This March, we’re getting another taste of Shondaland awesomeness. For The People airs Tuesday, March 13th, and we were able to sit down with a few members of the cast, as well as the executive producer and creator of the show. Jasmin Savoy Brown (“Allison Adams”), Susannah Flood (“Kate Littlejohn”), Regé-Jean Page (Leonard Knox) & Wesam Keesh (“Jay Simmons”) and Creator & Executive Producer Paul William Davies and Executive Producer Tom Verica shared some great insight as to why we’re all going to love this new series about America’s judicial system, and the people behind it.
The Story Behind The Creation Of For The People
For The People is centered around the Mother Court in New York City, which Paul William Davies says is the most prestigious trial court in the United States. Paul would know; he’s a lawyer! While he doesn’t practice it currently, he still pays his bar dues. Paul brought the idea of this show to Shonda because he was interested is showing the stories behind the cases that enter the Mother Court.
“I also wanted to do something that showed the perspective of both sides. And not in a formulaic way, but in a way that you got a richer sense of how the law works and how justice is made in America. I thought having that dual perspective could be an interesting new way to approach a legal show.”
Preparing For Their Roles As Lawyers
Playing a lawyer on television has to be an intimidating thing to do, especially since there are so many facets to it all. We wanted to know if the cast did any prep work for their roles in For The People. Wesam shared that he shadowed a public defender to prepare for his role at Jay Simmons. Wesam told us that there were a plethora of cases public defenders at the L.A. courthouse encountered in a matter of hours.
“…from like a bicycle theft case, to a sexual assault case, to somebody showing up for their prison sentence, to a juvenile trying to not get jail time. They have to deal with a lot, and it was very eye-opening.”
We also found out from the rest of the cast that Susannah Flood, who plays prosecutor Kate Littlejohn, became the crew’s judicial go-to of sorts. Jasmin Savoy Brown says about Susannah:
“She’s brilliant and has done all of the research. She became my library, and told me what books to read.”
For The People An Inspiration For The Judicial System
Regé-Jean Page, who plays Leonard Knox, visited the courthouse in Compton to prepare for his role. During his time there, he realized the enormity of being part of a show that highlights America’s judicial system, and the flaws it consumes daily. He realized ABC’s For The People just may be a way for everyone to see lawyers in a different light, and inspire lawyers around the country to take even more pride in what they do. Playing a lawyer also puts a responsibility on the actors to get it right.
“Seeing people work in that kind of rhythm is both inspiring and a responsibility, because you then have to represent that in its best light. Maybe if we do this right we can, in some ways, kind of rehabilitate lawyers as people who run what is possibly the most important institution in this country, the justice system. It should be something that’s on our side at all times, even though it doesn’t feel like it is. And so hopefully people won’t have to ‘confess’ to being lawyers.”
Paul also stated:
“I think it resonates even more the idea that the work these people do on both sides is important, and the integrity of the system is important.”
Exploring The Faults Of The Characters
Susannah Flood plays a very strong female character in For The People, one that viewers will have a immediate opinion about once they are introduced to her. Susannah shares what she thinks about these young characters taking on a very heavy career.
“I think that the joy in this season is being able to explore the faults or the ways in which these young people don’t yet know how to do what it is they’re responsible for doing.
And so it’s like any of us at any moment where we’ve entered a professional threshold in their life that is much larger than what they’ve operated in up to that moment. And you come into it, and you’re thrilled, and you’re also like holy s***, how am I going to do this. There’s no way for you to know at that moment what you don’t know already. You have to learn by encountering what you don’t already know. “
It was such fun to interview this brilliant cast, creator and executive producers of For The People, which is definitely set to be this year’s breakout show.
ABC’s FOR THE PEOPLE premieres Tuesday, March 13 at 10|9c!