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Brooklyn gets tapped for another legal reality show

Susan Zirinksy, the show's CBS producer. Photo from imdb.com

Brooklyn Daily Eagle

Brooklyn has long been a favored venue for film and television production companies. The Brooklyn landscape and her characters have graced the small and big screen. With the increase of reality television shows, Brooklyn remains in the forefront. Shows like Oxygen Networks’ “Brooklyn 11223” and MTV’s “Real World: Red Hook” showed the lives and relationships of Brooklyn residents. 

A glimpse into the legal realities of Brooklynites has also been displayed.  Last year, the genre of unscripted dramas documenting real events involving real people, came to Brooklyn’s legal community with the show “Criminal Defense-Brooklyn.” Once again, Brooklyn’s legal community will be broadcast for national viewers as the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office appears in CBS’ “Brooklyn D.A.”

The six-part series, each episode an hour in length, will look at Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes as he prepares for a contested re-election race and the work of the DA’s office in prosecuting some high profile cases. The show “follows ... hard-charging prosecutors [with] larger-than-life personalities both inside the courtroom and out,” CBS said in a press release.  The format and struggles involved in the filming of “Brooklyn D.A.” sound similar to those faced by the producers of “Criminal Defense-Brooklyn.”

“Criminal Defense-Brooklyn” presented “the audience with an accurate portrayal of public defenders and the work that they do was especially challenging,” executive producer Daniel Houts said of the show.   A particular problem with Criminal Defense- Brooklyn was “ensuring that what [was] film[ed] did not interfere with the work of the attorneys defending their clients while still doing the show in the right way,” Houts noted.

The Brooklyn DA’s office has not been vocal about its decision to participate in the new series. “The DA’s office did not intend to promote the show,” a spokesperson at the DA’s Office told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.  

Whether Hynes’ office decided to promote the show or not, his opponents had some harsh critiques of the upcoming show. Brooklyn DA candidate Ken Thompson called Hynes’ decision to participate in the show as “reckless.”

“It is simply reckless for District Attorney Hynes to share sensitive information about ongoing cases and investigations with a film crew for self-promotion -- information that leaked before the show even aired and could easily lead to more failed prosecutions and overturned cases,” said Thompson, a former federal prosecutor. “If District Attorney Hynes spent less time worrying about getting on TV and more about his job, Brooklyn wouldn't have the lowest felony conviction rate in the city."

“Charles Hynes doesn’t want to be D.A. He just wants to play one on TV,” said Abe George, a former Manhattan prosecutor and candidate for Brooklyn DA.  

Whether filming the show was a good political decision or not, it is clear that Brooklyn is a filming hot spot. As CBS noted, Brooklyn, an ethnically diverse borough of 2.5 million people, has become a world-renowned spot for celebrities and sports stars as well as a magnet for leaders in the cultural and arts communities.

March 28, 2013 - 9:40am


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