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David Koster is an obsessive New York City assistant district attorney who gets into trouble because of his passion for justice. His boss, Anthony Celese, tries to keep him under control while New York police detective Frank Malloy helps him solve cases. Koster's wife Jessica is a viola player in a string quartet and her own life's priorities come into conflict with David's. Written by
J.E. McKillop <email@example.com>
I'm afraid the previous reviewer leaves something of a wrong impression when he says "For The People" is a precursor of sorts to "Law And Order." Yes, that's true to the extent that "For The People" was a show that had central characters in the D.A.'s office, and yes, it was filmed on location in New York, but if you ever come across any of the episodes of "For The People" that circulate among collectors (you can forget about ever seeing it repeated on cable or released commercially on DVD) and expect to see an interesting procedural look at how the criminals get prosecuted.....I'm afraid you're going to be in for a giant letdown. The six episodes of this show I had a chance to see recently were mostly shows that didn't so much focus on letting us see how the central characters get their job done, but rather spent more time serving up some giant failures on the part of DA Dave Koster's pursuit of justice, and rather than focus on the procedural points that could allow a story to develop, each episode I saw was mostly a giant exercise in characters making soapbox speeches that were designed to cater to a politically liberal view of criminal law. In one episode, DA Koster incredibly tanks his own case regarding a Puerto Rican's brutal murder of an old woman, because he's become convinced that a racist cop coerced the confession and has decided that rather than do the business of the people to prosecute and let a judge and jury decide after making his best case (If defense attorneys are supposed to give the best possible defense for clients they know are guilty, isn't it also supposed to be the obligation of a prosecutor to do the same even if he has only *personal* doubts, *especially* since the episode also makes it clear that Koster believes the Puerto Rican is guilty despite the possibly coerced confession?), he should instead shirk his own duty to be "for the people" in the name of a dubious constitutional concept (dubious at least to many legal scholars who wouldn't subscribe to the points the noble characters make speeches about, but who find that in the literary realm of leftist writers, their views only get expressed by obvious racists and bigots to cast an air of illegitimacy over their basic arguments. This to gloss over the fact that Koster is prepared to turn loose a brutal killer that he KNOWS is a brutal killer who could kill again just to humiliate a cop who may or may not have crossed a line).
I found it sad in a way that I couldn't come away liking this show because the acting is solid (it may in fact be some of the best acting of Shatner's career), the theme music has a nice stately air, and the New York location photography carries on the tradition of "Naked City." But "Naked City" was a show that was entertaining by making its dramatic points through fascinating human interest stories, and not by having characters stop the action cold every five minutes to make another editorializing sermonette. This is the reason why it wasn't just being slotted opposite "Bonanza" that doomed "For The People", it was also the weight of its own lofty pretentiousness that caused it to sink, and forced Shatner to find another role that would give him TV immortality.
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