Fox drama returns Rachelle Lefevre and Kelsey Grammer to series work
Its drama may be enhanced, but a new law series has a very real basis.
Premiering Friday, Feb. 15, Fox’s “Proven Innocent” casts Rachelle Lefevre (“Under the Dome”) as a defense attorney with a vested interest in overturning wrongful convictions. She was a victim of one herself, sent to prison along with her brother (played by Riley Smith) in a media-sensation murder case. After a decade, she was freed by her current legal partner (Russell Hornsby, “Grimm”), but the prosecutor who had her sentenced (multiple Emmy winner Kelsey Grammer) still wants her incarcerated.
Noting the existence of The Innocence Project, which uses DNA evidence to pursue exonerations, executive producer Danny Strong says “Proven Innocent” doesn’t depict situations “exactly as they happened in real life, but we’ll definitely have cases that are inspired by true-life cases, and then we’ll have cases that are also fictionalized. It’s an incredible number of wrongful convictions that exist in this country, so there’s this massive pool of true-life cases for us to pull from for inspiration.”
“Frasier” veteran Grammer was cast after the “Proven Innocent” pilot was filmed. “It seemed like an interesting world for me to play around in,” he explains, “and maybe play an active role in starting the show up.” Grammer has had his own experiences with the justice system – encompassing the losses of his father and younger sister — but he maintains, “I didn’t really think about anything other than the fact that I think (the series is) playable, and something I would like to play.”
Fellow “Proven Innocent” star Lefevre admits to already having been a Grammer fan (“I’m not going to pretend that I’m not”) before she worked with him, but she adds, “I have had the good fortune of loving pretty much all of the actors I’ve worked with. When you are spending 15 hours a day on set, that’s not a job … that’s a life, right?
“We live together, so a lot of the time, I find myself in situations where I’m doing a scene with someone where we’re completely at odds. And this is somebody who (in real life) I had dinner with last night, or was holding me while I was crying because I was so tired, or whatever it is. It’s just a shift that you make, and I’m prepared to make it whenever the job requires.”
“Proven Innocent” creator and executive producer David Elliot reasons that “innocence is just a fascinating prism” for storytelling in the legal arena, “because whether you’re for or against capital punishment, presumably every person in the country is against killing someone who is innocent. I think it’s a fascinating place to start the dialogue about other issues.”