BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Two new network series that deal with law and order launch this week. CBS offers a look at the police who deal with a working-class neighborhood in “East New York” while the new CW Network goes to court for “Family Law.”
Both “Family Law” – scheduled to launch at 8 p.m. Oct. 2 – and “East New York” – set to debut at 9 p.m. Oct. 2 – are anchored by veteran actors: Victor Garber in “Family Law” and Jimmy Smits in “East New York.”
In “Family Law,” Garber plays Harry Svensson, the head of a law firm who must deal with hiring his daughter, Abigail Bianchi (Jewel Staite) after she is suspended due to a drunken incident in the courtroom. She not only has to prove herself in a new realm of law but she also has to work with and build relationships with a family she barely knows.
Garber can’t remember how many times he has played an attorney over the years. That’s because of his legal eagle roles have been mixed in with such projects as “Titanic,” “Argo,” “Dark Waters,” Sicario,” Self-Less,” “Rebel in the Eye,” “The First Wives Club,” “Sleepless in Seattle,” “Legally Blonde.” “The Orville,” “Ghost” and “Godspell.”
“Family Law” creator Susin Nielsen doesn’t say if it was one of Garber’s many roles as a lawyer that factored into his being cast in her CW series. All she can remember is that when someone mention Garber’s name for the main role, she thought that would be amazing casting but they would never be able to get him.
Nielsen was wrong and Garber has added another credit to his long list of TV and acting appearances. Whether he is playing a lawyer, Jesus or a superhero, one thing is consistent with all of the roles Garber has played.
“I know when I read something, if it’s something I feel compelled to do. This came out of the blue. And I said, ‘Oh, this is really good’,” Garber says. I think I’d be a terrible lawyer because I would be on both sides all the time.
“I know what I think is right but I also have compassion for people who don’t know what’s right. I think that’s why it’ a good fit for me. I think this role as a father, that’s the joy of playing this role because always changing.”
Garber finds the father-daughter element of “Family Law” to be the most compelling and interesting for him to play. He’s not only go come across as being strong enough to be part of a major law firm but caring enough to know his daughter needs help.
Something in their past has made it where his character has not always been the best of fathers. Now that he is trying to make up for those mistakes, his daughter doesn’t want to be a part of it.
Garber adds, “The relationship between Abigail and Harry is fraught. It’s fractured. And this is an attempt on both their parts to try to mend it. Of course like all relationships, it takes more than you realize.
“That is the thrust at the beginning, and it continues throughout the season.”
If you are looking for action that takes place before the court room antics begin, then the new CBS series “East New York” will be a better fit. The one-hour drama that features Amanda Warren as Deputy Inspector Regina Haywood, the newly promoted boss of the 74th Precinct in East New York. Haywood is determined to deploy creative methods to protect her beloved community with the help of her officers and detectives.
Smits comes to the role of Chief John Suarez with an acting history that includes playing a New York detective in “NYPD Blue.” The fact he has played those involved in law enforcement over the years has given Smits a perspective on that world that he brings to “East New York.”
“The bottom line is that people get into law enforcement to be, as President Obama said, a guardian, not a warrior,” Smits says. “And that’s what we have to remember, that we’re there to protect and serve the people of the community that we’re involved in. In this instance, East New York.”
Not only does Smits bring a knowledge of the police world to the role, but he has a deep knowledge of the area being depicted in the series. The Brooklyn native is happy the series presents a very truthful image of the interplay between the community and law enforcement.
The cast of “East New York” also includes Ruben Santiago-Hudson as Officer Marvin Sandeford, Kevin Rankin as Detective Tommy Killian, Richard Kind as Captain Stan Yenko, Elizabeth Rodriguez as Detective Crystal Morales, Olivia Luccardi as Officer Brandy Quinlan, and Lavel Schley as Officer Andre Bentley.