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Series / All Rise

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...for the honorable Lola Charmichael
All Rise is an American legal drama television series created by Greg Spottiswood which premiered on CBS in 2019. Beginning with its third season, the show has moved to OWN.

Lola Charmichael is a dedicated lawyer who trades in her job as a prosecutor for a robe as she becomes Los Angeles' first black female judge. Having worked her whole life for justice both social and criminal, Charmichael sees her career change as an opportunity to finally implement the changes she always dreamed of achieving.

What follows is a exploration into the cases and personal lives of those working in LA justice system inclding Judge Charmichael, her Childhood Friend LA prosecutor Mark Callen, public defender Emiliy Lopez, and bailiff and aspiring lawyer Luke Watkins.

This Series Shows Examples of...

  • Abusive Parents: Frequently an explanation for the criminal activity of the defendants. Mark suffered for his father's criminal life, frequently homeless and forced to provide false alibis for him. Roxy reacts to Lola's accomplishments by accusing her of being a Category Traitor.
  • Amoral Attorney:
    • Averted for the most part despite being a Legal Drama. The cast is made of both lawyers for the prosecutor and defense and are often shown to just be doing their jobs.
    • Fool For Liv gives us Adam Pyrce who plays this trope straight to the hilt. Among his tactics is trying to influence, later intimidate the jury, submitting illegal evidence, making prejudicial statements, and using the press to paint his leaking as nothing more than court jargon. He even goes after Lola himself, which causes Lola to draw up a formal complaint and even threaten him with potential disbarment.
  • Cliffhanger: The Perils of the Plea ends with Ness cleaning out the jury's deliberation room... only to find a paper that reveals the jury actually acquitted the defendant, who was pressured to take a plea deal despite being innocent to avoid jail time. The following episode deals with Lola, Emily, and the D.A. dealing with the fallout such as overturning the plea and getting him acquitted.
  • Clueless Aesop: When one of Emily's clients dies of COVID-19 while her case is pending, Emily gets fed up and tells the DA's Office that she's taking every case to trial until they start offering better deals. It seems like the writers were trying to make a statement about the criminal justice system, but there are two problems with this course of action: 1) forcing every case to trial would cause her clients to spend more time in jail until their cases are resolved, which is the very problem she was upset about in the first place; but more importantly 2) defense attorneys can't reject plea offers, attorneys have an obligation to convey offers to their clients and clients have the sole power to decide whether to accept it. The fact that Emily wasn't fired and disbarred for rejecting a prosecutor's offers on her own is pure Hollywood Law.
  • Commune: Sherri was raised on one, it turns out, where her parents still live. When she left years ago, it was very difficult to adjust since the outside world is so different.
  • Crusading Lawyer:
    • Emily Lopez is a public defender who is dedicated to helping her clients by either getting them acquitted or at least a fair sentencing as so they're not screwed by the system.
    • Judge Charmichael is the logical conclusion as noted in the very first episode: after years as a persecutor, she realizes that being a judge is a bigger influence in fixing the broken justice system.
  • Dance Party Ending: Done at the end of the first season finale, Dancing at Los Angeles, as the cast and crew dance in front of their computer cameras.
  • Domestic Abuse: Emily suffered abuse from her ex-husband. As a result, she's highly concerned with helping fellow abuse victims.
  • Formula-Breaking Episode: The first season finale, Dancing at Los Angeles, is VERY different. The entire episode was done "virtually" with the actors in their homes due to the 2020 quarantine. The characters communicate through video conferencing.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Charmichael doesn't make a lot of friends among her fellow judges mainly because they see her as a Na´ve Newcomer and she suspects her hearing is about putting her in her place. Then it's Down Played, possibly even Subverted, as its implied that the judges went along with the hearing to see if she'd stick to her guns or was all talk about making the system work again.
  • Ghost City: Los Angeles looks like this during the shelter-in-place order in Dancing at Los Angeles.
  • Gray-and-Grey Morality: Unusually for a law procedural, quite a few of the cases shown don't have a clear "good guy" and "bad guy", often showing the both sides have their good and bad sides. This even applies to the main characters themselves, as the people that they are defending will affect how they perform in court.
  • Hanging Judge: Lola Charmichael actively works to be the inversion of this trope. Part of the series premise is that her interest as a judge is to not only impartial but also fair to the defendants including offering reasonable sentences.
  • Heel Realization: Downplayed. Lola particularly struggles with this during Bounceback when she realizes that she not only forced the defendant to take a guilty plea when he clearly wasn't; she also took away the jury's right to actually give out the verdict. Naturally, various character rebuke her for this, to varying degrees.
  • Hollywood Law: "Fire and Rain" sees stolen property excluded as evidence because it was obtained through a search warrant with an error (the wrong witness' name). However, this is covered by the "good faith exception" to the exclusionary rule, as the police didn't know there was a problem with the search warrant, so they didn't commit intentional misconduct. Further, Lola also meets ex parte with the defense attorney, a huge no-no since both sides must be privy to any discussions during the case. Admittedly it was about personal matters, though given how involved emotionally they still are this brings up another issue, that Lola might not be impartial toward his client and should recuse herself (this applies to other cases too-for instance her close friend Mark is a prosecutor who frequently appears before her, including in the case here, which wouldn't be allowed in reality to avoid accusatons of bias toward him).
  • Improbably Female Cast: The series has no less than seven female main cast members when season 2 comes around compared to its three male cast members, with over half of them being POC. Season 1 had around five woman to two guys, which is still quite impressive.
  • I Want You to Meet an Old Friend of Mine: Alimi Ballard, who co-starred with Peter Macnicol on the show NUMB3RS, appeared in the episode What the Constitution Greens to Me.
  • Jackie Robinson Story: Lola Charmichael begins the series as LA's first black woman judge which she sees as an opportunity to implement social changes, primarily by being fair and reasonable rather than aloof and indifferent as they're usually portrayed.
  • Jerkass: Adam Pryce is the single Amoral Attorney in a series of lawyers trying to just do their jobs and get some justice for those they represent.
  • Jerkass Realization: Emily goes through a gradual version of this during The Perils of the Plea and Bounceback as she realizes that her recent behavior has been affecting her relationships.
  • Law Procedural: The series is focused on the day-to-day work of Judge Lois Carmichael in the LA County Superior Court, along with the prosecutors and defense attorneys who appear before her, somewhat delving into their personal lives. The show goes out of its way to avert and subvert many of the usual tropes associated with the genre though.
  • Lipstick Bisexual: Lisa Benner is usually wearing feminine clothing and has a fairly traditional appearance overall, as well as mentioning that she had a husband that died not too long ago. A Fair Lockdown features her getting shut-in with Jean Frost, revealing later on in the episode that she was her ex-girlfriend back in law school. Season 2 features Benner trying to score a date with Sara's help too, with a good majority of her matches being women.
  • Loophole Abuse: Emily gives a friend $10 cash to be able to declare him a hired "expert" so he can be in a room with her and a client and privilege would still apply. It doesn't work.
  • Make the Dog Testify: One episode revolved around two friends one of whom who owned a character in a MMORPG and the other accessing and deleting said character being charged with malicious hacking as a result. When Charmichael realizes that the victim is no more sociable as her avatar than in the real world she lets said victim testify while roleplaying as said character. Unfortunately this backfires and Lola actually gets accused of trying to deliberately cause a mistrial.
  • Missing White Woman Syndrome: Discussed by Lola and Mark after she presides over a case involving the murder of a black woman, lamenting that murdered women of color get much less attentiion.
  • Never My Fault:
    • When the DA's Office gets a recording of Emily, her client, and a third person, Emily spends the entire episode on her soapbox, calling it an outrage that the DA's Office would eavesdrop on a lawyer's conversation with a client. She never admits, or is called out on the fact, that the DA's Office wouldn't have been able to use the recording if it wasn't for her sloppy attempt at Loophole Abuse.
    • Emily understandably gets fed up and starts raging about the unfair plea deals her clients make in light of the pandemic. She conveniently forgets that she's the one that decided to take every case up to trial rather take the plea deals the DA's office made for her, thus adding to her workload tenfold. She's never called out for this.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Lola lets her fears of a guilty verdict for a man trying to protect his daughter lead her to force him to take a deal that requires him to plead guilty... only for Ness to later find a paper saying that the jury acquitted him.
  • Omnidisciplinary Lawyer: Averted. One episode had a divorce lawyer taking on his first case as a criminal defense lawyer... and does such a fantastically bad job at it that Lola uses a rarely used legal precedent to have him removed as the attorney and give the defendant better representation.
  • Out of Focus: Lola as season 2 progresses gets less screen time especially after she gives birth to her daughter and goes on maternity leave, the show focusing on the other characters and even the judges who got little characterization in the first. Georgia becomes the first episode where she gets a passing mention and zero time in the show.
  • Parental Substitute: Uncommon Women and Mothers has Mark say Roxy was this for him a few times while growing up. Roxy also co-signed Mark's lease.
  • Phenotype Stereotype: Most of the Latino characters have the standard black hair and olive skin. Sara has slightly lighter skin and chestnut brown hair, attributed to her actress being half-Caucasian, though she is still a Latina who's appearance visibly shows she's a woman of color.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: Lola and Mark are this. The two have been friends for years since childhood and always have each others' back, but they never show anything more than platonic, probably due to Lola being Happily Married and Mark in a devoted relationship.
  • Precision F-Strike: Allowed once the show makes the Channel Hop to OWN in season 3.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure:
    • The crux of the show centers on Lola being this as opposed to her viewpoint that all judges are out of touch and unsympathetic to the defendant as well as the victim.
    • Head DDA Thomas Choi is this as well. He can and will rebuke his subordinates for being out of line, but will agree and even work with them on important cases if things get that far.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • Sara gives a short one in The Perils of the Plea to Emily after the latter interrupted her story and blamed her for not thinking of the Black Lives Matter activists.
    • "Bounceback" has several:
      • Lola gets a crushing one from the jury foreman for interfering with the jury process by forcing the defendant to take a plea when they were going to acquit him. It ends with him saying that he hopes he never gets her for a judge if he is ever in court. To be fair however, his vague questions made her (as well as everyone around her) skeptical of the verdict.
      • After Emily, following her client's wishes, goes after Lola in court, Sherry rips into her, saying that Lola has helped her and this isn't the way to repay her.
  • Shout-Out: Lola Charmichael's biggest hero and inspiration from her childhood is Nyota Uhura from Star Trek: The Original Series.
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: Mark and Judge Jonas Laski; the former had apparently said or did unsomething that makes the latter greatly enjoy needling him during court. Note that Laski doesn't do anything to undermine Callen, only does things such as allow a defendant, whose representing himself, to call Callen to the stand as a witness.
  • Smart People Play Chess: Judges Jonas Laski and Albert Campbell play chess over videophone in Dancing at Los Angeles. They start talking to the chess pieces.
  • Soapbox Sadie: Both Emily and Lola qualify, especially the former; though it should be noted that Lola goes to great depths not to let this affect her work as a judge. Lola's mother Roxy takes it up to eleven.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Emily advocating for a fair trial for her cases would usually be seen in a good light in other Law Procedurals. Problem is, she only adds more to the backlog of cases that could easily be done away with a signature, thus causing even more trouble at the DA's office and eventually at the Public Defender's office as well.
  • That Was Objectionable: Most of the time the lawyers really do have a reason for the objections given. The only time this trope comes into play is when it involves a rookie lawyer who was so new to court that she resorts to using a cheat-sheet with reasons for objections.
  • Token Good Teammate: Mostly due to Plot Armor rather than superior morality:
    • Mark is apparently the only Deputy District Attorney in Los Angeles who prosecutes guilty people. Everyone else (aside from Choi, Luke, and Sam) in the DA's Office is a Jerkass or Sore Loser that only prosecutes the wrongfully accused or people who are sympathetic enough that their technical guilt can be ignored.
    • Emily is the only public defender whose clients are all innocent or sympathetic and need to be protected from prosecutors who aren't Mark, which allows Emily to go on lengthy tirades against the system without being undermined by a client that deserves to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
    • Members of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and the Los Angeles Police Department are almost always portrayed negatively, except Luke.
    • Even though all of the judges appear to want to do the right thing and seem to be following the law, the audience is supposed to accept as an indisputable fact that they are all part of the problem, and Lola alone is part of the solution. This gradually fades as the series goes on.
  • Token Minority Couple: Emily, a Latina, gets together with Luke, who's Black, early on in the series. When season 2 rolls around, they are taking a break due to issues caused by the Black Lives Matter protests back in July, but they still care about each other greatly.
  • Token White: Mark and Lisa are the only White people in the main cast. The rest are Black, Latino or East Asian (rather unusually in a mainstream series).
  • What the Hell, Hero?: The theme of Bounceback, as Lola and Emily get this from various characters for their actions during the case from The Perils of the Plea.
  • Workout Fanservice: Lola is in her exercise class during one Season Three episode wearing tight-fitting workout clothes, showing her large bust off by doing so.