For The People Series Outlook

ABC is opening up March in style by adding what looks to be a cooler-than-cool procedural show set in New York that follows a group of lawyers as they fight for justice, fight each other, and probably hook up at least a few times throughout the season. The series, titled For the People, was created by Paul William Davies ( Scandal) and the first season of the show will look to be a staple in ABC’s Tuesday night lineup. The show is being produced by Shondaland, a prominent production company owned by Shonda Rhimes (Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, How To Get Away With Murder ) and as a result, there is going to be a built-in fanbase for the production. The series kicked off its first ten-episode season this past Tuesday with its pilot episode and that is where we will begin our discussion.

For The People: Justice Has Never Looked So Good.

It looks like For the People is going to have all of the trademarks of a traditional Shondaland/Paul Davies collaboration. The show is clearly going to be a strong ensemble project with stars Ben Rappaport (Outsourced), Jasmine Savoy Brown (The Leftovers, Grey’s Anatomy) and Wesam Keesh (Awkward) anchoring the heart of the story. Speaking of the story, For the People is all about our group of attractive lawyers fighting for justice where justice is maybe not always found: the courtroom. The main characters in the story are all public defenders or prosecutors which means that they are often given the unenviable task of defending or prosecuting people that would not always pass or fail their own moral code. We see cases from both sides of the aisle, literally, and that’s going to be one of the fascinating hooks for the program. The pilot starts out by introducing us to our crew of fresh-faced, overly attractive legal professionals as they seek to jumpstart their career in the savage courtrooms of New York City.
The first case we get an up-close look at involves Sandra (Britt Robertson) as she works across from a prosecutor named Leonard (Rege-Jean Page) in a high profile terrorism case. Leonard shows himself to be the ultra-competitive, maybe-too-suave prosecutor who always gets what he wants. Sandra, clearly an over-achiever character-type, is put on the bench next to the defendant, Mohammed Fayed. We are immediately thrown into the high-stakes world of life in the most prestigious courtroom in the city. Mohammed, who we know little about, is offered a 15-year prison sentence as a plea deal by Leonard, who wants to quickly rack up his first big win. Sandra, fueled by her own gut-feelings, rejects the more-than-fair offer and instead begins to dig into the case. From there the show digs into what we believe will be the heart and soul of the experience: the cat-and-mouse game of finding evidence, parlaying it into legal terms, and getting the big ‘win’ in front of a jury. Sandra ultimately falls short of a conniving Leonard, sending Mohammed to jail, but her journey is clearly just beginning. The loss weighs heavily on her. We even see immediate growth from Leonard, who realizes that he sent a man to jail with legal trickery.
Dipping away from the terrorism case we get to see a few other less intense situations for our other characters to showcase themselves. We meet Jay, played by the sweet Wesam Keesh, as he tries to do his best to be a public defender with all of the naivete of youth — immediately trusting his client before he does any actual legwork. Keesh is unfortunately set across from the character Kate Littlejohn (Susannah Flood) who looks to be an early-season favorite thanks to her natural charisma. The two go back and forth with Kate ultimately running circles around Jay.
Finally, we get to see what will probably be the most popular arc in the show: the ‘can their relationship survive their career’ plot involving Seth (Ben Rappaport) and Allison (Jasmin Savoy Brown). These two likable, nerdy, lawyers show a ton of chemistry before realizing that they have to face off against one another for their first case. Things go sideways and eventually the two characters are at each other’s throats which sets the stage for a potentially fascinating storyline as they both get deeper and deeper into their careers.

For The People airs Tuesday’s at 10 pm EST on ABC (check your local listings)