Law & Order: Trial by Jury

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Law & Order: Trial by Jury
Law and Order TBJ title card.jpg
Intertitle
Also known as Law & Order: TBJ
Trial by Jury
Genre Legal Drama
Created by Dick Wolf
Starring Bebe Neuwirth
Amy Carlson
Kirk Acevedo
Fred Dalton Thompson
Jerry Orbach
Scott Cohen
Narrated by Steven Zirnkilton
(opening only)
Opening theme Theme of Law & Order: Trial by Jury
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 13 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Walon Green
Peter Jankowski
Dick Wolf
Running time 42 minutes
Production company(s) Wolf Films
NBC Universal Television Studio
Broadcast
Original channel NBC (2005)
Court TV (2006)
Picture format 480i (SDTV),
1080i (HDTV)
Original run March 3, 2005 (2005-03-03) – January 21, 2006 (2006-01-21)
Chronology
Related shows Law & Order franchise

Law & Order: Trial by Jury is an American television drama about criminal trials set in New York City. It was the third spin-off from the long-running Law & Order. The show's almost exclusive focus was on the criminal trial of the accused, showing both the prosecution's and defense's preparation for trial, as well as the trial itself. The series premiered on Thursday, March 3, 2005, and ended on January 21, 2006. Its regular time slot was Fridays 10/9 p.m. ET on NBC. The last episode aired on Court TV (now truTV) months after the series' cancellation.

Description[edit]

"In the criminal justice system, all defendants are innocent until proven guilty, either by confession, plea bargain, or trial by jury. This is one of those trials."

          –Opening narration spoken by Steven Zirnkilton

Trial by Jury focuses on criminal legal procedures and preparation that are rarely depicted on other Law & Order series, such as jury selection, deliberations in the jury room, as well as jury research and mock trials prepared by the defense to use psychological studies and socioeconomic status profiling to their advantage.

The episodes usually start with a witness or victim's personal account of a crime. This is a departure from the other Law & Order series, which usually begin by depicting either the actual crime or its discovery/reporting by civilians. The show progresses on from that point, showing how both sides develop their strategies for winning the case.

The prosecution's preparation usually includes scenes in which their investigators follow up on leads and interview witnesses. The defense's preparation varies from episode to episode, running the gamut from testing arguments in front of jury focus groups to deal-making between co-defendants. Each episode has several trial scenes, with both sides examining witnesses and giving arguments. There are also several pretrial meetings where some procedural issue is argued and ruled on. In addition, there are a few episodes showing jury deliberation. The show develops the judges as characters, showing scenes of them conferring with each other and reusing the same judges in multiple episodes.

Characters[edit]

The original cast of Law & Order: Trial by Jury (2005); from left, Amy Carlson, Bebe Neuwirth, Fred Thompson, Jerry Orbach, and Kirk Acevedo.
Name Portrayed by Occupation Season 1 Episodes
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
Tracey Kibre Bebe Neuwirth Bureau Chief
Executive A.D.A.
Main
Kelly Gaffney Amy Carlson A.D.A. Main
Hector Salazar Kirk Acevedo Investigator Main
Chris Ravell Scott Cohen Detective Special Guest Main
Arthur Branch Fred Dalton Thompson District Attorney Main
Lennie Briscoe Jerry Orbach Investigator Main
  • Tracey Kibre is tough, focused prosecutor, she is a contrast to the lead ADAs in the other three series with a black-and-white view of the law.
  • Kelly Gaffney is the younger assistant to Kibre, she is often more by-the-book. She often challenges Kibre, given that she sees the law in more shades of gray than her partner.
  • Hector Salazar is a former police detective who was apparently injured on duty; an injury would have likely put him in a desk job, which he did not find too thrilling.
  • Lennie Briscoe was the first partner of Hector Salazar and was previously the longest-serving police detective of the original Law & Order series. He appears in only the first two episodes due to the death of Orbach. His final onscreen appearance is in the episode "41 Shots". Orbach was so ill at the time that he could barely speak above a whisper. Consequently, his final line of dialogue had to be rewritten.
  • Arthur Branch is the New York district attorney, he also appeared in a starring role on the original Law & Order.
  • Chris Ravell is the second partner of Hector Salazar, in Episodes 3 and 5 to 13, unlike Salazar and Briscoe, he is a member of the NYPD. Cohen was credited as a Guest Appearance for Episode 3 before being added to the main credits in Episode 5. He did not appear in Episode 4.

Episodes[edit]

No. Title Directed by Written by Original air date Production
code
U.S. Viewers
(millions)
1 "The Abominable Showman" Jean de Segonzac Dick Wolf March 3, 2005 (2005-03-03) E5701 17.29[1]
Tough New York Assistant D.A. Tracey Kibre tackles the murder of an aspiring Broadway actress but has little evidence to prosecute the suspect; an acclaimed but arrogant theater producer (Tony Bill) who smugly knows that the police have found no blood or even a body. Kibre is joined by her unflappable deputy A.D.A., Kelly Gaffney, as they work with Detectives Briscoe and Salazar to pursue physical evidence while the producer's attorney (Annabella Sciorra) maneuvers to publicly portray the missing woman as promiscuous.
2 "41 Shots" Caleb Deschanel Walon Green March 4, 2005 (2005-03-04) E5707 14.52[1]

When a police officer is executed by a career criminal (Aliya Campbell), Kibre and Gaffney must overcome the fact that the accused was shot 41 times by police -- not to mention the charges of police corruption leveled by the charismatic and cunning defense attorney (Peter Coyote). Kibre's plea for justice veers suddenly when evidence indicates that the killer might be a federal agent's snitch while she also fears that the jury will sympathize when they see the bandaged man wheeled into court for his trial.

The final episode in the Law & Order franchise for Jerry Orbach (Lennie Briscoe) who died after filming this episode.

Carey Lowell guest stars as Judge Jamie Ross.
3 "Vigilante" Dwight H. Little David Wilcox March 11, 2005 (2005-03-11) E5712 10.69[2]

Kibre and Gaffney face the unpopular job of prosecuting a father (Aidan Gillen) accused of murdering a paroled child molester who had approached his daughter. The case takes on an added twist when they investigate why his self-appointed lawyer (Lorraine Bracco) is so passionate about representing him. Later, new evidence about the pedophile's intentions is uncovered and District Attorney Branch knows the unwelcome publicity fallout for his department could hurt his chance at reelection.

Scott Cohen joins the cast as Detective Chris Ravell.
4 "Truth or Consequences" Constantine Makris Teleplay by: David Wilcox
Story by: David Wilcox & Walon Green
March 18, 2005 (2005-03-18) E5703 11.54[3]
After a young woman is raped and murdered, A.D.A.'s Kibre and Gaffney are stymied by a triangle of suspects; three friends who include a rich boy (Warren Blosjo), a bad boy (Adam LaVorgna) and the victim's ex-boyfriend Danny (Ebon Moss-Bachrach). As the prosecutors try to turn one against the other, they wonder who's playing whom. But when Danny seems the least likely to lie, Kibre wants to make a deal with him but she worries he might be manipulating the facts to gain the jury's sympathy.
5 "Baby Boom" Michael Pressman Teleplay by: Joan Rater & Tony Phelan
Story by: Pamela J. Wechsler
March 25, 2005 (2005-03-25) E5704 11.07[4]
Kibre and Gaffney prosecute a young nanny (Elisabeth Moss) accused of murder for shaking an infant and bashing in her head; but they run into a stone wall when the presiding judge (Aasif Mandvi) intentionally blocks every move they make. After Kibre rejects Gaffney's desperate offer to resign to blunt the judge's irrational ire, they discover the tough defense attorney has coached his client well and intends to point the finger of murder elsewhere.
6 "Pattern of Conduct" Constantine Makris Teleplay by: Pamela J. Wechsler & Walon Green
Story by: Pamela J. Wechsler
April 1, 2005 (2005-04-01) E5710 10.58[5]
Kibre faces an obstacle course when she prosecutes a famous pro basketball player (Damaine Radcliff) for killing his girlfriend but first she must get past the starstruck grand jury, a legion of fans, a savvy defense lawyer and the player's beautiful trophy wife (Sherri Saum) who's determined to hang on to what she's got. Although other women have been assaulted by the defendant, Kibre and Gaffney have a difficult time getting them to testify and new evidence that the victim had previously attempted suicide adds to the complexities of this case.
7 "Bang & Blame" Caleb Deschanel Chris Levinson April 8, 2005 (2005-04-08) E5711 11.38[6]

When a bank worker (Jeff Perry) casually shoots a customer to death and wounds others, the seemingly mentally unstable man runs rings around an exasperated Kibre in court when he asks to defend himself and exploits his claim of extreme emotional distress due to the tragic death of his son. But Kibre and Gaffney must regain their footing before the jury through old-fashioned detective work which reveals critical holes in the murderer's persistent claim that he has been victimized by everyone.

Carey Lowell guest stars as Judge Jamie Ross.
8 "Skeleton" David Platt David Wilcox April 15, 2005 (2005-04-15) E5716 13.19[7]

Continuing a crossover episode from Law & Order, Kibre prosecutes an elusive career criminal Lucas (Ritchie Coster) for the murder of a sleazy ex-cop and the shooting of Detective Ed Green. As Kibre's office works with Detective Joe Fontana (Dennis Farina), they discover their prime suspect might also be a producer of "snuff" pornography. When a sting goes bad and a shocking courtroom development cuts the legs from under her case, Kibre's career teeters on finding why the shootings were committed in the first place.

This is a crossover sequel to the episode "Tombstone" from season 15 of the series Law & Order.

Dennis Farina (Detective Joe Fontana), Jesse L. Martin (Detective Ed Green), S. Epatha Merkerson (Lt. Anita Van Buren), Sam Waterston (EADA Jack McCoy) and Richard Belzer (Detective John Munch) guest star.
9 "The Line" Richard Pearce Tony Phelan & Joan Rater April 22, 2005 (2005-04-22) E5714 10.08[8]
Against good advice, Kibre goes full out to re-try a convicted multiple murderer (Gabriel Casseus) who is released due to falsified evidence; but she is hardly helped by frightened and hinky witnesses while the manipulative suspect seems to counter her every move with his pricey lawyers. As her fragile case continues to dissolve, Kibre hopes for a break from a witness or forensic evidence; and alienates Gaffney when she ponders contorting ethical rules if necessary.
10 "Blue Wall" Joe Ann Fogle Rick Eid April 29, 2005 (2005-04-29) E5713 9.59[9]
Kibre is handed a political bombshell when she is asked to prosecute two police officers (Domenick Lombardozzi and Mike Colter) for their murky roles in the murder of a gay prisoner who was fatally sodomized with a police nightstick; but she clashes with Detective Chris Ravell (Scott Cohen) who confronts the "blue wall" in his search for truth. Under federal pressure for a conviction, the conscience-stricken detective causes more problems when he tries to protect one of the cops and his young family by withholding vital evidence.
11 "Day" Caleb Deschanel Teleplay by: Chris Levinson
Story by: Chris Levinson & Amanda Green
May 3, 2005 (2005-05-03) E5715 18.70[10]

In the conclusion of a two-part crossover with Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, A.D.A. Kibre works with Detectives Benson and Stabler (Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni) to prosecute a serial rapist (Alfred Molina) whose trail of victims through the years has been whitewashed by his wealthy and protective mother (Angela Lansbury). Kibre must also overcome witness intimidation; and even sees her crucial DNA evidence tossed out; but the slippery suspect's lawyer has yet another surprise under his sleeve.

This is a crossover sequel to the episode "Night" from season 6 of the spinoff series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
12 "Boys Will Be Boys" Aaron Lipstadt Rick Eid May 6, 2005 (2005-05-06) E5706 9.82[11]
Kibre and Gaffney are stymied when a young man (Victor Rasuk) confesses to killing a transvestite upon discovering that the "she" was a "he"; just before the suspect's controlling father (Giancarlo Esposito) also admits that he pummeled the victim to death in self-defense. Besides being whipsawed between two divergent confessions, the suspicious assistant D.A.s can't seem to turn one against the other, prompting a determined Kibre to reach into her legal bag of tricks to force the issue in court.
13 "Eros in the Upper Eighties" Joe Ann Fogle Chris Levinson January 21, 2006 (2006-01-21) E5705 7.58[12]
A doorman at a high-end Upper Eastside building saves a tenant's life when he pulls a homeless man off her, but kills him in the process, and what appears to be an act of a good Samaritan is actually much more complicated.

Crossovers[edit]

  • "Tombstone"/"Skeleton" — In this two-episode arc that begins on Law & Order, Green gets shot while escorting a witness to trial and Fontana's subsequent investigation uncovers ties to a porn magnate.
  • "Night"/"Day" — In this crossover with Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, a rapist's mother reveals facts about his adolescence at his trial.

Ratings[edit]

Season Episodes Timeslot (EST) Season premiere Season finale TV season Ranking Viewers
(in millions)
1 13 Fridays 10:00 p.m. March 3, 2005 January 21, 2006 2004–2005 #37 10.73[13]

Cancellation[edit]

NBC announced on May 16, 2005 that Trial by Jury would not be returning for the 2005–2006 fall television season. The rival CBS procedural Numb3rs debuted in the midseason in late January 2005 and consistently beat NBC's Medical Investigation in the ratings, sending the latter show into hiatus and eventual cancellation, freeing up the time slot for Law & Order: Trial by Jury. Despite Trial by Jury's pedigree, Numb3rs ratings remained strong, often beating Trial by Jury in both overall and key demographic ratings.[14]

Trial by Jury was the first series of the Law & Order franchise to be cancelled, although TV Guide reported at one point that NBC had reconsidered its decision[citation needed] and would pick up the series once again, or hand it off to Turner Network Television (TNT), which also airs reruns of the original series. The sets were reused by a series Wolf produced for NBC entitled Conviction which premiered Friday, March 3, 2006, lasting only one season before cancellation. In an October 2005 interview with the Associated Press, Wolf stated that NBC had assured him Trial by Jury would return for the fall of 2005 but had "blindsided" him by cancelling it instead.

Court TV (now truTV) re-aired the entire series, including the episode "Eros In The Upper Eighties", which never aired on NBC before the show's cancellation. TNT has aired the episode "Skeleton" on occasion, as the conclusion to the original series episode "Tombstone".

Home release[edit]

On April 25, 2006, Universal Studios Home Entertainment released Law & Order: Trial by Jury - The Complete Series on DVD in Region 1.[15]

DVD name Ep # Release date Additional information
Law & Order: Trial by Jury - The Complete Series 14 April 25, 2006
  • Cross-over episode "Night" from Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
  • Deleted Scenes
  • "A Different Look at Law & Order"

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Weekly Program Rankings From 02/28/05 Through 03/06/05" (Press release). ABC Medianet. March 8, 2005. Retrieved April 13, 2011. 
  2. ^ "Weekly Program Rankings From 03/07/05 Through 03/13/05" (Press release). ABC Medianet. March 15, 2005. Retrieved April 13, 2011. 
  3. ^ "Weekly Program Rankings From 03/14/05 Through 03/20/05" (Press release). ABC Medianet. March 22, 2005. Retrieved April 13, 2011. 
  4. ^ "Weekly Program Rankings From 03/21/05 Through 03/27/05" (Press release). ABC Medianet. March 29, 2005. Retrieved April 13, 2011. 
  5. ^ "Weekly Program Rankings From 03/28/05 Through 04/03/05" (Press release). ABC Medianet. April 5, 2005. Retrieved April 13, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Weekly Program Rankings From 04/04/05 Through 04/10/05" (Press release). ABC Medianet. April 12, 2005. Retrieved April 13, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Weekly Program Rankings From 04/11/05 Through 04/17/05" (Press release). ABC Medianet. April 19, 2005. Retrieved April 13, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Weekly Program Rankings From 04/18/05 Through 04/24/05" (Press release). ABC Medianet. April 26, 2005. Retrieved April 13, 2011. 
  9. ^ "Weekly Program Rankings From 04/25/05 Through 05/01/05" (Press release). ABC Medianet. May 3, 2005. Retrieved April 13, 2011. 
  10. ^ Kissell, Rick (May 4, 2005). "'Idol,' 'House' rock for Fox". Variety. Retrieved April 13, 2011. 
  11. ^ "Weekly Program Rankings From 05/02/05 Through 05/08/05" (Press release). ABC Medianet. May 10, 2005. Retrieved April 13, 2011. 
  12. ^ "Weekly Program Rankings From 05/02/05 Through 05/08/05" (Press release). ABC Medianet. January 24, 2006. Retrieved June 23, 2014. 
  13. ^ "PRESS RELEASE - PRESS RELEASE - ENTERTAINMENT - SEASON PROGRAM RANKINGS - part 1". May 24, 2005. 
  14. ^ "Rumor: Harsh verdict for NBC's 'Trial by Jury' ". Medialifemagazine.com. Retrieved 2005-05-13. 
  15. ^ Lambert, David (2006-01-17). "Law & Order: Trial by Jury – Jerry Orbach's Final Series Comes To DVD This Spring". TVShowsonDVD.com. Retrieved 2007-08-18. 

External links[edit]