Legal dramas have enjoyed enduring popularity for many years. In 1957, Perry Mason, a lawyer, made his first appearance on television in a show named after him. It has come full circle, with HBO releasing a remake of the show in 2020. Following suit in 1961 was The Defenders, adding to the rich history of legal dramas in television. Since then, the demand for TV shows about lawyers has not dried up, so there is something to watch in this category.
The Best Lawyer Shows
Billions, a series inspired by real-life investigations led by Preet Bharara, the former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, showcases the rise of hedge fund manager Bobby Axelrod (played by Damian Lewis). As Axelrod amasses wealth and power, United States Attorney Chuck Rhoades (played by Paul Giamatti) takes on the challenge of prosecuting him despite his aggressive and illegal tactics. With a diverse ensemble cast, the series skillfully intertwines captivating narratives on law enforcement and the world of finance.
#2 Boston Legal
Many of the top lawyer shows have amazingly spawned numerous spin-offs. Law & Order, for instance, has multiple spin-offs. Breaking Bad, a widely acclaimed show, gave rise to a legal drama spin-off called Better Call Saul. And let’s not forget the outstanding Boston Legal, which originated from The Practice.
Bull arrived at CBS backed by a prominent star, attracting a dedicated fanbase that remained loyal throughout its six-season run. Michael Weatherly, known for his role in NCIS, took on the lead as the head of a jury consulting firm in Bull. His character aided clients in selecting favorable jurors and strategizing arguments to secure favorable outcomes, drawing loosely from Dr. Phil McGraw’s early career. Bull, a standout legal drama, concluded in 2022 after two successful seasons.
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#4 Law and Order: SVU
Maintaining relevance for over 20 years is no easy feat. SVU’s predominantly female audience can be attributed to its commitment to addressing sexual assault and consent seriously, tackling taboo subjects that were once considered unsuitable for prime time. As the characters operate within the sex division crimes, the show fearlessly sparks conversations on topics that paved the way for the #MeToo movement years before it gained momentum.
Damages, though shorter than typical legal dramas with their numerous episodes, stands out as one of the most captivating lawyers’ shows. Glenn Close portrays Patty Hewes, the relentless lawyer, in the series, where each case spans an entire season. The meticulous research and thorough portrayal of legal proceedings set it apart from other shows that condense weeks-long proceedings into 40-minute episodes.
#6 How To Get Away With Murder
The inclusion of the Shondaland series, featuring Viola Davis, is a necessity on this list. It is a captivating legal drama that diverges from the conventional procedural format, focusing on the thrilling aspect of evading justice. Throughout its entirety, from the first season to the last, this show engages viewers with its high-stakes narrative and numerous unexpected developments. At its core, it follows law professor Analise Keating and the five students she takes under her wing, all of whom find themselves trapped in even more dire circumstances than their clients.
#7 L.A. Law
L.A. Law, predating Law & Order, delves into the inner workings of a prestigious Los Angeles law firm. Conjured by Steven Bochco (known for NYPD Blue), this series follows a diverse ensemble cast as they tackle parallel storylines laden with powerful social dramas. Similarly to its Law & Order counterpart, it examines real-life cases ripped from the headlines. Starring Harry Hamlin, Corbin Bernsen, Jimmy Smits, Blair Underwood, and a host of notable guest appearances.
#8 Your Honor
Bryan Cranston returned to television following his success as a movie star, portraying a judge whose son is responsible for a hit-and-run accident in Your Honor. Additionally, Your Honor is a limited series, ensuring there will not be another season. Audiences were treated to a truly exceptional and original experience, with Michael Desiato (played by Cranston) proving to be just as unforgettable as Walter White in Breaking Bad.
The top-notch problem solver in Washington had to cut. Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington), despite not actively practicing law, leverages her extensive legal background to aid clients and exact revenge on anyone who opposes her. The captivating affair between her and President Fitzgerald Grant III (Tony Goldwyn) largely takes center stage in Scandal.
Yet, Pope’s expertise and resourcefulness remain unhindered. Following her departure from the White House, she became one of the capital’s most formidable political fixers. The reasons behind her resignation and her exceptional aptitude lend an intriguing twist to this remarkable legal drama, where the focus rests more on the character than the legal cases.
#10 The Good Wife
After her husband (Chris Noth) is imprisoned due to political corruption and a personal scandal, Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies) resurrects her career as a defense attorney. She sheds the image of the humiliated wife and steps into the limelight.
#11 Perry Mason
Perry Mason, the trailblazing lawyer series, laid the groundwork for subsequent legal dramas like L.A. Law and Law & Order. Premiering in 1957, Raymond Burr portrayed the tenacious defense attorney Perry Mason, based on the character created by author Erle Stanley. With each episode, Mason took on a fresh case, and through his astute problem-solving, he resolved it by the end.
You can learn more about how unpredictable and controversial the world of legal law can be. Questions of moral choice and professional difficulties are common, but every lawyer and anyone involved in the law must be able to make difficult decisions. With these shows, you can become more familiar with the decisions you’ll make when faced with a morally difficult choice.