‘All Rise’: Simone Missick Reveals How Moving to OWN Changed the Series

Simone Missick as Lola Carmichael in All Rise Season 2
Erik Voake / ©2020 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

In retrospect, being canceled by CBS may have been for the better for All Rise, the series about Los Angeles judges, prosecutors, and public defenders working to get justice in a flawed legal system.

The legal drama which was later saved by OWN, returns for a third season on Tuesday, June 7. And according to star Simone Missick, All Rise‘s new home on the cable network allowed the show to make changes it’s wanted to implement for a while.

Last we saw these characters in the Season 2 finale, Missick’s Judge Lola Carmichael was primed for the campaign to keep her seat as judge, with politician Martin Moore (Andy Buckley) vowing to do everything in his power to unseat her after she sentenced his son to prison for murder.

Season 3 picks up six months later “on election night as Judge Lola Carmichael awaits the results of her campaign; Emily returns from Puerto Rico with renewed drive ad purpose about her career and Luke continues to shake things up through his work in the public defender’s office,” according to the synopsis. Here, Missick explains what’s in store from this new version of All Rise and teases some changes fans can expect in the third season.

How does it feel to be picked up by OWN after the CBS cancellation?

Simone Missick: I can’t describe my level of thankfulness and excitement … To be able to not only have the show so loved and supported by the fans that they wrote letters and they petitioned and tweeted, but then also to have our Warner Brothers family really believe in the show and try to find it another home, it was incredible. And then, to find out that Oprah [Winfrey] immediately thought that this was the right place for our show, it’s so exciting.

It was a blessing to be on CBS and to enter into homes where I don’t know if you’ve seen a Black female lead of a show — and a show with a very female cast and culturally diverse cast. And so, for us to now be at OWN, it feels like we’re almost coming home to audiences who are excited and supportive, with past fans, and people who are discovering the show for the first time. It’s also going to be on Hulu and HBO Max, which it wasn’t before. It’s a much bigger opportunity for broader audiences to find us.

What freedoms did moving from CBS to OWN give you?

The language is a little more colorful, the clothes are a little less existent in some aspects. I don’t think that we ever saw Lola and [husband Robin, played by Christian Keyes this season] have a love scene. It was a quick peck on the cheek, a kitchen smooch, and then she was off to work. It was important for us to see her fully realized as a sexual, romantic woman.

There’s a court case with a sexual assault victim. She is a social media influencer, and she’s accusing a very famous male athlete. We know how these things play out in the court of public opinion, and we often hear victims of sexual assault describe the double assault that then happens when they step forward to try to get some sense of justice … That kind of story being told on OWN allows us to be a little more real and grounded with what actually occurred. I hope that will resonate with our viewers and with people who have gone through similar experiences.

In the Season 2 finale, Lola’s perspective on campaigning shifts into a more positive light, but she knows it’s going to be a fight. The third season premiere will flash forward six months to election night. Can you give some insight into Lola’s mindset when we return?

Going into it, she’s very confident. She feels like there’s absolutely no way that she’s losing her seat. She’s done a good job of campaigning, has run a very clean campaign, and she doesn’t see Corrine Cuthbert, played by Anne Heche, as real competition. We are setting our viewers up for quite the surprise because I think they, like Lola, can’t imagine her not winning her seat.

Will fans learn what happened during the campaign? How will it influence Lola’s actions moving forward?

They will get a very small window into an event that happened during the campaign, and it actually threatened to remove Lola from the bench. It is then something that then causes a rift with some of our favorite characters and their friendship on the show. There is definitely a relationship that ends as a result of what happens in Lola’s campaign.

Martin Moore called Carmichael a “leftist poison” in the Season 2 finale and vowed to unseat her. Will we see more of this rivalry this season?

Martin Moore definitely comes back in a very big way this season, and it is absolutely not in the way that I certainly saw it. I don’t think our viewers are going to be at all prepared for what happens. I will say the media and social media is very strong, and that certainly affects Lola in an unexpected way and threatens her career, her reputation, and maybe even her marriage.

All Rise Season 3 Poster

Courtesy of OWN

That’s interesting to hear because Lola and Robin just renewed their vows.

Lola and Robin are going into this campaign stronger than ever, and when the season starts, we see that love and support. But things get a little bit difficult and they get a little bit messy. Lola has some things from her past pop up, and their marriage takes a little bit of a hit. This season, Robin is a stay-at-home dad, and so he’s there taking care of Bailey and running the house. It’s an interesting dynamic for two people who spent the better part of their marriage really focusing on their individual careers, being supportive of each other in that way, and living as a happily married couple that spent a lot of time apart. And now, they are living under one roof for a long time taking care of an 18-month-old baby, and it can get a little tricky.

Some shows have decided to avoid COVID altogether, some include it, but pretend the pandemic is long-resolved. How does All Rise handle that this season?

Our show has always taken pride in being very current, in taking cases that are almost ripped from the headlines, but also that deal with what we as a nation are fighting. Season 3, however, the creative decision was made to step away from that, in a way of trying to be more hopeful … This season we decided to focus on the theme of new beginnings. It gives the fans a real feeling for what the show was in the first season when we weren’t dealing with COVID. You do get to see these characters really focusing on their careers and their relationships without the huge fear of the pandemic that we are all still wrestling with.

What do you hope fans will take away from the third season?

I hope they’re excited about the new network, and the new freedoms that we have in storytelling. The show shifts just a little bit in terms of the grounded realism we’re able to bring, the cases we’re able to explore, and the ways that we explore them. We’re a little bit rougher around the edges in a lot of ways, and we get to see the love and the intimacy with Lola and Robin. We get to watch the relationships between Mark and Amy and Luke [Alex Brinson] and Emily [Jessica Camacho] kind of rise and fall and explore their lives at home.

All of our characters, we go home with them this season. From Sara [Lindsay Mendez] to Sherri [Ruthie Ann Miles], we find out about where she’s from and her parents. I hope that our fans come along the ride for the same week-to-week courtroom drama, but that they also just gain a deeper understanding of these characters they’ve grown to love these first two seasons, and that they enjoy these new beginnings.

All Rise, Season 3 Premiere, Tuesday, June 7, 8/7c, OWN