Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Legal TV genius: David E. Kelley

Legal shows are rarely very good. It is hard to catch and keep the attention of the general public with law, and rarely does a show succeed. I think I have at least taste-tested the majority of them, rarely becoming enthused about any one series. It seems that it may be even harder to keep the attention of legal enthusiasts, like myself, because the shows rarely portray the law, judges, lawyers, and their staff accurately. Producer David E. Kelley is the common thread in every legal show I have liked and loved. He is a legal TV show super genius. Plus, he had the good fortune to marry Michelle Pfieffer in 1993. (Random fact, unrelated to law)

Ally McBeal was one of my favorites. Generally, it was not based in reality, but you never knew what to expect from the quirky characters. From dreaming up closing statements barefoot, to the nose whistle one character used to distract opposing counsel during court proceedings, there was never an expected moment. Before its ratings declined to the show's demise, David E. Kelley successfully produced five seasons and won several Emmys and Golden Globes, among other awards.

The Practice, which David E. Kelley also produced, was another favorite. The characters and plot more closely aligned with a real legal office, though, not perfectly (our jobs are only sometimes interesting enough for TV). The twist for this show was the ethical dilemmas the characters faced in (usually) complicated criminal proceedings, negotiations, and investigations.

My third favorite over the years is Boston Legal. There was never a dull moment in this law firm, thanks to many of the characters' loose connection with reality. From relationships with objects like iPhones, to William Shatner's gun habits, you learned to believe the unbelievable.

If you haven't caught those shows, you should get the series on Netflix. (If you don't know what Netflix is, crawl back under your rock.)


  1. I am liking the suits show, but I am far from a legal person. -tdh

  2. I wish we could get those shows on Netflix, but I live in Canada, so our Netflix selection isn't very big right now :( Recent legal shows I like are Drop Dead Diva (probably the furthest from the legal profession reality, but fun and entertaining nonetheless :) and Fairly Legal (which was unfairly cancelled, in my opinion) showing a side of the law that isn't portrayed often - mediation.

  3. Suits is a pretty good one too.

    Haven't heard of Drop Dead Diva, but I am going to check it out for sure.

    I really liked Fairly Legal too. I'm not sure why they canceled it, but I wish they would bring it back!

  4. *correction. Just read that Fairly Legal is actually picked up for a second season, 13 episodes in 2012. :)

  5. SUPER AWESOME! I hadn't heard it was canceled, but I'm glad it's back! Thanks for the heads up. Hopefully my DVR will record it so I don't miss it.

  6. There were some rumours going around on the internet, but I mostly assumed because they stopped at 10 episodes for season 1. My guy and I just started watching suits and love it!

  7. Gotcha. The internet can be a dangerous thing!