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Court is back in session.note 

Night Court is a Sequel Series sitcom on NBC, developed by Dan Rubin from the 1984–92 series of the same name created by Reinhold Weege.

Melissa Rauch stars as Judge Abby Stone, the daughter of the late Harry Stone, who follows in her dad's footsteps as she presides over the night shift of a Manhattan arraignment court and tries to bring order to its crew of oddballs and cynics. John Larroquette reprises his role as Dan Fielding, who's convinced by Abby to return to practice, this time as a public defender. Also in the cast are India de Beaufort as assistant district attorney Olivia Moore, Kapil Talwalkar as court clerk Neil (Season 1), Nyambi Nyambi as court clerk Wyatt Shaw (Season 2) and Lacretta as bailiff Donna "Gurgs" Gurganous.

The series premiered on January 17, 2023. A second season has been ordered.

Previews: First Look, Trailer


"All rise, TV Tropes Court Part 2 is now in session, the Honorable Judge Abby Stone presiding":

  • Aborted Arc: Neil's crush on Abby in Season 1, one of the major story arcs, ends abruptly at the beginning of Season 2 with the reveal that Neil has been Put on a Bus.
  • Accidental Public Confession: In the third episode, Abby's attempts to reform a repeat offender threatens to expose his identity as a cop going undercover. Neil tries to whisper this to Abby, but accidentally says it over her microphone so the entire courtroom hears it.
  • Actor Allusion:
    • In “Blood Moon Binga”. Abby says she’s excited to hear the Barenaked Ladies are back together. That band composed the theme song for The Big Bang Theory which Melissa Rauch was a regular on. Also, Sarah Buehler who guest starred in the same episode also guest starred in TBBT two episodes before Melissa Rauch debuted.
    • In "The Wrath of Comic-Con", Dan dresses up as a Klingon and calls himself 'Maltz'. This is the character Larroquette played in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.
  • Agent Mulder: Abby professes a belief in the supernatural and says she's gone to visit many psychics to find one who's genuine. She mentions that her father, the late Harry Stone, was a skeptic but that he gave her a secret phrase that would tell her he was communicating from beyond the grave. The show hints that he just might be.
  • The Alcoholic:
    • Abby confesses that she's an alcoholic in recovery and tearfully shares that she lost a lot of time with her father because of it.
    • Dan tells Abby that his late wife Sarah was in recovery well before they ever met.
  • Alcohol-Induced Idiocy: In "The Apartment", Dan reveals to Olivia that he lost out on a partnership at an ampersand law firm because he got loaded at a business lunch and accidentally stabbed a senior partner while trying to shuck oysters.
  • Bad "Bad Acting": In "Justice Buddies", Abby and Dan try to teach the young protesters about making a difference by working within the system. Abby's bad acting makes the kids wonder if they're watching a play.
  • Bait-and-Switch: In the pilot, Dan is first seen serving people at a coffee shop, seemingly leaving law behind. Then he serves a customer with papers, revealing that he's actually a process server going undercover.
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: In "A Crime of Fashion", the court is overwhelmed by fashion models due to it being Fashion Week. Wyatt finds that the models only listen to production managers, so he buys a headset to pretend to be one and order the models to go anywhere else.
  • Beard of Sorrow: When he first appears, Dan sports a full beard, the result of not really having any reason to shave for so long. After Abby successfully badgers him into becoming a public defender, he shaves it down to something more manageable.
  • Benevolent Boss: Abby, who brings snacks into the court and wants to be friends with everybody. Taken to an extreme in "Justice Buddies", when Gurgs decides to do the exact opposite of her job and join her tween nephew's political protest, and Abby just lets it go.
  • Bland-Name Product: In "Form Fetish" Gurgs and Olivia find a stash of a heavily caffeinated soft drink called "Joltron Cola" in the basement and decide to sell it in the cafeteria. This is based on Real Life Jolt Cola.
  • The Bus Came Back: Guess who returns in “Wheelers of Fortune”, everybody's favourite Chew Toy couple known as Bob and June Wheeler. Their bad luck streak came with them. Interestingly, their daughter, Carol Ann also makes an unexpected return despite only appearing in the Wheelers' first appearance in the original series.
  • The Cameo: In the season finale, as Dan takes the bench for the first time, one of his first cases is a chaotic bachelorette party, with the errant bachelorette/defendant being Roz Russell, played by Marsha Warfield!
  • Chair Reveal: Abby goes to a Smoky Gentlemen's Club in "DA Club" in order to impress the DA with her data on excessive charging, only to be surprised when the chair opposite her spins around and Dan is in it. Dan, a member of the club, thinks Abby is out of her depth with the DA.
  • Character Development: Dan has mellowed out considerably over the years and is no longer an irrepressible horndog. Ironically, he now finds being on the receiving end of leering glances and lewd comments to be unpleasant.
  • Christmas Episode: The first episode of Season 2 is "A Night Court Christmas": a special episode where Abby and Dan have to find a child's Christmas wish list. It was shown out-of-order due to the 2023 Hollywood strikes as Dan is still working in New York instead of being a Louisiana judge in the next episode.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Judge Flobert, a particularly weird judge who subs for Abby in Season 1 and inexplicably decides to become Abby's court clerk in Season 2 and then just hangs around after Wyatt joins the team.
  • Cobweb of Disuse: In "Form Fetish" Abby goes to Linda the OMB bureaucrat to get the budget for her courtroom restored. A determined Abby says "I'm going to get you to use that YES stamp," only to look over and see the YES stamp on the desk covered by cobwebs.
  • Contrasting Replacement Character: Donna Gurgs is a large black female bailiff, much like Roz Russell from the original series. However, Donna is outwardly cheerful and prone to physical gags, unlike the Deadpan Snarker Roz. If anything, Gurgs seems to be a Composite Character melding the physicality and snark of Roz with the naïveté, cheerfulness and Cloudcuckoolander tendencies of Bull Shannon.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Dan's humble beginnings in the swamps of Louisiana — a source of embarrassment for him in the original series — is brought up, with Gurgs presenting him with a meal of hog's head cheese, stewed chicken feet, and fried gizzards, to Dan's delight. Abby also brings up that his original first name was "Reinhold". And "The Duke's a Hazard" brings up that Dan's original last name was "Elmore".
    • "Two Peas in a Pod" mentions Dan running for city council and losing to a dead guy, which was a plot from the first season of the original show.
  • Courtroom Antics: Manhattan Criminal Court Part 2 is as wacky as it ever was, with Abby having to deal with Stupid Crooks, flashers, brawling twins, flocks of pigeons, Drunk and Disorderly Orc barbarians and much more. Plus, Dan hasn't grown out of all his old ways.
  • Dating Catwoman: In Season 2, Dan develops feelings for Julianne, a mentally unstable criminal who wants to ruin his life in retaliation for successfully prosecuting her decades prior. As a fun bonus, this happens when she's actually dressed as Selina Kyle.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Dan is as snarky as ever despite softening out and losing his lecherous ways. Neil and Olivia aren't too behind in the sarcasm department, with many of their remarks revolving around their cynicism from being on the night shift.
  • Death by Origin Story: Dan's late wife Sarah died before the series began due to unknown circumstances.
  • Denser and Wackier: Season 2 goes in a more absurdist direction for comedy with characters engaging in more physical gags, getting in strange hijinks away from the courtroom, and the occasional fantastical element being thrown in as surprise punchlines.
  • Did You Just Have Sex?: In "A Crime of Fashion", Abby's date with a fashion designer went so well that she is actually saying the word "sigh" in her chambers. Gurgs's response is "Oh my God you had sex!" (She's right.)
  • Door Dumb: In "The Apartment", Olivia tries to storm into her rival's chambers to confront her, but the door won't open when she pushes it. Dan has to remind her that it's a pull door.
  • Edgy Backwards Chair-Sitting:
    • Dan does this in "Past Apps" when trying to convince his coworkers to invest in some tech guy's new app.
    • Gurgs tries this in "Just the Fax, Dan" to intimidate Wyatt, but Gurgs, a large woman, just makes herself uncomfortable.
  • Experienced Protagonist: Abby mentions that she already has experience on the bench, having served as a judge upstate before coming to Manhattan.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: In "Marathon-thon-thon-thon-thon", Rand (Abby's boyfriend) says that Neil is volunteering for the marathon because he wants to impress a woman he's got a crush on, but she had a really tall, annoying boyfriend—and he stops as he realizes that that Neil has a crush on Abby and the tall annoying boyfriend is him.
  • Famed In-Story: Roz is apparently a legend among New York's bailiffs with Gurgs fangirling over her when she appears in front of Abby.
  • Fully Absorbed Finale: The very end of the last episode of the original Night Court had Dan running off to Washington, DC to pursue a romantic relationship with Christine, who had just gotten elected to Congress. That Left Hanging plot was resolved 32 years later in this show's second-season finale, "The Best Dan". Dan tells Abby that he did go to DC to find Christine, and pledged his "undying love" for her. Apparently they were an item for a while but he left her because he felt that he "wasn't good enough for her."
  • Freudian Excuse: As it turns out, part of Neil's attraction to Abby is driven by the fact that she's very similar to his high school crush, who was named "Gabby". When the two women meet, they immediately hit it off thanks to their perky personalities and love of silly humor and puns.
  • Generation Xerox: While less of a kid's birthday magician and more of a perky Girl Scout troop leader, Abby is very much her father's daughter, even having similar unresolved issues with her father much like Harry did with his own dad due to his untimely death.
  • Good is Not Nice: Dan tries to get Abby to invoke this when he represents her in the Season 1 finale. Despite everything working against her, she refuses to play dirty.
  • Hands in Pockets: In the second episode, Nicolai the janitor paints a mural of Supreme Court justices, but gives them baseball gloves because he can't paint hands.
  • Heel Realization: In "Justice Buddies", Abby deals with preteen protestors who've taken over her court for a cause that she agrees with, and realizes that there is no way that she can solve the dilemma without looking bad.
  • Height Angst: Abby is the shortest member of the cast and gets defensive on the occasions the topic is brought up.
    Abby: My height is completely average. I can show you studies...from the 1800s...
  • Hidden Depths: Abby's bubbly exterior hides a past of alcoholism, which she admits cost her a lot of time with her father while he was alive.
  • Hold The Floor: In "Train Court", Gurgs tries to hold the last case until Abby, who is late due to a stalled train, arrives because ice skating commentators Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir are witnesses, and she heard that Abby was a fan. Dan at first refuses to go along because he made reservations for an exclusive restaurant, but eventually he relents and stalls the case until Abby returns.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Abby is much shorter than Rand, her fiancénote . Even with heels or platforms, the top of her head doesn't quite reach his shoulders.
  • I Want You to Meet an Old Friend of Mine: Not one but two people from The Big Bang Theory show up.
    • In "A Crime of Fashion", Abby dates a fashion designer played by Rauch's costar Kunal Nayyar. She even mentions that he looks familiar.
    • Four episodes later, Kate Micucci shows up as Carol Ann Wheeler. She had a recurring role as the incredibly shy Lucy.
  • Instrumental Theme Tune: A newer, much briefer arrangement of the original show's theme, done by Benjamin Larroquette (John's son).
  • Internal Affairs: In "Just Tuesday" Olivia is miffed because the cops in the courtroom have stopped doing her favors, like letting her go through security or letting her park wherever she wants. She thinks it's because of an incident where an undercover cop was outed, but it's actually because IA has been sniffing around, as Olivia finds out at the end of the episode.
  • Irony: In the original series, Dan was a Handsome Lech and an Abhorrent Admirer to many female characters, but here he's become a Celibate Hero who keeps getting hit on.
  • It's Personal: In "The Apartment", Olivia is facing a rival from a private law firm, and Dan offers to give her pointers to help with her social anxiety. His motivations are less than altruistic; he lost out at a partnership at that firm and thus wants to see them humiliated.
  • Jerkass: The NY District Attorney Jeff Dewitt (Kurt Fuller).
    • His first appearance in the Season 1 episode “DA Club” established this when Dan caught on to his intentions of using Abby as a soft-on-crime scapegoat to win his next election. Both Abby and Olivia threaten to expose his affair with his largest campaign donor’s wife unless he backs off.
    • Fast forward to the Season 1 finale when Abby is facing charges for trying to spring a woman’s boyfriend from his nursing home. Dewitt is prosecuting Abby and that’s not the worst of it: he threatens Olivia’s job to make her join the prosecution, and blackmails Louise - who got Abby into this mess - into wearing a wire to catch Abby incriminating herself. Olivia chooses friendship instead and Louise admits she was blackmailed, getting the case dismissed.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He denies it as hard as he can, but Dan does care about others. Even as a process server, he gives out legal advice to those he serves papers to so they can avoid punishment. This is what gets Abby to bring him back to Night Court as a public defender.
  • Kids Are Cruel: In "Justice Buddies", Abby pairs off the night court employees with kids from a social studies class. Olivia gets stuck with Claire, a snarky preteen who comments that the only thing she's going to learn from Olivia is what not to do in order to become a district attorney.
  • Long-Distance Relationship: Abby and her fiancé Rand, who still has his own job upstate and can't follow Abby to Manhattan when the series begins.
  • Lost Lenore: Dan is now a widower, having met and married a woman named Sarah in the years between the original series and this revival. In the pilot episode, it's clear that her loss is weighing heavily on him.
  • Love Informant: The first-season arc about Neil having a crush on Abby reaches a turning point in "Past Apps" when Gurgs, who figured this out long ago, accidentally blurts out the truth to Abby.
  • Malcolm Xerox: In "Justice Buddies", Abby and her team deal with a street artist, Malcolm Richardson (who calls himself "Malcolm FX") who openly confesses to vandalism against a statue of Christopher Columbus so that he can use the trial as a forum for his political views.
  • Motor Mouth: Much like in the original series, John Larroquette gets to show off his vocal agility in "Hold the Pickles, Keep the Change" by rattling off a flawless rapid-fire tongue twister (a la "Peter Piper").
  • The Mourning After: Dan still mourns for his late wife Sarah, to the point that he ruins his first date in years because he won't stop talking about her. Just as well, considering the date turns out to be criminally insane and out for revenge.
  • Not Helping Your Case: Dan is doing his best to get a client cleared of robbery charges. Then the suspect sees a buddy in the gallery and confesses to the crime, to Dan's dismay.
  • Odd Friendship: The bubbly, ditzy Gurgs forms this with the ambitious, neurotic Olivia, bonding over their shared feelings of social anxiety in "Dan v. Dating".
  • One Head Taller: Dan, being played by the 6' 4.5" John Larroquette, towers over everyone else on the show, especially Abby, who isn't even five feet tall.
  • Phony Psychic: "Wheelers of Fortune" has Abby encountering a psychic named Jovan, whom Abby hopes can relay a secret message her father had promised to send from beyond the grave. Naturally, Jovan is fake—but Abby gets the message in a different way.
  • The Pollyanna: Abby is an irrepressible optimist, convinced that she can use her position as a night court judge to turn people's lives around. The others don't quite share her enthusiasm, particularly not Dan, who insists that he's only there until they find a new public defender.
  • Pop-Cultural Osmosis Failure: Olivia has never seen any of the Star Wars movies and has no idea what a tech entrepreneur is talking about when he makes references.
  • Posthumous Character:
    • Harry's ghost looms large over Abby and Dan, to the point where he's practically a character in the show.
    • Dan's late wife Sarah, who never appeared in either show. He met her, married her, and she passed away after the original series, but before this one.
  • Put on a Bus: Neil is written out of the show in Season 2 and is said to have moved to Tahoe with a new girlfriend.
  • Queer Establishing Moment: Roz was only said to have male partners in the original series. Here, she's engaged, and later, married, to a woman. Dan shows no surprise or curiosity over this; either he knew about her attraction to women in the original series and it just never came up, or Dan being Dan, he's progressive enough despite his prickly personality to not feel the need to question and/or make any comments on the matter.
  • Reset Button: The real Season 2 premiere (after the Christmas Episode) has Dan deciding that he misses his friends and doesn't like being a judge in Louisiana, so he'll come back to the night court as a public defender.
  • Request for Privacy: In "The Apartment", Abby has had a very long day, between the normal stresses of her job and finding out that her boyfriend has had to cancel plans to visit her, but she is trying very hard to keep her usual sunny disposition and not to lose her temper. And then she learns that her attempt to get a new and better apartment has fallen through because her prospective landlord hates judges. Dan and Gurgs happen to be in her chambers as this happens, so she asks them to leave. The camera cuts to outside her chambers, where you can hear a guttural scream of rage and things being thrown around.
  • Retool: Season 2 performs a soft reboot on the series, with Neil and his romance subplot being written out, newer and goofier characters being brought in, and the tone generally going in a Denser and Wackier direction.
  • The Reveal:
    • Abby discovers that her mother is an ex-con who stood before Harry in court and that the two fell in love and married after she'd served her sentence. Also, her full first name isn't Abigail, but Abracadabra.
    • Gurgs deduces that Neil has a crush on Abby.
  • Seen It All: The protest in "Justice Buddies" leaves everyone else surprised, but Dan is constantly making light of the whole thing. When Abby questions him, Dan retorts that a bunch of kids chanting in the courtroom is nothing compared to the crazy antics he witnessed back in the original series. He wouldn't even put this in the top 20.
  • Shipper on Deck: In "Dan v. Dating", Abby tries to set Dan up with a woman with whom he seems to have easy chemistry, because she fears that he's lonely. This show being what it is, the woman turns out to be a criminal he prosecuted years earlier who has sworn vengeance against him.
  • Ship Sinking: Abby's physical appearance gave hope to fans of the original series that Christine Sullivan would be revealed as her mother, establishing that Harry and Christine did eventually consummate a romantic relationship (or even got married, as was originally planned for the finale before NBC cancelled the series without prior notice). "Blood Moon Binga" revealing Abby's mother is an ex-con who stood before Harry in court and that the two fell in love and married after she'd served her sentence completely blows this up.note 
  • Shout-Out:
  • Silver Fox: According to Olivia, Dan is referred to as a silver fox by multiple women in the courthouse.
  • Smoky Gentlemen's Club: "DA Club" has Abby going to the standard wood-paneled club to impress the District Attorney, and Olivia tagging along because she desperately wants to be a member (apparently the club admits women but it hits the stereotype in every other way).
  • Soft Glass: Played for a gag in "Past Apps", where an upset Dan walks, slowly, through a glass door, and suffers no damage.
  • Spin-Offspring: The show follows Abby Stone, the daughter of Harry Stone, as the main trailer confirms.
  • Spotting the Thread:
    • In the second episode, Abby notices that a defendant on trial for public urination had multiple spelling errors on his intake forms, and asks if he's dyslexic. When he confirms that he is, she rules that he's not guilty, as his dyslexia might have made it difficult for him to enter the access code for a locked bathroom nearby and thus his actions were the result of a Potty Failure rather than malicious intent.
    • Dan is able to suss out that Abby is a recovering alcoholic after hearing her say things like "defects of character" which are things his late wife, who was also in recovery, would say. (It's from #6 of AA's 12 Steps.)
  • Subways Suck: In "Train Court", Abby and Olivia get stranded in a subway train when it is stopped due to technical difficulties, and have to deal with the increasingly irate passengers. When a fight over a seat flares up, Abby improvises a courtroom to deal with the matter.
  • Theme Tune Cameo: In "Just the Fax, Dan", Abby has a brass band welcome Wyatt, the new court clerk. The band plays the Night Court theme.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Dan has mellowed out considerably since he last worked with Harry and now offers genuine help to others and heartfelt advice to those he considers friends.
  • Turn in Your Badge: Gurgs does this to herself after a woman in the gallery throws a drink at Dan. Ashamed at her perceived failure, she offers to turn in her badge plus a very big sword.
  • Two Scenes, One Dialogue: As Abby talks about her new job while waiting in line in The Teaser to the pilot, we occasionally cut away to Dan at the coffee shop finishing her lines to say the opposite of what she's saying. It also happens in the season finale, where both Abby and Dan are discussing their mutual regrets about Dan taking a judge's bench in Louisiana.
  • Unwanted Harem: In the original series, Dan devoted a considerable amount of energy to getting laid, and usually got rejected. In "Dan v. Dating", he suffers the opposite problem: women keep hitting on him, but he's still not really over his late wife. It's also implied that he is no longer the horndog with "the morals of a rutting pig" he was in the '80s and '90s, even without a deceased spouse.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Abby encourages Neil to find some passion in his work and make changes around the courthouse. This results in a ceiling collapse releasing the pigeons roosting inside the space which then wreaks havoc in Abby's courtroom.
  • Walking Disaster Area: The Wheelers return in Season 2 and bring destruction with them. In fact, the ceiling falls in on Abby twice just because she happens to be in the same room as them.
  • Wedding Episode: Season 2 finale "The Best Dan" takes place during Roz's wedding.
  • Wham Episode: The Season 2 finale drops the bombshell that Abby's boyfriend, Jake, could be Dan's biological son.
  • What, Exactly, Is His Job?: Flobert was introduced as a judge and then spent an episode as Abby's clerk. Subsequently, he just hangs around the courthouse with no defined role while somehow still being employed by the court system.
  • Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: Abby discovers late in life that her official name isn't actually "Abigail" — it's actually "Abracadabra". It makes a weird sort of sense because her father was the quirky, magic-obsessed Harry Stone of Night Court.
  • Woman Were-Woes: Discussed in an episode, where one of the defendants on the docket is a self-proclaimed female werewolf accused of biting people, who takes offense when the court refuses to accept her defense that she was simply following her lupine instincts. She laments that it's hard enough being recognized as a werewolf by other werewolves, as most of them are men and they apparently have long refused to admit that there are female werewolves as well.
  • Work Com: The wacky adventures of a New York City night court judge (in her father's old courtroom) and her zany coworkers.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: Abby is said to be the daughter of Judge Harold T. Stone, who was single and childless when the original Night Court went off the air in 1992, so she really can't be older than 30. While it isn't impossible, it's pretty darn unlikely that a 30-year-old person would be a New York City judge, even in night court.
    • Some of Abby's dialogue heavily implies she, like her actress, is in her forties.

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