CBS’s Bull Puts a Scientific Twist on Courtroom Drama

Bull Jojo Whilden/CBS ©2016 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Psych and Science with a side of Snark: Michael Weatherly, as Dr. Jason Bull, trains his expert eye on a jury.

The normally staid world of courtroom dramas gets a high-tech shake-up on Tuesday nights, thanks to CBS’ new procedural, Bull. Michael Weatherly stars as Dr. Jason Bull, a bold and brash psychologist who uses his genius to assess and analyze members of a jury in a way that no one else can.

“We start with the premise that, in so many cases, the jury and the judicial system is rigged against you from the moment they start,” says executive producer Mark Goffman. “Someone like Dr. Bull can come in and, by studying the human behavior and understanding all the different pieces of what goes into a trial, can actually tip the scales back to get a fair outcome.”

High-tech High Jinks L-R: Geneva Carr as Marissa Morgan, Chris Jackson as Chunk Palmer, and Annabelle Attanasio as Cable McCrory John Paul Filo/CBS ©2016 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

And helping the good doctor is his top-caliber team including Benny Colón (Freddy Rodriguez), who plays a defense attorney in mock trials; Marissa Morgan (Geneva Carr), a cutting-edge neurolinguistics expert; former NYPD detective Danny James (Jaime Lee Kirchner), the firm’s private investigator; a millennial cyberintelligence hacker Cable McCrory (Annabelle Attanasio); and Chunk Palmer (Hamilton star Chris Jackson), a former All-American lineman turned stylist who fine-tunes clients’ appearances for trial.

Meeting of the Minds: In Bull, the early work of Dr. Phil inspired the character Dr. Jason Bull, played by Michael Weatherly. Monty Brinton/CBS ©2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Dr. Phil McGraw serves as the inspiration for the charismatic provocateur and is also an executive producer on the series. McGraw famously used courtroom sciences and analytics as part of Oprah Winfrey’s defense team when she was sued for defamation by a group of Texas cattle ranchers. Goffman muses, “The amazing thing about both Dr. Phil and Bull is their ability to assess the situation and then come up with a solution that’s brilliant and counterintuitive, that you would never imagine is the right solve, but works.”

Related: Michael Weatherly talks about his new character, Dr. Jason Bull

Dr. Bull is the most highly sought-after name in the field of courtroom sciences, and his clientele is diverse, high profile, and can take him and his team anywhere. Goffman describes the courtroom drama as “in the zeitgeist” and explains, “The cases are not really ripped from the headlines, but they are cases that touch on things that are relevant to what’s going on in the world around us. Those can be anything from murder trials to litigation to corporate cases.”

CBS has a history of procedurals that change the way viewers see the world. CSI forever changed crime scene forensics, and Goffman foresees Bull having a similar effect on the judicial process, saying, “I don’t think that people are ever going to look at a trial the same way after watching this show.” And that’s no bull.

Bull > CBS > Tuesdays at 9pm ET/PT, 8pm CT