Britne Oldford, Anna Deavere Smith Book Leads in Shondaland’s New ABC Legal Drama Pilot

Britne Oldford, Anna Deavere Smith

Britne Oldford, Anna Deavere Smith

Britne Oldford, Anna Deavere Smith and Ben Rappaport have all been tapped to star in Shondaland’s new legal drama pilot for ABC.

Here’s the pitch: “Set in the Southern District of New York (SDNY) Federal Court, aka ‘The Mother Court,’ this legal drama follows brand new lawyers working on opposite sides — for both the defense and the prosecution as they handle the most high profile and high stakes cases in the country, all as their personal lives intersect.”

The project hails from “Scandal” writer Paul William Davies.

Oldford will play Sandra Black, a determined rookie public defender who was inspired to become an attorney by an injustice her family suffered when she was a child.

Smith will play Tina Krissman, the no-nonsense clerk for the district court.

Rappaport will play Seth, a rookie prosecutor.

The project is still currently untitled. But might this be a planned eventual replacement for “Scandal,” given that the Kerry Washington series may be close to its end (it was renewed for a 7th season, although Rhimes has said previously that she doesn’t see “Scandal” as an 8, 9, or 10 season show)? We love to speculate here at Shadow & Act. Shonda Night may need to make room should this pilot get picked up to series. Or ABC may need to double up on Shonda Night so that it occupies 2 nights instead of just one, as is the case currently.

Rhimes and Betsy Beers will executive produce, while Paul William Davies will serve as showrunner.

If greenlit to series — and any Rhimes series has strong odds — the legal drama would mark her sixth current ABC drama on the air (“Scandal,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “How to Get Away with Murder,” “The Catch,” and the upcoming “Still Star-Crossed”).


  1. Glad to see BritneO. HUNTERS was not the best of shows, though SHE gave it her best. imho

  2. It’s very annoying that most cop/lawyer/doctor dramas only take place in the same 3-4 cities. I’m aware that there are exceptions, but c’mon.

  3. I’m glad Oldford will finally be on something which sounds interesting to watch and Smith is coming back to television! I kick myself in the behind every time I miss her one-woman shows but they are almost always sold out by the time I learn about them.

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