Kathy Bates Is Leading a New ‘Matlock’ Series for CBS
Okay, okay, Grampa Simpson, settle down! I’m getting to Matlock!
CBS announced its 2023-24 primetime lineup on May 10, and among the slated new and returning titles is Matlock, a new legal drama starring Emmy and Oscar winner Kathy Bates as Madeline “Matty” Matlock, a brilliant septuagenarian who achieved success in her younger years and decides to rejoin the workforce at a prestigious law firm, where she uses her unassuming demeanor and wily tactics to win cases.
The network says the new Matlock is “inspired by the classic television series of the same name.”
They are, of course, referring to Matlock, the beloved legal drama from back in the day that starred Andy Griffith as the title character, Atlanta country lawyer Ben Matlock, who was famed for his folksiness and Southern drawl, and rather Perry Mason-like when it came to his percentage of cases won as a defense attorney.
The Griffith-led series aired from 1986-92 on NBC, and 1992-95 on ABC. During that time, a sort of a running joke developed that Matlock was an “old people” show, hence the frequent mentions of it on The Simpsons by Abe Simpson and others in his retirement home.
The upcoming Bates-led Matlock appears to have no direct connection story-wise to the original series (which actually is name-dropped in the show’s trailer), mostly just in its name and similar premise.
Here is more about that premise from CBS:
“Matty [Bates’ characer] is assigned to Olympia (Skye P. Marshall), a senior attorney and key rainmaker with a thirst for justice. Olympia’s ex-husband, Julian (Jason Ritter), the son of the head of the firm, is intrigued by Matty and her clever skills. As Matty endeavors to establish herself in her new high-stakes world, she works alongside the firm’s younger associates — the charismatic Billy (David Del Rio) and the uber ambitious Sarah (Leah Lewis).”
The network also dropped the fun-looking trailer for the series. There is a meta reference at one point when we see Matty introducing herself as a lawyer to members of the firm, laughingly adding when she recognizes what they — and viewers — are probably thinking: “Yeah, Matlock, like the old TV show.” So Bates’ Matlock seems to exist in a universe where Griffith’s Matlock was a fictional series.
The trailer also demonstrates that Madeline Matlock has some of the “aw-shucks” attitude, and the ability to cunningly use that as well as society’s tendency to underestimate senior citizens, to achieve results in cases where younger folk may not, as Ben Matlock did.
And Matty brings up an additional hurdle that Ben Matlock did not have to contend with, when she mentions how it is especially women who become nearly invisible as they age.
But, she adds, “It’s useful, because nobody sees us comin’.”
The new Matlock series is expected to premiere during CBS’ upcoming 2023-24 season, though a premiere date has not yet been announced.
When it does debut, it is currently slated to air Sundays at 8pm ET/PT, ahead of the Queen Latifah-led The Equalizer, which will be back for Season 4, and CSI: Vegas, which is coming back for Season 3 later in the year, likely midseason.
So, what do you think, Matlock and/or legal drama fans? Will you be tuning in?