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
Format Live action
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
NBCUniversal 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]

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 Assistant District Attorney Main
Kelly Gaffney Amy Carlson Assistant District Attorney 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, at the time, was the longest serving detective on any Law & Order series. He only appears in 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.
The original cast of Law & Order: Trial by Jury (2005); from left, Amy Carlson, Bebe Neuwirth, Fred Thompson, Jerry Orbach, and Kirk Acevedo.

Episodes[edit]

Crossover episodes[edit]

Out of the seven two-part crossovers in the Law & Order franchise: Trial by Jury had two:

  • "Tombstone" (Law & Order 15x20), continued in "Skeleton" (Law & Order: Trial by Jury 1x8)
    • Guest Characters - Jack McCoy, Joe Fontana, Ed Green and Anita Van Buren from Law & Order and John Munch from Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
  • "Night" (Law & Order: Special Victims Unit 6x20), continued in "Day" (Law & Order: Trial by Jury 1x11)
    • Guest Characters - Elizabeth Olivet from Law & Order and Elliot Stabler, Casey Novak, Olivia Benson and Melinda Warner from Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

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[1]

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.[2]

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".

DVD release[edit]

On April 25, 2006, Universal Studios Home Entertainment released Law & Order: Trial by Jury - The Complete Series on DVD in Region 1.[3]

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"
  • "Night" was included on the set. However, for unexplained reasons, "Tombstone" was not.

References[edit]

External links[edit]