Kelsey Grammer was among the large ensemble cast of Fox’s Proven Innocent who came to TCA to discuss the button-pushing legal drama from Empire co-creator Danny Strong and writer David Elliott. It’s about a criminal defense firm that focuses on freeing the wrongly convicted, led by lawyer Madeline Scott (Rachelle Lefevre) who had herself been wrongfully convicted, along with her brother, of murder when she was 18.
In June, Kelsey Grammer was cast as Gore Bellows, the prosecutor who initially put away Madeline and still believes in her guilt.
At TCA, Grammer described his Gore Bellows character as “a man of principle who has made mistakes.” But, the actor was quick to challenge the critics, saying there are two sides to this coin. “Is every person in jail innocent? If you go to jail every person [incarcerated there] will tell you so.”
He reminded the critics of his personal experience with the criminal justice system in Colorado. In 1975, his sister was murdered in Colorado Springs, by a civilian employee at Fort Carson who, along with two soldiers, grabbed her as they were exiting their botched robbery attempt. Presumably referencing the parole eligibility process, Grammer said he periodically has to “go to Colorado and put people in jail because they hurt my family.”
“For every person proved innocent, that means there is a person who got away,” Grammer said. “All these issues are important.”
After the paneled Q&A, TV critics asked Grammer about Deadline’s scoop that the Frasier star and executive producer is fielding interest to put together a new Frasier series. Grammer told TCA critics he would only agree to revisit the character if it was a “really great” pitch.
During the panel, one TV critic wondered if the series sets out to imagine “What if Amanda Knox became a lawyer.” As an exchange student, Knox became a headline when convicted in the murder of a fellow exchange student with whom she was sharing an apartment. Knox later was acquitted by the Italian equivalent of Supreme Court.
Strong acknowledged he’d said virtually the same thing when developing the series, after seeing a documentary about Knox on Netflix. This series is a “very fictionalized version of her story, obviously,” he said.
Proven Innocent gives Fox a potential procedural franchise, something the network has been looking to add to its portfolio since the end of Bones.