On Screen
Published: Sep 22, 2022 06:49 PM
Promotional materials for Draw the line Photo:Courtesy of Douban

Promotional materials for Draw the line Photo:Courtesy of Douban

'Draw the line': TV dramas popularize legal knowledge with true-case-inspired stories

Based on ordinary people's real experiences and offering a glimpse at a different side of society than viewers are familiar with, workplace TV dramas and movies are often one of the most popular genres among TV audiences.

Recently a new workplace TV series become a hit in China, earning numerous positive reviews with its storytelling and representation of actual legal cases. Draw the Line, a legal drama starring renowned actors Jin Dong, Cheng Yi and Cai Wenjing, has quickly caught the attention of audiences since its first few episodes were aired on Hunan TV on Monday. 

The first TV series made with the guidance of China's Supreme People's Court, Draw the Line focuses on a group of judges and the cases they are working on in the fictional city of Xingcheng, which literally means Star City. 

"I felt uneasy when I firstly received this job because those judges and courts were pretty strange to me," director Liu Guotong told media.

In order to recreate the most original life in court, the crew spent a massive amount of time with the judges and they were able to observe their looks, moves and even way of thinking when working.

According to reports, the series was conceived and planned in 2019. The project was worked on for three years and more than 1,128 hours were spent on polishing the script, which had 20 drafts. 

During the preparatory stage, the team visited more than 60 courts and mediation organizations in Chinese cities such as Changsha, Hengyang, Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Shenzhen and Guangzhou for inspiration. 

Liu said that they interviewed more than 200 judges and created different character prototype files for reference. Among the characters are grassroots judges who were once lawyers, a 59-year-old civil judge who is nearing retirement but still handles cases, and China's first batch of intellectual property judges. 

In terms of content, the project team collected more than 300 representative legal cases of various types and established a case material library.

"Everyone in the audience can somehow relate to and reflect on the show, because what the main characters face in each case is also what ordinary people would suffer in their own life in the same situation," scriptwriter Fei Huijun told the Hongxing News.

Global Times