ABC has assembled the lead cast opposite Anthony Anderson of ABC’s single camera comedy pilot Public Defenders. Erika Henningsen, Arturo Castro, Kimrie Lewis, Natasha Lopez and Isaiah Dòdó-Williams have been set as series regulars in the pilot, written by Eddie Quintana and to be directed by Randall Einhorn.
In it, up to their earholes in student loan debt, four inexperienced public defenders work tirelessly to keep their clients out of jail. Along the way, they have to rely on one another to navigate their first defendants, the absurd court system and the copy machine that always jams.
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Henningsen will play Catherine. New to the public defender’s office, Catherine is smart and pragmatic and passionate about justice, even though she hasn’t actually taken a case to trial yet. She fights for what’s right, no matter how small the injustice. And she always puts her clients first. Sure, that doesn’t leave her much time for a personal life, but she’s working on it.
Castro will play Efren, the smartest, most charismatic lawyer in the public defender’s office. At least, that’s what he’d tell you. Over-confident, Efren wants to rack up as much trial experience as possible, so he can become the next Johnnie Cochran. But underneath his arrogance is a lawyer who cares deeply about his clients and fights hard to keep them out of jail.
Lewis will play Bethany. As the office manager, it’s up to Bethany to hold everything together. She does it with kindness or harshness, with no in-between. She can be a loyal ally or a ticking time bomb, depending on the situation. Five months pregnant, Bethany intends to work right up to her delivery because she doesn’t trust anyone else to do her job as well as she does.
Lopez will play Lindsay who brings street smarts and fashion sense to the public defender’s office. She’s a fiercely competitive lawyer who doesn’t back down from a good fight, even if it means chipping a nail. While her clients get to see her compassion and hard work, her co-workers are left to deal with her intensity and brutal honesty.
Dòdó-Williams will play Ray, a brilliant legal mind with the confidence of a pimple-faced pre-teen on picture day. He may have graduated from a top-tier law school, but he’s still the perpetual underdog. Despite his lack of self-confidence, he loves his job as a public defender and adores his co-workers. But outside of court, Ray is a mess, second-guessing himself and frequently making his life harder than it needs to be.
Anderson plays Marshall, the public defenders’ boss.
Executive producing Public Defenders are Anderson, Quintana, Einhorn, Astrof as well as McG, Mary Viola and Corey Marsh for Wonderland Sound and Vision and Artists First’s E. Brian Dobbins. 20th Television is the studio.
Henningsen originated the role of Cady Heron in the musical Mean Girls. She can be heard as the leading voice actor in A24’s upcoming animated series, Hazbin Hotel. Henningsen is repped by Authentic Talent & Literary Management and Stewart Talent.
Castro can be seen in Mark Mylod’s The Menu for Searchlight, produced by Adam McKay. Most recently, Castro wrapped Road House. He is repped by Mosaic, WME, and Hansen, Jacobson, Teller.
Lewis starred as Mika on the NBC sitcom Kenan for two seasons. She is repped by Buchwald and Seven Summits.
Lopez, who was cast in the 2018 ABC Discovers Showcase, is repped by by The Hybrid Agency, Brillstein Entertainment Partners & Imprint.
Dòdó-Williams, a 2022 MFA Columbia University graduate, is repped by Felicia Sager at Sager Entertainment and attorney Stewart Brookman at Hansen, Jacobson, Teller.