The Simone Missick-led courtroom drama All Rise has been canceled by CBS after two seasons. News of the cancellation was revealed on Saturday long with another CBS series, The Unicorn. The news was reported by The Hollywood Reporter.
Though the show was not a breakout in the ratings, a scandal behind the scenes of the show surely did it no favors. The creator and showrunner, Greg Spottiswood, was accused of misconduct last August. Dee Harris Lawrence of David Makes Man was brought in to work with him initially. However, Spottiswood ended up being fired altogether in March and Lawrence helmed the remaining episodes herself.
As reported in August 2020, several writers left the show, citing issues with the series’ gender and race portrayals. The New York Times reported back then that five of the seven original writers, including three of the series’ leading writers of color, would not come back for the second season after arguing with Spottiswood, who is white, regarding depictions of minorities and gender. A decision was made to keep Spottiswood as showrunner but pair him with a Black female corporate coach. A Warner Bros. representative told TVLine that their internal findings “did not reveal conduct that would warrant removing” him.
One writer, Sleepy Hollow alumna Sherlnold Edwards, left All Rise and revealed that the writers “had to do so much behind the scenes to keep these scripts from being racist and offensive.” One episode mentioned by Edwards was written by white writer Greg Nelson featuring a Latinx gang antagonizing Los Angelenos with machetes. Lindsay Mendez, who plays Sara Castillo in the series, refused to act in the episode, and a Latinx writer called the script into question. The machete idea was axed after Spottiswood learned about Mendez’s refusal. Another writer, Sunil Nayar, left after his concerns about the show’s portrayal of people of color and Black people, in particular, weren’t addressed. Nayar, who was the showrunner for ABC’s Revenge, said that Spottiswood “hired me to be his brown guy.”
Deadline later reported, “According to sources, the climate in the (now virtual) writers room did not improve in Season 2, and some writers were reportedly offended by remarks Spottiswood allegedly made that were perceived as insensitive, especially for the writers of color. Complaints about Spottiswood’s behavior led to a new investigation by Warner Bros. TV, which resulted in his dismissal.”
Aside from Missick, the show starred Wilson Bethel, Jessica Camacho, J. Alex Brinson, Ruthie Ann Miles, Lindsay Mendez, Marg Helgenberger, Lindsey Gort, Audrey Corsa and Reggie Lee.