For the People
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that For the People is a legal drama. As is common with shows created by Shonda Rhimes, it features a young professional cast navigating their careers, and sometimes blurring the lines between personal life and workplace. Legal cases deal with terrorism, fraud, etc., and attorneys aren't always ethical when trying to win. There's some occasional strong language ("damn," "hell"), and social drinking is visible.
Legal Drama has ethical intrigue with occasional steaminess
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What's the Story?
Co-executive-produced by Shonda Rhimes, FOR THE PEOPLE is a dramatic series about a group of talented attorneys working federal cases in one of the oldest, most prestigious high-profile trial courts in America. Defense attorneys Allison Adams (Jasmin Savoy Brown), Jay Simmons (West Keesh), and Sandra Bell (Britt Robertson), along with prosecutors Leonard Knox (Regé-Jean Page), Seth Oliver (Ben Rappaport), and Kate Littlejohn (Susannah Flood) are sworn in to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, known among lawyers as "The Mother Court." They immediately find themselves working criminal cases, some of which force them to face each other in court. In some instances, it also requires them to negotiate their personal lives. As they navigate the tough, often no-win world of federal criminal law, they're mentored by federal public defender Jill Carlan (Hope Davis) and Roger Gunn (Ben Shenkman), the chief of the criminal division of the U.S. attorney's office.
Is It Any Good?
This dramatic law procedural blurs the line between professional and personal worlds as characters fight to win cases and prove themselves, often by any means possible. Adding to this are characters like the no-nonsense clerk of the court Tina Krissman (played by Anna Deavere Smith), and federal judge Nicholas Byrne (Vondie Curtis-Hall), both of whom personify the tradition and culture of the Mother Court. But much of the show focuses on the lawyers' inner conflicts, as well as the relationships developing between them as they learn the difference between enemies and adversaries.
The series highlights some aspects of the federal court system, in which prosecutors, who represent the U.S. government, are expected to keep the upper hand, while public defenders spend much of their time trying to find compromises that will serve their clients to some extent. Some of the fictitious cases discussed are interesting and complicated, while others are predictable and reflect current political and cultural discussions. Overall, For the People offers sanitized, melodramatic narratives that should entertain viewers who love a legal drama.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the difference between federal and state courts. Federal courts are established by the U.S. Constitution to hear disputes involving the Constitution and congressional laws. Are there other differences between the two systems?
What are some of the stereotypes about lawyers? Do series like For the People reinforce or challenge these generalizations?
- Premiere date: March 13, 2018
- Cast: Susannah Flood, Britt Robertson, Regé-Jean Page
- Network: ABC
- Genre: Drama
- TV rating: TV-PG
- Last updated: January 2, 2023
Our Editors Recommend
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Dead bodies + courtroom drama = mature teens only.
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Gory, talky true-crime surprisingly riveting for grown-ups.
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