The format of this series consisted of the first half of each episode dealing with the crime investigation, the second half the trial. This format later, in part, inspired the similar but much longer-running Law & Order (1990).
Although Chuck Connors was considered to be miscast as an attorney, much of the failure of this show to live up to its potential, was allegedly due to interference in the show's writing by Producer Frank P. Rosenberg. Connors is said to have butted heads many times with management over this, as well as its treatment of the show's staff (he once walked off the set until the studio resumed providing free coffee and donuts for the crew). Rosenberg was said to have a stack of "Arrest and Trial" scripts written by some of the top writers in Hollywood that were ignored, in favor of scripts that were increasingly mediocre. This show was also in one of the worst possible time slots, competing against Bonanza (1959), The Ed Sullivan Show (1948), and The Judy Garland Show (1963). When this show folded after one season, Connors, Universal, and Revue severed their contract by "mutual agreement". A year later, Connors was back on television in another western, Branded (1965) that, oddly enough, ran in the same unenviable time slot as this show, but managed to last two seasons. Ben Gazzara returned to enjoy a three-year run on the television series Run for Your Life (1965), before appearing in three critically acclaimed films directed by his friend, independent film pioneer, John Cassavetes.
The Rifleman (1958) was scheduled for a sixth season in 1963, when Chuck Connors said he felt that five years in one series was enough. He was considered a hot property at the time, due to its success. "Eager for a change", he wanted to break out of the western mold. Connors signed a lucrative seven-year deal with Universal and Revue Studios that gave him profit participation, and allowed him to do at least one feature film a year. This show was the first project he committed to under his new contract. Originally slated to play Sergeant Anderson, Connors lobbied for, and received the part of, John Egan, a slick, top-flight criminal defense attorney. Ben Gazzara, on the other hand, had several impressive Broadway plays and Hollywood films to his credit, but had resisted doing a television series because, in those days, it could damage an actor's chances to appear on the big screen. However, Gazzara said that Broadway hadn't made him rich, and the film offers were not exactly rolling in. So, he signed on for this show for the financial security and exposure. Both actors were reportedly paid seventy-five hundred dollars a week, and Gazzara, like Connors, enjoyed profit participation.
Ben Gazzara, who stood about 5'10", had never seen The Rifleman (1958) and had no idea that his costar, Chuck Connors, stood 6'6". Various "tricks" were used to minimize the disparity in their sizes, but sometimes filming the two standing together was unavoidable. "And there we were", Gazzara recalled, "the giant and me."
When Dick Wolf created Law & Order (1990), he claims he was unaware that this show had also used an arrest-followed-by-trial procedural format (and failed). A Universal Studio executive pointed out the similarity. To Wolf, however, a key difference was that the "real heroes" of Law & Order (1990) were not the defense attorneys who got the bad guys off (as in this show), but the prosecutors who put them away, and were paid a fraction of what their criminal defense counterparts earned.