Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Jury Duty - how do I contact Steven Bocchco?

My Dad had Jury Duty yesterday, and just now in the car I was thinking about that and I came up with an idea for a new courtroom drama. Somebody put me in touch with Steven Bocchco!

I watch a lot of Law and Order, and I've also enjoyed other courtroom dramas such as Philly (which unfortunately only aired for one season) and Raising the Bar. I think my idea is a fresh look at the genre. In Law and Order you know the facts of the case, and you see exciting scenes in which Jack McCoy catches a witness in a lie. You know it's a lie, because the rest of the show informs you. Jack then reflects in his office as to whether the jury bought the witnesses story or not. The defendants are usually guilty, because that show is about catching and prosecuting bad guys. In Rising the Bar and Philly the defendants are usually innocent because those shows are about defense lawyers.

In Jury Duty, the audience would follow the jury, not the lawyers or the cops. Over the course of a season, the details of a big, complicated case would unfold to the audience just as it unfolds to the jury. The main characters would be the 12 jurors, the judge, the defense and prosecution lawyers, and the defendant and maybe plaintiff (depending on the trial).

While the trial unfolds, the audience would also learn about the lives and identities of the jurors. In most court dramas, the jury is a nameless entity whose vocabulary is limited to "guilty" and "not guilty." In this show each juror would have a personality and an identity. Over the course of the season maybe one juror looks more and more suspicious, but in the end he's simply cheating on his wife or maybe carrying marijuana or wanted by the police. Another juror who seems straight edge at first is really being bought out or threatened by the defendant (a mobster perhaps) - he says very little, except when the jury discussion leans toward the plaintiff's side, when he tries to lead them back the other way. Maybe he's caught mid-season and replaced by a new juror. Some shows could concentrate on the history of a particular juror, which relates somehow to the trial.

Unlike Law and Order when the witness testimony is used to support what we already know about the case, in Jury Duty the audience will have the excitement of both is the defendant guilty? and will he be convicted?

I think it's a great idea for a courtroom drama, and it's certainly a new take on the genre. Law and Order is a good show, but with Special Victims Unit and Criminal Intent I'm not sure the world needs another rehash.

No comments: