Courtroom still from the upcoming series “Loredana, Esq.”
Loredana Nesci sits at her desk overlooking the ocean in her Riviera Village law office. She is friendly, at ease and fabulously well put together. She is also an LAPD officer tuned defense lawyer, mother of a four-year old boy and upcoming reality TV star.
“I have no idea what’s going to happen,” Nesci says when asked about the March 17 premiere of her unscripted television series “Loredana, ESQ” on the Sundance Channel. “I have no idea how big it will get.”
The series is just another serendipitous turn in Nesci’s life. She grew up in Connecticut and moved out to Los Angeles in 1994. She was making ends meet selling insurance when a friend mentioned that the LAPD was hiring.
“I knew I wanted to eventually go to law school,” said Nesci. “And my friend convinced me that law enforcement would be a good way in. And both of my brothers are cops. So I ended up on the force in the southwest part of the city near USC.”
Nesci stayed on the force until she moved to Miami to start law school. She finished her J.D. back home in Connecticut and began her law practice there. Despite her early career in law enforcement, Nesci quickly discovered that criminal defense was her legal calling.
“I ended up defending this poor kid in Connecticut,” she said. “He was dishonorably discharged from the military and came home and started burglarizing fire stations, stealing equipment. He’d listen to his police scanner at home and then show up to fires in all this gear to try to help the firemen fight the fire.”
Nesci was able to prove that her client was mentally unstable and helped remove the criminal burglary charges against him.
“The people I choose to represent are all like that,” she said. “They don’t have a depraved heart. They made dumb mistakes which happen to be criminal mistakes. I look for people who have good hearts but weren’t thinking and landed themselves in a mess.”
Nesci returned to California in 2004 and set up shop in Redondo Beach a few years later. Her friend Laura Keats is credited with getting her involved with the Sundance Channel.
“Laura worked with Sundance on the ‘Pitbulls and Parolees’ show,” said Nesci. “She always wanted to get me to a legal reality show about my practice. She finally partnered with Go Go Lucky Productions, we made a little reel and she showed it to the Sundance people in New York. They made an offer right away.”
Sundance bills “Loredana, ESQ” as “a six-episode hourlong that traces the life of Loredana Nesci, a former LAPD officer-turned-lawyer as she navigates the criminal defense system and grapples with the question: What is legal and what is right?.” In the show, Nesci recreates the legal process of recent cases with all of the real players.
“Because of attorney-client privilege, we deal with cases that have already been adjudicated,” said Nesci. “Some of my clients that I approached to be on the show were really excited. Others wanted to wait until they could see the first season to decide if they’d do it.”
Nesci is in the midst of final reshoots for the first season that begins airing this month. She was signed for three seasons, though the show can be cancelled at any time.
“I was asking my producer Jonathan Grosskopf what he thought the chances were for the second season,” Nesci said. “And he said, ‘Season two? Are you kidding? I’m already planning season three.’”
While “Loredana, ESQ” is labeled as a serious legal reality drama, there is plenty of Nesci’s personal life in there, too. Camera crews followed her around at home in Redondo, with her son, Rocco, and with her boyfriend, Robert Regan. The beach cities get plenty of camera time.
“They love shooting in Redondo Beach,” said Nesci. “They shot me riding my bike to work everyday, playing with my son. About 35% of the show is my personal life.”
“Loredana, ESQ” premiers March 17 at 9 p.m. on the Sundance Channel.