Show about Memphis Law Firm
The fourth episode, titled “Fire in a Crowded Theatre,” was particularly prescient in light of the ongoing racial justice protests in Memphis and other cities. Inspired by the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville in 2017, the plot involved the killing of a counter-protester at a “white supremacy” rally in Memphis, which takes place in front of a “Liberty Mural” (created for the show) starring Rosa Parks, Thurgood Marshall, Ida B. Wells, Sojourner Truth and Frederick Douglass. (This episode and the rest of “Bluff City Law” can be found in reruns of the new NBCUniversal Peacock streaming service.) The series is set in Memphis, Tennessee, and features a law firm run by attorney Elijah Strait (played by Jimmy Smits) and his daughter Sydney. The firm handles controversial civil rights cases.  This is the third role of Smits, who is a lawyer in an NBC Network prime-time series, the previous programs were L.A. Law and Outlaw. Elijah`s law firm, Straits & Associates, is known for handling controversial civil rights cases. The team includes Anthony, another Sydney student, Sydney`s half-brother and Elijah`s son, Emerson, lead partners Della and Jake, and Emerson`s mentor Briana.
The return to the company also brings Sydney back into the orbit of her ex-police chief husband, Robbie. Each episode of the series highlights at least one case the team is working on. In the first episode, the company files a class action lawsuit against a company that concealed evidence that a product caused cancer. In the same episode, Jake attempts to appeal the verdict by a man wrongly convicted of murder. The show`s cancellation after the shortened first season was confirmed Monday night in an email to The Commercial Appeal by Stuart Levine, vice president of editorial and media relations at NBC Entertainment. The show`s 10 episodes, produced in Memphis in 2019, employed dozens of Tennessee people and contributed about $35 million to the local economy, according to network estimates. The cancellation of “Bluff City Law” seemed likely after production ceased in October. However, NBC insisted that the series be considered for a second season, which rebounded the hopes of local crew workers and the show`s bourgeois boosters month after month. Other cases the company is fighting include a student killed during a protest against a far-right group, a teenager who wants to sue the government for climate change after his city was flooded, and a man with a motor neuron disease who wants to die from euthanasia.
Bluff City Law follows lawyer Sydney Strait, who distanced herself from her father Elijah because she fell out during the collaboration. Sydney returns to Elijah`s law firm in Memphis after his mother`s death. The series used Memphis impressively as a filming location and featured soul food restaurants, Beale Street clubs, riverside parks, and the courthouse of Shelby County Judge D`Army Bailey, among others. The series follows the lawyers of an elite Memphis law firm specializing in the most controversial civil rights cases, run by legendary attorney Elijah Strait and his daughter Sydney Keller. “Not only has the show left more money in the city than any other customer over the past 33 years, but it has also broken barriers by nurturing and hiring a record number of individuals of color from the home team,” she said. On May 12, 2019, NBC released the first official trailer for the series.  NBC`s top drama priority for the current 2019-20 season, “Bluff City Law,” was heavily promoted but lost viewers after its debut on September 23, which drew 4.6 million viewers and remained the highest-rated episode of the series. In June 2020, the series was canceled after one season.  Famous American actor Jimmy Smits won an Emmy Award for his role as a lawyer in the 1980s series L.A. Law, before becoming even more famous with the hit series NYPD Blue.
Now, the 65-year-old is back in the courtroom in the drama Bluff City Law, which can be aired on 9Now. While not unexpected (production of the program ceased in October), the announcement is an economic blow to the city and a disappointment to the program`s relatively small but loyal fan base. Smits plays legendary lawyer Elijah alongside Caitlin McGee in his first major role as Sydney. McGee is an aspiring actress best known for her guest roles, including a memorable appearance on Grey`s Anatomy. She also played the ex-girlfriend of Dev Patel`s character in the Amazon Prime series Modern Love. It`s finally official: NBC has canceled the Memphis-based legal drama “Bluff City Law.” The rest of the cast includes Revenge star Barry Sloane as Jake, She`s Gotta Have It actor Michael Luwoye as Anthony, Ramy Maame actress Yaa Boafo as Briana, Free Willy and 24-year-old actress Jayne Atkinson as Della, and UnREAL actor Josh Kelly as Robbie. In February 2019, it was announced that Jimmy Smits, Caitlin McGee, Barry Sloane and Michael Luwoye had been cast in the lead roles in the pilot.    In addition to announcing the pilot`s assignment, it was reported in March 2019 that Stony Blyden, Jayne Atkinson and MaameYaa Boafo had joined the cast.    With contributions from the state, Memphis Tourism and the Memphis and Shelby County Economic Development Growth Engine (EDGE), a $4.25 million incentive program was put in place to enhance the financial benefits already legally available for film and television productions — and to ensure that “Bluff City Law” does not join the conga line of decorated but not filmed productions in Memphis. which include “The Blind Side” and “Memphis Beat”.
In February 2019, it was announced that Jimmy Smits, Caitlin McGee, Barry Sloane and Michael Luwoye had been cast in the lead roles in the pilot. Review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported an approval rating of 38% with an average rating of 6.62/10, based on 13 reviews. The site`s critical consensus reads: “While Bluff City Law`s procedural procedures often seem dated, fans of Jimmy Smits and Caitlin McGee can find solace in their familiar rhythms.”  Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, gave it a score of 44 out of 100 based on 7 critics, indicating “mixed or average reviews”.  Bluff City Law was created by Dean Georgaris and Michael Aguilar. Georgaris is a writer and producer who also created the American version of The Baker and the Beauty. Her writing projects include The Meg, The Manchurian Candidate and Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life. On January 10, 2019, it was announced that NBC had placed a pilot order for the production. The pilot was written by Dean Georgaris, who is executive producer alongside David Janollari and Michael Aguilar.