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Street Legal (Canadian TV series)

Street Legal is a Canadian legal drama television series, which aired on CBC Television from 1987 to 1994 before returning with six new episodes starting March 4, 2019.[1] Street Legal was the longest-running one-hour scripted drama in the history of Canadian television, holding the record for twenty years before being surpassed by Heartland's 125th episode on October 18, 2014.[2]

Street Legal
Street Legal (Reboot).jpg
StarringSonja Smits
C. David Johnson
Eric Peterson
Cynthia Dale
Country of originCanada
No. of seasons9
No. of episodes132
Production
Running time60 minutes
Production company(s)Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
DistributorCBC TV Program Sales
Release
Original networkCBC Television
Original releaseJanuary 6, 1987 –
April 8, 2019 (2019-04-08)

SynopsisEdit

Street Legal focused on the professional and private lives of the partners in a small Toronto, Ontario law firm. The primary stars were Sonja Smits, Eric Peterson and C. David Johnson, and the cast also included Julie Khaner, Albert Schultz, Cynthia Dale, Maria del Mar, Ron Lea, Anthony Sherwood and Diane Polley.

The series was distinctively Canadian, in the use of Canadian court customs and procedures. Much of the show's music was composed by Eric Robertson who was nominated for a Gemini Award in 1987 for his work on the show.

Cast and charactersEdit

In the early episodes, the show's three core characters were Carrie Barr (Smits), Leon Robinovitch (Peterson) and Chuck Tchobanian (Johnson), partners in the small downtown Toronto law firm of Barr, Robinovitch and Tchobanian. The three did not necessarily always see eye to eye on things: Tchobanian was a flashy, confident and conservative lawyer who was most interested in taking high-profile cases that would get his name into the media; Robinovitch was an activist labour lawyer who believed in defending the little guy and mounted a campaign for Mayor of Toronto during the series run; Barr was a soft-spoken and initially naïve young lawyer who was sometimes forced to mediate between her more opinionated partners. According to series producer Maryke McEwen, "if you want to label the characters I'd call them Liberal, Conservative and NDP."[3]

Characters introduced later included Mercedes (Sealy-Smith), the firm's no-nonsense office manager; Olivia Novak (Dale), an aggressive, risk-taking new lawyer with the firm who was a foil for Carrie and a love interest for Chuck; Alana Newman (Khaner), a judge who was married to Leon; Rob Diamond (Schultz), who joined the firm as a junior lawyer; Dillon Beck (Sherwood), a crown prosecutor who married Carrie; and Laura Crosby (del Mar), a new lawyer who joined the firm after Carrie was killed by a drunk driver.

In the 2019 revival, Olivia loses her job with a Bay Street firm, and joins RDL Legal, a boutique firm with whom she was formerly competing to land a major case.

Original castEdit

2019 revival castEdit

Show historyEdit

The original series pilot aired on CBC Television in 1986 as Shellgame, a television film written by William Deverell which starred Brenda Robins as a lawyer defending accused murderer André (Germain Houde).[4] The film was not well received by audiences or critics, however, and the project was retooled and recast before premiering as a series in 1987.[5]

The series debuted on January 6, 1987, with a six-episode run that season.[3] Maryke McEwen was the executive producer. Early critical response to the series frequently compared it to the contemporaneous American series L.A. Law, with some reviewers even coining the dismissive epithet T.O. Law.[6] The series then returned for a longer second season in September 1987.[7]

From the third through the seventh seasons, Brenda Greenberg was first senior producer, then executive producer, with Nada Harcourt taking over for the final season.

The show's last regular weekly episode aired on February 18, 1994.[8]

Production wrapped up with the two-hour television film Last Rights, which aired on November 6, 1994. Loosely based on the case of Sue Rodriguez, an assisted suicide activist who died a week before Street Legal's final regular episode aired, the film centred on Olivia's criminal trial after helping a terminally ill friend (Brent Carver) commit suicide.[9] The film drew 1.6 million viewers.[10]

RevivalEdit

The concept for a 2019 revival of Street Legal was first discussed during a lunch including Cynthia Dale and Sally Catto, CBC’s general manager of programming. During a subsequent lunch, producer Bernie Zukerman and Catto began to plan specifics for a relaunch.[11] The revival centres on Olivia Novak (Dale), joining a small boutique law office, RDL Legal, after losing her job with a powerful Bay Street firm.[1] In addition to Dale reprising her original role, the cast also includes Cara Ricketts, Steve Lund and Yvonne Chapman.[2] Eric Peterson and Anthony Sherwood made guest appearances reprising their roles as Leon Robinovitch and Dillon Beck, but were not part of the full-time cast. Actors Allan Hawco, Patrick Labbé, Leni Parker, Rosemary Dunsmore and Tom McCamus also appeared in supporting roles.

The new season of six episodes premiered on March 4, 2019 on CBC Television.[2] After each episode was broadcast, it also became available for viewing on the CBC Gem streaming service. The primary theme of the six episodes is the opioid crisis in Canada,[12] including a class action lawsuit against a major pharmaceutical company that manufactures a highly addictive drug.[2][13]

In April 2019, the CBC announced that the reboot would not be renewed for a second season.[14]

EpisodesEdit

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
16January 6, 1987 (1987-01-06)February 10, 1987 (1987-02-10)
213September 27, 1987 (1987-09-27)December 20, 1987 (1987-12-20)
319October 7, 1988 (1988-10-07)February 24, 1989 (1989-02-24)
416October 13, 1989 (1989-10-13)February 9, 1990 (1990-02-09)
516October 5, 1989 (1989-10-05)February 1, 1991 (1991-02-01)
618October 4, 1991 (1991-10-04)January 31, 1992 (1992-01-31)
718October 4, 1992 (1992-10-04)January 31, 1993 (1993-01-31)
820October 8, 1993 (1993-10-08)November 6, 1994 (1994-11-06)
96March 4, 2019 (2019-03-04)April 8, 2019 (2019-04-08)

Season 1 (1987)Edit

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
11"Birds of a Feather"Alan ErlichTom ScheinbeckJanuary 6, 1987 (1987-01-06)
22"Even Lawyers Sing the Blues"Randy BradshawLarry Gaynor & Don TruckeyJanuary 13, 1987 (1987-01-13)
33"A Little Knowledge"Marc StrangeIan SutherlandJanuary 20, 1987 (1987-01-20)
44"Sting Like a Butterfly"Sturla GunnarssonDon TruckeyJanuary 27, 1987 (1987-01-27)
55"A Matter of Honour"Mort RansenMarc StrangeFebruary 3, 1987 (1987-02-03)
66"Tango Bellarosa"Randy BradshawIan Adams & Marc StrangeFebruary 10, 1987 (1987-02-10)

Season 2 (1987)Edit

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
71"Baby Talk"TBATBASeptember 27, 1987 (1987-09-27)
82"Star Struck"TBATBAOctober 4, 1987 (1987-10-04)
93"Desperate Alibi"TBATBAOctober 11, 1987 (1987-10-11)
104"Assault"TBATBAOctober 18, 1987 (1987-10-18)
115"Mr. Nice Guy"TBATBAOctober 25, 1987 (1987-10-25)
126"Just One Kiss"TBATBANovember 1, 1987 (1987-11-01)
137"Judgement Call"TBATBANovember 8, 1987 (1987-11-08)
148"Fever of the Blood"TBATBANovember 15, 1987 (1987-11-15)
159"Lost and Lonely Hearts"TBATBANovember 22, 1987 (1987-11-22)
1610"Take My Jokes, Please"TBATBANovember 29, 1987 (1987-11-29)
1711"Gold Rush"TBATBADecember 6, 1987 (1987-12-06)
1812"Romeo and Carol"TBATBADecember 13, 1987 (1987-12-13)
1913"I'll Be Home for Christmas"TBATBADecember 20, 1987 (1987-12-20)

Season 3 (1988–89)Edit

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
201"A Powerful Prison Story"TBATBAOctober 7, 1988 (1988-10-07)
212"The Waiting Chair"TBATBAOctober 14, 1988 (1988-10-14)
223"Elliot vs. McTavish"TBATBAOctober 21, 1988 (1988-10-21)
234"State of Mind"TBATBAOctober 28, 1988 (1988-10-28)
245"The Homecoming"TBATBANovember 4, 1988 (1988-11-04)
256"Mondo Condo"TBATBANovember 11, 1988 (1988-11-11)
267"Murder by Video"TBATBANovember 18, 1988 (1988-11-18)
278"Whose Woods Are These"TBATBANovember 25, 1988 (1988-11-25)
289"Act of Silence"TBATBADecember 2, 1988 (1988-12-02)
2910"Equal Partners"TBATBADecember 9, 1988 (1988-12-09)
3011"Cat and Mouse"TBATBADecember 16, 1988 (1988-12-16)
3112"Basketball Story"TBATBAJanuary 6, 1989 (1989-01-06)
3213"Principles"TBATBAJanuary 13, 1989 (1989-01-13)
3314"Brotherhoods"TBATBAJanuary 20, 1989 (1989-01-20)
3415"Beauties and Beasts"TBATBAJanuary 27, 1989 (1989-01-27)
3516"In Search of a Dream"TBATBAFebruary 3, 1989 (1989-02-03)
3617"Slipping Through the Cracks"TBATBAFebruary 10, 1989 (1989-02-10)
3718"Conflict of Interest"TBATBAFebruary 17, 1989 (1989-02-17)
3819"World-Class City"TBATBAFebruary 24, 1989 (1989-02-24)

Season 4 (1989–90)Edit

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
391"Soul Custody"TBATBAOctober 13, 1989 (1989-10-13)
402"Partners and Other Strangers"TBATBAOctober 20, 1989 (1989-10-20)
413"Without Prejudice"TBATBAOctober 27, 1989 (1989-10-27)
424"See No Evil"TBATBANovember 3, 1989 (1989-11-03)
435"The Cradle Will Rock"TBATBANovember 10, 1989 (1989-11-10)
446"Complex Offer"TBATBANovember 17, 1989 (1989-11-17)
457"Film Noir"TBATBANovember 24, 1989 (1989-11-24)
468"Confession"TBATBADecember 1, 1989 (1989-12-01)
479"Home"TBATBADecember 8, 1989 (1989-12-08)
4810"Blue Collar"TBATBADecember 15, 1989 (1989-12-15)
4911"Security Exchange"TBATBAJanuary 5, 1990 (1990-01-05)
5012"The Bracelet"TBATBAJanuary 12, 1990 (1990-01-12)
5113"Leon's Story"TBATBAJanuary 19, 1990 (1990-01-19)
5214"Wedding"TBATBAJanuary 26, 1990 (1990-01-26)
5315"Godfather of Mimico"TBATBAFebruary 2, 1990 (1990-02-02)
5416"Suite Sixteen"TBATBAFebruary 9, 1990 (1990-02-09)

Season 5 (1990–91)Edit

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
551"Holy Thursday"TBATBAOctober 5, 1990 (1990-10-05)
562"Spare Parts"TBATBAOctober 12, 1990 (1990-10-12)
573"Double Agenda"TBATBAOctober 19, 1990 (1990-10-19)
584"Shadow Boxing"TBATBAOctober 26, 1990 (1990-10-26)
595"Standard of Care"TBATBANovember 2, 1990 (1990-11-02)
606"The Psychic"TBATBANovember 9, 1990 (1990-11-09)
617"Softsell"TBATBANovember 16, 1990 (1990-11-16)
628"Divine Image"TBATBANovember 23, 1990 (1990-11-23)
639"Sanctuary"TBATBANovember 30, 1990 (1990-11-30)
6410"Lies"TBATBADecember 7, 1990 (1990-12-07)
6511"Tyger, Tyger"TBATBADecember 14, 1990 (1990-12-14)
6612"Murder"TBATBAJanuary 4, 1991 (1991-01-04)
6713"The Cookies Crumble"TBATBAJanuary 11, 1991 (1991-01-11)
6814"The Prosecution"TBATBAJanuary 18, 1991 (1991-01-18)
6915"Election Day"TBATBAJanuary 25, 1991 (1991-01-25)
7016"The Truth"TBATBAFebruary 1, 1991 (1991-02-01)

Season 6 (1991–92)Edit

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
711"The Legacy of Stanley Wall"TBATBAOctober 4, 1991 (1991-10-04)
TBA2"The Harley"TBATBAOctober 11, 1991 (1991-10-11)
723"Presumed Toxic"TBATBAOctober 18, 1991 (1991-10-18)
734"Reasonable Doubt"TBATBAOctober 25, 1991 (1991-10-25)
745"Shades of Difference"TBATBANovember 1, 1991 (1991-11-01)
756"Questions of Dignity"TBATBANovember 8, 1991 (1991-11-08)
767"Sing for Me, Olivia"TBATBANovember 15, 1991 (1991-11-15)
778"Keeping Secrets"TBATBANovember 22, 1991 (1991-11-22)
789"The Good Lawyer"TBATBANovember 29, 1991 (1991-11-29)
7910"Hollywood North"TBATBANovember 29, 1991 (1991-11-29)
8011"Eye of the Beholder"TBATBADecember 6, 1991 (1991-12-06)
8112"Too Many Cooks"TBATBADecember 13, 1991 (1991-12-13)
8313"On Women and Independence"TBATBADecember 20, 1991 (1991-12-20)
8414"Children's Hour"TBATBAJanuary 6, 1992 (1992-01-06)
8515"Breach of Trust"TBATBAJanuary 10, 1992 (1992-01-10)
8616"November"TBATBAJanuary 17, 1992 (1992-01-17)
8717"After the Fall"TBATBAJanuary 24, 1992 (1992-01-24)
8818"The Phoenix"TBATBAJanuary 31, 1992 (1992-01-31)

Season 7 (1992–93)Edit

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
891"BRT and Associates: A New Beginning"TBATBAOctober 30, 1992 (1992-10-30)
902"Affairs of the Heart"TBATBANovember 6, 1992 (1992-11-06)
913"Break-ups and Mergers"TBATBANovember 13, 1992 (1992-11-13)
924"Persistence of Vision"TBATBANovember 20, 1992 (1992-11-20)
935"It's a Wise Child"TBATBANovember 27, 1992 (1992-11-27)
946"Rules of the Game"TBATBADecember 4, 1992 (1992-12-04)
957"Never Say Die"TBATBADecember 11, 1992 (1992-12-11)
968"Lefter Than Thou"TBATBADecember 18, 1992 (1992-12-18)
979"Believe the Children"TBATBAJanuary 1, 1993 (1993-01-01)
9810"Thicker Than Water"TBATBAJanuary 8, 1993 (1993-01-08)
9911"Best Interest of the Child"TBATBAJanuary 15, 1993 (1993-01-15)
10012"Pride and Prejudice"TBATBAJanuary 22, 1993 (1993-01-22)
10113"Forgiveness"TBATBAJanuary 29, 1993 (1993-01-29)
10214"Sec and Death"TBATBAFebruary 5, 1993 (1993-02-05)
10315"Conduct Unbecoming"TBATBAFebruary 12, 1993 (1993-02-12)
10416"The Price"TBATBAFebruary 19, 1993 (1993-02-19)
10517"Strange Bedfellows"TBATBAFebruary 26, 1993 (1993-02-26)
10618"Faking It"TBATBAMarch 5, 1993 (1993-03-05)

Season 8 (1993–94)Edit

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
1071"Strictly Business"TBATBAOctober 8, 1993 (1993-10-08)
1082"Hasta La Vista"TBATBAOctober 15, 1993 (1993-10-15)
1093"Truth or Dare"TBATBAOctober 22, 1993 (1993-10-22)
1104"But Not Forgotten"TBATBAOctober 29, 1993 (1993-10-29)
1115"Black and White in Color"TBATBANovember 5, 1993 (1993-11-05)
1126"Fit Punishment"TBATBANovember 12, 1993 (1993-11-12)
1137"What's Love Got to Do with It?"TBATBANovember 19, 1993 (1993-11-19)
1148"Truth, Lies and Consequences"TBATBANovember 26, 1993 (1993-11-26)
1159"Do the Right Thing"TBATBADecember 3, 1993 (1993-12-03)
11610"Feared by the Bad, Loved by the Good"TBATBADecember 10, 1993 (1993-12-10)
11711"The Cost of Love"TBATBADecember 17, 1993 (1993-12-17)
11812"Fair Is Foul"TBATBAJanuary 7, 1994 (1994-01-07)
11913"The Firm"TBATBAJanuary 14, 1994 (1994-01-14)
12014"Persons Living or Dead"TBATBAJanuary 21, 1994 (1994-01-21)
12115"Crossroads"TBATBAJanuary 28, 1994 (1994-01-28)
12216"The Morning After"TBATBAFebruary 4, 1994 (1994-02-04)
12317"No Holds Barred"TBATBAFebruary 11, 1994 (1994-02-11)
12418"The Long and Winding Road"TBATBAFebruary 18, 1994 (1994-02-18)
12519"Last Rites: Part 1"TBATBANovember 6, 1994 (1994-11-06)
12620"Last Rites: Part 2"TBATBANovember 6, 1994 (1994-11-06)

Season 9 (2019)Edit

No.
overall
No. in
season
Title [15]Directed byWritten byOriginal air date [15]Canada viewers
(millions)
1271"Glass Floor"Sturla GunnarssonBruce M. SmithMarch 4, 2019 (2019-03-04)0.37[16]
1282"Moving Day"Sturla GunnarssonLynne KammMarch 11, 2019 (2019-03-11)0.34[17]
1293"Neighbours"Sturla GunnarssonNikolijne TroubetzkoyMarch 18, 2019 (2019-03-18)0.30[18]
1304"Homecoming"Chloé RobichaudNicolas BillonMarch 25, 2019 (2019-03-25)0.20[19]
1315"Cracks"Chloé RobichaudLynne KammApril 1, 2019 (2019-04-01)0.27[20]
1326"Leap"Chloé RobichaudBruce M. SmithApril 8, 2019 (2019-04-08)0.25[21]

ProductionEdit

The creators of the 2019 series are Bruce M. Smith and Bernie Zukerman.[22] The series is co-produced by IGP Productions and Broken Clown Company. The executive producers are Zukerman and Smith while the producers are listed as Cynthia Dale and Rayne Zukerman. Filming of the six episodes was completed primarily in Montreal with some work done in Toronto.[2]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "'Street Legal' reboot among new shows in CBC's 2018/19 lineup". National Post, May 24, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Cynthia Dale says new Street Legal is no nostalgia trip". Toronto Star, March 1, 2019.
  3. ^ a b "'Toronto' Law joins the ranks". Windsor Star, January 6, 1987.
  4. ^ "An effortless attempt to weld Miami's vice to Toronto's virtue: Glitz and gimmicks not enough to save Shellgame". The Globe and Mail, January 4, 1986.
  5. ^ "CBC offers last year of plenty". Toronto Star, July 10, 1986.
  6. ^ "No defence offered in support of CBC's Street Legal show". Vancouver Sun, January 6, 1987.
  7. ^ "Give Street Legal a chance - it's not bad". Montreal Gazette, September 25, 1997.
  8. ^ "Actors heading out in new directions as Street comes to end". Financial Post, February 26, 1994.
  9. ^ "Street Legal finale provides an argument for an appeal". Toronto Star, November 6, 1994.
  10. ^ "Street Legal fans loyal to the end". Toronto Star, November 11, 1994.
  11. ^ "Street Legal reboot storyline features law firm meltdown". Canadian Lawyer. February 22, 2019. Retrieved March 2, 2019. It took me about two seconds to say ‘What a great idea. It’s probably one of the most popular shows ever. Let me put together an idea for what a new show would look like.
  12. ^ "25 years later, Stratford's Cynthia Dale returns as Olivia Novak in Street Legal reboot". Stratford Beacon-Herald. March 1, 2019. Retrieved March 2, 2019.
  13. ^ "Street Legal reboot storyline features law firm meltdown". Canadian Lawyer. February 22, 2019. Retrieved March 2, 2019. Together with show runner Bruce Smith, Zukerman sat down and in a relatively short time shaped an idea of Dale’s character Olivia working in a large law firm trying to put together a big class action lawsuit against big pharma and the case gets scooped by a young firm.
  14. ^ "Street Legal reboot cancelled after one season". CBC News, April 6, 2019.
  15. ^ a b "Street Legal Episodes Guide and Summaries". Next Episode. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
  16. ^ Brioux, Bill (March 6, 2019). "NUMBERS IN CANADA: Street Legal gets run over in Monday opener". Brioux.tv. Retrieved April 7, 2019.
  17. ^ Brioux, Bill (March 13, 2019). "NUMBERS IN CANADA: Street slips slightly in Week Two overnights". Brioux.tv. Retrieved April 7, 2019.
  18. ^ Brioux, Bill (March 21, 2019). "NUMBERS IN CANADA: Monday and Tuesday overnights call 911". Brioux.tv. Retrieved April 7, 2019.
  19. ^ Brioux, Bill (March 27, 2019). "NUMBERS IN CANADA: Street Legal hits pot hole in Week Four". Brioux.tv. Retrieved April 7, 2019.
  20. ^ Brioux, Bill (April 3, 2019). "NUMBERS IN CANADA: Big Brother Canada an overnight success". Brioux.tv. Retrieved April 7, 2019.
  21. ^ Brioux, Bill (April 11, 2019). "NUMBERS ACROSS CANADA: Final verdict reached on Street Legal". Brioux.tv. Retrieved April 11, 2019.
  22. ^ "CBC's Street Legal returns, grittier and great, thanks to Bruce M. Smith". TV, eh?. March 1, 2019. Retrieved March 2, 2019.

External linksEdit