We LOVE “Bluff City Law” And You Will Too
The EMMY’s are done but many of your favorite shows are returning this week with new episodes. But there’s also a fresh crop of new shows — some of which we’ve already previewed and can put you on notice to plan to watch (or set your DVR’s) now.
In August BOSSIP’s Senior Content Director Janeé Bolden traveled to Memphis to interview the cast of NBC’s new series “Bluff City Law,” which premieres TONIGHT on NBC at 10/9 c.
Set in Memphis, TN, the series follows Jimmy Smits as Elijah Strait, a successful lawyer known for crusading for victims of civil and human rights violations as well as other injustices. Things get really interesting for Strait after his philanthropist wife passes away, bringing him closer to his estranged daughter Sydney, played by Caitlin McGee. Sydney has been making big bank representing corporations since leaving her father’s firm years ago, but her mother’s death brings them together and when he asks her to rejoin the firm, she agrees. The show has a feel good element, both because Straits firm is known for fighting the good fight for the downtrodden and doing their part to stick it to corporate greedmongers. In addition to Smits and McGee the ensemble cast includes “Hamilton” star Michael Luwoye, Jayne Atkinson, Stony Blyden, Barry Sloane and newcomer MaameYaa Boafo (a delightful actress who we are sure will charm TV watchers as much as she did this BOSSIP journalist). We also have to mention Josh Kelly, who plays Sydney’s ex-husband Robbie, a police officer who proves particularly helpful in the pilot episode. We sense a love triangle brewing between Robbie, Sydney and her new coworker, Jake Reilly (played by Sloane).
Check out a little featurette about the family dynamic between Elijah and Sydney below:
We asked Smits about the estrangement and how the show will follow their struggle to find common footing.
“No matter what area you’re in, people who are very successful in whatever chosen field, they are often seen a certain way by their children,” Smits told BOSSIP. “They know the flaws. What we talked about was Sydney was probably with the firm at one time and he was very hard on her, that kind of thing , that plus what little she knew about the relationship thing with the mother, we have that rebellion thing that happens and she’s decided to go polar opposite to what the family built and the way she was brought up to be very inclusive and this area of the law that she is very cutthroat, totally different thing. In the pilot they talk about being able to use both of their strengths.”
If you can’t already tell, the stories hit a very human chord, with some of the cases pulled from actual lawsuits that are currently being fought. The case Sydney fights in the premiere episode definitely mirrors the Monsantos Roundup lawsuit, but Caitlin McGee told BOSSIP that she took the series’ “Change The World” tagline to heart and made sure show writers were aware of the issues she feels most strongly about.
“Yeah, I told the writers and said it in interviews before,” McGee told BOSSIP. “The things that I’m most passionate about – my cousin is trans and she hasn’t had the easiest time of it – I am the “B” in the LGBTQ community, it’s very important for me to represents every single walk of life and specifically Black Lives Matter. There’s a lot of things that I need to see that have already been addressed by our writers, either in coming episodes or in the current episodes. So not just holding big companies accountable, which is incredibly important writing about that in a negative form so that it’s not just a headline that we click on and then forget about. The first time that I saw the actual man who was behind the Monsanto case, when I saw the lesions on his face, that’s gonna stick with me for the rest of my life, that’s going to make me care about the case even more, so if our show gets to do that and represent the people that are just part of the headline, as a real human person and that sticks to someone, then that is beyond anything I care about as an actress because we’re lacking empathy in this world at the moment and I wish we had a little more of it.”
McGee wasn’t the only one to bring her personal concerns into the writers room, MaameYaa Boafo told BOSSIP how show writers and producers also made her feel welcome when she came to them regarding Episode 5 of the series.
“There is an episode that I had one scene in, and based on what the topic was, I asked to sit down with the producers and explain why it was important for my character to be in the courtroom when this case is happening and they added me in it,” Boafo told BOSSIP. “I don’t say much, but I’m so excited because it’s all about the action and I’m really appreciative that the writers and producers can sit down with someone like me, who is the newbie out of all of us and take what I have to say into consideration. They make me feel that at this point now that they’ve given this part to me, that I know this person, that I know Brianna better than everyone. I know they do this for all of us. It’s wonderful to feel heard and I’m only going to pull that card when I feel that it’s important for Brianna’s presence, or voice or opinion or point of view to be a part of what that case brings.”
Hit the flip for more from our interview