TV

Bebe Neuwirth, Law & Order: Trial by Jury

(Law and Order: Trial by Jury: Virginia Sherwood)

B-

Law & Order: Trial by Jury

Genre: Crime, Drama; Lead Performer: Amy Carlson, Bebe Neuwirth; Performers: Kirk Acevedo, Scott Cohen; Broadcaster: NBC

Law & Order: Trial by Jury isn’t bad. It’s just not necessary. Set during the trial of a crime, the series follows the strategies of Assistant DA Tracey Kibre (Cheers’ Bebe Neuwirth, who plays Kibre like Lilith dipped in cinnamon). It also dives into the (usually ugly) schemes of the defense attorneys, played by rotating guest stars like Annabella Sciorra.

Trial has the reliable rhythms of any Law & Order — even its twists feel familiar. Worse, there’s no drama to be wrung from Kibre’s legal wrangling: As the good guy, she never gets dirty. Instead, Trial finds villains in wildly guilty defendants, unbelievably prejudiced judges, and seriously nasty defense attorneys (Lorraine Bracco played a lawyer who actually drove her vigilante client to the murder scene — a silly story that was, admittedly, pretty fun). In the end, though, Trial never justifies its existence as the fourth member of the crowded franchise. In legal jargon: It’s a nuisance suit.

Originally posted April 15 2005 — 12:00 AM EDT

More from Our Partners