06/09/1998 AT 12:00 AM EDT
Actress LaTanya Richardson, on the new A&E legal series "100 Centre Street" (it debuts on the cable network next Monday), talked about the show at its splashy Manhattan premiere last night. The festivities brought out her husband, Samuel L. Jackson, 52, as a well as the show's executive producer Sidney Lumet (who directed "Network," "Serpico" and "Dog Day Afternoon"), author E.L. Doctorow, writer-director Nora Ephron and other members of New York's literary and filmmaking community. Richardson plays the tough-minded Judge Attallah Sims, who relishes the opportunity to throw the book at the criminals. But in real-life, Richardson admitted to PEOPLE, she's more of a softie, along the lines of the judge played on the show by veteran actor Alan Arkin, 66. "I'm more in Alan's character's camp when it comes to the benevolence of understanding," she said. "Attallah is pretty hard. But she is what she is." Richardson, who played the antagonistic aunt on last year's HBO movie "Introducing Dorothy Dandridge," also notes that it's not soft-going having two actors in one home (married in 1980, the Jacksons have a daughter, Zoe, born in 1982), but that she and Jackson make it work. "It's been tough. But my husband and I made a choice that we want to spend the rest of our life together, because we both came from broken homes . . . I know sometimes people must look at us and say, 'Hey, they married!' But, you know, we actually kind of like of each other, so it works out okay."