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Series / Law & Order: Trial by Jury

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"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."

Law & Order: Trial by Jury (2005-2006) is a short-lived spinoff of the original Law & Order. Whereas the other spinoffs focused more on the detectives, Trial by Jury focused on the ADAs and court proceedings of a criminal investigation. The show starred Bebe Neuwirth as Homicide Bureau Chief Tracey Kibre, and Amy Carlson as her assistant Kelly Gaffney.

After it was canceled due to low ratings, the sets were reused for Conviction, another Law & Order spinoff focusing on the Law Procedural side (which was also canceled due to low ratings after a very short run).

The first two episodes starred Jerry Orbach as Lennie Briscoe, now working as DA Investigator—his last appearances of primetime television before his death.

This show provides examples of:

  • Amoral Attorney: Lampshaded.
    Norman Rothenberg: You're wasting your time in the DA's office. I could triple what you make.
    Tracey Kibre: You don't want me, Norman. I have scruples.
    Norman Rothenberg: They have pills for that!
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted in "Day". In her first appearance of the episode, Casey Novak still has bruises on her face from being attacked in the previous episode; they do heal over the course of the trial.
  • Berserk Button: Call Tracey Kibre a bitch, and she will smile politely and eviscerate you in court. Call her second chair Kelly Gaffney a bitch, and suddenly the phrase "died of fright" doesn't seem so farfetched.
  • Canon Discontinuity: Jamie Ross, Jack's former ADA on the parent show, appeared in this series as a full-fledged judge. However, when the parent was revived for Season 21 in 2022, Jamie appeared there still working as an ADA, with no reference to her ever being a judge.
  • Determinator: Tracey Kibre.
  • Driven to Suicide: The initial suspect of "Boys Will Be Boys" after his father disowns him for being gay.
  • Gilligan Cut: In "Day". Benson and Stabler of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit drop off their files relating to Gabriel Duvall with Kibre and it ends with this exchange:
    Elliot Stabler: We've got the guy for murdering one woman and raping another, so just tell us, please, there's no chance of him walking out of here tonight.
    Tracey Kibre: I'd be shocked if he made bail.
    cut to Branch's office
    Arthur Branch: Of course he made bail!
    Tracey Kibre: It was two million dollars!
  • Good Ol' Boy: Arthur Branch.
  • Hello, Attorney!: The leads are two attractive women.
  • Kangaroo Court: In "Baby Boom", Kibre is prosecuting a nanny in a case of infanticide. However the judge (played by Aasif Mandvi), a former legal aid lawyer is blatantly biased against the D.A.'s office and does all he can do to make things easier for the defense—going so far as to set aside the verdict, when the jury delivers a guilty verdict.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: In "Day" the rapist's mother tries to intimidate his victim from testifying by having someone break into her apartment and write insults all over the walls. However it only straightens the victim's resolve. She was afraid for her reputation (in her culture she's expected to be a virgin until marriage) but after this she figures everyone knows what happened to her anyway so she might as well bring it to court.
  • Promotion to Opening Titles: Detective Chris Ravell, Briscoe's replacement.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Jerry Orbach's death meant Lennie Briscoe's death, as Orbach had only filmed two episodes when he died. In fact, he was reportedly already so weak that he could hardly finishing filming the second episode, and his final lines of dialogue had to be rewritten to accommodate his fatigue. Briscoe's death is not addressed in this show, but the main series eventually establishes that he died shortly after retirement.
  • Required Spinoff Crossover: Twice. Once with the original series, and once with Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
  • Snuff Film: In "Skeleton", Kibre and Gaffney believe that a porn producer ordered a hit to cover up the on-video murder of a girl on a tape he sold. The video was actually staged, and the lead that led to its discovery planted so they would present the wrong motive for the crime.
  • Special Guest: Candice Bergen as Shirley Schmidt Judge Amanda Anderlee.
    • In the SVU crossover episode, we have Alfred Molina and Angela Lansbury as Gabriel and Eleanor Duvall, respectively an eccentric loner accused of rape and murder and his wealthy mother who refuses to accept what he's done.
  • Transplant: Lennie Briscoe and Jamie Ross, both from the original series. Arthur Branch to some degree as well, although he was still a regular on the original series whilst simultaneously being a regular on Trial By Jury, and remained in the original series for several seasons after Trial By Jury was axed.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Tracey Kibre puts Jack McCoy to shame at times. At one point Kelly Gaffney calls her out in "Boys Will Be Boys" for excusing Hispanic jurors because they might sympathize with the defendant.