Giddy on justice (also, beer), we adieu’d into the Chinatown night, wondering about the fate of the many cases we’d seen earlier. Would the swipe seller cause a stir again at his rescheduled arraignment? Which drug distributor would skip town and forfeit their exorbitant bail? Did that guy actually shit himself???
Court shows train audiences to believe that there is an essential Truth or Good, which can be uncovered by a righteous judge and a handful of ethically unimpeachable, policy-snubbing lawyers (and, of course, the "I hate lawyers" lawyer-types.) But stripped of all of its musical cues, its carefully placed flashbacks, its Jack McCoys, court is a marshland of uncertainty, dejection, excitement, and downtime.
What Night Court lacked in the comforting closure of a TV drama, it made up for in uncensored, unpredictable rawness. The ways in which the real thing departed from a casual scroll down a Netflix "true crime" sub-genre page are the very reasons you should go. It's entertaining, but it's also unsettling, provocative, and demanding of a level of thoughtfulness that can't be achieved by anything but reality, no matter how good the script.