Canadian courtroom dramedy that ran from 2004 to 2006, winner of four Gemini Awards. Set in Toronto's Old City Hall courtrooms, it gave a much more realistic and unromanticized view of courtroom procedure than most similar shows: instead of there being a Mystery of the Week, there would be multiple cases per episode, and most of them would go to Plea Court, Bail Court, or the ever-depressing Mental Health Court. Very rarely would a trial actually commence, and very rarely would the case be particularly high profile. It was usually stuff like Illegally Being on the Premises or drugs.
It focused primarily on a young defense attorney named Alice De Raey, who is basically good-natured but has the tendency to swear under her breath. She is occasionally helped by scary-efficient Vietnamese-Canadian law student Nancy Dao, given frequent helpful advice from scruffy and sex-crazed defense counsel Elliot Sacks, and not helped at all by her boss, James Ryder, who is in the middle of a nervous breakdown.
Provides examples of the following tropes:
- Alice Allusion - The main character's name is Alice DeRaey. And it's Wonderland.
- Ambiguously Gay - Crown Prosecutor David Kaye (not to be confused with the voice actor for Megatron on Beast Wars). He's fashion-conscious, moonlights as a hairstylist, and mentions that he loves musical theatre.
- Animal Wrongs Group:Alice: You are a member of PETA, are you not?
Witness: Yes. Does that make me a criminal?
Judge Fraser: No, but it does make you an opinionated pain in the butt.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer - In Season 3, Elliot goes through an identity crisis and tries new "looks" for himself, including Goth, and Dressed Exactly Like Kaye. Judge Frasier also has the tendency to hum loudly when people he doesn't like are talking, and complain of boredom.
- Catchphrase - Judge Malone gradually acquires "There must be something we can do to help this man/woman/child."
- Did I Just Say That Out Loud? - Alice occasionally gets called on her external monologue.Alice: It was nothing. I was just talking to myself.James: Oh. That's not good.
- Freudian Slip - After Elliot reveals too much about his adolescence during a trial, Judge Serkis accidentally calls him "Mr. Sex".
- Latin Lover - Elliot dates the courtroom's Spanish translator for a little while
- Magical Negro - Subverted with Mr. Jackson, who is a highly religious and sweet-natured homeless black man, but he's also very smart and demands respect.
- Monster Clown - Played with: Judge Frasier develops a bizarre obsession with clowns, and fills his office with porcelain ones, which frighten children in one scene. They ultimately serve as a sort of Morality Pet for him, though.
- One Steve Limit - Averted: there are two characters with the last one Davis. One, Anthony Davis, is a handsome black lawyer who used to be a cop. Another, Rosemary, is an incredibly ugly and none-too-bright white trash crackhead.
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!:
- Judge Frasier's infamous "BIZARRE! MEXICAN! NIGHTMARE!"
- Also, Richard Waugh's character, repeatedly questioned as to the location of his mom, eventually screams "AT! THE! LAKE!"
- Realistic Diction Is Unrealistic - Very much averted. This is something of creator George Walker's trademark.
- So Beautiful, It's a Curse - Elliot tries to use this as a way of hitting on a woman, speculating that in her native South America, her beauty must have been a curse.
- Special Guest - Quite a few actors did guest spots as defendants, complainants, or witnesses, including Frank McKenna of The Red Green Show, Graham Greene, and Richard "Albert Wesker" Waugh
- Verbal Tic - Alice has the tendency to swear under her breath.
- Wire Fu - A defendant claims to have been intimidated by the martial arts stance of a Chinese man he put in the hospital. "I had just seen that movie, Crouching Tiger, or whatever..." causing Judge Frasier to quip, "And you thought he was gonna fly?"
- You Are Number 6: In one episode, a mentally unstable woman claims a man, who is an agent of the Catholic Church, kidnaps her every week. This nefarious man has no name and is only known by a roman numeral.