As the showrunner behind Grey's Anatomy and its spin-off series, Station 19, Krista Vernoff has proven herself at ABC. Now, she'll move from the hospital and the fire station over to the courtroom with the new legal drama, Rebel, starring Katey Sagel as a woman heavily inspired by legal advocate Erin Brockovich. With the series premiering later in April, it's too early to know if this show will match the terrific heights of Steven Soderbergh's 2000 movie based on the activist of the same name, but we do know some key bits of information about this upcoming program, which we'll share now.
Here's what we know (so far) about ABC's much-anticipated legal drama series, Rebel.
Rebel Is Inspired By The Life Of Erin Brockovich, Who Serves As An Executive Producer
Chances are, you're familiar with Erin Brockovich — especially if you're a film fan. The legal advocate's professional history was previously dramatized in Steven Soderbergh's acclaimed 2000 movie of the same name, which was nominated for Best Picture and resulted in Julia Roberts winning an Oscar for her portrayal of the real-life figure. While Rebel won't follow Brockovich's story too closely, it'll take a lot of inspiration from it, notably with the environmental activist overseeing the new series as an executive producer. Certainly, as anyone who has seen the movie can attest, Brockovich has lived quite a fascinating life, and that journey will provide some good dramatic motivation.
Rebel Follows A Blue-Collar Legal Advocate Without A Law Degree Who Will Win At Almost Any Cost
While Rebel isn't ultimately based on Erin Brockovich, this new show will tell a similar story. Specifically, Rebel will follow Annie "Rebel" Bello, "a blue-collar legal advocate without a law degree." The title character is described as "a funny, messy, brilliant and fearless woman who cares desperately about the causes she fights for and the people she loves." As noted, when Bello applies herself to a challenge, especially in a fight she believes in, the legal advocate will win at "almost any cost." Certainly, fans can look forward to seeing all the extremes that Rebel Bello goes to in order to come out on top.
Katey Sagal Plays Our Lead Character, Annie ‘Rebel’ Bello
As our title character, veteran actress Katey Sagal finds her latest television role in ABC's Rebel. A Golden Globe-winning actress best known for Married... with Children, Sons of Anarchy, and 8 Simple Rules, as well as her voice work as Leela in Futurama, Sagal is a multi-talented star with comedy and drama expertise alike. Her other notable film and TV credits include (but don't limit to) Shameless, Superior Donuts, The Bastard Executioner, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Boston Legal, Lost, That '70s Show, Bleed For This, and Pitch Perfect 2. Also, Sagal has a recurring role in ABC's The Conners.
The Rebel Cast Also Includes John Corbett, Andy Garcia, And More
In addition to Katey Segal taking on the lead role, Rebel's cast includes John Corbett (To All The Boys I Loved Before), James Lesure (Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce), Tamala Jones (Castle), Ariela Barer (Runaways), Lex Scott (The First Purge), Kevin Zegers (Air Bud), Sam Palladio (Nashville), and Andy Garcia (The Untouchables). Additionally, Dan Bucatinsky (Scandal), Oscar nominee Mary McDonnell (Dances with Wolves), Adam Arkin (Chicago Hope), and Matthew Glave (Argo) play recurring roles throughout this first season, along with another familiar actress whom we'll mention later in this article.
Krista Vernoff Claims This ‘Sexy’ Show Isn’t Your Traditional Legal Drama
Legal dramas are basically a dime a dozen nowadays, especially on network TV. You can flip to CBS, NBC, ABC, USA Network, or nearly any other channel (maybe not, say, National Geographic, for instance) and get some courtroom melodrama on your tube. Which raises the question, "what makes Rebel different?" Well, according to creator Krista Vernoff, this is no ordinary legal drama. Rather, Rebel is a "very sexy" show that dives into family, friendships, and all the other human elements that raise the stakes in a court case. But above all else, the showrunner is keen on stressing its sex appeal.
Here's what Krista Vernoff said in an interview with Deadline:
Abigail Spencer Will Play A Recurring Character
If you watched Grey's Anatomy, there's a better-than-decent chance that you're familiar with Abigail Spencer. In the show's more recent seasons, Spencer played Megan Hunt in a recurring role. While the character didn't have a long stay in the hospital-based series, the actress made good company with Krista Vernoff, notably as she'll be reuniting with the showrunner to play Misha, another recurring character, in Rebel.
Not much is known about Misha otherwise. However, away from Grey's Anatomy, Abigail Spencer is known for True Detective, Timeless, Rectify, Mad Men, Burning Love, Suits, Hawthorne, and Gilmore Girls. Additionally, the actress appears in Oz the Great and Powerful, This is Where I Leave You, The Forger, Chasing Mavericks, Cowboys & Aliens, This Means War, and The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia.
Rebel Premieres On April 8, 2021 On ABC
We won't have long to wait to see Rebel Bello in action. The legal drama series is scheduled to premiere on April 8th on the American Broadcast Company's network. It was given a straight-to-series 10-episode order back in September, as Deadline reported, which is notably shorter than your average ABC show — but that shortened season length may be related to tight COVID-related restrictions (or, perhaps, Krista Vernoff's busy schedule). Expectations are certainly high for this new legal drama, and only time will tell if Rebel matches the same rating standards as Vernofff's past shows.
To find out more information about Rebel, be sure to check out the ABC website here.
Will is an entertainment writer based in Pittsburgh, PA. His writing can also be found in The Playlist, Cut Print Film, We Got This Covered, The Young Folks, Slate and other outlets. He also co-hosts the weekly film/TV podcast Cinemaholics with Jon Negroni and he likes to think he's a professional Garfield enthusiast.
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