Without Petri Hawkins-Byrd ("Byrd") as the bailiff, the show is severely damaged. I'm such a fan of Judge Judy that I nevertheless overlooked the disgraceful way Byrd, her putative "friend" of 25 years, was summarily dismissed, and watched the first episode. His absence is painfully apparent. The producers have made the additional mistake of replacing Byrd with another Black man, who Judge Sheindlin accidentally refers to as "Byrd," as if she can't tell one Black person from another, and the producers, who evidently didn't notice this racist trope or didn't care, have compounded her blunder by allowing it to be be aired. Further detractions include needless new personnel: a petrified clerk (who's also her granddaughter) and a haplessly ignored stenographer. Say what you want about Byrd doing crossword puzzles during the proceedings -- and it's not like Judge Judy gave him much else to do -- they balanced each other well and had a genuine chemistry totally missing in this show. One of the guilty pleasures in watching her dispose of her vexatious low-life litigants with such peppery dispatch was watching her work with Byrd, whose desultory calm imbued her with an unassailable virtue. The show might go on to recover from its self-inflicted wounds but it's not the same without Byrd, and that's what we seek in watching Judge Judy: the same and the familiar.