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The coronavirus pandemic has halted the production on TV shows large and small, and All Rise on CBS is no exception to the social distancing that resulted in casts and crews vacating their sets earlier than anticipated in the 2019-2020 TV season. That said, All Rise found a clever way to produce a new episode during the shutdown without breaking self-quarantine and social distancing.
All Rise will produce an episode that reflects the current state of the world as it's disrupted by the pandemic, social distancing, and how they impact the criminal justice system, which hasn't just come to a stop. The episode will be produced without putting anybody in undue danger or breaking the rules of social distancing, with footage filmed via FaceTime, WebEx, Zoom, social media, and other online technology.
That's not to say the characters of All Rise will suddenly find themselves living in the homes of their actors. Producers will use visual effects to create the necessary backgrounds, with virtual footage shot in the series regulars' homes.
The episode won't just be footage via internet video, either, as a solo cinematographer is going to capture exterior footage on the streets of Los Angeles. The footage will reflect "the desolate environment that currently exists on the streets and in the neighborhoods," according to CBS, with the entire production operating according to the social distancing rules and technologies used in the real world nowadays.
The All Rise episode itself will see the Judge Benner authorize Lola to preside over a virtual trial, with brothers and a stolen car involved. Emily represents a graffiti artists as the defendant, with Mark prosecuting on behalf of the D.A.'s office and trying a case in front of Lola for the first time. Benner oversees the court from a distance. Consulting producer Gil Garcetti, former Los Angeles County District Attorney, provided insight into the process.
For me, the virtual trial sounds relatively straightforward, and it's the sideplots that make things especially complicated for this episode. On top of the case, Mark and Quinn explore their sexual relationship despite being quarantined in different places, Benner will struggle learning to cook, Sara will attempt a side hustle as a food delivery driver, Luke and Emily will have a hard time with their separation, and Sherri's type-A and germaphobe tendencies make the pandemic especially rough.
Basically, All Rise isn't going for the bare minimum with this unconventional episode, which will air Monday, May 4 at 9 p.m. ET on CBS. While All Rise isn't the first show to reenter production via stars filming from home, the CBS drama has very little in common with the talk shows that are already doing it, and All Rise will undoubtedly be more complicated.
Personally, I'm wondering if other shows could follow All Rise in producing episodes without a cast and crew on a set. The format of All Rise allows for the plot to go down virtually, which wouldn't be possible for more action-packed shows, but networks and shows will be running out of episodes soon. Of course, All Rise had reportedly nearly finished production on its first season before the coronavirus shutdown.
For now, you can catch new episodes of All Rise airing Mondays at 9 p.m. ET on CBS, with the social distancing episode debuting on May 4. All Rise has not yet been renewed for Season 2, but that's not necessarily a bad sign for the show's future.