Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The show was concieved as a legal drama mixed with Ally McBeal-style comedy, and was one of four new primetime series in 2002, as the beginning of an attempt to revive the Australian television industry. The different concept, combined with the cast of industry heavyweights, initially seemed like a concept that could not fail.Ratings, however, never picked up and the series, which first aired in August, finished airing in November for good, with just 17 episodes.
Set in Melbourne, Marshall Law tells the story of two sisters - Ros and Verity Marshall (played by Lisa McCune, popular after her seven-year run on Blue Heelers; and Alison Whyte, well known for her role on Frontline) - working at the Magistrate's Court. Ros is a Junior Prosecutor who is more interested in partying, and is having to prove her worth at the bench; while the more-experienced and overachieving Verity is now working as a barrister.
Both sisters soon find themselves in for surprises. Ros realises just how out of her depth she may be, begging the help of legal aid solicitor Mikey O'Dea (Nick Farnell ), and mentor Esther Hersch, QC (Anne Phelan of Something in the Air ).
Meanwhile Verity, working with her handsome but inept assistant Scott (Nathaniel Kiwi ) faces her biggest challenge going up against one of the city's most eminent counsels, Dylan Boyd (William McInnes from SeaChange and Blue Heelers) - her ex-husband.
Verity and Ros, despite leading very different lifestyles, find themselves being forced to work together in this competitive world, particularly with the likes of Judge Don Foster (Greg Stone ), Ros's boss Frank Dellabosca (Frank Gallacher ), and the ambitious lawyer Prue Staley (Jane Hall ).
Also starring Verity McIntyre as Julie Larssen.
The Original Pilot
The original Marshall Law pilot was a different affair. Titled Leather and Silk, industry A-Lister Kerry Armstrong played Verity, who was initially a magistrate; and William McInnes did not play Dylan. In early 2002, Channel Seven announced that Armstrong would not be continuing with the series, claiming that she wasn't right for the part and "refused to play the role differently"(Australian Television Resource).
The series format was changed to make Verity a barrister, and McInnes was cast but - months later - Armstrong agreed with the rumours that the producers thought she was too old for the part of McCune's sister. She would later join the cast of another of 2002's new shows, MDA, which fared much better.
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