Night Court was a hit sitcom that took an irreverent look at the justice system in Manhattan. Created by Reinhold Weege, the show aired for nine seasons between 1984-92.
Harry Anderson (Judge Harry T. Stone), John Larroquette (prosecutor Dan Fielding), Markie Post (public defender Christine Sullivan), Charlie Robinson (clerk “Mac” Robinson), and Marsha Warfield (bailiff Roz Russell) were just some of the stars who made the show special.
Let the record state that Night Court has all kinds of fascinating facts behind it. The charge is to read this article and find out what they are. How do you plead?
What’s in a name? Lots, according to Night Court
Night Court had a habit of matching actors’ names to their characters. By coincidence, Harry Anderson played Harry Stone.
Then there was Charles Robinson as “Mac” Robinson. Not to mention Larroquette’s full name of Reinhold Daniel Fielding Elmore, taking after creator Reinhold Weege.
Weege also had a unique way of paying tribute to people he knew. He “named many of the prostitutes and pimps that appear throughout the show’s run after his friends,” writes Eighties Kids, “just to give them a mention on air.”
Markie Post used to work with Alex Trebek
Before approaching the bench, Markie Post became part of game show history. Eighties Kids notes she was an associate producer on Double Dare (CBS, 1976-77). Hosting was the future Jeopardy! legend Alex Trebek. Post also contributed to Split Second and Card Sharks, appearing on camera for the latter.
Markie Post died on August 7, 2021, at the age of 70. She’d been battling cancer for nearly four years.
Harry Anderson was a real magician
Offbeat judge Harry T. Stone was youthful and had a sideline in magic. Where did this unique combination come from?
Actor Harry Anderson himself, who aced card tricks and the like in real life. Performing on Saturday Night Live led to his being spotted and cast. Night Court and other roles made him “richer than Davy Crockett,” as Anderson told Associated Press.
Throwbacks quoted the 1987 interview, celebrating Anderson’s career after his death in 2018 at 65. He kept his hand in acting but magic was always his first love.
Anderson encountered magic of a darker kind in another high-profile role… playing Richie Tozier in the original miniseries of Stephen King’s It (1990).
John Larroquette and Charlie Robinson were reunited
Arguably the best-known actor to emerge from Night Court was John Larroquette. He went on to star in his own self-titled sitcom between 1993-96. Charlie Robinson guest-starred in an episode, bringing back memories for fans of self-obsessed prosecutor Fielding and laid-back Vietnam vet “Mac.” Night Court is noticeable for its diverse cast, back in the days when that wasn’t a given.
Larroquette continued his legal path onscreen, with parts in The Practice and Boston Legal.
Robinson took high-profile roles in the sitcoms Love & War and Home Improvement. He died in July 2021, aged 75.
Larroquette played the American Basil Fawlty
He was sitcom royalty for Night Court. Yet Larroquette came a little unstuck playing the title character in 1999’s Payne.
Based on Fawlty Towers, the show lasted a single season and was badly received. Not that Laroquette wasn’t in good company – both Harvey Korman and Bea Arthur failed to follow in John Cleese’s footsteps.
One producer created Malcolm In The Middle
Linwood Boomer worked as a producer on the show. The former Little House on the Prairie star went behind the scenes on Night Court before creating the long-running hit Malcolm In The Middle (2000-2006).
Notable Night Court guest stars
Seinfeld’s Michael Richards guest-starred as an unclothed defendant who thought he was invisible.
The Addams Family’s original Gomez, John Astin, made regular appearances as Buddy, the father of lead character Harry Stone.
Night Court’s wildest case involved Wile E Coyote. The Warner Bros. character was dragged before the judge in all his animated glory, standing trial over his treatment of Road Runner.
The series actually ended 16 years later, on 30 Rock
Night Court closed with a lot of loose ends. That wasn’t their fault. The plan was to end with Season 8. Then another run was ordered and left hanging, causing great upset among fans.
30 Rock picked up the baton in 2008. Anderson, Post, and Robinson were brought back for a mini-reunion where Judge Stone and Christine Sullivan tied the knot. The cast played both themselves and their characters in an episode that got mixed reviews.
Night Court is back in session
current obsession unlocked 🔓 #NightCourt TOMORROW 8/7c and streaming on @peacock. pic.twitter.com/jsbsVljmMp
— NBC Entertainment (@nbc) January 30, 2023
A Night Court revival premiered January 17, 2023, and right out of the box was a smash hit. The reboot’s success surprised even some of the show’s producers. In fact, the first three episodes averaged 6.6 million viewers and garnered the highest ratings any network comedy series has gotten in four years.
The new Night Court follows judge Abby Stone (Melissa Rauch), the daughter of the late Harry Stone. Like her father, Stone presides over a New York City arraignment court during the night shift. John Larroquette has reprised his role as prosecutor Dan Fielding. Other stars include Kapil Talwalkar as Abby’s clerk, Lacretta as the bailiff, and India de Beaufort as the assistant district attorney.
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Dan Rubin developed the reboot and wrote the pilot episode. He’s remained quiet so far on whether any actors from the original run will make appearances, but there were some announced guest appearances for Season 1. These include Johnny Weir, Tara Lipinski, Lyric Lewis, Kurt Fuller, Melissa Villaseñor, Pete Holmes, Stephnie Weir, and Kurt Fuller.