RAISING THE BAR “Pilot” (S01E01) Review

Raising the Bar Cast

TNT’s new original series, RAISING THE BAR, premieres tonight, September 1st, at 10pm. The show follows the lives of young lawyers who work on different sides of the law. From the public defender’s office to the district attorney’s office, and without forgetting the judges who hear the cases, Raising the Bar finds a way to show us all the different sides of the justice system.

As far as “lawyer shows” go, for me they are usually hit or miss, and Raising the Bar is definitely a hit. Created by Steven Bochco and David Feige, and based on David Feige’s book, “Indefensible: One Lawyer’s Journey into the Inferno of American Justice,” Raising the Bar tries to open our eyes to the flaws of the justice system.

Just looking at the first episode, it sets up such a great story. The main character of the show, Jerry Kellerman (Mark-Paul Gosselaar), is very likable (although a few people seem to have issues with the hair… I think it’s a great character trait) and his passion for what he does is contagious.

Judge Trudy Kessler (played by Jane Kaczmarek, who is wonderful) is another great character worth mentioning. She’s so bad, but it’s so great watching her.

Raising the Bar - Mark Paul Goselaar and

But apart from the characters, the episode is constructed in such a way that you cannot wait to see what happens next. And I have to mention one specific scene between Jerry Kellerman and his client as he tries to get him to accept a plea. The client is played by guest star Charles Malik Whitfield (who is amazing) and this scene brought tears to my eyes. It is probably the highlight of the episode for me because in that one scene, you see the justice system through the eyes of someone caught in it and it just breaks your heart.

In addition to the cases, Raising the Bar looks at the relationships of the people involved in the justice system. So for example, people arguing opposite sides of a case could be having a drink later on that day. This additional layer is very welcome because it allows for an even better dynamic in court and also shows the audience another side to the characters.

I really loved the pilot episode and I think it only gets better. So far I have seen the first three episodes and I cannot wait for more.

The rest of the cast includes Rosalind “Roz” Whitman (Gloria Reuben), Roberta “Bobbi” Gilardi (Natalia Cigliuti), Richard Patrick Woolsley (Teddy Sears), Nick Balco (Currie Graham), Michelle Ernhardt (Melissa Sagemiller), Marcus McGrath (J. August Richards), and Charlie Sagansky (Jonathan Scarfe).

Don’t forget to tune in and watch Raising the Bar tonight, at 10pm on TNT.