Tell me if this set of characters sounds familiar:
Male professional, early middle age, brilliant at what he does, but so blunt and abrasive that it's not advisable to let him deal directly with the public. He has a team of three assistants who help him prepare, and who serve as the more palatable public face for the presentation of his work; they are a classic Mod Squad team: cute young white guy; sexy/brooding, slightly older black guy; and hot chick. That's right, it's House, but it's also Justice, which has pulled off the most blatant theft of a character set that I can remember.
This time, it's criminal defense attorneys instead of doctors, and our brilliant-but-abrasive genius is Ron Trott (Victor Garber), who prepares for a trial and spins the media better than anyone; unfortunately, juries hate him. So at trial time, Trott steps into the background and lets one of his partners take the lead. Most often, that job falls to the "all-American face of not guilty," Tom Nicholson (Kerr Smith). Also on the team are Luther Graves (Eamonn Walker), who tends to play devil's advocate, spotting the weaknesses in his side's case; and Alden Tucker (Rebecca Mader), who deals with the forensic and medical experts.
Like the show's cast of characters, the first episode's plot is borrowed from elsewhere -- from the fine documentary The Staircase. As in that film, we're given a husband accused of murdering his wife; he claims that she died in a fall, but the prosecution argues that the head wounds are too severe and numerous to have been the result of an accident. The police claim that she was clubbed to death with a blunt object, but have been unable to locate that weapon.
As in all the other crime shows from producer Jerry Bruckheimer, the visual style is flashy, with lots of swooping camera shots that dive through walls, and lengthy shots in which the passage of time is indicated by a character's clothes changing mid-stride. The show's signature device will be its epilogue, in which we get to see what actually happened, and I suspect that we'll see clients turn out to be guilty as often as not.
As Hugh Laurie dominates House, Victor Garber dominates Justice; he's crisp and witty, constantly barking orders at his colleagues and his clients, and turning on the charm for the TV talk shows. (How Trott can be so successful on these show but so unpopular with actual juries is the greatest flaw in the setup, and I hope that will be explored; perhaps he freezes under courtroom pressure.) It's a brash, extroverted performance, the polar opposite from his work on Alias as the tightly wound stoic Jack Bristow. The other actors didn't make particularly strong impressions in the first episode; they were overshadowed by Garber's oversized presence, but I expect that each will get a chance to shine in later episodes.
The show's got a tough time slot, opposite Lost, Criminal Minds, and One Tree Hill. It's a reasonably entertaining hour, though, and I'll give it at least a few more episodes.