Review: Jury Duty Offers a (Fake) Look Inside the Justice System

A supposedly sacred duty devolves into much ado about ordering lunch.


Ronald Gladden is summoned for that most dreaded obligation: jury duty. Thinking he's being filmed for a documentary about how juries work, Gladden doesn't know that he's hearing a fake case, everyone else is a paid actor, and every scene is semi-scripted. Amazon Freevee's prank-show-meets-mockumentary series Jury Duty pulls off a Truman Show–style story inside a truly absurd fake courtroom.

Starting off with voir dire, potential jurors use every trick in the book to get out of serving. Excuses such as having 36 kids, suffering from a severe back injury, and being racist don't get past the judge. But "needing to get something out of my body" or simply "it's just not my thing" are grounds for dismissal.

After they are selected, the jurors are asked how they feel. The responses range, understandably, from "mourning for my career" to "kidnapped." It's all downhill after that, as the focus of each day performing this supposedly sacred duty of citizens seems to be about what food they should order and ensuring that juror five stays awake.

Gladden's natural reactions to the goofiness surrounding him drive the comedic heart of the show. But in the final episode, when he learns he's been pranked, his gut response is the most relatable of them all: "So because this wasn't real, I still could potentially be called for jury duty?…Dammit."