REVIEW: CBS Reality’s The Jury Room is a fascinating and involving insight into the judicial process
Ever wondered what it would be like to do jury duty? Have you ever wondered if the verdict of a case might change with new information? Have you ever wanted to be part of the action without giving up your work and life for a trial? CBS Reality’s innovative new series The Jury Room offers viewers the opportunity to explore all of those questions, all from the comfort of one’s living room.
The concept of The Jury Room is simple. A team of ordinary people from varied backgrounds – a jury – are brought together to decide whether to decide whether they would declare a convict innocent or guilty based on new information unveiled after the trial. It firstly reveals what the cases for and against that were made at the original trial, then examines the cases that have been made since the conviction. It offers the new jury a chance to decide once and for all whether the accused is guilty. Of course, the series bears no weight on real life criminal proceedings – but the result is undeniably fascinating to watch.
The execution of The Jury Room is slick, streamlined and constantly engaging – very unlike any experiences of real life jury duty one might’ve heard about! Somehow, the show manages to fit a great deal in the space of an hour, yet doesn’t feel overstuffed as an episode of television. It’s a risky idea, but it works. It’s certainly a more interesting and comfortable way to get a small insight into the real life judicial process than actually being called for jury duty.
However, it’s the way The Jury Room manages to get make the audience feel involved which is where the show really shines. The jury is made up of real and remarkably ordinary people. They are not experts in a documentary, speaking a language one doesn’t understand, but people working together to ask the same questions we’re asking at home.
We don’t want to spoil the outcome of the first episode, which deals with the case of psychiatric patient Michael Stone, but we will say that this is the least interesting part – what we enjoyed was the journey that got us to that outcome.
For fans who enjoy The Jury Room and would like to hear more about the proceedings, CBS has launched a companion podcast for the series – available to download and listen below: