Set in the Illinois State's Attorney office for Cook County, the show focused on the efforts of Assistant State's Attorney Peter Stone (Philip Winchester) and his team's attempts to enforce justice through Illinois's legal system while navigating Chicago's complicated racial and political battlegrounds.
The cast also featured Joelle Carter and Carl Weathers.
This show was similar in execution to Law & Order: Trial by Jury.
Unlike the other members of the Chicago franchise, however, it flopped, getting canceled after just one season.
This series provided examples of:
- Amoral Attorney: Albert Forest outright proclaims that in contrast to Stone, he doesn't think trials are about anything like justice at all, only winning, and it's his sole concern. He even wrote an entire book asserting this viewpoint.
- The Bad Guy Wins: In "Lily's Law" the judge sets aside a jury's verdict finding a woman's abusive ex-boyfriend was guilty of her murder for inciting suicide with his constant harassing behavior. Despite loathing the defendant, she finds that the charge wasn't proven. Since the prosecution already dropped the lesser charges, he gets off scot free.
- Bounty Hunter: The Spanish government sends one to arrest a young woman based on Amanda Knox and return her so she can be tried again on murder charges. Realistically, this is quite unlikely, since it would damage relations with the US. The US and Spain have an extradition treaty already (which they are shown invoking later) so going outside official channels like this makes no sense given that too.
- Call-Back: Stone uses a technicality to get around double jeopardy in "Dead Meat". Jack McCoy did a similar thing in the Law & Order episode "Jeopardy" twenty-two years before. The defendant even ends the trial by pleading guilty.
- Clear Their Name: Atwater is exonerated after evidence comes to light that someone else in fact killed the man he was convicted of killing. Stone publicly apologizes over it.
- Child by Rape: In "Double Helix", it turns out the defendant is the child of a serial killer due to him raping her mother.
- Defeat Means Respect: Hank Voight respects ASA Peter Stone for being the one to take him down and they're rather friendly to one another with no grudges on either side. In fact, Voight appears amused by Stone claiming that putting Voight away had been an easy case.
- Dirty Cop: "Fool Me Twice" involves two that got into bed with a gang.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: "Comma" has a character clearly based on Amanda Knox, who here has been acquitted of murdering a fellow student in Spain, not Italy, and returned home afterward. When another student is murdered during a game at her university she and some other students were playing, everyone initially assumes she's responsible. It turns out that she's entirely innocent, however. Spain wants her extradited for another trial (allowable under Spanish laws when they have some new evidence), much like Knox and her boyfriend faced multiple appeals and retrials before at last being set free for good.
- Engineered Public Confession: In "AQD" Stone provokes the defendant into a confession through getting into a face off with his ex-wife.
- Famed in Story: Albert Forest, a defense attorney Stone goes up against in "Fake", wrote a book that is required reading in many law schools and is currently in its fifth-edition.
- Felony Murder: The defendant in "AQD" is charged with the murder of a man by making a woman believe her daughter had been kidnapped. It caused her to hit the victim while speeding down the street to deliver the ransom money.
- Foregone Conclusion: As LaRoyce Hawkins will still finish Season 4 of 'Chicago PD', it is a guarantee he will not be convicted in "Uncertainty Principle". The only question is how. It turns out that the victim's cellmate had killed him over cigarettes.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: A convicted serial killer tries to get his conviction for murder overturned near the end of "Double Helix" on the basis that someone else confessed under oath to the same crime. However, he was given immunity for other murders based on being completely honest, revealing where the victims' bodies were so their families could get closure. Therefore his admitting he lied violates the immunity agreement, and with his confession to those murders there's more than enough evidence for a conviction. He's remanded to prison and will be extradited into Indiana, where four of the murders occurred. They also have the death sentence.
- Hollywood Law: The pilot, "Fake", has the prosecution's victory hinge on a particularly egregious example. Prosecutor Stone claims the defendant's outburst in court is "testimony" so he can call him as a witness for his "cross-examination". Naturally the defense lawyer objects, but the judge rejects his entirely valid argument and allows it, though also noting she'd "probably be overturned on appeal". Make that definitely. No way would this fly-the defendant wasn't sworn and on the stand, so it isn't testimony, thus they can't "cross-examine" him about this. The entire case is won due to all the information that he reveals during questioning, so the conviction would be vacated and they would have to try him again (doubtless at great cost). It's also unnecessary, since they discover evidence which incriminated him that could be used. Olinsky would also not have been allowed to investigate the case since his daughter was a victim. The judge also lets the defense attorney get into why the defendant's confession was suppressed, which wouldn't happen.
- In the Blood: "Double Helix" has the defendant use a defense based on her genetics providing a propensity to kill because her father is a serial killer.
- Karma Houdini: The defendant in "Fool Me Twice" is acquitted of all charges, though he's pretty obviously guilty.
- Massive Multiplayer Crossover: Justice's first proper episode was a three hour event that played across a single night and featured the casts of Fire, P.D., Med, and Justice all being affected by a warehouse fire that kills dozens of people. It even featured Danielle Melnick, a recurring character from Law & Order, presiding over the trial. That's five different shows being represented over the course of a single story.
- Police Brutality: "Uncertainty Principle" involves Kevin Atwater being accused of murdering a suspect due to this. It turns out he was innocent however.
- Poorly Disguised Pilot: After an episode of Chicago P.D. that featured a prosecutor sparked some public interest, NBC ordered a backdoor pilot via that series. "Justice", the pilot episode, featured multiple characters from every Chicago-verse show and did so well that a series order was given the day after the episode aired.
- Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: "Judge Not" revolves around this idea, as the judge in question is murdered over a lenient sentence which he gave to a rapist. A psychologist even talks about rape being so much worse than other crimes that it affects not only the survivor, but also their loved ones. The murderer was actually the survivor's ex-husband, who unlike her was unable to move on from it-even though this happened before they were even married.
- Shown Their Work: Subverted in universe by "See Everything". The defense attorney, knowing that wearing a niqab can increase the risk of getting diabetes, and consequently increase the risk of vision problems, attempts to discredit an eyewitness who regularly wears a niqab while in public. Stone takes a risk and asks her more about her condition. She's had Type I diabetes for at least thirteen years before she started wearing the niqab, and her vision is still good.
- Strawman U: The university in "Comma" is portrayed as having aspects of this. A group of conservative students advocating the right to carry concealed handguns on campus (for protection against school shootings) clashes with a left-wing professor and his followers. This turns out to have caused a murder. Granted, the professor's ranting in class and students getting in trouble for passing out copies of the US Constitution is based on real incidents.
- Suicide, Not Murder: In "Lily's Law" at first it looks like the victim was murdered, since her mouth was duct-taped and her hands bound, but is then revealed to have done this herself. Despite this, Stone charges her abusive ex-boyfriend with murder as he argues he'd driven her to it.
- The 'Verse: The fourth series in the Chicago-verse. It is connected to the Law and Order series via Chicago P.D. crossovers with Law & Order: SVU and it is also directly connected to the Law & Order mothership by Peter Stone being the son of original EADA Ben Stone. Many other L&O actors are reprising their roles on Justice, including Lorraine Toussaint, who's been playing Shambala Green on a recurring basis for 26 years. Peter Stone has now joined the SVU cast after Justice's cancellation.
- "World of Cardboard" Speech: William O'Boyle, a defense attorney, delivers one to Stone as the two of them commiserate in a bar after their trial ends.Stone: The law should be pure...like physics. It should be better than media and politics. It should exist outside of race.
O'Boyle: Well, if it's any consolation, when it comes to Muslims, we're all a tad racist. Hell, we bend over backwards trying to avoid confronting it.
Stone: That's a pretty broad brushstroke.
O'Boyle: It's our nature! Everybody wants to be tolerant. A white guy goes into a church in Charleston and blows away a black Bible study class. What do we do about it? We ban the Confederate flag. A Muslim murders 49 kids in a nightclub and we admonish each other not to blame the entire religion! We are naturally racist. But, at the same time, we feel guilty about it.