The Judge (TV series)

The Judge is a dramatized court show which ran in first-run syndication from 1986[1] to 1993. The series chronicled the family court cases heard by Judge Robert J. Franklin, played by Bob Shield.

The Judge
StarringBob Shield (as Judge Robert J. Franklin)
Country of originUnited States
No. of seasons7
No. of episodes70
Production companyWBNS-TV
DistributorGenesis Entertainment
Original networkFirst-run syndication
Original releaseSeptember 15, 1986 (1986-09-15) –
May 28, 1993 (1993-05-28)

In contrast to The People's Court, which featured actual litigants, The Judge, along with Divorce Court and Superior Court, was one of several popular shows of the day that featured dramatizations of actual court cases. The Judge was produced and licensed by WBNS-TV in Columbus, Ohio, and was distributed by Genesis Entertainment.

Show formatEdit


After a preview of the day's episode (which sometimes showed a pre-hearing teaser), the show would begin at Judge Franklin's home with Franklin preparing for work (Photographs in the background, all actually of Shield himself, showed Franklin's days in the Army and as a young lawyer). After a kiss to his wife and a wave to their neighbors, Judge Franklin would drive off to work as we heard him narrate:

"I'm Judge Robert J. Franklin. I chose the law as my way of serving my fellow citizens. As an elected judge in the family court, I pray each day that God will give me the wisdom to always temper justice with mercy."

The opening would end with him entering his chambers, sitting down, and signing some documents; concluding with a close-up of his signature. (The building that stood in for the courthouse is City Hall for the city of Pasadena, California). Like the aforementioned courtroom dramas, episodes of The Judge involved shock value; cases that began as mundane or routine often ended up taking a serious or unexpected turn.

Other regular charactersEdit

  • (Miss) Janet Page (J.T. Solomon), Judge Franklin's courtroom assistant.
  • Sergeant Terrance Fox (Brendan Burns), a recurring character who was often used for comic relief. An honest police officer with an abrasive personality, Fox would often irritate Judge Franklin to no end; in one episode he told the officer that he would try the patience of a saint, adding, "And I am no saint!"

Broadcast historyEdit

A drama that later became The Judge, called Municipal Court (changed to The Judge while still a local program), ran for 12 years as a local television program in Columbus, Ohio. Shield, playing Judge Franklin, won four regional Emmy Awards for his performance. In 1986, The Judge was picked up for national syndication, where it enjoyed a seven-year run.

Repeats of The Judge aired on the USA Network in the early 1990s.

The nationally syndicated version was originally taped in Los Angeles for its first four runs of 10 episodes each (1986–89), and later moved to Toronto, Ontario, Canada for its final three runs (1990–93). The show was licensed by WBNS-TV in Columbus.


External linksEdit