The quest for "Justice" already has begun.
Using the formula of integrating his three existing, Chicago-set NBC series, executive producer Dick Wolf has offered hints of "Chicago Justice" by factoring some of its characters into the other shows. Now, the law drama is getting its full-fledged start: It begins with a "preview" premiere that follows episodes of "Chicago Fire" and "Chicago P.D." involving the same plot on Wednesday, March 1, then debuts in its regular weekly slot the next Sunday.
"Chicago Justice"Previews at 9 p.m. Wednesday, March 1, before moving to its 8 p.m. Sunday timeslot March 5 on NBC
Central to "Chicago Justice" is prosecutor Peter Stone, portrayed by Philip Winchester. The son of Ben Stone, the district attorney played by Michael Moriarty in early seasons of Wolf's "Law & Order," he approaches the law in a way that often sets him on a collision course with politically minded Cook County State's Attorney Mark Jefferies ("Rocky" alum Carl Weathers). Monica Barbaro and Joelle Carter also are in the regular cast, as is Jon Seda, moving his Antonio Dawson role over from "Chicago P.D."
"We're getting a three-hour block of programming, ending with the last hour which is pure 'Justice,'" Wolf says of giving the latest entry its full launch. "... Very challenging, but a great story and something that I think will keep people sitting there for all three hours."
Winchester appreciates being a part of NBC's "Chicago" brand, explaining that after an aborted bid to play professional baseball, his new alter ego "fell back on what he knew and what he grew up around. Even though he agrees to disagree with his father, I think there are some fundamental similarities that he doesn't want to acknowledge, and those are the challenges every time he steps into the courtroom.
"I think he always has the whispers of his dad in the back of his head when he's prosecuting a case, when he's cross-examining, when he's closing arguments in front of the jury."
Iconic as Rocky Balboa's opponent-turned-comrade Apollo Creed, Weathers has done weekly television before. He says of his new character Jefferies, "He was politically motivated from the very beginning, and this is a political position, so he has to be interested in doing the job to stay in the job."
As affirmed by the family ties of its Peter Stone, "Chicago Justice" has echoes of "Law & Order." Still, Wolf maintains the title isn't "Chicago Law" because "they are very different shows. I didn't want them compared directly because there is not the bifurcated structure of 'Law & Order,' but any comparisons are welcome. I think that the two shows are two of the smartest shows that have been on television over the past 30 years."