Simone Missick stars as Judge Lola Carmichael in CBS’ brand-new “dramedy” All Rise. All Rise around Judge Carmichael as she navigates through the chaotic, hopeful and at times, absurd life that comes with working within the justice system day in and day out.
CBS Local’s Matt Weiss spoke to Missick ahead of tonight’s episode to discuss what drew her to this latest role, the show’s commitment to diversity and her mission to take viewers on a fast paced ride.
MW: Simone, good morning, how are you?
SM: Good morning, Matt, how are you?
MW: I’m doing very well, very excited to talk to you today! I caught the first episode of All Rise last week and I loved it, congrats on successful premiere!
SM: Thank you, thank you so much, it’s good to come out of the box strong.
MW: And you play Lola Carmichael, of course, the main judge on All Rise. For anyone who didn’t catch last week’s episode, can you catch us up on the premise of the show a little bit?
SM: Absolutely, so the show is a legal “dramedy” as I like to call it. It’s fast paced, it’s fun, it’s funny, these characters are smart, they’re flawed, a little neurotic, but they are very earnest in their desire to help the justice system run. We go behind the scenes of these lawyers, and clerks, and judges, and bailiffs and we look at who they are; but then we also take a look at these people who are committing these crimes. It’s a, as we call it, a roller coaster of emotions, but it’s a really good “dramedy.”
MW: Now as I mentioned up top, your character’s name is Judge Carmichael. What was it about her that drew you in and made you want to take on this role?
SM: I was just interested in playing a character that was flawed. You know, she’s very capable and smart. She’s been a successful deputy district attorney for over a decade, which is why she’s been chosen, handpicked to be the newest judge, the youngest judge on the bench.
She’s also imperfect, you know, she’s clumsy, she’s sometimes a little too focused. They call her the lolacoaster and you can put any kind of thought into it as to why that nickname exists [laughs]. But she’s a person who, although she’s got a lot of good intentions is not perfect. I think those are the kind of characters I like to play, people who are flawed and human because we all are.
MW: Another great aspect of the show is the commitment to diversity. Can you talk about that aspect of the show a little bit how diverse the cast is, how many different people you’ve brought onto the show?
SM: Our cast is so diverse, not only ethnically, but gender wise. We’ve got I think five women, two men, which is, you know, not how we typically look at legal shows. Certainly not seeing a woman of color in the lead role, but we also have cast members that are extremely talented. You’ve got two Tony Award winners in our cast, Lindsay Mendez and Ruthie Anne Miles. We have Marge Helgenberger who has been a CBS staple for decades and she brings that same dedication to the cast. Jessica Camacho, who is a phenomenal actress, plays the dedicated district attorney and we just watch her pour all of her heart into each and every case, it’s beautiful to watch. And then we’ve got J. Alex Brinson and Wilson Bethel who are the two men who anchor our cast and they are both brilliant with what they do, they’re funny, they’re smart, and they’re also good-hearted actors and people.
Our cast really feels like a family, we’re always breaking out into song and dance and our crew gets in with it. Our crew is equally diverse, we’ve got a lot of female directors, a female VP, our crew is just very integrated in the same way our cast is and I think that’s what this country is and this world is. Hopefully what we’re putting on screen is a reflection of what we’ll see happening more and more in our court system, where there are so few women in the legal system as judges and as lawyers, so few women of color especially. So hopefully that what happens on screen will lead into what happens in the real world.
MW: Right, it sends such an important message and hopefully, like you said, is something that really catches on. Alright, so I‘ve heard you describe the show as a “dramedy”, you’ve said it’s like a roller coaster. Taking those two words out, I’m going to put you on the spot, last question before I let you go. Can you describe the show in 3 words?
SM: Fast paced ride.
MW: Wow, no hesitation at all!
SM: [Laughs] I’m on it Matt.
MW: Firing on all cylinders, this morning, well thank you so much, Simone, it was a pleasure talking to you!
SM: Thank you, you too!
All Rise airs Monday nights at 9:00PM ET/PT, only on CBS. Check your local listings for more information.