‘Reasonable Doubt’ — Brilliant in court, troubled at home

Emayatzy Corinealdi explores complex woman

Angela Grovey (left) and Emayatzy Corinealdi star in “Reasonable Doubt,” premiering Tuesday on Hulu.

Jacqueline “Jax” Stewart has a thing for criminals. Luckily, it jibes well with her career.

As played by Emayatzy Corinealdi (“Roots”) in the Hulu legal drama “Reasonable Doubt,” premiering Tuesday, Sept. 27, she’s a brilliant though ethically dubious Los Angeles defense attorney whose wild interpretations of the law and tendency to buck the system have proven advantageous for her monied clients.

At home, things are complicated. She’s raising two teenagers in a household without her controlling husband Lewis (McKinley Freeman, “Queen Sugar”), from whom she is separated. And she’s also dealing with a trauma from her past as well as a troubling murder case.

The series, which is part of Hulu’s Onyx Collective, comes from executive producers Kerry Washington, Raamla Mohamed, Larry Wilmore and Pilar Savone, and also stars Michael Ealy, Tim Jo, Angela Grovey and Sean Patrick Thomas.

“It’s about a woman who’s balancing all the things that women have to balance,” showrunner Mohamed explains, “her career, her friendships, her marriage, kids. It’s all those things that, as women, we have to kind of coordinate and figure out. And I think the great thing about it is that you get to see her have a really full life. And sometimes she wins in one part of her life and then sometimes she wins in another part and sometimes, just like women do. We’re just trying to (win) and hopefully it works out.”

The opportunity to explore the life and psyche of such a complex woman proved to be a compelling canvas on which to paint for Corinealdi, who drew rave reviews for her quiet portrayal of a woman who left med school to support a convict husband in her film debut in the 2012 drama “Middle of Nowhere.”

“One of my favorite things about Jax,” Corinealdi explains, “is that she does have all of these different circles that she’s in. And she keeps some of them pretty separate but you get to see her live her life in a way that’s not particularly all together. And that’s my favorite part because … that’s life.

“But (Mohamed) wrote a woman who is capable of trying to figure all of these things out, and being willing, and having the courage to fail at it at the same time. And that’s what I want to see.”

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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