Nancy Grace Serves Up Justice in New CTD Court Show

No gavel, no robes, no problem in 'Swift Justice'

Talk meets high-tech court in CBS Television
Distribution’s latest syndication offering,
Swift Justice With Nancy Grace, which premieres in
high-definition on stations across the country Sept. 13. The
show feels like a modern spin on the traditional court show,
with Grace often acting as judge, jury and litigator. Unlike
most court shows, there’s no wooden stand, no gavel and
no black robes.

“I created this show with the idea that people’s emotions
in the midst of these disputes would come through,” says John
Terenzio, Swift Justice’s executive producer, who’s also EP of
CTD’s Judge Joe Brown. “The format was always built around
the idea that this would be a much freer arena for people to
express their opinions and feelings. For Nancy, it just comes

“On this show, Nancy gets to address a
wide range of topics, and that lets viewers
really get the whole Nancy Grace,” adds
Terry Wood, CTD’s president of development
and creative affairs. “We’re not doing
news stories; we’re talking about what happens to people in
everyday life. Viewers will get to see so many more sides of
Nancy, from her compassion and curiosity to her humor.”

Grace also won’t remain behind her podium. She walks all
over the set, whether it’s to point something out on one of
the set’s giant screens or give a crying litigant a much-needed
hug. And there’s a lot of crying.

“Because of Nancy’s experience as a prosecutor, she took to
the set as if it were a courtroom,” says Terenzio, who worked
with designer Joe Stewart to create the high-tech red and
blue backdrop.

The show also features plenty of expert criminology and
technology. In one case, Grace brings in a blood-spatter expert
to determine whether a woman was struck by her boyfriend
or fell of her own accord. The show also is visited by
experts in DNA analysis and lie detectors.

Videoconferencing pros and cons
Every half-hour show—and Swift Justice will run in a one-hour
block comprised of two episodes—begins with two in-studio
cases that feature two parties in a dispute. After those two cases,
the show runs its “Nancy Across America” segment, in which
disputing parties call in via the Polycom videoconferencing
system. “We reach out to America and settle cases with people
sitting in front of their computer screens,” Terenzio says.

Videoconferencing has its pros and cons. The show avoids
the cost and hassle of bringing all parties to the studio, but
frustrated participants can easily shut their laptops and walk
away—and one does. Grace is the consummate improviser,
however, so even the abrupt departure of a participant doesn’t
faze her.

“When you have someone like Nancy who is that good at
connecting with people, you have to let her go and do her
thing,” Wood says. “You have to let her go with her instincts.
It’s very dynamic and unpredictable, but you know that you
are going to walk away with great moments.”

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