Created by Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stunitsky, “Jury Duty” is a comedy series released on April 7, 2023. Streaming on the Amazon Prime Video platform’s Amazon Freevee, the mockumentary revolves around a fake jury trial with 12 jury members and an insight into the workings of American jury proceedings. Among those 12 members, 11 are actors and know about the act, but one jury member named Ronald Gladden believes that he is performing a civic duty, and we see through his eyes what funny incidents occur in this whole endeavor.
‘Jury Duty’ Episode 1: Story Recap
The first episode begins with an introduction where it gives the audience the idea that the whole event is made up. The jury proceedings take place in the Huntington Park Superior Court in Los Angeles County. Interestingly, this was a vacant and out-of-order court that was used for the purpose of a community Halloween Haunted house but the “Jury Duty” crew went there and made it a functional courtroom within a week. We then see the Juror Holding Room, where people from different backgrounds and ages are waiting, and it reminds us of situations like movie auditions or travelers waiting for their flights. Then slowly, all 12 jury members are introduced in humorous ways.
Firstly, we see Jeannie Abruzzo, a Retail Associate who is an anarchist but also a “fun girl,” with whom Ronald had his first conversation. Then we see Noah Price, a Rideshare Driver who is mocked for his glasses by Jeannie, saying he looks like Christopher Robin. A Small Business Owner by the name of Ken Hyun is then shown, along with Todd Gregory, who is a Quality Control Assistant and wears a Water Buffalo canteen backpack. Celebrity James Marsden, who has acted in “X-Men” and “Enchanted”, is introduced as himself, and one of the candidates waiting in the jury room asks Ronald to take their picture.
Both of them then strike up a conversation about which movies the actor has been a part of, and we clearly understand the narcissistic character type played by James Marsden. James Marsden then says that he has a big meeting with an important director and wants to get out, and a similar thing is also wanted by Noah. Ronald, in a funny way, says that in The Family Guy, “Peter pretends to be racist” to get out of such a situation, which is lauded as a smart move by Noah. Then we see the bailiff escorting everyone inside the courtroom, and Judge Alan Rosen, who will preside over this case, announces it will be his last. The judge then starts asking the jurors, those with absolutely important reasons who cannot commit to the time frame of the trial may leave. And we see that a few of them are excused for the right reasons, and then the lunch recess occurs. The scene shifts to the food truck on the court campus, where Noah offers his half sandwich to Jeannie, and Marsden tells Ronald that he needs the judge to recognize him and let him go. We then see Todd Gregory demonstrating his weird water and food paste carrying backpack to Noah and Jeannie. James Marsden really wants to get out of this jury duty and tells everyone he has a plan to seek the attention of the judge and let him know he is a celebrity. We see the judge coming with a cut on his hand from the parking lot, and the plan of the actor terribly fails.
We see everybody gathering in the courtroom the next day, and Marsden tells Ronald that he met with this big director and that it is a career-changing role if he gets the part. Then we see the concept of voir dire, where each member is cross-examined to see if they are fit for jury duty. Some of the members present hilarious stories to get out of jury duty, with the humor reaching its peak when Noah copies Peter from The Family Guy and says he is racist. Marsden again tries to escape this situation by telling the judge he is a recognizable public figure, and that could hamper the case. The judge simply tells him he is not aware of who he is and dismisses his plea. After the recess, the judge selects 12 jury members along with two alternates, on which, unfortunately, Marsden’s name comes up. Marsden stages a paparazzi to still get out of the situation but again fails, and the judge tells all the members of the jury they will be sequestered the next day and will be provided further information.
‘Jury Duty’ Episode 2: Story Recap
The next episode begins with Ronald getting his things checked at the security checkpoint at Huntington Park Superior Court and entering the waiting room, where all the other jurors are sitting. Marsden then apologizes for the paparazzi the day before and says he has nothing to do with it, which is clearly a lie. Judge Rosen enters the room and again introduces his bailiff and tells the jurors that he will select the foreperson (captain) among the jurors after concluding some business he has. Ronald says he is not a good choice, while another juror, Ross Kubiak, says that he can take decisions naturally, and his wife even calls him the foreperson. When the celebrity actor James Marsden shows interest, the judge simply quashes his wish by saying alternates are not allowed for this position. The judge then begins to give instructions about how things will proceed and what the jurors will need to do. When everyone learns that they have to submit their smartphones for the time period of the trial and write down the important phone numbers in case of any emergency, Marsden again creates a ruckus and tries to elevate his position as a celebrity.
The scene shifts to the courtroom with plaintiff Jacquiline Hilgrove’s opening statement, where Ronald defines her as strong yet vulnerable. The counsel presented an animated video of the defendant, which is subtly humorous, and said to the courtroom how her client has been heavily depressed by the actions of the defendant. The defendant’s counsel also had a video for his opening statement, which he was unable to play due to some internet issues, and the judge calls it a day and asks the jurors to return back to their hotel and also informs them that he will choose the foreperson the next day. In the next scene, we see the bailiff telling them that the jurors will be divided into two teams and will be put in two separate hotels. We see Ronald and other members traveling to their hotel and talking about the opening statement. When they reach the hotel, Marsden bails out and heads for home with another bailiff, as he had made an arrangement with the court. The bailiff helps the jurors get to their rooms and tells them another officer will check on them later. Ronald and Todd had their rooms just beside each other and even shared a common door. Todd decided to communicate with rudimentary signs (door knocks) on which Ronald agrees.
The next scene again opens in the waiting room of the courthouse, where everybody learns about the hiring of a private bailiff by Marsden and no one is thrilled about it. Then we saw how juror Inez De Leon took charge of the responsibility for collecting the lunch orders of all the jurors from the bailiff, as she believed winning the confidence of the bailiff was the ticket to foremen. The defendant’s counsel again fails in his second attempt to provide an opening statement, and the judge is informed by the bailiff that the restaurant from which Inez De Leon ordered is closed. The humor of the scene heightens when the defendant’s counsel accidentally tumbles the TV on which he was going to play the video for the jury. Again, back in the waiting room, everyone is discussing what they would have for lunch, and Ken Hyun spills a bit of coffee on the table. Everybody is asking for paper towels, and suddenly, in a hilarious way, one of the jurors by the name of Tim tries to climb the cupboard for paper towels and accidentally hurts himself. Medics arrive and take him to the care center while everybody talks about how genuine a person Tim was, except for Ronald, who had only a few words with him. Lastly, the bailiff tells them they will get pizza for their lunch, and no one is very happy about this. Now the judge chooses Lonnie Coleman in place of Tim, and still, Marsden is placed as an alternative, on which he vents out by saying maybe there will be another Tim-like event, but not in a bad way. The defendant’s counsel tried to show the animation video to the jurors from his tab but again failed terribly due to a glitch. In another turn of events, Ronald got selected as the foreman at the closing of this scene, and everybody seems pleased with that.
What Can We Expect In The Next Episode?
From what we have seen so far, expect more humorous events in the coming episodes. We are also eager to see how Ronald performs his duty as a leader who was not interested in taking the foreman position in the first place.