Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Hoping to utilize the Supreme Court in the same dramatic manner that West Wing utilized the White House, the weekly, 60-minute CBS series First Monday focused on the nine Justices who laid down the law for the United States. Joe Mantegna headed the cast as Joseph Novelli, the newest member of the nine-person Supreme Court. Entering a political arena that was evenly divided between Conservative and Liberal, the "moderate" Justice Novelli generally acted as the tie-breaker in matters of national jurisprudence (though supposedly noncommittal politically, Novelli's beard and pugnacious personality indicated that he was the "champion of the underdog" type). James Garner co-starred as staunchly conservative Chief Justice Thomas Brankin, who displayed his contempt for contemporary political correctness by puffing away on a cigarette in his "officially" smoke-free private office. Brankin's chief ally was the whimsical, womanizing Justice Henry Hoskins (Charles Durning), while on varying extremes of the political spectrum were Jewish jurist Esther Weisenberg (Camille Saviola) and black Justice Jerome Morris (James McEachin). Created by Jag's Donald P. Bellisario, First Monday premiered on Tuesday, January 15, 2002, before settling into its standard Friday-night slot.