All Rise wants to give a voice to the voiceless in the American justice system. The CBS legal drama series sticks to a case-of-the-week storytelling template with its episodes, bringing new and important topics of discussion to Lola Carmichael's (Simone Missick) court. In its first five episodes, the series has put a face to those affected by issues like Immigration, cyber security and corruption in religious organizations.
Actress Jessica Camacho — who plays public defender Emily Lopez — told PopCulture.com in an exclusive interview that the show works to tackle these issues in an effort to highlight the "human" side, and those affected by those politically-charged topics.
Camacho gained prominence in the recurring role of Gypsy on The CW's The Flash, as well as a main role on NBC's Taken. She revealed that taking on the role of Emily felt like the chance to play a "real person."
"When I say a real person, I mean like a person grounded in circumstances of our reality," Camacho told PopCulture.com in a phone interview Thursday, Oct. 24. "She is an everyday hero. The people that walk that path are the heroes that are often the thankless heroes, that carry so much responsibility in their hands and on their shoulders and have to keep fighting for what's right every day even though they're facing often impossible, horribly unjust circumstances."
"I was really, really, really motivated to play somebody like that, to explore how somebody like that faces those challenges," she added. "What keeps them inspired, what keeps them ignited and what do those losses feel like? I think that that's so fascinating."
Emily's work as public defender began to shine in Episode 2, "Long Day's Journey into ICE," in which an ICE agent illegally enters the courtroom to detain a defendant, sparking a high-pressure confrontation between the federal government and California's status as a sanctuary for undocumented immigrants.
"I think we were all like, 'Whoa, the writers are diving in here, huh?' We're going to go for it on this show," Camacho said of the episode. "I think we were all really excited about that because we want our art to reflect the reality of what we're all experiencing, not only as Americans but as human beings."
"I focus on the humanity inside the stories. To me it's not like, 'Oh, we're embarking on a political discussion here.' To me it's about what is right," she added. "It's about what are the human beings fighting for that are actually experiencing these realities," she continued. "Let's tell their story to the best of our ability. Let's let their voice be heard. And that's what motivates me."
While Emily and Judge Lola's relationship stay in a professional level due to their jobs, Camacho says she feels fortunate to act alongside Missick in the courtroom.
"She's incredible. I have so much respect for her and that definitely translates to our characters," she said of the series star. "She's kind, she's passionate, she's so intelligent and she's just a beautiful human being... I just can't say enough good about her. She's a dynamic human being and a dynamic performer and I'm just grateful to be in her company."
All Rise airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET on CBS.