Josh Lucas, star of NBC’s new drama “The Firm,” revealed that performing his jury duty service in New York City two years ago, on a case which hinged on whether to send a man to prison for life, helped inspire him to take on the role of lawyer and crusader for justice – famed John Grisham character Mitch McDeere.
“I had missed jury duty multiple times because I was on movies. When I went to do ‘The Lincoln Lawyer’… I went to the courthouse and I said, ‘I would like to do research and incorporate that with my jury duty.’ They said, ‘No, we don’t care,’” Josh recounted after this Television Critics Association Winter Session panel on Friday for his NBC show, which premieres this Sunday night, explaining the beginnings of how he ended up on the case.
The court eventually told Josh to report on November 13, 2010, and the following day, he was sent down to the courtroom of a trial he would eventually be a part of.
“The second I walked in, I saw this guy recognize me, the defendant. I saw him talk to his lead legal counsel about it so I went immediately to the bailiff and I said, ‘I need to speak to the judge,’ and the judge said, ’If we release everyone who came here because they had conflicts of interest like yours, we would not be able to get juries. We’ve decided to stop doing that. It doesn’t matter if you’re famous anymore. Unless we determine you’re in danger, that’s the only way you can be dismissed,’” Josh continued. “So weirdly, I then got chosen.”
The case was one the actor didn’t want to get into too much detail on, but he hinted it affected him deeply.
“It was such a severe case that they had to not just shackle him, but they had to hold him down in the courtroom during his testimony,” Josh said.
“I can’t tell you much [more] than it was incredibly severe and violent,” he added, confirming the case involved the defendant’s spouse.
And the actor was part of the jury that ended up convicting the unnamed man for life.
“He was involved in multiple crimes before [the one he was on trial for], which we were not actually allowed to know and that’s where I fell in love with the legal elements,” the actor explained. “There was so much that I found out after the fact that would have colored my thoughts. So I thought, this really makes — if it’s done right — it makes for very interesting television, if you can do something that isn’t just normal procedural, procedural, procedural… and that’s where I hope this show goes more and more.”
Six months later, the opportunity came up for “The Firm,” and Josh signed on.
The two-hour season premiere of “The Firm” premieres on Sunday at 9 PM EST/PST on NBC.