Television: Verdict Is In

As playwrights have long known, there are few more dramatic situations than a court trial. But TV cameras are not allowed in courtrooms, and dramatized trial scenes often suffer from their own contrived complexity. Last week a program that captures much of the unrehearsed spontaneity and unpredictability of a real trial was the year's biggest success in afternoon television.

Only a Brief. CBS's The Verdict Is Yours (3:30 p.m., E.D.T.) has no script, and not even the producer knows what the verdict will be. Instead, each "trial" is fabricated in the head of the show's lawyer, Selig Silverman. Each principal is told...

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