Forget Shorty, Get Marvin!

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(A painting depicting Mounts wading through a swamp looking for orchids faces the judge's office desk. It is not a very good painting, but it does represent one of Mounts' true passions. Just like the character Bob Gibbs, Mounts has an extensive orchid collection at his home. The word orchid comes from the Greek orkhis, which means testicle, Mounts explains, apropos of nothing in particular, adding that in English an orchidectomy is surgery on one or both of the testes.)

The TV show's producers found Mounts' place so picturesque that they wanted to use it as Gibbs' house. But when it proved too small for filming, they instead used a stately brick mansion in Jupiter with two-story pillars, a feature that lends a suitably Southern feel.

In fact the whole show has a distinctly Southern motif, which explains why Gansa shifted the locale from West Palm Beach to a fictional Florida town he called Deep Water. At least for the pilot episode of Maximum Bob, Deep Water is really downtown Lake Worth, with that town's City Hall exterior standing in for Gibbs' courthouse.

Meanwhile, TV series or no TV series, Marvin Mounts continues to perform his judicial responsibilities. When he first decided to run for that vacant circuit court judgeship 25 years ago, he thought it was an opportunity to exercise power, he now admits. It was also, he believed, an opportunity to help people. Had he chosen instead to run for the state attorney's office that became available around the same time, he understood that he would be responsible for a staff that would succeed or fail based on their merits in the courtroom. As a judge, however, he knew that he alone would be held accountable. "If you're a judge," he remarks, "you're sort of off on your own.

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Michael Freedman