Law & Order: Trial by Jury was an American television drama about criminal trials set in New York City. It was the fourth spin-off from the long-running Law & Order. The show's almost exclusive focus is on the criminal trial of the accused, showing both the prosecution's and defense's preparation for trial, as well as the trial itself. The series premiered on Thursday, March 3, 2005, and aired its series finale on Friday, May 6, 2005. Its regular time slot was Fridays 10/9 p.m. ET on NBC. An additional episode aired on Court TV (now truTV) after the series' cancellation.
The following statement, narrated by Steven Zirnkilton, is spoken at the beginning of nearly every episode:
In the criminal justice system, all defendants are innocent until proven guilty, either by confession, plea bargain, or trial by jury. This is one of those trials.
Unlike the other Law & Order series, Trial By Jury shows what it is like to prepare for and try a criminal case. The episodes usually start with a witness or victim telling a story about a crime that has already occurred. This story is used to inform the audience on what happened prior to the beginning of the episode. This is a departure from the other three Law & Order shows, which usually start off showing the audience the actual crime. The show progresses on from that point, showing how both sides develop their strategies for winning the case.
The prosecution's preparation usually includes scenes where their investigators go out and follow up on leads and interview witnesses. The defense's preparation varies from episode to episode, running the gamut from testing arguments in front of jury focus groups to unethical dealmaking between co-defendants. Each episode has several trial scenes, with both sides examining witnesses and giving arguments. There are also several pre-trial meetings where some procedural issue is argued and ruled on. In addition, there are a few episodes showing jury deliberation. The show develops the judges as characters, showing scenes of them conferring with each other and reusing the same judges in multiple episodes.
|Production #||Air Date||Title|
|1-1||E5701||3 March 2005||"The Abominable Showman"|
|1-2||E5707||4 March 2005||"Forty-One Shots"|
|1-3||E5712||11 March 2005||"Vigilante"|
|1-4||E5703||18 March 2005||"Truth or Consequences"|
|1-5||E5704||25 March 2005||"Baby Boom"|
|1-6||E5710||1 April 2005||"Pattern of Conduct"|
|1-7||E5711||8 April 2005||"Bang & Blame"|
|1-8||E5716||15 April 2005||"Skeleton" (This is the second half of the Law & Order episode "Tombstone").|
|1-9||E5714||22 April 2005||"The Line"|
|1-10||E5713||29 April 2005||"Blue Wall"|
|1-11||E5715||3 May 2005||"Day" (This was the second half of the Law & Order: Special Victims Unit episode "Night").|
|1-12||E5706||6 May 2005||"Boys Will Be Boys"|
|1-13||E5705||21 January 2006||"Eros in the Upper Eighties" (Note: this episode was never aired on NBC).|
|Ep. #||Title||Writer(s)||Director||Airdate||Prod. code|
|1||"The Abominable Snowman"||Dick Wolf||Jean de Segonzac||March 3, 2005||E5701|
|A Famous brodway Producer is Charged with Murder after his girlfriend disappears.|
|2||"Forty-One Shots"||Walton Green||Caleb Deschanel||March 4, 2005||E5707|
|A Cop Killer who was shot 41 times is on trial for murder, but his defense argues that he shot the officer in self-defense.|
|3||"Vigilante"||David Wilcox||Dwight Little||March 11, 2005||E5712|
|A Dangerous Sex Offender is Paroled Despite the Neighborhood's objections and is quickly killed by a vigilante making the killer a hero.|
|4||"Truth or Consequenses"||Walton Green & David Wilcox||Constatine Markris||March 18, 2005||E5703|
|Three young men, from different socioeconomic backgrounds, are charged with killing a young woman. When they turn on each other, the killer is not necessarily the obvious one.|
|5||"Baby Boom"||Joan Rater & Tony Phelan||Michael Pressman||March 25, 2005||E5704|
|When a baby dies, her nanny is charged for murder. The prosecution has to prove it's case while dealing with the judge's bias|
|6||"Pattern of Conduct"||Pamula J. Wechsler & Walton Green||Constantine Markris||April 1, 2005||E5710|
|A married Basketball star is suspected of killing his misteress, even though there is a question whenever her death was a suicide or a homicide.|
|7||"Bang & Blame"||Chris Levinson||Caleb Deschanel||April 8, 2005||E5711|
|A Grief-stricken man opens fire at the bank where he works, killing a woman and injuring two others. He tries to blame bad luck, the police, and others for his actions.|
|8||"Skeleton (Part 2)"||David Wilcox||David Platt||April 15, 2005||E5716|
|In pursute of the suspect who shot Detective Green and killed a former cop, the detectives and prosicuters are led to a porn magnate who may have ordered the attack.|
|9||"The Line"||Tony Phelan & Joan Rater||Richard Pearce||April 22, 2005||E5714|
|A Murder is getting aut of jail because of bad evidence at his trial, and Kibre is determined to find new evidence to put him back behind bars.|
|10||"Blue Wall"||Rick Eid||Joe Ann Fogle||April 29, 2005||E5713|
|When a gay freshman of the NYU dies after being assulted in police custody, the cops who arrested him are put on trial for the murder|
|11||"Day (Part 2)"||Chris Levinson||Caleb Deschanel||May 3, 2005||E5715|
|When a woman who was raped dies from a heart attack, the evidence leads to Gabriel Duvall, the son of a rich soluite, who appeears to prey of defenseless illegal immigrant women.|
|12||"Boys Will Be Boys"||Rick Eid||Aaron Lipstadt||May 6, 2005||E5706|
|A Transexual is punched to death after "dating" a yound Latino man, and his father's rage appears to be the cause of tragedy|
|13||"Eros in the Upper Eighties"||Chris Levinson||Joe Ann Fogle||Unaired/January 21, 2006||E5705|
|A Doorman at a high-end upper Eastside building saves a tenant's life when he pulls a homeless man off her, but kills him in the progress, and what appears to be an act of a good Samaritan is actually much more complicated|
Trial by Jury is the first series of the Law & Order franchise to be cancelled, although TV Guide reported at one point that NBC had reconsidered its decision and would pick up the series once again (or hand it off to Turner Network Television, which also airs reruns of the original series). The sets were reused by a series Wolf produced for NBC entitled Conviction which premiered Friday, March 3 2006, lasting only one season before cancellation. In an October 2005 interview with the Associated Press, Wolf stated that NBC had assured him Trial by Jury would return for the fall of 2005 but had "blindsided" him by cancelling it instead.
Court TV (now TruTV) re-aired the entire series, including the episode "Eros In The Upper Eighties," which never aired on NBC before the show's cancellation.
"Night" was included on the Law & Order: Trial By Jury DVD set. However, for unexplained reasons, "Tombstone" was not.