Yes, "Night Court” Fans — Night Court Actually Exists

On NBC’s new revival of its popular 1984-1992 sitcom Night Court, Judge Abby Stone (Melissa Rauch) presides over a cavalcade of irreverent defendants during the night shift at Manhattan Criminal Court. While it may seem like a distorted reality for the sake of comedy, night court actually exists, and it’s somewhat of a tourist attraction. The real New York City Criminal Court maintains evening hours of 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. to handle the prompt arraignment and other preliminary hearings of more than 100,000 defendants each year, some of whom may not be able to make appearances during normal business hours. The offenses range from shoplifting to drug charges to refusing to pay cab fare, creating a constant churn of casework. The proceedings are often host to tourists hoping to get a glimpse of the justice system, as well as law students who want to understand the judicial system better. Reinhold Weege, the creator of the original Night Court TV series, was influenced by the court, though he was more intrigued by the judges on the bench than the characters brought before them. “There were stories in the newspaper at that time of judges with serious emotional problems whom the state had a hard time getting rid of. I thought, gosh, it would be terrific if we could get a judge through the system who was a little off center, a little wacky,” said Weege. That fictional judge became Harry Stone, played by the late Harry Anderson. Rauch portrays his daughter in the remake. NBC’s Night Court airs on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET.