Advertisement

Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Law on Television: the ABA’s Top 25

posted by Nell Minow

The magazine of the country’s largest organization of lawyers, the American Bar Associaton has published its list of the 25 all-time greatest legal television shows from enduring classics like “LA Law,” “Law & Order,” and “Perry Mason” to some quirkier choices like the animated “Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law” and the short-lived divorce lawyer drama “Civil Wars.” The list includes a comedy (“Night Court”) and genre-expanding, even surreal (“Ally McBeal”). Some focus more on civil litigators with controversial cases like “Owen Marshall,” “Boston Legal,” “The Practice,” and “The Defenders,” while others focus on the military (“JAG”), civilian prosecutors (“Law & Order”) or defense attorneys — almost always with innocent clients, of course — (“Perry Mason”). Sometimes, the focus is on the judge (“Judging Amy”).
Drama requires confrontation, and putting on a trial is always about telling a story, or rather telling two competing stories and letting the judge and jury decide which one they believe. And the law is where people go in the direst of circumstances, often when they have already tried to come to an agreement and failed. Only certain parts of the story are relevant in a courtroom, but it is always intriguing to find out what goes on behind all of that party of the first part and let the record show. So courtrooms and law offices are always a good place to look for good stories. Real-life lawyers like Erle Stanley Gardner (creator of Perry Mason), barrister John Mortimer (creator of “Rumpole of the Bailey”), Terry Louis Fisher (co-creator of “LA Law”), and Fred Thompson (co-star of “Law & Order”).
In an interview in the magazine, Sam Waterston of “Law & Order” reminds us that there is a fantasy element to even the grittiest legal drama on television. The cases brought to conclusion in one episode would take months or years to resolve in real life. “We tell stories about what’s fair and what’s just so we can get our minds around them, or just get to know them. In reality, conclusions are muddy, there are no final curtains, and life just goes on.”

  • mmagnolia

    Dear *Mr. McCoy*,
    MerciBouquets for helping to redeem that “vast wasteland”!
    Yes, Life goes on–indeed! However, it is enhanced when we curse darkness [in systems, in relations] by lighting candles–also known as: Speaking Truth!
    Godspeed All of Our Truth!

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Many thanks, mmagnolia! I love it when I get a comment referring to my dad’s famous description of television as a “vast wasteland!”

Previous Posts

For the 4th of July: Singing Founding Fathers in "1776"
Happy Independence Day!  Every year, I recommend the rousing musical about the Declaration of Independence. "1776" makes the Founding Fathers vivid, human, and interesting characters, and is so involving that you almost forget that you already ...

posted 8:00:01am Jul. 03, 2015 | read full post »

Sesame Street's Maria Says Goodbye
Sonia Manzano has announced that she is leaving Sesame Street after 44 years.  She was 22 years old when she auditioned for the brand new series that would revolutionize children's programming. She became Maria, one of the first Latina ...

posted 1:20:21pm Jul. 02, 2015 | read full post »

Happy 99th Birthday, Olivia de Havilland!
Two-time Oscar winner Olivia de Havilland turns 99 years old today. She was one of the biggest stars of the Golden Age of Hollywood, appearing memorably opposite Errol Flynn eight times, most memorably in "The Adventures of Robin ...

posted 10:20:13am Jul. 02, 2015 | read full post »

Contest: Win a DVD of "Hope Bridge"
"Hope Bridge" is a new DVD from Pure Flix about the devastating impact of suicide. Christi and David Eaton produced the movie after having experienced suicide twice in their family. They knew the best way to reach out to others was through a ...

posted 8:00:59am Jul. 02, 2015 | read full post »

Trailer: No Ordinary Hero -- The SuperDeafy Movie
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h6Yo3kRFW9g Coming next month on DVD, "No Ordinary Hero: The SuperDeafy Movie" is the story of a deaf actor (John Maucere) who plays a deaf superhero in a campy television series. But he wants to be a real ...

posted 8:00:41am Jul. 02, 2015 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.