Oscar-winning director Sidney Lumet, who began his career during the "golden age" of live television, returned to his TV roots as creator, writer, and director of the gritty, one-hour drama series 100 Centre Street. The title refers to the address of New York's Criminal Court, presided over by such distinguished jurists as Judge Joe Rifkind (Alan Arkin and Judge Atallah Sims (LaTanya Richardson). Though diametrical opposites in terms of philosophy -- Rifkind tends towards lenient liberalism, while the by-the-book Sims is known far and wide as "Atallah the Hun" -- the two judges remain close friends. Many of the episodes deal with the ramifications of the judges' decisions: In the opener, for example, Rifkind had to wrestle with the fact that a defendant he set free immediately went out and committed a savage murder -- and the victim was the daughter of Rifkind's former law partner. Others in the cast are Joseph Lyle Taylor and Paula Devicq as Assistant DAs Bobby Esposito and Cynthia Bennington, Larry Pine as Cynthia's father Frank, Manny Perez as womanizing legal aide Ramon Rodriguez, Val Avery as Sal Gentile, and Armando Williams as Al Thompson. As realistic as possible within the strictures of basic cable, and doggedly refusing to take dramatic easy-outs or provide pat endings, 100 Centre Street is worthy of all the "hype" attending its January 15, 2001, debut on the A&E network.
by Hal Erickson synopsis