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"Law & Order: Trial by Jury"
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Reviews & Ratings for
"Law & Order: Trial by Jury" More at IMDbPro »

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22 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

A good start

Author: schappe1 from N Syracuse NY
4 March 2005

The original Law & Order was 50-50 a cop/lawyer show. SVU is 90% cops. This one is 90% lawyers. The biggest innovation is that we get to be a fly on the wall as the defense attorney plots his/her defense, which has absolutely nothing to do with truth or guilt. It's all playing the system. Tony Bill, in the premiere, calmly describes how he killed the victim and the attorney, Annabella Sciorra simply listens as if this is background information that might come up in the trial and have to be dealt with.

I'm a big Perry Mason fan, where the hero is obsessed with truth and guilt and all his clients are innocent, so this is quite a change. Mason represents what we'd like our justice system to be about. However Sciorra represents who we would want to hire if we committed a crime. She clearly sees her job as getting her clients off: that's what she's paid to do.

Frankly, I think the accused has a right to an aggressive defense that forces the prosecution to prove guilt beyond a shadow of doubt. But if the lawyer knows the client is guilty, responsibility should shift to dealing with extenuating circumstances that might lead to a self-defense or insanity plea or a reduced sentence. That might be better for the client than insisting on a not guilty verdict. And what must the feeling be for a lawyer who knows he/she got a guilty man off. If it's one of satisfaction, there is something wrong.

As to the show, it's promising. I'm hoping that not all defendants turn out to be guilty, (even though all of Perry's clients were innocent), as it kind of sends the wrong message. One of the things I liked about the original show is that they weren't always right and they didn't always win.

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18 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Captures the "Order" side of things quite well

Author: canadianfreak_17 from Guelph, Canada
22 April 2005

I have watched almost every episode of TBJ that has aired since it came on and I believe that has given me enough time to make a fair judgement on this show. I've liked it from the very first episode and one of the major reasons why I've liked it is because it focuses entirely on the order side of things. Now I know with a name Trial By Jury that is expected but it not only looks from the prosecutors point of view (which is all wee see on the other 3 L&O installments) but we also see it from the defence side of view too. Defence lawyers meeting with their clients, counseling them on their trials. It is very interesting. I give it 7/10 so far. It has held my interest and I look forward to seeing what else it can offer.

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11 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Will miss Trial By Jury

Author: jacobm111 from United States
24 October 2005

I am a huge fan of the all the different Law and Order shows. Of course, my favorite would have to be SVU.

When Trial by Jury came out I thought I would give it a try and really fell in love with it. The main actress Bebe Neuwirth is amazing - I believe she has been in a few of the other Law and Orders for small parts. Over time, I actually found I began to like it better than even Criminal Intent.

Without trying to sound too dramatic, I must admit I am a little frustrated they decided to cancel it. It didn't really have a fair chance I felt and especially for the time frame. Perhaps statistics show differently... I don't know, but to me... Friday night TV can't be good at 10pm - a lot of people are out on the town then.

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17 out of 27 people found the following review useful:

It Was A Career of Achievement

Author: CharlietheP from United States
4 January 2005

I cannot say enough about Jerry Orbach; I loved the guy and the way he delivered his lines, always believable of his character even if they weren't always great lines. I looked forward to seeing him on Trial by Jury, still pending at this moment. Also if only once or for a season, if Trial by Jury brings back Carey Lowell who has such natural beauty and who always delivered her lines as Jamie Ross as if it were all real and not acting, without chewing the scenery, talking out of the side of her mouth (Joisy?) or "reciting" woodenly, it's worth the viewing. I just wish Jerry O. had had that prostate exam; I could have watched him work forever. Maybe he could have even been allowed to sing "Try to Remember". I can dream, can't I?

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

This had a lot of potential

10/10
Author: dee.reid from United States
16 August 2008

I really hated it when this show was canceled. I'm a "Law & Order" fan, so you can see that I eagerly anticipated this new spin-off series from "Law & Order" creator Dick Wolf. I tuned in like a loyal viewer every week for about two months and then just like that, it was gone. What a tragedy.

Perhaps if Jerry Orbach hadn't died, then maybe it would have had a proper run on television. I was really upset about his death, and maybe that's why NBC felt that this show just couldn't go on without him since his character was to have a significant role on it. That's just my speculation, I don't really know why it was canceled.

"Law & Order: Trial by Jury" focuses on the actual judicial process, including arraignment to sentencing, and the prosecutors and defense attorneys and their behind-the-scenes activity. If I were a law student, I'd be taking notes, but as a criminal justice major, I could probably do better with the other spin-offs, but that's just me.

This was a great show. Like the original and other two spin-offs, "Law & Order: Trial by Jury" is gritty and intense courtroom drama at its best.

How and why it was canceled is beyond me. It just had so much potential to go a great many places. Now it's been relegated to reruns on television.

10/10

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

I expected more from this show

Author: ejhutchaz from United States
20 November 2005

I'm a long time fan of Jerry Orbach, and all the Law & Order series, and couldn't wait for this to start, even tho Jerry had died before it was aired. Based on the second half of the title "Trial by Jury", I was expecting to see jury involvement as they deliberated to reach their verdict. That never happened. I watched the entire run and what I saw was disappointing. Outside of Jerry, and Amy Carlson there were no likable characters. The BIGGEST problem was the lead actress Bebe Neuwirth. While she was great on Cheers and Fraiser, she looked, and came across, cold and hard and unlikeable - and this show needed "likeable" after it lost Jerry. Her wardrobe, makeup, and hair style didn't help either, she just appeared as a cold hard Bitch. What this show needed was Angie Harmon, or Carey Lowell to keep your interest and hold the show together. For me it just came across as a watered down copy of the original, and I wasn't surprised when it died.

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Had its faults, but deserved a fairer chance

7/10
Author: TheLittleSongbird from United Kingdom
9 August 2015

The original Law and Order series will always be the best of the franchise. Criminal Intent is also great, and despite having an initial negative view of Special Victims Unit I now like it much more. Trial By Jury is not as good, and while it did start off weak and had its faults it was getting better and deserved a fairer chance than it got (the original Law and Series started off slow too, only really coming to life when Lennie Briscoe arrived, and it's become one of the longest-running series and for good reason).

Some have said about Trial by Jury having too many characters, and I don't disagree, some are not really developed all that well (Scott Cohen's character is particularly flat, and you could tell it was last-minute replacement) and at first it was not always easy telling who was who. The first few episodes are on the slow side, due to getting used to the format and trying to keep up with the amount of characters and who they were. Some of the stories are predictable with most of the episodes having the same outcome and some like re-treads of episodes from the other Law and Order shows. The Baby Boom episode tried to do something different but Patel's behaviour made it obvious how it was going to end regardless of the verdict, also didn't like how badly overplayed and emotionally manipulative Kibre's closing statement was in that episode either. Some are also one-sided with the defence often being weakly written to the point of improbability, sure the defence team in real-life trials and in the other Law and Order shows also suffered from a weak case that can be easily argued against but not to this extent, and hurt further when they are shown asking very questionable questions or coaching their clients.

However, as with all the Law and Order series, Trial by Jury is visually well-made, New York as always looks great and it's stylishly filmed. All episodes are hauntingly scored, and the theme tune is one of the catchiest of the Law and Order franchise as well as being the most refreshing. There is a lot of intelligent, thought-provoking writing as well especially in the later episodes, with the crossovers (particularly Day) and The Line episodes generating a lot of tension. The stories once the show hit its stride became brisker paced and more engrossing, with more suspense in the courtroom scenes. And they a vast majority of the time made the most of the interesting concept, it was really refreshing to see much more of the order and developing cases stuff, more so than the rest of the franchise, rather than half-and-half (Law and Order, Special Victims Unit) or almost entirely on the law and policing (Criminal Intent). Day, Skeleton and The Line had some particularly well-written stories, and Boys Will Be Boys had some nice moments before concluding predictably. Credit is also due for raising some sensitive issues in a way that is presented not too over-the-top.

It's very well-acted too. Bebe Neuwirth won't be for all tastes, in a role that is pretty atypical for her, but while it took a little time to warm to her and her terseness she does a great job overall and brought intensity and gravitas. Amy Carlson is a pleasantly warm contrast, and there is a great dynamic between her and Neuwirth. Kirk Acevedo is nicely sincere but steely too, while Jerry Orbach is by far the best thing and the heart of the first two episodes, bringing authority, sympathetic air and heart-breaking poignancy to especially the second episode (he succumbed to prostate cancer shortly after). Orbach in fact brought so much to this show and to Law and Order in general that the lack of a send-off felt insulting. It was great seeing Jesse L. Martin, S. Epatha Merkeson, Denis Farina, Mariska Hargitay and Chris Meloni as well, and they brought the same amount of quality that they did to their respective shows. The secondary cast are notable too, with real standouts being Alfred Molina and Angela Lansbury in the second crossover, bringing much more than just star power to their characters. Two casting choices didn't seem quite right though, Scott Cohen is not helped by his character being written flatly but Cohen never seemed comfortable or generated any spark, while Fred Dalton Thompson has very little to do in all of his appearances and is unable to do anything with Arthur Branch the same way he did before so he comes over as one-note.

All in all, a bit of a bumpy ride but a decent show that deserved a fairer chance, uneven but undeservedly short-lived. 6.5/10 Bethany Cox

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Jerry Orbach's death and uninspired scripts doomed this show

6/10
Author: calvinnme from United States
25 July 2015

Trial By Jury failed to live up to its potential. The first few episodes held out the promise of an in-depth look at how the legal system works from all angles, including the jury, but this was quickly altered to a focus on the Bebe Neuwirth character and her investigators. In effect, it became an hour-long version of the second half of the original L&O. Still, the show was interesting and entertaining, and its crossovers with other L&O shows were fun. I enjoyed Neuwirth, both her acting and her character. I wasn't put off at all by her terse manner or cynicism, and I think she had pretty good chemistry with her female sidekick. Some of the story lines did seem to be retreads of stories from other L&O shows, but if the writers could have managed to overcome that trend, and stayed true to the show's original potential, then it might have been another strong entry in the L&O franchise.

I do have to say, however, that even though I liked the show, the fact that its creativity started waning after a few episodes caused me to be less disappointed by its cancellation than I might have been. Jerry Orbach, who was intended to be a regular on the show playing Lenny Briscoe, could have been the sympathetic character this show was missing, but his worsening illness and then death put an end to those plans and probably this show. He was only able to show up during the first two episodes, and even then he looked quite ill. These days, networks aren't generally willing to give a series time to come into its own. If you don't produce ratings in the first half dozen outings, its generally cancellation time.

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Jerry Orbach's demise killed this show as well

9/10
Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York
22 February 2013

Law And Order: Trial By Jury is the spin off that didn't sell. Sad it only lasted for not even one season.

It seemed to have everything going for it, a good team of ADAs with Bebe Neuwirth and Amy Carlson as her second chair. Above all it had as an original team of investigators of Kirk Acevedo and the most popular of all the Law And Order characters, Jerry Orbach as Lennie Briscoe.

I don't know if Orbach was sick or even knew how sick he was with the cancer that killed him when he signed for the spin off. In Law And Order prime, his character Lennie Briscoe said he was putting his papers in and was thinking of joining the District Attorney's own squad of investigators.

Orbach only completed two episodes and it was painful to look at him in these episodes that aired after he passed away. It's possible that people who wanted more of Lennie Briscoe just were turned off by the sight of him and no one could really take his place. And he certainly wasn't going to be making return appearances like Carey Lowell and Richard Brooks who were former second chair ADAs.

Such a pity this show didn't take or people rejected it after Orbach died. The team of Neuwirth and Carlson were good, I'm surprised that neither was picked up and made appearances on SVU, Criminal Intent or Law And Order prime.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Remember Lennie Briscoe

Author: Dale McCartney from United States
1 March 2006

It's hard to believe how much Jerry Orbach has aged from the time he left the original Law & Order series to the beginning of Trial by Jury. His hair was completely gray and his voice was a little gruff. I wish he were still around to portray Lennie Briscoe on any L&O series, but unfortunately, that won't happen. I just wish the writers of the original series would mention the fate of Lennie Briscoe since retiring from the 27th precinct to show how the other characters felt about their friend and co-worker. I've watched Trial by Jury and even after Jerry Orbach passed away, I don't think the writers ever mentioned his character's death through the other characters, such as Hector Salazzar or Lt. Anita Van Buren from the original series.

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