Courthouse (TV series)

Courthouse is an American drama television series that ran on CBS from September 13 to November 15, 1995. The series was created and executive-produced by Deborah Joy LeVine.[1] The Courthouse plot centered on a tough female judge,[2] and was partially inspired by NYPD Blue and the television coverage of the O. J. Simpson murder case.[3] Patricia Wettig led the cast which also included Bob Gunton and Robin Givens.[4] Wettig intended to leave the show due to "creative differences", with sources saying that she wanted the show to be more of a star vehicle for her, rather than an ensemble cast, but the show was cancelled before her character could be written out.[1][5]

Created byDeborah Joy LeVine
Written byIan Biederman
Dennis Cooper
Dan Levine
Deborah Joy LeVine
Roger Lowenstein
Gina Prince-Bythewood
Directed byRon Lagomarsino
Michael Fields
James Frawley
Dan Lerner
Alan J. Levi
Martha Mitchell
James Quinn
Jesús Salvador Treviño
StarringPatricia Wettig
ComposerJay Gruska
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes11 (2 unaired)
Executive producerDeborah Joy LeVine
ProducersDan Levine
Vahan Moosekian
CinematographyMichael Gershman
EditorsSusan B. Browdy
David Post
Ron Rosen
Running time60 minutes (with commercials)
Production companiesKedzie Productions
Columbia Pictures Television
DistributorSony Pictures Television
Original networkCBS
Original releaseSeptember 13 (1995-09-13) –
November 15, 1995 (1995-11-15)

The show included Jenifer Lewis and Cree Summer as the first recurring African American lesbian characters on TV,[6] but the role was ordered to be toned down for broadcast.[3] Lewis played Juvenile Court judge Rosetta Reide, who was having a relationship with her housekeeper Danny Gates (played by Summer).

The show failed to catch on with audiences, the pilot ranked 47 out of 108 shows, according to the Nielsen ratings for that week, with 9.2 million viewers (16% share), and it was cancelled two months after it premiered.[2][7][8] One critic described the show as "a hopeless amalgam that strains the senses".[9]


Courthouse is a TV drama with much sex and violence; it follows the lives of the judges and lawyers and all the staff at a big-city courthouse in fictional Clark County. The court has a limited budget and an overcrowded case load, and the courthouse itself is falling into disrepair.[1]

The court is led by the no-nonsense presiding judge, Justine Parkes.[3] Then, amid all the turmoil, Wyatt Jackson, a hunky new judge, arrives from Montana.[10] He gets off to a shaky start with Parkes as he is not used to the way big-city courts are run, but there is a hint of romantic tension between the two.[1]

There are several romantic couplings among the staff, including an interracial coupling of two prosecutors in Moore and Graham[4][10] and a lesbian affair between Judge Reide and her housekeeper.[3][6]

New York magazine described the show as follows:[10]

"Ready to believe in Robin Givens as a tireless defender of public justice? Courthouse's idea of gritty moral realism is to divide the world into the good and the bad: Bad judges go to the opera while their charges die in jail; good judges have interracial affairs with members of their own gender; and the best judge of all rolls in from Montana looking like he just shot a 501 commercial".


  • Judge Justine Parkes (Patricia Wettig) – the no-nonsense presiding judge
  • Judge Homer Conklin (Bob Gunton) – an autocratic "hanging judge" and a by-the-book traditionalist
  • Judge Wyatt E. Jackson (Brad Johnson) – a hunky, non-conformist recently arrived from Montana
  • Judge Myron Winkleman (Michael Lerner) – a neurotic Family Court judge
  • Judge Rosetta Reide (Jenifer Lewis) – a struggling, gay single mother presiding over Juvenile Court
  • Jonathan Mitchell (Dan Gauthier) – conceited prosecutor, was dating public defender Gilbert
  • Veronica Gilbert (Nia Peeples) – public defender, dating Mitchell
  • Edison Moore (Jeffrey D. Sams) – hard-charging young prosecutor in a secret inter-racial affair with Graham
  • Suzanne Graham (Robin Givens) – an investigator for the D.A.'s office
  • Lenore Laderman (Annabeth Gish) – a naive young prosecutor just reassigned to the sex crimes unit
  • Danny Gates (Cree Summer) – housekeeper and lesbian girlfriend of Judge Reide

Other cast members included Jacqueline Kim, Shelley Morrison, Roma Maffia, Christopher Michael, Larry Joshua, Kelly Rutherford, Cotter Smith, George Newbern, David L. Crowley and John Mese.


No. Title Directed by Written by Original air date U.S. viewers
1"Pilot"Ron LagomarsinoDeborah Joy LeVineSeptember 13, 1995 (1995-09-13)9.2
2"One Flew Over the Courthouse"Bill D'EllaDeborah Joy Levine & Dennis CooperSeptember 20, 1995 (1995-09-20)7
3"Conflict of Interest"TBATBASeptember 27, 1995 (1995-09-27)5.7
4"Order on the Court"TBATBAOctober 10, 1995 (1995-10-10)7
5"Sex, Law and Videotape"TBATBAOctober 11, 1995 (1995-10-11)7.3
6"Child Support"TBATBAOctober 18, 1995 (1995-10-18)6.3
7"One Strike and You're Out"TBATBANovember 1, 1995 (1995-11-01)5.4
8"Fair-Weathered Friends"TBATBANovember 8, 1995 (1995-11-08)5.8
9"Injustice for All"TBATBANovember 15, 1995 (1995-11-15)5.1
10"Mitigating Circumstances"TBATBAUNAIREDTBD


  1. ^ a b c d The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows 1946–Present. Ballantine Books. 2003. p. 251. ISBN 0-345-45542-8.
  2. ^ a b "Courthouse Episodes". TV Guide.
  3. ^ a b c d Jicha, Tom (September 13, 1995). "'Courthouse' Settles For Law Of Averages". Sun-Sentinel.
  4. ^ a b "Robin Givens returns to TV in legal drama 'Courthouse'". Jet. September 18, 1995.
  5. ^ Wire Reports (October 11, 1995). "Bette Midler Sitcom On CBS Next Season". The Spokesman-Review.
  6. ^ a b "Lesbians on series TV".
  7. ^ Margulies, Lee (September 20, 1995). "TV Ratings : Networks' Fall Warm-Up Gets Cool Reception". Los Angeles Times.
  8. ^ "CBS Hits Bottom, Trails Even Fox". Sun-Sentinel. September 21, 1995.
  9. ^ Storm, Jonathan (September 13, 1995). "Bombs Away? CBS And ABC Unlease A Barrage Of New Series Tonight".
  10. ^ a b c "Courthouse (CBS)". New York. September 11, 1995.
  11. ^ "Courthouse – Series – Episode List". TV Tango.

External linksEdit