September 10, 2010 at 04:00 AM EDT

Smits stars as Supreme Court justice Cyrus Garza, a guy who’s politically conservative but quite liberal when it comes to women, booze, and gambling. After getting fed up with the politics of the job, Garza steps down from the bench and dives into the lawyering trenches to take on the system. ”It’s not just another courtroom drama,” says the actor. ”We’ll be dealing with hot-button issues. Then there’s this other side of him — his gusto about life, his vices — that he embraces and is unapologetic about. That’s the fun part.” Adds creator/exec producer John Eisendrath: ”It’s great to see Jimmy Smits playing against type in every way. I think people will get a kick out of him playing a much more roguish character.” As for Smits facing off against fellow TV vet Tom Selleck (CBS’ Blue Bloods) in their Friday-at-10 time slot, Eisendrath says, ”[These] are people who have a long history and a very loyal audience who will make a point of coming to see them.” Besides, Smits points out, history is on their side: ”Homicide and Miami Vice were great Friday-night programming. I think there’s an audience out there.” WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 15

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