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The Real Life Night Court That Inspired The Show And Is One Of New York's Most Bizarre Attractions

Manhattan Criminal Court Part Two is once again in session with the new "Night Court" reboot. But where does the inspiration for the series come from? According to the Season 1 DVD commentary of the original '80s series, series creator Reinhold Weege admitted that the appointment of Judge Harold T. Stone was based on an actual incident in Los Angeles in which the mayor tried to sabotage his successor by appointing a slew of underqualified judges at the end of his term.

As for the characterization of the show's original judge, the honorable Harry T. Stone (Harry Anderson), that was largely based on Anderson's real-life personality. According to Anderson's obituary in the New York Times, Anderson was an actual magician in real life, wore the same zany ties as his character, and was, in-fact, an actual huge fan of singer Mel Tormé.

As for the cases, much like on "Law & Order," some of the stories are ripped from the headlines, albeit with a humorous twist. In an interview with Showbiz Cheat Sheet, Melissa Rauch –who plays Harry Stone's daughter and the new judge of the night court Abby Stone on the reboot – explained that part of what drew her to the show was the ability to talk about real-life issues like protests against police brutality.

So does the setting for the show come from a real-life inspiration? It turns out that Manhattan not only has a night court, but that night court has become a bizarrely dark tourist attraction.

Anyone arrested in New York must be arraigned within 24 hours by law

There's a law in New York that everyone arrested in the city needs to be arraigned within 24 hours of their arrest, meaning that the criminal court has to run into the wee hours of the night. According to an article in News.com.au, the night court heard cases from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. and, up until 2003, there was even another graveyard shift that ran from 1 a.m. to 9 a.m.

According to the New York Post, the night court became a bizarre tourist attraction in part because of its inclusion in the Lonely Planet New York guide book where it was called "something that feels really underground and unique." The New York Criminal Court is even listed on TripAdvisor as number 299 of 1,403 things to do in The Big Apple.

But not everyone is happy that the court has become a tourist attraction. The Tab author Callum McCulloch visited the night court and found the voyeurism of visiting the court to be disturbing. In the previously mentioned New York Post article, a visitor to the court who was there for a friend's arraignment seemed horrified at the idea of coming to the court for fun. So perhaps you shouldn't add the night court to your list of places to visit the next time you're visiting the city that never sleeps.