Who doesn't love a good legal drama? ABC's "The Fix," a new show executive produced by famed O.J. Simpson prosecutor Marcia Clark, hits television screens on March 18, 2019. It follows Robin Tunney as Maya Travis, a Los Angeles district attorney who spectacularly loses when she prosecutes A-list movie star Sevvy Johnson (played by Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) for double murder. Eight years later, the same star is suspected of a new killing, which Maya returns to investigate. In honor of this new show, Wonderwall.com was inspired to round up and rank our favorite legal TV dramas of all time. Keep reading to see if you object to our list!
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Coming in at No. 15 on our list? Michael Weatherly's "Bull," a CBS drama that debuted in 2016 and is currently in its third season. The show gives a different perspective of the legal world as it follows a jury-consulting firm headed by Michael's character, psychologist and trial science expert Dr. Jason Bull. This show, which shines a light on the complicated juror-selection process, gets extra points for its unique angle.
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14. "The Night Of"
"The Night Of" might have only run for one season, but it hooked audiences with its gritty, realistic depiction of the legal system — and how it shined a light on the hardships of a downtrodden defense attorney. Riz Ahmed starred on the HBO series as Naz Khan, a college student accused of murdering a girl he met earlier the same night while driving her in a cab, with John Turturro playing the aforementioned defense attorney, John Stone. The show depicts what can go wrong in America's criminal justice system: Innocent Naz's life is ruined as he spends time in prison and his trial ends with a deadlocked jury.
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Next up? The classic legal drama "Matlock." The show centered around Andy Griffith's character, Ben Matlock, a top-of-the-line criminal defense attorney who studied at Harvard Law. Matlock was expensive to hire but would defend his client often by discovering the real perpetrator and confronting them in those iconic courtroom scenes. The show began airing in 1996 and ran for an amazing nine seasons.
12. "Perry Mason"
Before "Matlock" there was "Perry Mason" (both shows were created by Dean Hargrove). This '50s-era drama series followed Raymond Burr as the titular character, a criminal defense attorney straight out of a book series by Erle Stanley Gardner. "Perry Mason" was television's first weekly one-hour series, so in a way, all other shows on this list owe something to this pioneer program. The show was wildly popular and ran for nine seasons.
11. "Boston Legal"
"Boston Legal" is a spinoff of the popular legal drama "The Practice" (which we'll get to later in the countdown). It transplanted a fan favorite from the series, Alan Shore (played by James Spader), to a new law firm, Crane, Poole & Schmidt. William Shatner, Lake Bell and Candice Bergen also starred on this comedy-drama from the mind of David E. Kelley that began in 2004 and ran for five seasons.
10. "L.A. Law"
Set in — where else? — Los Angeles, "L.A. Law" took place in the fictional law firm McKenzie, Brackman, Chaney and Kuzak. It starred a cast of great actors including Jill Eikenberry, Richard A. Dysart, Harry Hamlin, Michele Greene, Michael Tucker, Alan Rachins, Corbin Bernsen and Jimmy Smits. The show, which debuted in 1986, highlighted controversial topics (for the era) like abortion, racism, gay rights, AIDS and homophobia, weaving them into the firm's cases. One fun fact about this eight-season series: It became known for giving great guest-starring roles to unknown actors, many of whom went on to become major stars! Don Cheadle, David Schwimmer, Kathy Bates, Lucy Liu and Bryan Cranston are among those who popped up on the NBC drama during its eight-season run.
9. "Ally McBeal"
"Ally McBeal" brought a little bit of irreverent comedy to the legal world (who could forget dancing baby?!). Calista Flockhart played the titular role of a lawyer who starts at a new firm where she works alongside her now-married ex-boyfriend, Billy Thomas (played by Gil Bellows). His wife, Georgia (played by Courtney Thorne-Smith), also joins the practice, making things even more awkward. Legal drama was often put on the backburner in favor of laughs on this endlessly entertaining show, where the law firm proved to be an interesting backdrop for shenanigans in the characters' romantic and personal lives. David E. Kelley was also behind this hit show, which debuted in 1997 and ran for five seasons.
James Woods starred on "Shark" on CBS, a show that revolved around his character, Sebastian, a hot-shot L.A. defense attorney who helps the bad guys go free. After a particularly disturbing case in which an abuser ends up killing his wife after he's let go, Sebastian has a change of heart and instead takes a job at the Los Angeles district attorney's office helping convict wrongdoers instead. The show debuted in 2006 and only ran for two seasons, but it was definitely an interesting take on both sides of being a lawyer.
Actress-turned-duchess Meghan Markle's most recent television project, "Suits," makes the list at No. 7. The USA drama isn't exactly realistic — New York City lawyer Harvey Specter (played by Gabriel Macht) hires Mike Ross (played by Patrick J. Adams) as an associate despite his lack of a law degree — but the show still sucked us in and allowed us to suspend reality while watching. Duchess Meghan played a paralegal who ends up falling for Mike, so the show is equal parts legal drama and soap opera, which is great for entertainment value.
6. "How to Get Away with Murder"
"How To Get Away With Murder" married our obsession with legal dramas and Shonda Rhimes' addictive appointment TV on ABC. The show, which premiere in 2014, chronicles a group of uncharacteristically good-looking law students and their criminal defense professor as their lives intertwine via a crazy, complicated murder. Star Viola Davis has won Primetime Emmys and Screen Actors Guild Awards for her portrayal of Annalise Keating.
"Damages" saw Glenn Close bring her magical acting abilities to the small screen as lawyer Patty Hewes. The ruthless and brilliant attorney and her protege, Rose Byrne's Ellen Parsons, were captivating to watch. This legal thriller, which ran for five seasons starting in 2007, set itself apart by chronicling season-long cases and giving a more realistic portrayal of just how long the justice system can take to grind forward while also showing the perspectives of both the law firm and an opponent.
4. "The Good Wife"
When "The Good Wife" debuted in 2009, it centered around Alicia Florrick (played by Julianna Margulies, who won two Emmys and a Golden Globe for her portrayal), a Chicago stay-at-home mom who returns to her legal career — she scores a job with old law school friend Will Gardner (played by Josh Charles) — after her husband, former Cook County state's attorney Peter Florrick (played by Chris Noth), gets caught up in a very public corruption and sex scandal. The show was inspired by the prominent scandals of President Bill Clinton and Senator John Edwards, whose lawyer wives stood by them amid affairs. The show took viewers on a wild ride during its seven seasons as it explored fascinating cases, second chances and the true cost of standing by your man.
3. "The Practice"
Taking the bronze medal? David E. Kelley's "The Practice," which debuted in 1997 and ran for eight seasons. The beloved show followed the law firm of Robert Donnell and Associates. Dylan McDermott starred as Bobby Donnell, an attorney filled with idealistic dreams of protecting the innocent who quickly learns that the innocent don't necessarily pay the bills. The Emmy-winning show portrayed crimes that often mirrored current events and attempted to show the mechanics behind prosecuting and defending cases in the real world in a small-screen format. The spectacular cast also included Camryn Manheim, Steve Harris and Lara Flynn Boyle.
2. "Law & Order"
Coming in at No. 2? It's the one that started them all — "Law & Order." Debuting in 1990, the unique show had a two-part approach — first you see the crime investigation and then you see the prosecution of the defendant. The cast revolved but started centering around Richard Brooks, George Dzundza, Chris Noth and Michael Moriarty (seen here), and the plots typically were based on cases making headlines in the real world. The show ran for an amazing 20 seasons before it ended in 2010. It sparked a series of shows in the "Law & Order" franchise, like the next one on our list…
1. "Law and Order: Special Victims Unit"
The second series in Dick Wolf's "Law & Order" franchise tops its predecessor — and all the rest of the legal dramas on our list! "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" stands apart from the rest thanks to its addictive quality that easily reels you in for a Sunday afternoon binge-watching session. The show premiered in 1999 and ever since has brought plenty of drama and intrigue to our small screens as viewers watch fictionalized versions of real-life crimes week after week with Mariska Hargitay as the commanding officer of Manhattan's Special Victims Unit. Fun fact: As it marked its 20th season with its 2018-2019 run, "SVU" tied with its predecessor, "Law & Order," and "Gunsmoke" as the longest running scripted drama in U.S. television history.