Rebel, a new legal drama based on the life and work of environmental activist-turned-legal clerk Erin Brockovich (Challenge America, Last Call at the Oasis), makes its premiere as part of ABC’s Thursday night lineup on April 8, as reported by Entertainment Weekly. Brockovich herself executive produces the show, which is created by Grey’s Anatomy showrunner Krista Vernoff (Charmed, Shameless), according to Variety.
Brockovich first garnered public attention in 1993 as an untenured member of the Masry & Vititoe firm fighting for restitution for the residents of a town in California whose health had been adversely affected by contaminated groundwater in Hinkley v. Pacific Gas & Electric, according to The Guardian. The case is reportedly the largest public direct-action lawsuit in United States history, Today reports. Brockovich’s legal successes were dramatized in 2000 via a feature film directed by Steven Soderbergh (Magic Mike, Let Them All Talk). Julia Roberts (Pretty Woman, My Best Friend’s Wedding) nabbed an Academy Award for Best Lead Actress for her portrayal of Brockovich, as reported by The Guardian. Soderbergh received directorial nods at the Oscars twice that year, one of which was for his work on Erin Brockovich. He is the third director in the Academy’s history to achieve such a feat, according to The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Vernoff’s Rebel script was given a straight-to-series commitment by ABC back in September 2020, as reported by Variety. The latest trailer for the series was uploaded as an unlisted video to the ABC YouTube channel on March 10. Get your first look at Rebel by watching the brand-new official trailer below:
Golden Globe winner Katey Sagal (Futurama, Married With Children) stars as Annie “Rebel” Bello, an indefatigable human rights advocate who makes waves in the courtroom with no law degree to speak of: “[Bello] fights to take down a medical corporation whose products are making people sick… She’s a funny, messy, brilliant and fearless woman who cares desperately about the causes she fights for and the people she loves, and she will win at almost any cost,” via Entertainment Weekly. In a Deadline interview, Sagal spoke about the pleasures of playing a character like Bello, who is not afraid to break the rules if it means speaking truth to power. “She can cross a few lines. She can go outside the box… She gathers knowledge from everywhere, she just takes it all, and then her primary purpose… is to fight for the right thing,” Sagal explained, via Deadline.
Sagal is ably supported by a cast that boasts such names as Academy Award nominee Andy Garcia (Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, The Lost City), Dan Bucatinsky (The Comeback, Web Therapy), John Corbett (Northern Exposure, The Visitor), Lex Scott Davis (SuperFly, Toni Braxton: Unbreak My Heart), Tamala Jones (Castle, Booty Call) and Abigail Spencer (Mad Men, True Detective), according to Entertainment Weekly.
Spencer will allegedly occupy a recurring role on Rebel as a well-read surgeon named Misha, who has a complicated relationship with Bello’s eldest son Nate (Kevin Zegers, Fear the Walking Dead), TV Fanatic reports. This would not be the first time Spencer has played a surgeon in a Vernoff project. The Florida-born actress portrayed the younger sister of Dr. Owen Hunt (Kevin McKidd, Trainspotting), trauma surgeon Dr. Megan Hunt, in seasons fourteen and fifteen of Grey’s Anatomy. Vernoff has reportedly been unable to determine whether or not the record-breaking medical drama will be renewed for season eighteen, according to Deadline.
Rebel comes to ABC on Thursday, April 8 at 10 P.M. Eastern.