Dick Wolf delivers another TV show this week in the Chicago franchise, Chicago Justice, a show that follows the State’s Attorney’s dedicated team of prosecutors and investigators. Over the years lawyers have proven a key commodity and legal TV shows are usually a hit, here’s our pick of the best.
So, as we wait to see whether Chicago Justice will make the list of our pick of the best legal TV shows, here are the rest.
Table of Contents
Pick of the best legal TV shows
The Good Wife
Alicia Florrick goes back to work as a defence attorney after her husband is sent to jail due to a very public sex and political corruption scandal. But we soon learn that she’s not the doormat housewife the media like to portray her as. The Good Wife not only drew us in for the full seven seasons it lasted thanks to Alicia’s strong-woman attitude - she’s tough and not much gets to her, and she doesn’t let her vulnerabilities show unless they work to her advantage - but the fact there were so many engaging characters, from her complicated relationship with her husband, her former college boyfriend turned boss and of course we can’t leave out standout characters like Elsbeth Tascioni and Louis Canning.
The show recently premiered its brand new spin-off The Good Fight in the US, and thankfully we don’t have to wait long till it arrives. It will premiere in the UK on March 30 at 9 pm on More4. The show follows Diane Lockhart after she’s forced out of Lockhart & Lee and loses her savings. It’s already been confirmed for a second series too.
Mike Ross, played by Patrick J. Adams, is incredibly smart with a photographic memory, but he didn't do too well at school, even though he was planning on going to Harvard Law School. Instead he's a bike messenger, who takes tests for people applying to the bar. He crosses paths with Harvey Spector, Gabriel Macht, and somehow becomes the associate to the partner of Pearson Hardman.
Between keeping his secret and ensuring that Harvey keeps his lost cases record clean, Ross must keep the relationship with his best friend in line, look after his grandmother and deal with the blossoming friendship with Rachel, played by Meghan Markle.
There are currently six seasons, and the seventh is going to premiere this summer. This is one of those shows you’ll find yourself binging on for the next few weeks if you haven’t seen it already.
How to Get Away with Murder
First Shonda Rhimes took on medicine with Grey’s Anatomy, and then Washington D.C with Scandal, and then came How to Get Away with Murder which follows Viola Davis as a law professor at an esteemed Pennsylvania university. Davis, also with her group of ambitious law students becomes embroiled in a murder plot. This is a series that it’s impossible to watch just one episode of, you just have to know what comes next and how it all fits together.
James Woods plays Sebastian Stark a defence lawyer who is willing to toe the line in order to win his cases. Woods' character makes a move to the other side and starts to work for the district attorney, where he takes on the hard-to-win cases with plenty of swagger and style.
Law & Order
It ran for a staggering 20 seasons from 1990 to 2010, record-tying with the legendary Gunsmoke as the longest-running TV drama series ever. From the same producer as Chicago Justice, Dick Wolf, the show is legendary for its twisted takes on real-life legal issues. Meticulous and well-research plots, compelling characters and a delicate balance between the prosecutor, the police and the politicians ensure this show was a hit.
Producer Dick Wolf is said to have conceived the show’s format—first half, investigation and arrest; second, trial and verdict—after watching tapes of a British show while working as a writer on the 1980s hit Miami Vice.
The comedy-drama series was a hit from 1997 to 2002, with Calista Flockhart playing the young, lovable attorney Ally McBeal. She worked at a Boston law firm called Cage Fish with other young and eccentric lawyers like herself and the show focused on romance, relationships and the personal lives of Ally and her fellow attorneys.
Admittedly, this wasn't particularly about the law, but more about humour, and it certainly offered plenty of that.
Lawyer David E. Kelley created and produced The Practice just after he developed Ally McBeal, but this was a different type of legal show. The show was focused more on real-life law compared with McBeal, but the draw of the characters made this show highly watchable.
Glenn Close leads the case in the legal thriller which will have you gripped from start to finish. Rose Bryne also stars in the series that focused on power and success and what that can do to your life.
Another David E. Kelley show, Boston Legal is a drama-comedy that follows Alan Shore an ethically challenged lawyer. The award-winning show brought a great deal of humour to the courtroom, with quirky characters and twisted plots.