January 11, 1991 at 05:00 AM EST

This 1990 mid-season replacement about a group of young assistant district attorneys is back with a sharper edge. Toward the end of Equal Justice‘s initial run, the show had become aimless and sentimental; it looked like an acting-school production of L.A. Law. But the new shows are deepening the characters in this large cast — the bureau chief, played by Cotter Smith, for example, is more prickly, less of a pure good guy. The youthful lawyers show similar improvement. Sarah Jessica Parker’s Jo Ann, a cute flibbertigibbet, was becoming tiresome; this season, she’s wised-up and serious. Debrah Farentino — a busy actress this week, here and in The Whereabouts of Jenny — was little more than Equal Justice‘s gratuitous sex symbol. But now she’s been given an intellect, a private life, and more screen time. The show’s writers should also work on upgrading Barry Miller (must he always be puffing on that pipe?) and James Wilder (he may be hopeless — no one with such dead eyes and so uninflected a voice could ever win a jury over). All in all, though, Equal Justice is beginning to make good on its initial promise. B+

TV Show
run date
In Season
George DiCenzo,
Cotter Smith,
Debrah Farentino,
James Wilder,
Jane Kaczmarek,
Kathleen Lloyd,
Barry Miller,
Jon Tenney
Complete Coverage

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