Judge Judy is wrapping in 2020 after its 25th season, meaning that fans will be missing some familiar faces. Host Judith "Judy" Sheindlin is going to front Judy Justice, but what's next for longtime bailiff Petri Hawkins Byrd, AKA "Officer Byrd"?
Hawkins Byrd has been with the show since its inception. He originally worked with Sheindlin as a bailiff in the New York City court system back in the 1980s, and when he heard she was going to get her own show, he sent her a congratulatory note. The letter included a light-hearted aside mentioning he was available for work, and Sheindlin soon snapped him up.
Hawkins Byrd told The Associated Press:
I think she was nervous about doing this Hollywood thing. It was something out of her wheelhouse. To have a Brooklyn born, fellow Brooklynite start this adventure with her and somebody who knew how she was…I think that made her feel comfortable.
There was at least one decision where he felt like Her Honor erred in judgment. He recalled:
She said, ‘My officer said that there was something that you said that you pointed out in your testimony.’ And I believe she reversed the decision on that one.
Fans have loved Sheindlin's consistency. Hawkins Byrd mused:
When we started, there was like our court show, maybe one other court show and a plethora of talk shows. And those talk shows kind of exploited people’s foibles … I think America, in particular, was looking for answers, or they were looking for somebody to be able to stand up and say, ’Hey, let’s call a spade a spade.' I think that’s what’s kept our show in the forefront. We haven’t changed the set. The only thing that’s changed in almost 25 years is Judy’s hairstyle.
What's coming next for Hawkins Byrd? Also a singer, the bailiff also hosts an Instagram Live show with his wife. And he'd be happy to team up with Sheindlin again, he noted.