'All Rise'


Detroit native plays lead role of judge in new legal drama

By Kurt Anthony Krug
Legal News

 In her latest role as the lead character on “All Rise,” actress Simone Missick doesn’t feel any more – or any less – pressure.

“The way I approach every single job is like it’s my last because it very well could be, said Missick, an alumna of Renaissance High School in Detroit and Howard University in Washington, D.C.

 “You have to continue to knock it out of the park, no matter if it’s a one-scene guest appearance on a TV show or a leading role in a movie; you have to apply the same dedication. I put the same amount of pressure on myself to do well in every role. There’s certainly a lot more (pressure) when there’s billboards with your face on it and buses that go by (with your face on the side), but those are just the fun things that remind you you’re in a great position of responsibility and your responsibility is to tell the character’s truth, which is something I bring to every role I have.”

Best known for playing super-hero Misty Knight on the Marvel/Netflix series “Luke Cage,” “Iron Fist,” and “The Defenders,” Missick portrays Judge Lola Carmichael, who is new to the bench, on “All Rise,” which debuted on CBS September 23. Missick spoke about what attracted her to this role.

“Lola was smart and funny and vulnerable and a little quirky and neurotic, but very passionate about changing the system,” she said. “It was just a role I’d never read before. I hadn’t seen a legal show written in this way with characters that are flawed and funny and earnest, especially coming off the Marvel series I was a part of for those wonderful 3½ years. This was a complete change of pace – literally – to have to go from a character in a darker world that was action-heavy and in a super-hero universe vs. a woman who’s putting on a cape of a different kind. The show’s fast-paced and quick; it just felt like a really great role to step into.”

“All Rise” follows the lives – both professional and personal – of judges, prosecutors, public defenders, cops, clerks, and bailiffs in a courthouse based in Los Angeles, giving a behind-the-scenes look at the people who make up the justice system.

“All Rise” also stars Emmy winner Marg Helgenberger (“CSI: Crime Scene Investigation”), Wilson Bethel (“Daredevil”), and Jessica Camacho (“The Flash”). Helgenberger plays Lisa Benner, Lola’s mentor.

“Marg is so much fun. She’s a really phenomenal actress and also a wonderful human being. I just can’t say enough about how generous she is and fun to play with on set,” praised Missick. “Most of her scenes are with me. Her character’s relationship somewhat mimic the relationship we are finding in real life, which is a mentor. I truly respect her as an artist and what she brings to our show.”

Missick described “All Rise” as a “roller coaster of sorts,” reminiscent of legal dramas “L.A. Law,” “Judging Amy,” and “Ally McBeal.” What makes it stand out from other legal dramas is that it’s not a whodunit or a crime-of-the-week or a “ripped from the headlines” show.

“It’s a show about hope, looking at the justice system with fresh eyes and not ignoring the problems and the flaws within it, but facing them head-on and trying to fix them one case at a time,” said Missick. “It’s a show about why people do the things they do, what makes them make these choices. It’s not just the defendant – it’s the cops, the lawyers, the bailiffs, and the clerks who make decisions everyday that can change the course of people’s lives. This show’s designed to look at our justice system and look for opportunities that create change in a way that doesn’t feel like just a typical legal show… The characters really make the show and I want the world to see what we’ve been doing; it’s been a lot of hard work and dedication, but I think the audience will be happy with it.”

As Misty Knight (co-created by artist Arvell Jones, a Detroit native), Missick played the first African-American female super-hero on a super-hero TV series – something she called “wildly exciting.” A New York City police detective who lost her arm in the line of duty and subsequently replaced by a bionic arm designed by Tony Stark (alias Iron Man), Misty is an ally of Cage, Iron Fist, Spider-Man, and the X-Men.

“(Misty) was just so smart, funny, sarcastic and strong. You don’t necessarily see that, especially with women of color without some unnecessary stereotype… Misty just jumped off of the page as this woman who was bad-ass but not in a put-on way. It came from a very confident place. That was alluring and exciting to play. The writing was just so good,” recalled Missick. “Nobody really gets to tell you you’re gonna play a super-hero all the time when you’re a woman. You can play a wife or a girlfriend or the funny best friend. But to play a super-hero, it’s like, ‘Really? YES! I will do that.’ Nobody has ever asked a black woman to play a super-hero and an iconic character on a TV show in the history of TV. This is the first. It’s exciting.”

Asked if she’ll reprise her most popular role, Missick isn’t sure.

“That’s up to the good folks over at Marvel. I have no clue, no clue at all. At this point, I’m enjoying Lola and that’s all I can focus on. (Misty) was a wonderful character, a wonderful role to step into for 3 1/2 years on several different shows.

“I will certainly miss her, but I’m enjoying the blessings I have right now.”


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