Legal Practice

Top 10 Most Popular Lawyer Shows

op 10 gripping legal dramas of all times

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us into an unprecedented phase of self-isolation. Owing to the raging pandemic, the locked-down life has become dull for many. Irrespective of the times, however, ‘binging’ has been a common form of spending time to consume content.

Many movies, TV shows and web series have gifted us with characters who now enjoy cult status. Shows like ‘Sherlock’, ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’, ‘House’, and ‘The Office’ boast of smart script-work and relatable characters.

Over the years, lawyer tv shows have also found a massive favor with the binging audience. Some of the best performers have portrayed legal professionals with such genuine effort that their characters have become iconic.

Top 10 Most Popular Lawyer Shows Till 2021

10 Most Binge-Worthy Lawyer Shows Till 2021

Irrespective of whether you are a legal professional, legal shows offer a fantastic insight into the black and white of the profession. Some even follow a different format. E.g., ‘Judge Judy’ is a multiple Emmy-winning, American arbitration-based reality court show.

There are many shows to choose from, and frankly, each has a unique outlook. Quick tip: If you’re a firestick user, check out the best firestick channels to watch your lawyer shows and more. But worry not, for we have got you covered. So, if you have the downtime, here are some binge-worthy lawyer shows to engross you with their clever storylines. Here is the list of 10 popular lawyer TV shows –

Another explosive legal drama that is a hot favourite for the lawyer tv shows’ binge. Bob Odenkirk plays James McGill/Saul Goodman in this ‘Breaking Bad’ prequel which portrays Saul’s journey from con-man to a small-time lawyer.

Irrespective of whether you are a “fan” of ‘Breaking Bad’, you will be intrigued by the ‘history’ of Saul Goodman. Besides, this show offers a compelling mix of drama and dark comedy. Furthermore, multiple Easter eggs are strewn across the initial few seasons to satiate a ‘Breaking Bad’ fan.

Trivia: The story of the sleazy, hustling lawyer Saul Goodman is guilty of accumulating critical acclaim, with a 97%, 97% and 98% rating on Rotten Tomatoes for the first three seasons.

The impressive pairing of William Shatner and James Spader breathed life to this legal show. This spin-off of ‘The Practice’, chronicles the (mis)adventures of Alan Shore (Spader’s character) and that of his mentor, Denny Crane.

This multiple award-winning show persevered for five seasons, finally ending in 2008, after airing 101 episodes.

Trivia: John Mortimer (creator of the UK legal series ‘Rumpole of the Bailey’) acted as a consultant for ‘Boston Legal’.

A law school graduate becomes the protégée of a successful Manhattan litigator who specializes in corporate-malfeasance matters. Additionally, this melodramatic crime thriller ran for 5 seasons, replete with addictive storylines and amusing psychological unrest.

Finally, the relationship of a contentious mentorship between Patty Hewes and Ellen Parsons is brought to a satisfying finish, amidst the considerable drama.

Trivia: Glenn Close won an Emmy for her portrayal of Patty Hewes in the pilot episode of this series!

Veteran actor, Billy Bob Thornton, stars as Billy McBride, a disenfranchised lawyer, battling alcoholism. A curious encounter allows him the opportunity to confront his former law firm, a firm that he helped build. However, his crusade attracts grave danger to himself, and perhaps you will end up liking Bob’s flawed namesake.

Trivia: It took 3 hours of makeup to perfect the mysterious burnt face of William Hurt’s character in Season 1.

This series chronicles the true story of Steven Avery, who served 18 years in prison due to a wrongful conviction. His 2007 conviction for murder cut short the freedom that his 2003 exoneration provided.

The series debut rekindled fresh debate regarding the interplay of media with the American legal system. The second season mainly explored the arrest, prosecution, and conviction of Avery’s nephew.

This hard-hitting crime documentary is a refreshing take on generic legal shows. Consequently, the show garnered celebrity support.
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Trivia: The filmmakers moved back and forth from New York City to Wisconsin, to film this documentary series over 10 years.

Annalise Keating is a criminal defense lawyer and professor who personally trains five student interns every year. Ms. Keating and her five interns are embroiled in a twisted murder mystery and must use their legal acumen to survive.

Though a thriller, aspects of the show will ring a bell with law students and legal professionals. Besides, the writing is captivating enough to hook you from the get-go.

Trivia: Viola Davis, as Keating, became the first black woman to win a Lead Actress in a Drama Emmy.

Horace Rumpole is a London barrister often representing clients dependent on legal aid. True to his roots, he has a very British humour and an admirable sense of duty. Though some of his idiosyncrasies are tough to ignore, there is something profound about the character’s sentimentality.   

The series ran for seven seasons between 1978 and 1992, finishing with 44 episodes. Of course, each episode is replete with trademark British humor and is an interesting watch.
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Trivia: The “Bailey” in the title refers to the Central Criminal Court of England and Wales, often called the “Old Bailey”.

8. Suits

Easily, one of the most iconic (if not THE most iconic) of the names on this list. Harvey Specter, a well-schooled New York City Attorney, partners with Mike Ross, a law school dropout, in this legal drama. Together, they wade through the waters of a fictional version of corporate America.

Featuring stand-out performances from Gabriel Macht, Patrick J. Abrams, Rick Hoffman, Gina Torres, and Meghan Markle, this blockbuster series ended its nine-season run in 2019. 

Trivia: The series has spawned a Japanese as well as a Korean remake.
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Lovers of ‘The Good Wife’ have a reason to rejoice for this is its sequel. It follows the adventures of three women amidst a tense and fractured legal and political situation in the USA. Moreover, the drama discusses themes like fake news, cyberbullying, the #MeToo movement, and alt-right, making it one of the most relevant lawyer shows ever.

Trivia: The fourth season of this drama presently commands a 100% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Julianna Margulies’ portrayal of Alicia Horrick exploded in this legal drama punctuated with political intrigue. An ensemble of well-written characters is the hallmark of this show.

A single mother pieces her life together after her husband’s public sex scandal torpedoes her life. Thus, she must resume her practice of law to survive in an overbearing and unforgiving world. Will the women in this series survive in a male-dominated world?

Trivia: This 2014 Television Critics Association Award—Winner which also won five Emmys, ended in 2016, after seven seasons.

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Honourable Mentions

There are other lawyer tv shows which narrowly missed the abovementioned list. Of course, there is ‘Law & Order’. This impressionable show allowed the 90’s TV viewership to embrace legal drama as an acceptable form of entertainment. Furthermore, this police and courtroom drama failed to become America’s longest-running primetime drama due to its sudden cancellation in 2010.

Also, not all legal shows need to be too serious or grim. Take ‘Trial & Error’ for instance. It is dramatic and tense yet hilarious. Most importantly, the show only has 23 episodes over its two seasons—perfect for a long weekend binge.

Perhaps you would be more interested in the 2020 reimagining of ‘Perry Mason’. Matthew Rhys stars as the eponymous Criminal Defence Attorney in Los Angeles in 1932. Owing to its fantastic debut, HBO decided in 2020, to make this a regular series from a limited series.

Then there is ‘For Life’, which recounts the story of a man convicted of a crime he did not commit. Aaron Wallace gets his law degree while imprisoned and begins his fight against his own conviction. Meanwhile, he also tries to defend his inmates in court as their defense attorney.

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In Conclusion: A Word of Caution

Hopefully, this carefully curated list of lawyer tv shows will satiate your hunger for that weekend binge. However, be careful that you do not get so engrossed in the reel-life that it affects your real life. Remember, though all work and no play can make life dull, yet all play and no work can make you a dullard.

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by Biswaroop Mukherjee

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