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Billy Bob Thornton heads to Amazon Prime in new legal drama, Trial

Executives at Amazon have officially given the go-ahead to new courtroom drama Trial, which will star two heavy-weights in Oscar winners Billy Bob Thornton and William Hurt.

The series has been rumored to be in development for some time now, and will tell the story of a down-and-out lawyer named Billy McBride (Thornton) who is looking to redeem himself in his life and career. According to Amazon, his character will be focused on “getting justice in a legal system where truth has become a commodity, and the scales of justice have never been more heavily weighted toward the rich and powerful.”

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Trial will be written by well-known writing duo David E. Kelley and Jonathan Shapiro (The Practice, Boston Legal), and will be directed by David Semel (Madam Secretary). Other actors set to appear in the new show include Molly Parker (House of Cards) and Olivia Thirlby (Juno).

In typical Prime release fashion, Trial will stream exclusively to Prime Video subscribers in the United States, U.K., Germany, Austria and Japan when it is first released next year.

The new show is a promising prospect for the streaming video company, with an impressive cast alongside a team with experience in writing quality legal dramas. That said, the show will have a challenge ahead to break new ground in terms of the alcoholic-but-talented lawyer trope, which appears all-too-often in this kind of series.

But Amazon has insurance in the form of Thornton, who is coming off a brilliant turn as the evil presence, Lorne Malvo. Even if Billy McBride is written as generically as possible, he probably won’t be a very boring character to watch the talented actor play.

Executives seems confident in the new show, with vice president of Amazon Studios Roy Price saying in a statement, “Billy Bob Thornton, William Hurt and David E. Kelley are world-class talents who have achieved longstanding success in captivating storytelling. We are excited to bring this series to our members next year.”

The studio has yet to begin shooting on the project, but should make relatively quick work of it, with an expected release in mid-to-late 2016.