Bit of a shame, this: the last ever episode of For the People. There are no cliffhangers, and one or two happy endings, so it may be that the writers knew what was coming. In the Case of the Week, Jay’s immigrant parents are intimidated at a polling station. This turns out to be part of a well-funded and co-ordinated campaign across the state. Roger (the delectable Ben Shenkman) is told not to prosecute anyone for it – it’s a Federal matter, and his boss doesn’t want to get into trouble – but he does so anyway. Meantime Seth is given a mob case – and a bodyguard – and Jill tells Roger that they can’t be together, as their relationship is incompatible with their respective positions.
Well, if we’re getting closure, I thought, the ONLY happy ending I want is Jill and Roger. Which is duly delivered: Roger successfully prosecutes the man funding the voter intimidation, then resigns, which means he and Jill can be a couple. Kate is promoted to his position. Seth isn’t killed (my guess is that would have been the cliffhanger, had there been one). Sandra finally makes out with hot investigator Ted.
Throughout the show’s run the predominantly young cast gave it their all: my favourite continued to be Susannah Flood as Kate, and I hope to see her again in something which gets more than two seasons. But the whole thing was also grounded in four terrific performances as the seen-it-all-before oldies: Shenkman, Hope Davis, Vondie Curtis Hall, and Anna Deavere Smith all adroitly combined idealism with experience in their roles. It’s a satisfactory end to a show I really liked, but the viewers just didn’t turn up for. In another era, For the People might have got the attention it deserved; but if you want intelligent, well-acted, issue-driven TV drama you’ve got more choice than ever before. The Golden Age will have its casualties, and this was another.