MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Memphis makes television history Monday night.
For the first time in our city’s 200-year history, a network drama based right here in Memphis debuts on a national network.
Joe Birch caught up with some of the stars of "Bluff City Law" who invite you to lean in to their story Monday night at 9 p.m.
“I loved, in the pilot, that in the core of this law firm is this family relationship,” said Jimmy Smits.
"I love this character. I love this show. I think it sends such an important message,” said Caitlin McGee.
"I love that it's messy and I love there's a road to forgiveness and redemption,” said Jayne Atkinson. "Because we all screw up and we all need a chance to recover the people we love."
Memphis is the stage for Bluff City Law, the story of a family law firm that fights for the underdog.
“When we got here to start working on the pilot, we were rehearsing, finding out about the city. It kind of rushed over me that we’re in the right place to be doing this and spotlight a beautiful small town/ big city you guys are,” said Smits.
"I feel like Memphis is a little bit of an underdog. There’s so much here people don’t know about,” said MaameYaa Boafo. “Memphis is another character in our story.”
NBC spent a half million dollars building a courtroom set with a quarter million-dollar judge's chambers to come.
"This is an entertainment business. Business in big letters, and we do have a percentage of our crew that are local Memphians. We’re trying to do that with the casting, with the actors, and the talent pool that’s here and the stories that we’re telling,” said Smits.
"Obviously we are talking so much about these David and Goliath cases with 'Change the World' but it really is about how you approach your family,” said McGee.
It’s a story of a father and daughter who are both lawyers --- built for conflict and estranged when we meet them --- a deep estrangement so many families experience.
"I think everyone in life has struggle with family, and especially with family,” said Josh Kelly.
"I think anyone who's watching who has that sort of distance, feels like they don't have a connection with somebody, it could be like a stepping stone to inspire them to reach out and change their own personal worlds,” said Michael Luwoye.
"It’s so important to know your family is your family and at the end of the day, you’ve only got one. So, whatever problem you have, whatever you face, you have to work through them because that’s your blood. That’s your foundation,” said McGee.
As the father-daughter lawyers find their way to a new relationship, they take on monumental civil rights battles underway in real-time America.
“Think of the TV shows you love. What was it about them that made you lean in? This is what I always ask young actors. Who do you lean into? I think this show has many qualities to lean into. It’s inspiring,” said Atkinson.
For a list of Bluff City Law premiere watch parties, click here.