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The Jury Reached A Decision

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Created by Barry Levinson, Tom Fontana and James Yoshimura (Homicide: Life in the Streets, OZ), “The Jury” is a rare courtroom drama which looks at each case from the point of view of the jury members arriving at a verdict. Every episode followed the same pattern, the members of the jury in New York City being sequestered to argue what was presented in the court and arrive at a verdict. At the very end there is a scene which shows what really happened.

The only repeating characters are the judge (played by Barry Levinson) and the courtroom staff, most notably, the court reporter, played by Adam Busch (Warren from BtVS, but you knew that), who plays a nerdy guy who thinks he’s funny, but isn’t. Busch does a great job with this very limited role, but really highlights the major problem with the show, none of the recurring characters are in anyway interesting enough to make you want to come back for them. As for the rest of the show, they just hit the universal reset switch, and it’s the same thing, but a different jury next week.

This week’s episode really brought out this problem. With Last Rites, all of the jurors, and the set for the crime flashbacks (a prison riot, which leaves a priest dead) are from “OZ“.

The greatest enjoyment from the ep is watching familiar actors play different characters. So it comes as no surprize that J.K. Simmons and Eamonn Walker nearly come to blows.

It’s also no surprize that Fox announced today, after five episodes, they were putting the series on hold, and moving the remaining five episodes to air on Friday nights (their version of putting a pillow over a show’s face – which I guess is better than a shiv in the shower).

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About Jim Carruthers

  • I caught the same episode of the Jury. For me, J.K. Simmons and Eamonn Walker will always be Schillinger and Said

  • You obviously are not a fan of the show if you don’t think the best part of EACH and EVERY episode is the end when we get to see what really happens.

    That’s what made this show good. You saw jury deliberations, highlights from the trial, and had to make a conclusion. You then got to see if the jury (and yourself) were correct.

    It’s neat to see how lack of certain evidence (or perhaps a lack of a good theory on the part of the lawyers) leads the jury to a verdict inconsistent with the truth.

    The problem with the show is NOT the cast. CSI/Without a Trace/etc proved that characters in a series do not need to matter. Fans of “The Jury” don’t care about the characters. They just enjoy this TV version of “12 Angry Men”, along with getting to see what really happened. It didn’t work ratings wise because FOX botched it big time:

    1.) It should have never EVER been a “summer premiere” show. You ONLY premiere shows in the summer geared towards teens at home for the summer or perhaps a dumb audience(“American Idol”)

    2.) FOX should have run “OC” re-runs as a lead-in to this show if they wanted it to succeed. No other candidates to lead-in to The Jury were big on ratings anyways.

    3.) FOX should have passed on the show. The Jury does not fit into FOX’s lineup. This should have been a CBS pickup considering they just dumped a legal show (“Century City”), and don’t have many good legal shows (Judging Amy never usually applies any sense of “real” law, and is more focused on characters, while “Jag” is hardly a legal drama). Besides, CBS needs to compete with the L&0 franchise for LEGAL dramas (at the same time, NBC needs to compete with CSI for crime dramas).

    Too bad “The Jury” is dead. I don’t think FOX gave it a fair shake with it’s original day/time slot (Tuesdays). It should have paired it with “North Shore”, or ran off “OC” re-runs with The Jury coming on right after it.

    Hopefully Law & Order: Trial By Jury will be much like The Jury, only more popular because of the L&O “brand name.”

  • The ending made the show good, but as I said, without continuing characters who develop, that is not enough to sustain a series. If you’ve seen a couple eps of The Jury, what is your incentive to keep watching it? It really is nothing more than a gimmick.

    Using the actors from OZ highlighted this weakness, because that series was all about the characters. And of course, next week, you’re going to get a random cast, who you neither know nor care about.

    It makes a good mini-series, but not a teevee series.

  • Hmm, this sounds interesting. Like a telly version of 12 Angry Men. If this reaches terestrial UK TV, then i’ll give it a go.

    Thanks Jim. Good work

  • Tony

    Yes i have to agree, this is one of the worst wanna-be attempts of trying to make a good courtroom show ive ever seen. There is absolutley no intrigue in the story being told, its out right boring. I just watched an episode tonight, friday, july 16 where a boxer is on trail for murder. The evidence through the whole episode, from the defendents hat being at the scene to hair on the body, to the fact that the victim died from one giant blow to the head (ie; a boxers punch 😉 is undisputable…obviously guilty! Right!? Back to that in a minute… Now it does turn out the defendent kills himself, but amazingly after the call of a mis trail due to this, we find out the verdict anyway: NOT GUILTY. Why, you ask? Well they concluded how could it be the defendent (the boxer, keep in mind) killed this man with one giant punch to the head, IF HIS HAND WASNT BROKEN. Yes, thats right folks, you can now get away with murder if you punch somebody, if somehow you can keep your hand from breaking. Amazing how it was a 12-0 not guilty too. Proof, this is a pathetic show….who wrote this episode! Fire him. Hes a boxer for god’s sake…hus hands were huge…and your verdicts not guilty because his hand wasnt broken!…Oh, by the way..it is revealed that indeed it was the defendent who killed the victim by one giant punch to the head. Without breaking his hand…oops the jury was wrong…time to cancel The Jury period.