Is there anything Shonda Rhimes can't do? The creator of Grey's Anatomy is executive producing a new show — For the People premiering March 13 on ABC. The legal drama (think Scandal meets How to Get Away With Murder follows young attornies for both the defense and prosecution battling it out in the Southern District of New York Federal Court aka the "The Mother Court." Since this is Shondaland, fans can also expect their personal drama to intertwine with their work creating the perfect addictive procedural.
"It's as much a coming-of-age story for these people — it just happens they're coming of age professionally because they have this huge sense of mission to do this professionally, star Ben Shenkman told Variety. "It's an emotional color — it's an emotional pull — to be a prosecutor who wants to put away the bad guys [as well as] to be a public defender and want to defend the underdog and rebel against the abuses of the system."
But, For the People does take a more realistic approach to the challenges of succeeding in a demanding career. The drama includes far less melodrama (don't expect any presidential affairs or plane crashes!) than its Shondaland predecessors. Actress Britt Robertson plays heroine Sandra, an eager young defense attorney who "carries her work with her everywhere she goes." She recently explained to the Los Angeles Times what it's like playing the ambitious lead.
"Something I find phenomenal about my character Sandra Bell is she's seemingly asexual," Britt explained. "She has some interest in humans and finds them attractive or useful, but for the most part, her entire world and focus is her job. Sandra is not anyone’s girlfriend, she’s not in a love affair — not to say she won’t be in the future — but at this point, she’s so focused on her work, and I think that's a cool element of the female existence to capture."
Britt also told Variety that playing a woman without being the "girlfriend" is a first for her career. "Honestly it was the biggest draw to the Sandra character for me because I've been acting for a long time, and literally ever since I started — and I was 12 when I started acting — I've always been in a relationship," she explained. "Pretty much there was a romantic element to every female role, and it gets old after awhile to play the love interest. So for me, playing Sandra, it's nice to not have to deal with that."
A fierce and intelligent female lead who isn't constantly obsessing over a guy? Now that's something we can watch.
For the People airs Tuesday, March 13 at 10 p.m. on ABC.