Shot extensively using FaceTime, WebE, Zoom and other social media platforms, the first scripted coronavirus-themed episode of television will be a one-hour sign of the times devoted to the pandemic’s real-life impact on the criminal justice system.
CBS’ freshman courthouse drama series All Rise, which began airing last fall, will return to virtually produce the new, timely episode in social isolation.
In this groundbreaking episode directed by executive producer Michael Robin, the series’ characters will be shown endeavoring to manage their “new normal” professional and personal lives, mirroring the challenges that the nation is confronting.
“It’s a unique chance for our All Ride family to band together—in our different homes, even cities—to tell a story about resilience, justice and the power of community,” executive producer Greg Spottiswood said in a statement.
The plot is driven by Judge Benner’s (Marg Helgenberger) decision to permit Judge Lola Carmichael (Simone Missick) to preside over a digital trial that involves a dispute between brothers and a pilfered car. Other happenings in the episode inspired by the COVID-19 crisis include two All Rise characters trying to explore their budding relationship while quarantined in separate homes, another relationship struggling to get through social distancing, and a germaphobe attempting to contend with the chaos of contagion.
Footage will be shot in each of the series regulars’ homes, and producers will use visual effects to create the necessary backgrounds to fit with the show’s typical scenery. A cinematographer operating solo will capture exterior footage that reflects the current desolation and eerie quiet of Los Angeles’ usually boisterous streets and neighborhoods.
All Rise’s consulting producer, former Los Angeles County District Attorney Gil Garcetti, is providing insight into how the justice system has been affected by the pandemic for the episode.
The new episode will air Monday, May 4 at 9 p.m. ET on CBS.