 8 "Fair-Weathered Friends" November 8, 1995 (1995-11-08) 5.8
9 9 "Injustice for All" November 15, 1995 (1995-11-15) 5.1
10 10 "Mitigating Circumstances" not aired
11 11 "Justice Delayed" not aired

References[edit]

External links[edit]