Jay Baruchel as Skip Ross and Don Johnson as Grant Cooper
|Created by||Jonathan Shapiro|
Jaime Lee Kirchner
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||8|
|Executive producer(s)||Jerry Bruckheimer|
|Production location(s)||Venice, Los Angeles, California|
|Running time||43 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Jerry Bruckheimer Television|
Warner Bros. Television
|Original network||The WB|
|Original release||September 19, 2005– September 10, 2006|
Just Legal is a television courtroom drama that stars Don Johnson and Jay Baruchel as two courtroom lawyers in Venice, California. The series premiered on The WB on September 19, 2005 and was canceled on October 3, 2005 after three episodes had been aired. Almost a year later The WB burned off five additional episodes following a repeat of the pilot on August 6, 2006. The series concluded on September 10, 2006.
Just Legal, starring Don Johnson and Jay Baruchel, is a drama about two "amusingly mismatched lawyers" that "comes at you unassumingly." David "Skip" Ross (Baruchel), 19, is a legal genius who graduated from law school at the top of his class, but now can find no one to hire him. Enter Grant Cooper, a washed-up middle-aged lawyer who has made one too many bad choices in his career, leaving him a jaded court-appointed attorney, rejected by his peers. Skip is Grant's golf caddy, and he convinces Grant just to let him write a legal brief for him; but when they arrive at the courthouse, Grant is told he needs a "second chair" (an attorney to sit at the second seat at counsel's table), and he gives them the only one he has: Skip Ross. Grant has no intention of actually bringing Skip into his practice, but his charm, enthusiasm, intelligence, and most of all, ability to actually win a case, win Grant over.
There are a variety of cases featured on the show, from murder cases to botched plastic surgery. Many of the storylines are based on real-life cases. Grant and Skip do their own "dirty work" for their cases, going to crime scenes and interviewing witnesses, as Grant teaches Skip more about what it means to be a “real lawyer” and Skip teaches Grant more about what it means to trust in people. The series is set in Venice and neighboring Santa Monica, California.
Cast and characters
- Don Johnson as Grant H. Cooper: A functioning alcoholic with a cynical view of the world, Cooper is nonetheless touched by the enthusiasm and idealism he sees in his unlikely new protégé. Skip's brilliant mind allowed him to excel at all things academic, but he had a sheltered upbringing and now finds himself in the working world with few social skills to fall back on. Skip needs the practical advice that can only come from an experienced trial lawyer, and Cooper is only too happy to have someone around to do the "grunt" work. As he helps the young man make the transition from school and boyhood to the tough world of court and manhood, Cooper is reminded of the best part of himself—the part that got lost along the way. Cooper repeatedly prides himself with being "jaded" after 27 years on the job. After refusing to agree to a plea bargain for one of his clients (several years before the series begins), he lost the case and that client was put to death by lethal injection, which for Cooper was the beginning of his downward spiral. From then on, he was forced to make a living as a small-time ambulance chaser, and has no problem admitting to it.
- Jay Baruchel as David "Skip" Ross: David Ross is nicknamed "Skip" by his peers, not because he skipped classes, but rather because he skipped so many grades through his young life. By age 18 he is already a lawyer and a member of the California Bar Association, having graduated first in his class. His ambition is to become the best trial lawyer ever, originally inspired by one of his favorite movies, To Kill a Mockingbird. Unfortunately for him, no downtown law firm is willing to hire him because of his age. His young age is also hard on him because it is difficult for him to find a place to rent, since no one will believe that he is an actual lawyer. With Grant's help, Skip learns the inner workings of the legal system and the "do"s and "don't"s about courtroom law. Unlike Cooper, Skip is an optimist and looks at everything in a positive way. Skip cannot escape the fact this his college friend, Kate Manat (Susan Ward) has been hired by a downtown law firm and is often on the opposite side of the courtroom, a situation made more awkward by the fact that he is attracted to her. David "Skip" Ross is similar to Doogie Howser, M.D.
- Jaime Lee Kirchner as Dulcinea "Dee" Real: The law office has only one employee, Dulcinea "Dee" Real, a former client of Cooper's who took the job to pay off her legal fees and fulfill her parole requirements. An African American in her mid-twenties, Dee is tough, blue collar and strikingly beautiful; a woman who looks amazing in jeans, a T-shirt and an electronic ankle bracelet. Her crime was murder and although Cooper managed to get the charge reduced to manslaughter, he was not able to keep her out of jail. Though he won't admit it, Cooper feels guilty that Dee ended up serving time. Smart, capable and completely immune to Cooper's charm, Dee can hold her own against Cooper and Skip, and she often manages to intimidate them both.
- Reiley McClendon as Tom Ross, Skip's little brother. He's cool, calm, suave, and a likable guy. Unfortunately for him, he isn't as smart as his older brother, since he has failed 10th grade. He also can't seem to understand why Skip is such a workaholic and why his brother doesn't have much of a social life. Tom also enjoys hanging out at his brother's apartment, even though Skip doesn't approve.
- Susan Ward as Kate Manat: Skip and Kate were college friends and study partners. Kate was hired by one of the downtown law firms that did not hire Skip.
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||Prod.|
|1||"Pilot"||Andrew Davis||Jonathan Shapiro||September 19, 2005||475279||3.44|
|After graduating from law school at 18, David "Skip" Ross finds his dreams of becoming a great trial lawyer thwarted when he is rejected by a prestigious law firm due to his age. After caddying for Grant Cooper, a once great lawyer now burnt-out by the pressures of life who runs his own less than respectable firm, Skip is offered a job with the promise to get trial experience. Skip's parents have concerns about his decision to work with Cooper. As they work Skip's first case, a woman accused of killing her boyfriend's rival drug dealer, Skip helps Cooper regain a belief in himself and the cases they are working.|
|2||"The Runner"||Dwight H. Little||Jonathan Shapiro||September 26, 2005||2T7001||2.96|
|When a liquor store is robbed and the store clerk is killed the police arrest Zeke Rawlins (Jocko Sims), an African-American man fleeing the scene. Skip, believing Zeke's claims of innocence, builds their case around the police arresting the "nearest person of color". Cooper and Skip are caught off guard by the final witness in the trial. Skip and Cooper also meet Kate, a former classmate of Skip's, who is working at the law firm that rejected Skip.|
|3||"The Limit"||John Badham||Rob Bragin||October 3, 2005||2T7002||2.88|
|4||"The Body in the Trunk"||Tim Matheson||Craig O'Neil & Jason Tracy||August 13, 2006||2T7003||N/A|
|5||"The Heater"||Dennis Smith||Nick Thiel||August 20, 2006||2T7004||1.59|
|6||"The Rainmaker"||Dwight H. Little||Rama Laurie Stagner||August 27, 2006||2T7005||1.12|
|7||"The Code"||Oz Scott||Alfredo Barrios Jr.||September 3, 2006||2T7006||1.34|
|8||"The Bar"||Kevin Dowling||Jonathan Shapiro||September 10, 2006||2T7007||1.48|
Cancellation and reairing
The series was canceled in October 2005 after only three episodes of the show aired. On Sunday, August 6, 2006 at 7:00 pm Eastern Standard Time/6:00 pm CST, it returned to The WB with the pilot reairing on August 6, followed by 5 unaired episodes on subsequent Sundays.
Popular culture references
- Don Johnson's character, Grant Cooper, is much like his role of Det. Sonny Crockett on Miami Vice, in that both are cynical, jaded men of the law who do know right from wrong but are willing to stand up against the powers that be if necessary.
- In the episode The Heater, Grant Cooper says, "I used to live on a boat." This is a subtle reference to his days on Miami Vice, where he played Det. Sonny Crockett who lived on the boat St. Vitus Dance.
- Cooper was also the surname of his partner Rico Tubbs's alias on Miami Vice ("Rico Cooper").
- Names like Nancy Grace, Mark Geragos, Johnnie Cochran, and Greta Van Susteren have been mentioned in the show.
- Famous modern-day courtroom cases such as Scott Peterson and Robert Blake have been mentioned.
- Bianco, Robert (September 18, 2005). "Don Johnson lifts 'Legal'". USA Today. Retrieved August 22, 2006.
- Bianculli, David (September 19, 2005). "It's 'Legal' & a lot of fun, too". New York Daily News. Archived from the original on November 11, 2005. Retrieved August 26, 2006.
- "WEEKLY PROGRAM RANKINGS FROM 09/19/05 THROUGH 09/25/05" (Press release). ABC Medianet. September 27, 2005. Archived from the original on June 1, 2009. Retrieved January 25, 2011.
- "WEEKLY PROGRAM RANKINGS FROM 09/26/05 THROUGH 10/02/05" (Press release). ABC Medianet. October 4, 2005. Archived from the original on December 21, 2008. Retrieved January 25, 2011.
- "WEEKLY PROGRAM RANKINGS FROM 10/03/05 THROUGH 10/09/05" (Press release). ABC Medianet. October 11, 2005. Archived from the original on December 21, 2008. Retrieved January 25, 2011.
- "WEEKLY PROGRAM RANKINGS FROM 08/14/06 THROUGH 08/20/06" (Press release). ABC Medianet. August 22, 2006. Archived from the original on April 28, 2012. Retrieved January 25, 2011.
- "WEEKLY ABC PROGRAM RANKINGS FROM 08/21/06 THROUGH 08/27/06" (Press release). ABC Medianet. August 29, 2006. Archived from the original on March 29, 2012. Retrieved January 25, 2011.
- "PRIMETIME RANKINGS REPORT (WEEK OF AUGUST 28TH)" (Press release). ABC Medianet. September 5, 2006. Archived from the original on March 29, 2012. Retrieved January 25, 2011.
- "WEEKLY PROGRAM RANKINGS FROM 09/04/06 THROUGH 09/10/06" (Press release). ABC Medianet. September 12, 2006. Archived from the original on March 29, 2012. Retrieved January 25, 2011.
- "Brother's Keeper/Pilot". Miami Vice. Season 1. Episode 1. 1984-09-16. NBC.
- "The Pilot". Just Legal. Season 1. Episode 1. 2005-09-19. The WB.
- "The Heater". Just Legal. Season 1. Episode 5. 2006-08-20. The WB.
- "The Great McCarthy". Miami Vice. Season 1. Episode 8. 1984-11-16. NBC.