Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
In the course of a working day, few young New York lawyers stroll through a camera and lights-crammed production set of a network television show to receive air kisses from Hollywood stars. But such are these pleasant, if hectic, times for solo practitioners Peter S. Thomas and Daniel A. Thomas, 35-year-old twin sons of Queens County Supreme Court Justice Charles J. Thomas. The twins are supervising producers of “Queens Supreme,” a serio-comic small-screen series in the making. The show focuses on the drama and foibles of a quartet of fictive judges — portrayed by Oliver Platt, Annabella Sciorra, Robert Loggia and L. Scott Caldwell. If all goes well, “Queens Supreme” will debut later this year as a mid-season replacement in the CBS Television lineup. Episodes will deal with civil and criminal proceedings, leaning more toward the civil side, according to the Thomas brothers. “There aren’t too many TV shows that deal with condemnation hearings and abatement issues,” said Peter Thomas. Nor with the matter of a certain penis implant gone awry, an episode centering on a real case handled by Daniel Thomas. “It’s exciting, and my colleagues love the idea,” said Justice Thomas, proud papa of Queens’ newest TV tycoons. “We had a little party to meet the cast. It was a very warm affair, with the actors soaking up little tidbits, making mental notes on what we’re like. “Everybody’s in showbiz, you know? It’s like William said — all the world’s a stage.” And one man in his time, as Shakespeare elaborated, plays many parts. “Sometimes it’s like we’re guerrilla law professors on the fly,” said Daniel Thomas, a Manhattan-based medical malpractice attorney. “We’re trying to educate TV professionals about the world of the courts.” At other times, he and his brother Peter, a plaintiffs’ lawyer who handles what he terms “three-legged dogs with fleas cases,” are eager students of their new craft. The show depicts Queens judges at two of the borough’s three court venues: for exterior shots, the elegant 1876 State Supreme Court in Long Island City; for interiors, the State Supreme Court in Jamaica. “The Long Island City court was almost like a back lot for us,” said Peter Thomas, demonstrating his newfound grasp of theatrical argot. “The courthouse square, the beautiful buildings, the bodega on the corner and the diner, an elevated train — and a Manhattan skyline!” Daniel Thomas is especially taken by the scrupulously detailed set of “Queens Supreme” at Silvercup Studios in — where else? — Queens. One day this week, he and his brother showed off the set to visitors. “Just look at the ‘plug’ here,” said Daniel, admiring the tricky workmanship in a special moveable door frame, neatly adaptable for short or long camera takes. Moving along, he said, “Okay, that’s a ‘hot set,’ sometimes called a ‘dressed set,’ meaning don’t touch a thing because it could ruin the [filming] continuity. “Watching this crew is fantastic,” he added. “They’re union, they’re professional, they’re creative, they achieve their goals.” Chief among the goals of “Queens Supreme” is what Peter called “getting it right” by tone, script and appearance. Except for the gavel business. “In real life, judges don’t use the gavel,” said Daniel. “That’s a sign of losing control of your courtroom. But in television, I learned that using a gavel is a great way to cut to commercial.” “Anyway, we got tremendous cooperation from the judges,” said Peter. Referring to what viewers will see by way of judicial chamber detail, he added, “They gave us stuff right off their walls, which the art department was able to reproduce.” As for scripts, said Peter, “We rejected certain story lines as unfair.” Since each brother fully intends to keep practicing law, Daniel added, “We recognize our responsibility to the court — not to disparage the character of the judiciary.” Which is not to say that judges tuning in will always be delighted. “A lot of the stuff comes out of the Law Journal,” said Daniel. “Like the case of Victor Barron [the disgraced Brooklyn Supreme Court justice, sentenced to prison last month after being convicted of accepting a bribe]. If we make that into a show, it would be like, ‘ripped from the headlines of the New York Law Journal.’ “ “We don’t feel we’re unmasking any secrets,” said Peter. “We’re just giving the writers our experiences — war stories from around the courthouse.” It was war talk that gave birth to “Queens Supreme.” “We had so many stories,” said Daniel, who like his twin is a graduate of City University of New York School of Law in Flushing, Queens. “And we thought, if we could just harness them — what a show!” Stories such as the judge who does magic tricks on the bench, the judge who sings “Trouble in River City” in open court, the several judges who are not shy about asking expert witnesses for advice on investments, health and such. Or the matter of Justice Charles Thomas’ memento of his first assignment as a young lawyer at a small firm. “The junior partner hired me, but I never met the senior partner until I’m two weeks on the job and I get a call to go see him,” Justice Thomas recollected. “I knock on his door. ‘Oh, Charles — come in,’ he says. “He takes out a piece of paper and writes a note,” Justice Thomas continued. “Cottage cheese and tomato on rye toast. I saved that note, figuring if I ever got anyplace in life I should remember the early times. Maybe Oliver [Platt] could use that in a flashback. He’s a real quirky guy.” Fortuitously, Daniel Thomas is married to Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas, a one-time agent at International Creative Management and now a partner at Revolution Studios in New York, which recently completed the Jennifer Lopez movie “Maid in Manhattan.” In the cause of her husband’s and brother-in-law’s idea, Goldsmith-Thomas enlisted television producer-writer Kevin Fox, who created a concept and pilot script that nailed CBS’s commitment. The casting of veteran actor Robert Loggia was fortuitous as well, in a bittersweet way. Loggia was a boyhood chum of Justice Louis Sangiorgio of the Richmond County Supreme Court, who died last month at age 73. The late judge was also a friend of Justice Thomas. Often, Justice Sangiorgio would regale him with stories of Loggia’s prowess on the Staten Island baseball fields of his youth. The very weekend before he died, Loggia took time from the production of “Queens Supreme” to visit his old baseball pal.

This content has been archived. It is available through our partners, LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law.

To view this content, please continue to their sites.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Not a Bloomberg Law Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law are third party online distributors of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law customers are able to access and use ALM's content, including content from the National Law Journal, The American Lawyer, Legaltech News, The New York Law Journal, and Corporate Counsel, as well as other sources of legal information.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]


ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2021 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.