Owen Marshall, Counselor at Law (1971–1974)
Short Review: Arthur Hill played the title character, a defense attorney who is forced to travel outside the tony environs of Santa Barbara to try cases that reflect the issues of the era. He is accompanied at various points in the show’s run by David Soul (Starsky & Hutch) and Lee Majors (before he became the Six Million Dollar Man). The show was almost as smart as it was earnest.
Judging Amy (1999–2005)
Short Review: A family drama focused on three generations of women living together in Hartford, Connecticut. Amy Brenneman plays Amy Gray, who left New York City behind and now works as a family court judge. Karle Warren plays Lauren, Amy’s daughter; Tyne Daly is Maxine, Amy’s tough, opinionated mother.
Night Court (1984–1992)
Short Review: Judge Harold T. Stone presides over “Night Court”, a court which deals with petty crimes which can be dealt with in a dime-a-dozen manner. Invariably, the cases appearing before the court are bizarre, but that’s ok because Judge Stone is not your regular judge. He’s assisted by a motley crew of clerks and District Attorneys who often create as much chaos as the criminals they bring in for trial.
Short Review: Ellen Parsons is a brilliant law school grad who goes to work for the famous and powerful trial lawyer Patty Hewes (Glenn Close). She’s mentored in the reality that power corrupts, even in the hands of women.
Rumpole of the Bailey (1978–1992)
Short Review: Horace Rumpole is an “Old Bailey Hack,” one of the underpaid barristers who ply the courtrooms of the Old Bailey, London’s criminal court. Rumpole refused to handle most suits and will never prosecute. He always defends. Each of his trials has both a victory and a defeat in them, his clients who are acquitted often angrier than those who are found guilty. There is always at least one and often two subplots.
Ally McBeal (1997–2002)
Short Review: Ally McBeal and Billy Thomas were going steady throughout their childhoods. Ally even followed Billy to Harvard law school despite having no interest in law. But when Billy chose to pursue a career in law away from Ally, their relationship came to an end. In the present, an old classmate of Ally’s named Richard Fish gives Ally a job at his law firm, where Billy and his new wife are also working. This puts Ally in a predicament since she still has feelings for Billy which she’s laboring to get over. At the office, Ally puts up with a nosy, gossiping secretary named Elaine, and an oddball lawyer named John Cage never seems to lose a case. At home, Ally’s friend and house-mate Renée regularly advises her on her love life. The series follows Ally’s trials and tribulations in life through her eyes, and caricaturizes her personal thoughts and fantasies.
The Defenders (1961–1965)
Short Review: Recent law school graduate (Robert Reed) joins his father (E.G. Marshall) as the pair tackle challenging legal cases, often involving issues which were highly touchy for the times (abortion, euthanasia, “un-American” activities, movie censorship). In most the freshly minted lawyer has much to learn from his father’s extensive legal experience.
Perry Mason (1957–1966)
Short Review: Perry Mason is an attorney who specializes in defending seemingly indefensible cases. With the aid of his secretary Della Street and investigator Paul Drake, he often finds that by digging deeply into the facts, startling facts can be revealed. Often relying on his outstanding courtroom skills, he often tricks or traps people into unwittingly admitting their guilt.
Short Review: Tony Petrocelli is an Italian-American Harvard-educated lawyer who gave up the big money and frenetic pace of major-metropolitan life to practice in a sleepy city in the American Southwest. He and wife Maggie live in a trailer in the country while waiting for their new house to be built, and travel around in a beat-up old pickup truck. For a quiet rural area, Petrocelli seems to have no trouble running into his share of murderers to defend.
Dehleez (2016– )
Short Review: Set in the political and legal world of Delhi; this is the love story of Adarsh (Harshad Arora) and Swadheenta (Tridha Choudhury) whose goals are same, but paths are different.