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TNT's "Raising the Bar" is an emotionally powerful legal drama from Emmy-winning producer Steven Bochco that stars Mark-Paul Gosselaar ("NYPD Blue"), Gloria Reuben ("ER") and Jane Kaczmarek ("Malcolm in the Middle"). The series follows the cases and lives of young lawyers who work on opposite sides — the public defender's office and the district attorney's office — as well as those who sit in judgment on their cases. Bochco and lawyer/writer David Feige (author of Indefensible) created the show, which comes to TNT from ABC Studios and Bochco Media, with Bochco serving as executive producer and Feige as supervising producer.

This season's cases tackle such issues as hate crimes, drug dealing and child pornography as the lawyers face off against each other in the courtroom. In addition to the difficulties they confront in Judge Kessler's court, they now have to endure the draconian rules of Judge Albert Farnsworth (John Michael Higgins, "Best in Show"). And with Roz missing the hands-on aspect of public defending and Balco determined to reach new political levels, they'll both find themselves in the courtroom more and more, alongside their talented staff members.

Gosselaar plays idealistic public defender Jerry Kellerman, driven to do everything he can to secure a verdict of not guilty or a decent plea deal for his clients. Reuben plays his passionate and protective boss, Rosalind "Roz" Whitman, who loves her work overseeing the public defender's office but frequently wishes she could spend more time in the courtroom defending the underprivileged. Kaczmarek plays imperious Judge Trudy Kessler, who has dreams of becoming the next district attorney.

The "Raising the Bar" cast also includes Natalia Cigliuti ("All My Children") as Bobbi Gilardi, a new lawyer from Brooklyn who has a flirtatious relationship with Kellerman; Melissa Sagemiller ("Sleeper Cell") as Michelle Ernhart, a prosecutor who doesn't mind playing games in order to get what she wants; J. August Richards ("Conviction") as Marcus McGrath, whose prosecutorial skills are matched by his overwhelming sense of right and wrong; Teddy Sears ("Ugly Betty") as Richard Woolsley, a lawyer who could have a big job at his father's multi-million-dollar law firm but chooses instead to help indigent defendants; Currie Graham ("Boston Legal") as Nick Balco, an assistant district attorney with a penchant for hard ball and sexual innuendo; and Jonathan Scarfe ("Into the West") as Judge Kessler's loyal aide, whose personal feelings and relationships sometimes interfere with his work.

"Raising the Bar" not only looks at courtroom battles but also the relationships among people on different sides. This season, Jerry will continue making judges' lives miserable, but he'll also be getting a new hairstyle. His flirtation with fellow public defender Bobbi has the potential to evolve, now that her divorce from her abusive, drug-addicted husband is in the works. Marcus will get into a relationship with a local politician's chief of staff, which could cause complications in an important case. And Charlie will try to adjust to his life outside the closet.

"Raising the Bar" comes to TNT from ABC Studios and Bochco Media, with Bochco serving as executive producer.


Network: TNT
Genre: Drama
Runtime: 60 mins.
Premiere Date: September 1, 2008
Finale Date: December 24, 2009
Seasons: 2
Production Company: Steven Bochco Productions

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Got Raising the Bar spoilers? What did you think of the last show?

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