The 25 Greatest Legal TV Shows

  • Print

Photo courtesy
20th Century Fox/The Kobal Collection

TV has always loved lawyers. From Perry Mason to Leland McKenzie, Jack McCoy to Patty Hewes, lawyers have been among the most durable and popular characters on the small screen.

But what law shows do lawyers consider the best of all time?

We put that question to a jury of 12 experts—nine lawyers, two scholars and a TV critic—who write or teach about the nexus of law and pop culture. They were asked to pick their favorites among the scores of legal-minded shows that have come and gone over the years. We stayed away from those daytime judge shows and reality television, sticking to shows with actual scripts—though with some episodes of Law & Order it might be hard to tell the difference.

So the verdict is in, and here are the panel’s choices for the greatest legal shows in TV history.

Click here to launch the gallery now

Vote for Your Favorite Show

The Honorable Mentions

The Jury

See also:

A Real McCoy,” by actor Sam Waterston, aka Law & Order’s Jack McCoy.

A Shark Attacks,” by actor James Woods, aka Shark’s Sebastian Stark.


The 25 Greatest Legal Movies,” complete with image gallery (August 2008).

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.