Shondaland’s Newest Legal Drama Show and Exclusive Interview with Cast for ABC’s For The People #ForThePeople #ABCTVEvent Tuesday 13 March, 2018

Courtesy of ABC

Shonda Rhimes might be ending Scandal, but she is adding a new show to her roster called “For The People”. While I was in LA, we got to screen the first episode and see this new legal drama series. It an intriguing show with a twist, as you get to see the young paralegal and public defending side of being in a courtroom.

I had the chance to interview the with actors Jasmin Savoy Brown (“Allison Adams”), Susannah Flood (“Kate Littlejohn”), Regé-Jean Page (Leonard Knox) & Wesam Keesh (“Jay Simmons”) and Creator & Executive Producer Paul William Davies and Executive Producer Tom Verica to learn more about the new courtroom drama show, their characters and the energy of the series.

For the People synopsis: Six talented young lawyers work on opposite sides of the law handling the most high-profile and high-stakes federal cases in the country. In the new Shondaland series show, these young lawyers will be put to the test both personally and professionally as their lives intersect in and out of America’s most prestigious trial court, a.k.a. “The Mother Court.”

For the People Cast Q&A

Jasmin Savoy Brown (“Allison Adams”), Susannah Flood (“Kate Littlejohn”), Regé-Jean Page (Leonard Knox) & Wesam Keesh (“Jay Simmons”) and Creator & Executive Producer Paul William Davies and Executive Producer Tom Verica

Creator & Executive Producer Paul William Davies on how the show got created

 I had in creating the show is that- and studies have borne this out.  Really the only category of lawyers that are truly happy in their jobs are public defenders and prosecutors. They tend to have the like by a wide margin highest career satisfaction among attorneys who generally have a very disturbingly low career satisfaction number.

But public defenders and prosecutors stand out because they actually are doing real things and are really invested and engaged in their jobs.   And so I really wanted to show law in a light that was different than in some ways I experienced it and most of the people that I went to law school with experienced it, which was either the drudgery of a big firm or they stopped, they quit.  It’s generally an unhappy lot but this is the exception and this show is a little bit, more than a little bit, it’s aspirational that way.And it really does- especially in the times in which we live right now, I think it resonates even more the idea that the work that these people do on both sides is important and the integrity of the system is important.

On writing for Scandal for years and with that ending, how will this show bring a different story aspect to Shondaland

I mean I wrote on Scandal for years, I love Scandal.  I’m incredibly sad it’s about to end, Tom is in the middle of directing our- he’s about to start directing on our show.  And so it’s near and dear to my heart. And I wrote a lot of the law stuff, I wrote a lot of David Rosen for Scandal but this show is different.  And I think that’s- you know, Shonda was great about that from the start and embracing kind of what I wanted to do with it.

And Shondaland is a big tent and there are certain themes that underlie a lot of what comes out of Shondaland  but the work also reflects everybody who’s doing it and their individual sensibilities. And so I think this show will be a bit more grounded and I think that’s just more what I set out to do.  And I think what fits the show better, and I think it will be relevant, it’s not a ripped from the headlines show, but it is definitely going to have real world relevance and a lot of the stuff that we do in the first season are real topics in law today.  And I think people recognize and hopefully appreciate that.

Photo Courtesy of ABC

Photo Credit: Louise Manning Bishop /

How the actors got prepared for their role to act as people in the legal field 

Wesam Keesh (“Jay Simmons”): I actually did shadow a public defender at the L.A. courthouse and that was an amazing experience, just what the public defenders have to deal with within a few hours, from like a bicycle theft case to a sexual assault case to somebody showing up for their prison sentence, to a juvenile trying to not get jail time.  So they have to deal with a lot and yeah it was very eye opening, there’s a lot of dark humor behind the scenes which, you know, plays into it.

Jasmin Savoy Brown (“Allison Adams”): like Wesam, I also have a public defender that I Skype with who’s in New York and that’s invaluable.  Even just while we’re Skyping she got like five calls in half an hour and just understanding the nature of what that actually looks like and her critiquing the show, [LAUGHS] just from the trailer.

Regé-Jean Page (“Leonard Knox”): I got into contact with a couple of folks in this city and kind of went down to, I went to court in Compton, which is in experience.  And I didn’t know before I started working this that everyone has the right to go and just watch justice be done, like you can turn up and watch a case with very-very few exceptions which is incredible because it is so important for justice not just to be done but to be seen to be done.

Photo Courtesy of ABC

Jasmin Savoy Brown on her character being a hardcore researcher and her bring light to a woman in the courtroom

Just the fact they walk into this courtroom every day, real people’s lives incredibly intricate complicated stories. And you have to boil that down and deliver it to jury with all the technicalities involved and essentially either save lives or not and with ten other cases on your back and five calls coming in every ten minutes.  And just kind of seeing people work in that kind of rhythm is both inspiring and a responsibility because you then have to represent that in its best light.

And I think the bravado of all of these characters in the first thirty minutes of the show is really true and appropriate to the actual lawyers in the Southern District.  They’re all very like they’re very New York in that way, they’re like Wolf of Wall Street in that way. They’re fronting with this kind of ambition that derives from a passion for principle.  They’re all civil servants, they’re not getting paid that much money, they’re only in their jobs because of the principle of being in the job.

And so that passion is expressed towards thoroughness in the job and that comes across a certain way but you get to know it a little bit better as you spend more time with it.  And I’m really thrilled in my character that like we get to see a woman occupy this space of precision, analysis, thoroughness, diligence.

Photo Credit: Louise Manning Bishop /

Director Tom Verica gives hints of this being the Breakfast Club of the Courtroom

So we set up kind of what the forum is and then slowly bit by bit you find out a little bit about these characters.  And since we have a little bit of hindsight having done ten episodes, we delved into each of these characters’ personal stories and it’s quite revealing and surprising.  And Paul and the writing team have done a really phenomenal job with peeling back those layers, seemingly what seems, you know, that you’re able to say well this one is the jock.

You know, all those classic Breakfast Club things where you sort of put these characters in those boxes, I’m dating myself.  Put those people in those boxes- have you guys seen that.  But you do sort of see what makes each of them tick, and I think you’re dealing with the jumping in point is these guys are on their first day on the job and they are wearing their armor and they are wearing, they have their protective coats on. And as they sort of get into it and you sort of see a little or a lot of the gray area about what makes them tick, why.

You know, completely different sides of a public defender and a prosecutor, they come at it from a completely different way.  It’s really great to see the human element and their interaction with one another, which dramatically hopefully we pull that off.

Photo Credit: Louise Manning Bishop /

FOR THE PEOPLE (series premiere Tuesday, March 13 at 10|9c)


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For The People Website

For The People premieres Tonight at 10|9c on ABC.

Are you excited for the new Shondaland Series For The People?

About the Blogger - Kiwi the Beauty

Kiwi is the free spirited blogger and content creator of As a digital influencer, she produces creative inspiration around beauty, lifestyle, media and travel leisure. Her life mantra is to make manifesting fun! When she’s not blogging, she is eating trendy hipster food, carrying crystals, making it rain at her local farmer's market and binge brunching. Follow her on her blog and social media at + @kiwithebeauty

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  • Christie says:

    I’ve seen the commercials for this show. If it’s anything like any of Shonda’s other shows, we’ll be in for a treat! Your interviews were great! I just went and set our DVR to record the series tonight!

  • I am a legal and medical show geek and watch a lot of them and usually not on demand. This one seems to have a great energy and behind the scene look at the legal profession from both sides.

  • Stacie says:

    This sounds like it’s going to be very good. I love legal dramas. I have for as long as I can remember. This will be on my DVR.

  • Kelly Reci says:

    I am always on the lookout for new series to start with my husband. We loved Suits so I wonder if we’ll like this one!

  • Rosey says:

    I am excited now. This is my first to hear of it. I’ll be on the lookout with the remote!

  • Myrah Duque says:

    I am super excited about this show!We like to watch these types of movies.

  • This sounds like it’s going to be great. I love this kind of show. Can’t wait to watch it!

  • I love legal dramas like this and I’m definitely interested to see the show. I think it’s awesome that you were able to meet the cast. I’m curious as to how they’ll make the show work. So exciting!

  • Daria says:

    I haven’t seen any previews but I haven’t had time to really look at television. I will however look for the show and set my DVR. Thanks for sharing!

  • Sharice says:

    I am so happy that there is some new Shondaland material on the way. I have recently gotten into Chicago PD, but not nearly as dedicated as I was to Scandal. I will be tuning in to this show.

  • Kim S says:

    I didn’t know this show was on until one night, my tv happened to have been on ABC on Tuesday night and this came on. I was hooked. So far so good. I love Shonda

  • Olena says:

    Midway thorugh this blog post I had to stop for a moment to watch the first episode of this show on Hulu. I am already a fan of courtroom dramas and Shonda so I have to say I am a FAN! Thank so much for this behind-the-scenes interview on this show. I love it! Great job!!

  • I am going to have to check this out. I was effy but I will trybit out.

  • I’ve seen the previews and so glad there will be something to replace Scandal. I’m excited to get into this new series, thanks for the review.

  • Mimi Green says:

    If Shondaland is doing it, then I’m watching it period. I’m a loyal fan and she does not disappoint. I’ve seen every episode of Grey’s and Scandal. I watched a couple seasons of How to Get Away with Murder.

    Her writing talents are incredible.

  • EG III says:

    As someone who’s never seen an episode of Scandal (blasphemy I know), I’m most looking forward to checking out this new series with completely unbiased anticipation.

  • Kasi says:

    Shonda always puts out hits, so I’m sure this one won’t disappoint either! It sounds like a great show, I’ll have to try to check it out!

  • Shonda is so brilliant, and I am sure that this new show will be a perfect fit in the ABC line up!

  • Leni says:

    I love this show.

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