“RIGHT TO COUNSEL” TV Series-STOWE STORY LABS

Jana Zinser

Zinser’s TV series RIGHT TO COUNSEL won a place at the October Stowe Story Labs! Click here for more information.

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Based on a true story.

GENRE: One Hour Hybrid – TV True Crime Drama (Present Day)

COMPS: BOYZ IN THE HOOD meets LAW AND ORDER from a young Black defense attorney’s perspective. 

LOGLINE: A young, Black defense attorney struggles with finances, professional expectations, dysfunctional family, a violent neighborhood, and the ambitions of his friends, as he seeks justice for his clients, taking on the District Attorney who is out to get him.

What’s it like to be a young, Black attorney when the world judges you as a criminal or a rapper? He fights for justice in the courtroom, navigates the dangerous streets, and plays video games and basketball with his law school friends.  

Based on the life and legal cases of Marques A. Ivey – Criminal Defense Attorney in Denver, CO:
Marques Ivey (the character AJ Johnson in the series) is well-known in the Denver area for his remarkable successes with difficult cases and his personal and unique way he approaches every legal challenge. He grew up trying to survive gang members and drugs in his neighborhood and traumatic family turmoil, but with the determined insistence of his mother, who later became his law office manager, he graduated from law school. His ability to think beyond the traditional legal strategies and refusal to cave to intense prosecutorial pressure have made him a well-respected, but obvious target of many district attorneys, judges, and police officers. He is not one to be underestimated as he fights for his clients.

SERIES ENGINE: RIGHT TO COUNSEL follows AJ Johnson, a young, Black defense attorney, as he fights to save his clients from the abuses of the system, counter police corruption, defend their rights, and seek to uncover evidence to exonerate them despite the District Attorney’s determination to end AJ’s career. AJ takes a personal interest in the lives of his clients and fights to improve his community. He saw firsthand how growing up hard can shape life’s opportunities and perceptions and reduce the guarantee of justice.

As AJ fights for justice in the courtroom and on the streets, he is influenced by the struggles of his law school friends, the determined political ambition of the district attorney, the professional and personal challenges of his colleagues in the public defenders’ office, the family conflicts of his mother and abusive step-father, and the pursuit of his love interest who works for the DA. His brazen goal, to make changes in the lives of the poor and underserved, comes at a high price: his reputation, his finances, and his safety.

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