(NEW YORK) — On ABC’s new Shondaland legal drama For the People, it’s made clear early on in the first episode that public defenders and prosecutors just don’t mix.
The series, premiering tonight, explores the complicated relationships between rookie lawyers on both sides of the courtroom as they navigate the high-stakes U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
As it turns out, the actors who play these characters don’t mix either – though not by choice.
Britt Robertson, who plays ambitious public defender Sandra Bell, and Ben Rappaport, who plays prosecutor Seth Oliver, joke that they almost never see each other on set and are kept “sequestered from each other.” But when they do mix, it makes for some interesting scenes.
“We’d love to have the dynamic expand throughout the seasons,” Robertson tells ABC Radio.
According to Rappaport, showing both sides of the legal system helps set this show apart from other legal dramas. It also helps that its creator, Paul William Davies, is a lawyer by trade.
The show does have familiar characteristics to other Shonda Rhimes-produced dramas – namely, a career-driven female lead with a strong female friendship. Robertson says she loves being part of the Shondaland tradition, which includes Ellen Pompeo’s Meredith Grey and Kerry Washington’s Olivia Pope.
“[My character’s] worked so hard to get to this place and now that she’s finally had the opportunity to shine, she is sort of relishing in it,” Robertson says. “It’s nice to play that girl.”
For the People premieres tonight on ABC at 10 p.m. ET.
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