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'All Rise' Star Simone Missick Reflects On That Groundbreaking Season Finale

The actress also spoke to ESSENCE about returning to the courtroom for another season.

For fans of All Rise, the good news is that the CBS drama will return for a second season. That news is especially thrilling for lead actress, Simone Missick, who earned an NAACP Image Award nod for her portrayal of Judge Lola Carmichael.

The announcement of the pick-up came Wednesday, just two days following the show’s groundbreaking finale. “It was challenging, but at the same time, we’re all really proud of what we were able to accomplish,” she tells ESSENCE.

On Monday night, the series finale made history as the first primetime series to be shot remotely. In fact, the episode, entitled “Dancing at Los Angeles,” mirrored the state of the world in which we’re all currently living with the COVID-19 pandemic at the center. Stationed at home, Missick and her castmates (including her husband, actor Dorian Missick, who made a special appearance as DJ Tailwind Taylor at D-Nice’s Club Quarantine), delivered their lines via laptops and cell phones. As Missick notes, creating the innovative episode came together rather quickly. 

‘All Rise’ Star Simone Missick Reflects On Season One Finale

“We shut down [production] about a third of the way through our second-to-last episode, which was a two-parter,” she says, “and our show creator, Greg Spottiswood, wondered if he could come up with little vignettes.”

What came next was the idea to transform the finale into a self-quarantine episode, so it was written as such. The cast was onboard and rolled up their sleeves to make it happen, starting with scouting locations within their homes to ensure that the lighting was on-point and the WiFi signals, strong. Within days, and after receiving sanitized equipment sent by the crew, they began shooting.

As for glam? Well, Missick and the cast handled that, too, with a little socially-distanced assistance. “Lola is much more fashionable than I am, so the styling was done by our costume designer, Janelle Carothers. We were very cautious about [sending and receiving] cardboard boxes containing wardrobe [selects].”

There were also virtual consultations with the make-up team. “I definitely reached out to both of the ladies who we worked with during the season, Brittany Ingram and Valerie Hunt-Darden, who were so, so helpful. And styling my hair was an act of God–trust me!”

Along with the history-making finale, Missick is as humbled as she is grateful to be in the lead role. “There’s that thing where every actor is like, ‘I want to be the lead’ and I certainly had that written on my vision boards every, single year,” says Missick, who made her series-regular debut on Luke Cage. “All Rise isn’t your typical legal procedural, nor is it a straight comedy either.”

With her sights set on All Rise’s second season, Missick credits the show’s tight-knit cast and crew for making the show a success. “You can only be as strong as those around you and the people I work with are just phenomenal.”