The Netflix documentary “Seeing Allred” gives viewers a look inside the life and career of attorney Gloria Allred.
Filmmakers Roberta Grossman, Sophie Sartain, and executive producer Marta Kauffman told Business Insider how they worked in the #MeToo movement just before they had to hand the movie in.
Women’s rights attorney Gloria Allred has spent a good chunk of her four-decade career getting in front of the camera. Her fight for women’s equality has often seen her in the spotlight, holding press conferences with her female clients who, over the years, have alleged sexual assault by some of the biggest names in entertainment, politics, sports, and business.
But when filmmakers Roberta Grossman and Sophie Sartain approached Allred about making a documentary about her life and career, the media-savvy attorney wasn’t very interested.
“We were persistent,” Sartain told Business Insider at the Sundance Film Festival, where the movie had its world premiere (it’s now available on Netflix), on how they pulled it off. “After about three years she agreed.”
During that time, Grossman and Sartain began to build a friendship with Allred’s law partners, who relayed to her that the filmmakers were sincere about doing a legacy piece on her. Grossman and Sartain had also brought on veteran TV producer Marta Kauffman (co-creator of “Friends”) to executive produce.
Kauffman’s involvement helped land Netflix. The streaming giant agreed to take on the movie after seeing some of the footage the filmmakers had shot in 2014, the most striking of which shows Allred holding press conferences with women alleging Bill Cosby sexually assaulted them after spiking their drinks. This news would become a huge media story around the world.
Along with looking at Allred’s life, “Seeing Allred” also highlights the landmark moments leading up to the current #MeToo and Time’s Up movements. Before the bombshell stories emerged about Harvey Weinstein, Allred was representing women willing to go on the record and allege they had been sexually abused by Cosby — and soon after, then-presidential candidate Donald Trump.
The movie also looks back on Allred’s history as a dogged advocate. In the 1970s, Allred, who had begun practicing law, was suddenly on talk shows and rallies being a vocal leader on women’s issues like sexual harassment in the workplace and the wage gap. Women had someone they could turn to at a time when few lawyers would take on these issues.
The emergence of #MeToo
The challenge for the filmmakers came when the Weinstein allegations surfaced and the #MeToo movement went viral. Or when, as Kauffman put it, “The world changed.”
“We thought the film was done,” Grossman said.
“I had a day of panic,” Sartain said, in response to a question of how the filmmakers approached the idea of including the #MeToo movement in the movie.
“We knew we had to get this moment in as we felt [Allred] in part is responsible for it,” Grossman said. “It just reframed everything.”
But with a deadline looming and knowing that Allred’s constant work meant the film would have to end while she was still in the middle of cases — Allred represents numerous women who have come forward saying Weinstein assaulted them — they couldn’t delve too heavily into #MeToo.
Then there’s the fact that Allred’s daughter, attorney Lisa Bloom, was an advisor to Weinstein when the story in The New York Times came out (Bloom resigned soon after the story ran), something that is touched on very briefly in the movie.
“That was all happening right as we were finishing, we didn’t want it to hijack the film,” Grossman said of Bloom’s involvement with Weinstein.
The filmmakers ended up using the post-Weinstein allegations as a way to close out the movie, with Allred simply saying in a voiceover, “The fight has just begun.”
What the movie does drive home is the shift in how Allred is portrayed now in the media. The lawyer, once the butt of jokes by late-night hosts and even portrayed on an episode of “South Park,” is now being championed for her work.
“Gloria Allred is a metaphor for the entire movement,” Kauffman said of #MeToo and Time’s Up. “People look at her as strident, a loud mouth, you can list the adjectives, but people said the same thing about feminists. I think in the film, by deepening her it deepens the movement, and it lets you see beyond what most people think is a brashness. Also, if she was a man fighting for something she’d be portrayed as an incredible leader.”
Even after airing for more than 12 years, “Criminal Minds” remains a must-binge across the globe. As you can imagine with a plotline that revolves around an endless supply of serial killers, the show has cycled through and replaced at least a half-dozen linchpin characters. Still, despite the rotating cast, fan interest in the series has failed to wane, a testament to the quality team of writers behind the show.
“Criminal Minds” airs a new episode every Wednesday evening, but for anyone who’s unable to afford cable, there is some good news: You can watch every season — with the exception of the currently airing one — on Netflix, meaning that you have hours of streamable content at the touch of a button.
But with so many other options, why watch “Criminal Minds?” Here are four reasons why you should stream the CBS mega-hit immediately.
The cast embodies the lives and emotions of their characters
Though seemingly just a crime drama like many others on prime-time television, “Criminal Minds” has found a way to distinguish itself from its competitors with its masterful casting. The show’s dialogue has an air of genuineness, which makes the viewer feel as if the Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) is a close-knit family instead of just coworkers.
Because of the characters’ on-screen chemistry, viewers can connect with their everyday struggles, whether it be work, friendship or relationship drama. No matter the genre, seeing relatable life problems reflected in a show is all any fan wants from their favorite series.
The success of the showrunners lies in the fact that they have found a way to create characters who connect with the viewer. As a result, the rotating cast of crime solvers ends up being a boon, rather than a bane; more characters means more opportunities for fans to relate to the show.
“Criminals Minds” keeps fans in suspense throughout every episode, especially when they don’t know the unsub’s (unidentified subject) true identity until the BAU’s profile matches the suspect at the end. The storyline also surprises the viewers by throwing in twists involving a character’s fate, which is the case for Emily Prentiss, a team member who faced a puzzling exit from the FBI for a short period.
In the Season 6 episode 18 episode, “Lauren,” a whirlwind of action and sadness strikes Prentiss, which will have fans questioning what will happen next. The beloved team member’s undercover work from eight years prior to joining the team catches up with her when terrorist-turned-serial killer Ian Doyle pays her a personal visit.
With powerful writing and acting, Prentiss’ story arc climbs to the top of “Criminal Mind’s” jaw-dropping episodes. The storyline’s action and murders, along with heartbreak, will leave fans on the edge of their seats.
Each suspenseful moment of an episode will keep your mind off project deadlines and relieve your stress as you watch the BAU team track the sneaky unsubs. Amid the ever-changing criminal cases that come to the BAU office, the show engrosses students and challenges their minds.
Friendships and relationship inside the BAU
Everyone knows that a good crime can draw anyone in, but it takes great storylines for viewers to stick around. Oftentimes, shows don’t make it past the first season because of their odd pacing, never finding their flow. This isn’t the case for “Criminal Minds.”
The most notable quality about the hit show is the friendships that the characters have with each other throughout the seasons. The amazing cast possess chemistry even off the screen, which is the fuel behind their remarkable on-screen interactions.
With a long-running show like “Criminal Minds,” character departures are inevitable. Actor Shemar Moore, who plays Derek Morgan, is without a doubt a fan favorite, especially with the ladies. Having been part of the main cast since the first season, Morgan left the BAU after 251 episodes. All his fans, affectionally called “Baby Girls,” cried many tears when the elevator doors closed on Morgan during his final episode. In an interview with TV Guide following his departure, Moore hits the spot on the character’s friendships and relationships.
“The relationships with Reid and Baby Girl (Garcia) and Hotch and JJ and everyone — all those things were in this episode…I love that the last third of the show is all about the team and relationships, not necessarily in the words, but it’s us. You feel the love.”
Reruns Aren’t a Terrible Pastime
This crime show is an excellent pastime, which is all any viewer wants in a long-running series. Even if you have seen every episode, the second or third watch is still just as enjoyable. Rewatching any episode is worth it because of the script’s flawless quality, which the cast’s phenomenal performance only adds onto.
If it weren’t for the strong quality found from script to performance, the show might have been just another generic crime show. Instead, it has turned out to be quite the opposite. After 13 seasons (with new episodes still airing), this crime drama remains at the top of any crime lover’s favorites list. Every episode from the CBS series will leave fans’ mouths hanging open with its cliffhangers, shocking discoveries and heart-breaking scenes.
The ability to stream this show on Netflix makes “Criminal Minds” a top contender on the growing list of crime dramas on television. Having binge watched for hours, when you eventually get that question from Netflix: “Are you still watching?” You’ll respond with a look that says, “Of course,” all the while clicking to start the next episode. You may regret binge watching after 10 straight hours, but the lack of sleep will be worth getting to watch your favorite FBI agents fight crime.
Democrats hoping to push policy usually focus on legislative seats, but this year one of the best opportunities for change is in the misdemeanor courts.
These seats deal with low-level crimes such as trespassing, drug possession and DWIs, and are currently in the middle of a federal lawsuit alleging that their cash bail system violates the U.S. Constitution. All the judges except one are Republican. All except two are fighting this lawsuit.
A blue wave in November could bring a new generation of judges to end the legal fight. Democratic primary voters should ensure that they’re sending forth the best candidates if they want to be successful in this mission. Early voting runs from Tuesday, Feb. 20 through Friday, March 2. Election Day is March 6.
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Judge, County Criminal Court No. 2: Harold J. Landreneau
Harold Landreneau earns our endorsement for this primary slot with a significant caveat. Landreneau, 49, needs to shed the communication style of a chief clerk of a justice of the peace court, a job he held for over a decade, and assume the more deliberate and focused demeanor of a member of the judiciary. It’s not enough to be courteous to litigants: To be an effective manager, a judge needs to be concise.
Then, there’s the red flag on Landreneau’s record: a public dispute with his former boss, former Judge Dale Gorcynski, who served as Justice of the Peace in Precinct 1 for over 20 years. To avoid issuing a non-endorsement in this primary contest, we’re forced to overlook the South Texas College of Law’ graduate’s drawbacks.
His opponent, Ronnisha Bowman, who has practiced law for five years, needs more seasoning before she is ready to assume the bench. The winner will face Republican incumbent Judge Bill Harmon in November.
Judge, County Criminal Court No. 5: David M. Fleischer
In this toss-up race to replace Judge Margaret Stewart Harris, our endorsement goes to David M. Fleischer, a graduate of Western Michigan University Cooley Law School over Armen “Hammer” Merjanian.
Both candidates believe in more emphasis on rehabilitation in the county criminal court system. Even though Merjanian’s noble goal of ending mass incarceration needs more refinement, both candidates showed passion for changing a system that’s set in its ways and that needs much improvement. Fleischer, 43, has eight more years of experience as criminal lawyer than Merjanian. The idealistic Merjanian – whose five years of experience barely exceeds the statutory minimum for this bench – has the potential to be a good judge. While we’d strongly urge Merjanian to run again, voters should cast their ballots in this primary contest for Fleischer.
Also running is Aaron James Saldana, who graduated from law school in 2014 and did not interview with the editorial board. The winner will face Republican candidate Xavier Alfaro in the general election.
Judge, County Criminal Court No. 7: Andrew W. Wright
The first thing you’ll notice about Andrew W. Wright is his long rockstar-style hair and beard – not what voters are used to seeing on a judge. The reasons for his copious coiffure? He’s growing out his hair to donate it, and the beard covers up a double chin.
Wright’s experience as a lawyer is significantly more traditional. The South Texas College of Law Houston graduate has been practicing law for over a decade, and has been exclusively practicing criminal defense for eight years. Wright, 35, has endorsed personal recognizance bonds as the norm for misdemeanor court – we agree – and assured us that, hairstyle aside, he plans on staying to the straight and narrow of his judicial responsibilities. That includes helping first offenders, supporting the expansion of diversion courts and sentencing the worst criminals to the highest punishment possible for county criminal courts – one year in jail.
Democratic primary voters have the chance to vote for a candidate who wants to be a force for change. That candidate is Wright. The editorial board did not meet with Danval Scarbrough, who is also running in the Democratic primary. The winner will face Republican incumbent Judge Pam Derbyshire in the general election.
Judge, County Criminal Court No. 11: Gus Saper
A Jewish lawyer appointed to represent a general in the Aryan Brotherhood? That sounds like it could have been a movie, but it’s only one case in candidate Gus Saper’s 43-year career as a criminal defense attorney. With the Harris County Criminal Justice Center out of action for another two years due to Hurricane Harvey, this bench needs a resourceful judge like Saper.
A graduate of the South Texas School of Law Houston, Saper, 69, has the depth of knowledge and the historical perspective to know how to upgrade the procedures in this court to make them more courteous and efficient even with limited resources.
Opponent Sedrick T. Walker II made some compelling arguments for ways that the county criminal judiciary could achieve more equitable results. Walker is qualified, has all the makings of a good judge and should run again. It’s just hard to argue with Saper’s experience. The winner will face the Republican nominee in the general election race to replace incumbent Republican Judge Diane Bull.
Judge, County Criminal Court No. 12: Juan J. Aguirre
Juan J. Aguirre started his career in law by working alongside his father – a courthouse janitor in Del Rio.
“I got my baptism into the law field by cleaning up the courtroom,” Aguirre told us at his screening.
Since then he has graduated from South Texas School of Law Houston and worked for the past 16 years as a criminal law attorney, first as an assistant district attorney for Harris County and then as a criminal defense attorney. Aguirre, 51, takes pride in his mentorship of young lawyers, advising them to delve deep into their profession by visiting the crime scene and the crime lab and riding with the police to see what law enforcement sees. Before becoming a lawyer, Aguirre worked as a city planner and manager after obtaining a Masters of Urban Planning from Texas A&M University.
His opponent, Cassandra Y. Hollemon, who did not meet with the editorial board, practices largely civil law and can’t match Aguirre’s stellar qualifications. Harris County voters have a clear choice in this primary. The winner will run against Republican nominee John Spjut in the general election race to replace incumbent Republican Judge Robin Brown.
Judge, County Criminal Court No. 13: Raul Rodriquez
Raul Rodriquez, 58, is our choice for the Democratic primary. With 28 years of experience practicing criminal law, Rodriquez is well-qualified. This naturalized citizen is a clear communicator who also happens to be bilingual. He has judicial experience, having served as city of Houston municipal court judge for 12 years. Finally, he displays the right temperament for the judiciary.
The South Texas Law Center Houston graduate told us, “I believe it’s important for a judge to be involved in a community and to know what goes on there.”
Democratic primary voters should not hesitate to pull the lever for Rodriquez. He deserves a chance to compete in the general for this open bench against Republican challenger Jessica Padilla. The other candidate in this Democratic primary, Mike Renfro, did not meet with the editorial board.
Judge, County Criminal Court No. 15: Kris Ougrah
In this race between two young, passionate lawyers, we encourage Democratic voters to back Kris Ougrah, who told the editorial board he is running to improve the future of Houston’s youth. A graduate of the Thurgood Marshall School of Law, Ougrah, 40, promises to take personal interest in setting young offenders on the right path in life. He also wants to run a mentorship program. However, we would recommend that Ougrah, who had a habit of being overly loquacious during his editorial board interview, focus on the judicious practice of a succinct comment.
Ougrah has been practicing law about twice as long as his opponent, Tonya Jones, who was admitted to the bar in 2011.
However, Jones stood out as one of the most eloquent candidates for a judicial office that we’ve screened this primary season. The self-described millennial candidate possesses a rare blend of judicial temperament and passion for rehabilitation that is present in the most dedicated judiciary.
“Don’t elect me because I’m a woman or an African American. Elect me because I’m a change agent,” she told us.
Harris County will be in luck if Jones gains more experience in criminal law and runs again for a county criminal bench. Nevertheless, voters should back the better qualified Ougrah. The winner will face Republican candidate Roger Bridgewater in the general election race to replace Republican incumbent Judge Jean Spradling.