Marshall Law: articles

Marshall Law given the boot

CHANNEL 7 has axed its legal series Marshall Law after just one series.

Poor ratings sounded the death knell for the show, which was designed as a comeback vehicle for former Blue Heelers star Lisa McCune.

"Working on the show was a wonderful experience and I'd like to thank Seven for such a fantastic effort," said McCune, who is starring in Melbourne in the stage musical Cabaret.

"Being a member of a strong ensemble team was a delight and I've made some great friends… it's sad Marshall Law isn't going again, but you take it on the chin and move on."

Seven's head of drama John Holmes said the network was disappointed the show would not continue. "It's never an easy decision to remove a program from the schedule."

January 16, 2003
The Herald Sun

Forces against Law

The cancellation of any Aussie show is disappointing, but in the case of Marshall Law it was doubly so. Like Young Lions, most of the show's problems began and ended with the concept, writing and direction (particularly in the early episodes). All three should have been sorted out before the series started filming. In fact, there was little excuse for the wobbly product that went to air, given that Seven had already seen a pilot episode, which it didn't like and decided to change. Out went Kerry Armstrong and in came Alison Whyte. William McInnes was written into the series. The sad thing is the actors did their bit. Not so the creative team.

Marshall Law never knew what it was supposed to be. Billed as an Aussie Ally McBeal-type legal series, it never came close. The lightness of the treatment in Ally McBeal, which was so much of the show's initial appeal, wasn't achieved by writing that lacked substance. The writing in Marshall Law was so superficial it was frightening. The show appeared to suffer a huge identity crisis. It didn't know what it was supposed to be—comedy or comedy/drama, subtle or broad, sophisticated or slapstick. Didn't the producer or director tell the actors what the vision was? Lisa McCune was playing it light, Whyte a shade more serious, McInnes much broader, while Jane Hall was playing her role as a comic caricature. The styles, early on, never meshed. Why didn't this get sorted out? In the early episodes, also, McCune's Ros Marshall was written as dumb. The writers even highlighted Ros's lack of intelligence by placing her alongside a work-experience student who was more clever.

And, finally, there was the problem of the character the creators were asking McCune to play and what McCune fans would accept. It was always going to be an impossible ask to satisfy McCune fans, attracted to her Blue Heelers character of the wholesome Maggie Doyle, by having her play flighty Ros Marshall—a bed-hopping female with a big appetite for sex. It was too easy for the loyal Doyle fans to brand Ros a slut. The show also looked decidedly cheap.

Let's hope Seven's next McCune project—the network says there are a couple in development—is better planned and executed.

January 22, 2003
The Herald Sun