I’m very curious how this episode went through standards and practices. Was there a version of it where Black bailiff J. Alex Brinson doesn’t give a heartwarming speech about how the sheriff’s department needs to work within the system to fix the system. It’s just after Brinson has approached the fellow deputy (Christopher Amitrano) pulled him over and cuffed him the day before for jogging while Black. Amitrano gets a shot to himself during Brinson’s speech, so we know if we just wait long enough and explain it to the white supremacists the right way, we can all get along. It’s toothless, just when “All Rise” seemed like it might have some actual teeth.
It’s particularly bad because there aren’t actually many Black people in the cast. Two. Sure, it’s judge Simone Missick (she’s not exactly the lead but it’s about her courtroom and experiences in it), but the show goes out of its way to imply how out of place Missick (and Brinson) feel. And this episode seems like they’re taking it really seriously. They don’t want to offend anyone, but they’re taking the institutionalized racism thing seriously. Only it’s a passive thing, people can’t really control it. But if you get too out of hand—like evil violent white supremacist Ryan Brady. I mean, hey, the show’s saying assault with a vehicle is real assault and does real damage—it’s like the show thinks it can play woke in one column but not the other. Especially since the whole episode you’re just waiting for Brinson to have some awesome speech or confrontation and instead it’s… civility. Eye-roll.
But, I suppose, much more what I was expecting from “All Rise.”
Missick and Wilson Bethel don’t hang out much this episode. It’s one of the subplots. But Bethel’s busy with the Brady case, being an earnest white savior. It only works—as far as it works—because it’s Bethel and his tense energy. We also meet Bethel’s girlfriend, Nadia Gray, and Missick’s husband, Todd Williams. The show doesn’t even pretend it cares Gray and Bethel or Missick and Williams have any chemistry together.
There’s also a cringe-y part where Bethel argues well in court so the judge rewards him by recognizing brown person have rights and the show presents it as a win. See, all the racist old white men judges want is some creative courtroom antics before they’ll recognize non-white people as people.
And you can tell “Rise” thinks that Brinson speech is pushing the envelope, even though it’s as fake as when Bethel and Williams chest bump or something because they’ve clearly never hung out in their lives and it’s unimaginable they would. But anyway.