Marshall Law

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Marshall Law
GenreLegal drama
Created by
ComposerJamie Saxe
Country of originAustralia
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes17
Executive producerJohn Holmes
ProducerAlan Hardy
  • Darrell Martin
  • Dick Tummel
  • Anne Carter
  • Cliff Hayes
  • Philip Reid
  • Maryjeanne Watt
Production companySouthern Star
Original networkSeven Network
Picture formatPAL
Audio formatStereophonic
Original release13 August (2002-08-13) –
26 November 2002 (2002-11-26)

Marshall Law is an Australian television series, which aired on the Seven Network in 2002, starring Lisa McCune and Alison Whyte as lawyers and sisters.


The show was originally conceived as a legal drama mixed with Ally McBeal-style romantic comedy, and was one of four new prime-time series in 2002, as the beginning of an attempt to revive the Australian television industry. The concept combined with the cast of industry heavyweights initially seemed like a package that could not fail.[citation needed]

Although ratings were good the first week, figures quickly slumped and the series, which first aired in August, finished airing in November, cancelled after only 17 episodes. Subsequently, repeat screenings were reedited to remove the Ally McBeal style CGI effects.


Set in Melbourne, Marshall Law tells the story of two sisters - Ros and Verity Marshall (played by Lisa McCune, popular after her seven-year run on Blue Heelers; and Alison Whyte, well known for her role on Frontline) - working at the Magistrate's Court. Ros is a Junior Prosecutor who is more interested in partying, and is having to prove her worth at the bench; while the more-experienced and overachieving Verity is now working as a barrister.

Both sisters soon find themselves in for surprises. Ros realises just how out of her depth she may be, begging the help of legal aid solicitor Mikey O'Dea (Nick Farnell), and mentor Esther Hersch, QC (Anne Phelan of Something in the Air).

Meanwhile, Verity, working with her handsome but inept assistant Scott (Nathaniel Kiwi) faces her biggest challenge going up against one of the city's most eminent counsels, Dylan Boyd (William McInnes from SeaChange and Blue Heelers) - her ex-husband.

Verity and Ros, despite leading very different lifestyles, find themselves being forced to work together in this competitive world, particularly with the likes of Judge Don Foster (Greg Stone), Ros's boss Frank Dellabosca (Frank Gallacher), and the ambitious lawyer Prue Staley (Jane Hall). Verity McIntyre appeared as Julie Larson.

Original pilot[edit]

The original Marshall Law pilot was a different affair. Titled Leather and Silk, with more emphasis on drama, Bevan Lee, co-creator with Alison Nisselle, described the pilot as being too serious. Executive Producer John Holmes acknowledged that emphasis on the workings of the law "... didn't hold a lot of excitement or interest, except for some die-hard people who love the law and are really interested in it".[1]

Most major characters other than Lisa McCune's were cast differently, and many smaller roles were removed. Holmes explained :

"There were too many people in it. You didn't get a chance to get any traction with any of the characters. There were so many incidental characters, when you watched it, you weren't quite sure who to focus on. Now there's much more concentration on Verity, Ros and Dylan. The show is much more about them and their lives and how they deal with each other, with the background of the legal profession, rather than it being about the legal profession with these characters in it."[1]

Industry A-Lister Kerry Armstrong originally played Verity, who was initially a magistrate rather than a barrister. In early 2002, Channel Seven announced that Armstrong would not be continuing with the series, claiming that she wasn't right for the part and "refused to play the role differently".[2] Months later Armstrong agreed with the rumours that the producers thought she was too old for the part of McCune's sister.[3] She would later join the cast of another of 2002's new shows, MDA, which fared much better.

Alyson Whyte had played Jane Hall's role of Prue Staley before moving over to take on the role of Verity.

Lani Tupu played Verity's ex-husband in the pilot instead of William McInnes. Deidre Rubenstein played the role that would become Anne Phelan's, and Bud Tingwell was the DPP before Frank Gallacher.


Whilst the program came off the back of a strong lead in All Saints - it also faced tough competition in its Tuesday 9.30PM slot; Rove Live and another Australian drama, Nine's Stingers. It debuted well in its first week (airing Tuesday and Wednesday) but plummeted dramatically in week 2 and never recovered.

Week Sydney Melbourne Brisbane Adelaide Perth 5-City RANK
11 Aug – 17 Aug 373,000 465,000 203,000 145,000 133,000 1,319,000 34
11 Aug – 17 Aug 391,000 461,000 201,000 130,000 111,000 1,293,000 38
18 Aug – 24 Aug 212,000 266,000 102,000 97,000 88,000 765,000 100
25 Aug – 31 Aug 241,000 338,000 115,000 109,000 104,000 906,000 72
1 Sep – 7 Sep 251,000 304,000 140,000 83,000 106,000 885,000 74
8 Sep – 14 Sep 252,000 282,000 136,000 86,000 97,000 852,000 76
15 Sep – 21 Sep 254,000 304,000 116,000 96,000 68,000 839,000 80
22 Sep – 28 Sep 254,000 264,000 121,000 83,000 89,000 811,000 86
29 Sep – 5 Oct 204,000 243,000 101,000 84,000 98,000 730,000 88
6 Oct – 12 Oct 238,000 237,000 122,000 94,000 103,000 794,000 84
27 Oct – 2 Nov 273,000 226,000 116,000 72,000 88,000 776,000 95
3 Nov – 9 Nov 236,000 230,000 124,000 65,000 61,000 716,000 94
10 Nov – 16 Nov 267,000 283,000 118,000 63,000 106,000 837,000 79
17 Nov – 23 Nov 251,000 237,000 115,000 74,000 83,000 761,000 85
24 Nov – 30 Nov 256,000 219,000 115,000 72,000 80,000 742,000 75

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b A show Is Born The Age article
  2. ^ Cast change from pilot article from Courier-Mail
  3. ^ Kerry Armstrong responds article from Daily Telegraph

External links[edit]