ABC's new legal drama "For the People" delivers for Shondaland fans

"For the People" was created by one of the writers of ABC's "Scandal," and Paul William Davies spent almost a decade as a litigator before leaving the law for prime-time television: All of which bodes well for ABC's new legal drama.

"Welcome to the Mother Court," says the judge to a group of new lawyers. The setting is more formally known as the Federal Court for the Southern District of New York.

Upon arriving in a courtroom, the newbies are told, "Assistant United States Prosecutors to the right, Federal Public Defenders to the left."

The clerk telling them that is played by Anna Deveare Smith, who is familiar to local audiences as the author and star of numerous one-woman stage shows

But the performers who play public defenders and prosecutors on opposite sides of the law are fresh faces: stars of tomorrow.

Jasmin Savoy Brown and Britt Robertson play BFFs who bonded at Jasmin's audition.

"It was so easy," she told me, and Robertson added, "I've loved Jasmin since the moment I met her."

Their warm relationship is important because it mirrors the bonding between their female characters.

"And I am glad that is one of the core messages of the show," Brown said.

Robertson was quick to agree.

"You just don't see it enough on network TV or any TV," she said. "You know, female friendships: They're everywhere."

The series set here in New York City is from "Shondaland," so it bears some of the traits familiar from the company's earlier hits like "Scandal" and "How to Get Away with Murder."

Like those shows, this one embraces what is called colorblind dating.

"We need to see it to make it happen more, you know, so people will accept it more," Robertson said.

"Yeah," Brown agreed. "Because if you close your eyes, and just listen to someone speak or just read the words someone types, you can't tell where they came from or what they look like. That's not what it's about when it comes to love."

"For the People" has already been praised for delivering "exactly what you expect from a Shondaland drama," as one critic puts it. This means fans of those previous series we just mentioned should find much to like here.

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