Diane Haithman contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.
At today’s TCA panel on CBS’ new legal drama Made In Jersey, creator and co-executive producer Dana Calvo, who is from New Jersey, said the idea is to get beyond the Jersey stereotypes of Real Housewives of New Jersey or Jersey Shore. “I’m from New Jersey, so I know that people from new Jersey are not what you see” on those shows, Calvo said. “This is sort of a valentine to a state that I don’t think gets a lot of good press.”
Calvo said that she and executive producer Kevin Falls were inspired by the wacky family dynamics in the film The Fighter. The lead character in Made In Jersey, portrayed by British actress Janet Montgomery, is a working class girl competing with more sophisticated colleagues at a New York law firm.
Added Calvo: “If one more person asks me what exit I live off of, I’ll kick them in the neck.” She added that she does not feel defensive about stereotypes but wants to “swat them down and get on with it.“ Said actress Montgomery of her character: “We don’t want to make a caricature. This isn’t a reality show. I’m English. I’m an actress creating a character.” Falls said that what makes Made in Jersey different from other CBS procedurals is that the network “wants us to be funny. We actually did some reshoots to insert more humor”.
Added Falls: “We have to meet the challenge of telling compelling legal procedurals because CBS is good at procedurals. We know the bar is high.” But the producer called the humorous family backdrop a “palate cleanser” for the audience.