Raising the Bar

Season 1 Episode 1


Aired Monday 10:00 PM Sep 01, 2008 on TNT
out of 10
User Rating
77 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

Public defender, Jerry Kellerman, defends a man that he is certain is innocent. Jerry struggles on the case while in front of a judge that despises him. Meanwhile in the DA's office, Michelle tries to right a wrong in a rape trial while the office doesn't want to be embarrassed by a wrong conviction.moreless

Who was the Episode MVP ?

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  • Watching the Pilot for a second time after viewing 13 shows to date, gives me a much stronger impression of the episode.

    Now that I know the basics of each of the characters, I have a greater appreciation for the Pilot episode, which like all pilots, is taxed with the task of not only introducing the characters, but also the overall theme of the show.

    The first time I viewed the Pilot, I was focusing on each new character, and the actor/actress portraying him/her. Like many, I tuned in to see actors I am already fond of from other shows (J. August Richards, Currie Graham, Gloria Reuben, Jane Kaczmarek, and Mark-Paul Gosselaar). It quickly became clear that the passion for truth held by the character of Jerry Kellerman was the driving force of the show. And think it is safe to say it has held its ground.

    On the first viewing, I marked Jerry, Marcus, Charlie, and Balco as my "ones to watch," and have been mostly impressed by each character's evolution as time has gone by. I'd like to see more development of Nick Balco and Marcus McGrath. We really don't see their private lives in this series, so the challenge to justify their attitudes and subsequent behavior is substantial. In the meantime, I see a strong consistency in the development of all of the other characters during Season 1 based on their introductions in this pilot.moreless
  • Raising The Bar for excellent television!

    I have to admit, I have watched barely any police and crime dramas in my life. So from an unsophisticated crime drama pallet, I have to say this was excellent television. I watched to see Jane Kaczmarek from Malcolm in the Middle just to see if her post-Malcolm life was thriving, and was caught up in the great storyline and exciting characters. It was fascinating involving an alleged rapist, did he do it? With interesting characters, a great plotline and excellent writing, there was rarely a dull moment. While I have read some fellow reviewers notes on the pilot, I can see some tweaks such that can be made such as it did drag slightly in the middle of the episode and that it isn't legally accurate. But these things in my mind are forgiveable. I like the crazy judge plotline, although I'm not sure if it can sustain a television series. Since it's just a pilot, they can still move things around and make it possible to be a long-lasting series. For a pilot though, this was excellent. Just make some tweaks, move things around a bit.moreless
  • The only strong point of this show is Mark-Paul Gosselaar...the rest seemed to just try to throw in one generic controversial act after another.

    I won't go as far to say this show is completely non entertaining, but I felt that there was nothing overly exciting or special about it. Gosselaars' energy and emotion was probably the only bright spot. I thought the girl playing the DA was somewhat attractive and worth watching. All you really saw in the show was attempt after attempt to be radical. There was no depth of substance to the story or the acting. As a whole, if the show doesn't pull me in after the next episode, this show is just not worth watching, especially with so many other great law based dramas out there.moreless
  • No. No. No. No. No.

    This show was seriously disappointing. BotchUp has got to get himself a legal consult for his writing staff. Maybe Joss Whedon could write a single courtroom scene in his entire series of "Angel" and get away with having no legal consult, but this show is wall to wall lawyers.

    You can only have so many "'SomeName vs. SomeName' lets me cop a verbal feel" references, and Blondie couldn't know her boss hadn't taken his Cialis that day. That little sexually aggressive maneuver could've backfired right up her skirt.

    Not to mention her little shower scene at the end. Talk about striving mightily, then eating and drinking as friends.

    The judge was totally unbelievable. Also, Jerry's boss was way out of place in the bar scene (everyone else might've gone to law school together, but she hadn't, and her presence in that group would've been awkward to say the least). "We're all best friends" outside the courtroom is only going to get you so far -- as is after-hours smoochies with your bisexual clerk.

    And thanks for the heads-up that I can't own a Swiss Army knife in New York, or carry one around with me, without I risk seven years in prison if I go before a Looney Tunes judge. What a joke.

    Also, I love how Jerry's client is innocent because he Believes he is. Together with the Jesus hair that should get you about exactly zip. Present some evidence next time.

    Summing up, BotchUp should at least watch a few other legal dramas to gauge the state of viewer sophistication, starting with "The Practice" and "Law & Order." If you're just going to focus on relationships and treat the legal drama aspect as some nonsensical afterthought, maybe you'd like to rethink the whole thing and set the show in a diner or a boutique. Feh!moreless
  • I just can't wrap my head around how bad this pilot was.

    Blergh, I am convinced that this show is going to be completely lacking in ratings amidst the steady flow of new and returning fall shows and maybe that's a good thing. I honestly don't know which was worse - the writing or the acting. The lead character was nothing but a whiny and irritating sob and the judge was just too ridiculously loopy. And even those one-dimensional aspects of the characters did the actors screw up. The plot was too in-your-face and the writers seemed to have skipped realism altogether. Fail.

    Maybe I'll catch the second episode and it could be better but this show needs some serious work done to it.moreless
Michael Harney

Michael Harney

Detective Dougherty

Guest Star

Bob Koherr

Bob Koherr

George Gursky

Guest Star

Emily Schweitz

Emily Schweitz

Ann Harlow

Guest Star

Stacy Hall

Stacy Hall

Vince Culp

Recurring Role

Wayne Lopez

Wayne Lopez

Bob the Court Clerk

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (6)

    • Jerry: What happened to you? How did you go from being a judge to a petty, spiteful tyrant?
      Judge Kessler: That's it. You have 10 seconds to apologize, Mister, or else.
      Jerry: One Mississippi... Two Mississippi...
      Judge Kessler: Get him out of here!

    • Jerry: You know, you guys in the DA's office are unbelievable. You screw with people's lives all day, and then come five o'clock, it's like, hey, okay, school's out, let's all get loaded together.
      Michelle: Here we go.
      Marcus: Come on Jerry, man. We all go back too many years. Lighten up. We do our job, you do yours. That's the system. It's not personal.
      Jerry: You see? No, see that's the problem with y'all. It IS personal. It's very personal. My guy's lookin' at 25 years for a rape he didn't do, and everyone thinks I'm a jerk because I just can't have a drink, play nice and let it all go. (Gets up to leave) Excuse me, I have a summation to write.

    • Richard: George, you stabbed a guy 36 times and cut his penis off.
      George: I was angry.
      Richard: Yeah, well "He pissed me off" isn't a defense.

    • Jerry: Trying a case here is like having a second prosecutor on the bench.
      Judge Kessler: You're in contempt!

    • Jerry: You're a joke!
      Judge Kessler: Get him out of here!

    • Judge Kessler: What part of "I don't care" don't you understand?

  • NOTES (3)