All Rise season 3 is all about new beginnings
All Rise season 3 is all about new beginnings — both in the onscreen story we'll watch unfold and behind the scenes.
After CBS canceled the courtroom drama after two seasons, OWN picked it up for a third run — news that left star Simone Missick screaming for joy in her backyard when she heard the news, she tells EW ahead of Tuesday night's premiere. "When I found out we were going to the Oprah Winfrey Network, it felt like years of vision boarding had finally come to fruition," the actress, who steps into the role of executive producer in the new season, says. "I have always been a huge fan of Oprah as a talk show host, producer, actor, and woman, so to be on her network, which is so dedicated to telling strong stories about Black women, felt like it was meant to be."
Fans can expect more tough legal cases — season 3 includes an Instagram influencer accusing a famous athlete of assault, a wrongly accused prisoner who could be released, and a serial killer — as well as a deeper look into Judge Lola Carmichael's (Missick) personal life.
"We see someone from her past come back and shake things up for her, especially her sense of who she is," Missick teases. Showrunner Dee Harris-Lawrence adds, "We know the Lola within the courtroom, but who is that person outside of it? Can she make a mistake and come back? We really wanted to explore different facets of Lola this season."
When we last saw Lola, she was fighting for her seat to continue as a judge. "Spoiler alert! She keeps it. I don't know what the show would be if she didn't get to continue to be a judge," Missick says. However, coming so close to losing that seat "makes her question if she's playing too radically," Missick says. "She came into her judgeship wanting to be a disruptor and change the justice system. Having to fight for her seat kind of shakes her confidence in the decisions she's been making."
Lola's courtroom will be looking a bit different this season, as Ness Johnson (Samantha Marie Ware) and Sara Castillo (Lindsay Mendez) have taken new positions. Harris-Lawrence teases that a major development will significantly change Sherri Kansky (Ruthie Ann Miles) and Lola's relationship, giving the actresses some great material and serving as a way for viewers to learn more about Sherri.
Viewers have seen how empathetic and caring Sara is, so it's fitting that she's becoming a victim's advocate. Sara's new journey will show viewers more of the character, whose previous job as Lola's court stenographer kept her in the background. "She really blooms this season and learns whether or not she wants to be part of the [Hall of Justice]," Harris-Lawrence tells EW. Now, Sara will spend more time in the DA's office, which means she'll potentially spend more time with Mark Callan (Wilson Bethel) — and her open former position will provide some comedic relief in the form of a "revolving door of courtroom stenographers."
Ness will be joining the private firm world after her law clerkship, which will "take a turn for her that you won't expect," according to Harris-Lawrence, who is excited to see Ness in the private sector. An unexpected pairing to watch out for? Ness and Amy Quinn (Lindsey Gort). There is chemistry and humor on the way from the two of them, Harris-Lawrence says.
The new season will also expand the many areas of the legal world explored in the show. For example, Emily Lopez (Jessica Camacho), back from Puerto Rico, will take up holistic law with the goal to help more clients than she could as a public defender. Judge Lisa Benner (Marg Helgenberger), meanwhile, is part of the Court of Appeals. "Those are different jobs within the [Hall of Justice] we wanted to explore and [are] excited about expanding while keeping them within the H.O.J.," Harris-Lawrence says.
Keeping with the theme of new beginnings, Luke Watkins (J. Alex Brinson) will begin a new chapter after leaving the District Attorney's office to work as a public defender. "Everybody's not happy about it, but he starts to find his groove," Harris-Lawrence says. Further into the season, Luke will go up against Mark on a complex case that will show how this work affects their friendship.
There will also be a pair of new characters arriving in season 3. Judge Marshall Thomas (Roger Guenveur Smith) is a tough judge who will significantly impact the judges' chambers and challenge Lola throughout the season, while legal prodigy Teddy Biswas (Ronak Gandhi) is a new face in the DA's office. "He's unassuming, and people make assumptions about him, but he's extremely smart when he gets into the courtroom," Harris-Lawrence says.
But don't expect the drama to remain within the courtroom. Remember how we're going to see more of Lola's personal life? Well, her husband (now played by Christian Keyes) will be much closer as a stay-at-home dad, as he's no longer working for the FBI in D.C. Missick foresees fans enjoying the new dynamic. "My dad stayed at home with me for the first few years of my life, which is wonderful, but not always highlighted in storytelling," she says. "[Robin] being the main caregiver is really lovely to represent for people, and I think viewers are going to rally behind this couple."
All Rise returns for season 3 on June 7 at 8 p.m. ET on OWN.