#ACCESS901: ‘Bluff City Law’ hits me right!

The much-anticipated series debuts on Monday, September 23rd at 9 p.m. CT on NBC.

Columnist Joy Doss mixes and mingles with actor Jimmy Smits and others starring in or helping to make “Bluff City Law,” the series that is being filmed in Memphis and debuts Sept. 23 on NBC. (Courtesy photo)

When I tell you much of Memphis is afire, aglow and aflutter about the premiere of “Bluff City Law,” I mean it. And that’s great to see!

The much-anticipated series debuts on Monday, September 23rd at 9 p.m. CT on NBC. It stars veteran actor Jimmy Smits (“LA Law,” “The West Wing” and a most recent stellar turn on “How To Get Away With Murder”) and veteran actress Jayne Atkinson (“House of Cards,” “24,” “Madam Secretary”) alongside new(er)comers Caitlin McGee, Maameyaa Boafo and Michael Luwoye.

Some may recognize Luwoye from Season 2 of “She’s Gotta Have It” on Netflix. Though, sadly, he is fully clothed this time. Womp!

The premise of the series is this:

Jimmy Smits a/k/a Elijah Strait is a pillar of the community, running a successful law firm dedicated to “changing the world” from the bottom up, so to speak. He champions the little guy and works with the greater good in mind. But he’s got layers. As we will see later, layers upon layers.

Sidney Strait (Caitlin McGee) is Elijah Strait’s daughter and very aware of his layers. They are like oil and water. However, after her mother’s death (not a spoiler, it’s the story opener) she is lured back to the firm to fight the good fight at her father’s side. The show takes us on a turbulent ride, as we weather the storms within their relationship right with them.

There’s some humor, some drama. And, there’s some Memphis, which is its own stand-alone character. It is a well-written piece of work delivered by very good actors and actresses in way that feels authentic and engaging. And, praise be, they are NOT putting on tired Yank renditions of Southern accents. Because haven’t we had enough of that?

The first two episodes left me eager to hear more and to know more about the characters. And to see if my notes made it! You must know I shamelessly provided notes, particularly about black Memphians! What school = what high school. And it IS a judgment thing. As is what sorority or fraternity you belong to and what church you go to.

A black lawyer? (Michael Luwoye’s character, “Anthony Little”) He definitely pledged something! I won’t say what so nobody will be mad, but once you watch it you will already know what he pledged.

In our couple of brief encounters, I worked a little with Stony Blyden (“Emerson”) because he’s gotta hit that “MANE” just right at some point! As for “Della (Atkinson’s character),” she must be a hard-drankin’ woman who will bake you a pie but also blow a hole in ya with her 12-gauge as you come through the door. I expect to see this in her as the episodes progress!

Don’t ask me why people allow me to do such things. They just do. Hopefully all points were taken in the spirit of love and earnestness in which they were given. It’s a little thing but a big thing, ya know? Devil in the details.

The entire cast gels extremely well, which plays out onscreen and off. The plot lines are interesting. Much like “Law & Order SVU,” I hope to see some ripped from the (Memphis) headlines stories incorporated. Fingers crossed!

From what I’ve seen, the producers have already done a great job at incorporating Memphis and Memphians both behind the scenes and on camera. Keep working on the Memphis-isms and Memphinese (yall know it’s its own language!) and we got a for real winner! I’m admittedly biased but I see a lot of promise here. And I hear tell that it’s already been renewed for Season 2.

“Bluff City Law” hits me right. Take a look for yourselves. Hint: There’s a wig snatch coming in Episode 1! That’s all I’ll say.