The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time

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The best serial legal dramas of all time include some truly outstanding law-related TV shows. Many of the law dramas listed here have been, or were, on the air for many years, thrilling viewers with complicated and compelling legal cases and outcomes. This list includes a lot of fantastic legal dramas, but it is far from complete, so feel free to add your personal favorites. Also, be sure to vote for those legal dramas you believe are worthy of the "best all time" description, and vote down any law TV shows you just can't stand.

What makes for a great serial legal drama? The show needs to have interesting, popular characters, a solid script and excellent, fresh storylines. There's no doubt that TV viewers love their television lawyers -- Perry Mason (Raymond Burr), Patty Hewes (Glenn Close on 'Damages'), Bobby Donnell (Dylan McDermott on 'The Practice') and Ally McBeal (Calista Flockhart) are just a few notable examples.

Legal TV dramas tend to be very popular and long-running series. They may also cross over to include a certain amount of procedural crime drama as well. The best example of this is definitely the tremendously popular and successful 'Law & Order' franchise (think 'Law & Order: SVU' and 'Law & Order: Trial By Jury'). These shows combine both sides of the coin -- the cops who catch the criminals, and the lawyers who either defend, or prosecute them (insert dramatic "dum dum!" sound here).

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  1. 1
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    - 87

    the people's #1 & most listed
    Jerry Orbach, Jesse L. Martin, Dennis Farina

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  2. 2
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    - 100


    Mariska Hargitay, Christopher Meloni, Ice-T

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  3. 3
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    ranked low on reranks
    Gabriel Macht, Patrick J. Adams, Meghan Markle

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  4. 4
    + 128
    - 80


    Dylan McDermott, Kelli Williams, Lara Flynn Boyle

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  5. 5
    + 155
    - 94


    James Spader, William Shatner, Candice Bergen

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  6. 6
    + 105
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    Corbin Bernsen, Jill Eikenberry, Alan Rachins

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  7. 7
    + 170
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    ranked low on reranks
    Julianna Margulies, Chris Noth, Josh Charles

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  8. 8
    + 77
    - 64


    Raymond Burr, Barbara Hale, William Hopper

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  9. 9
    + 101
    - 70


    David James Elliott, Catherine Bell, Patrick Labyorteaux

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  10. 10
    + 98
    - 91


    Calista Flockhart, Greg Germann, Jane Krakowski

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  11. 11
    + 78
    - 62


    Andy Griffith, Linda Purl, Kene Holiday

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  12. 12
    + 39
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Amy Brenneman, Tyne Daly, Karle Warren

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  13. 13
    + 48
    - 75


    Kathy Bates, Nate Corddry, Christopher McDonald

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  14. 14
    + 68
    - 71


    Glenn Close, Rose Byrne, Tate Donovan

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  15. 15
    + 62
    - 76


    Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Breckin Meyer, Reed Diamond

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  16. 16
    + 45
    - 65


    Corey Stoll, Rachel Ticotin, Alfred Molina

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  17. 17
    + 30
    - 60

    added by ScottChupack
    Kathy Baker, Tom Skerritt, Lauren Holly

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  18. 18
    + 38
    - 71


    Bebe Neuwirth, Amy Carlson, Kirk Acevedo

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  19. 19
    + 34
    - 65


    Jonny Lee Miller, Natasha Henstridge, Loretta Devine

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  20. 20
    + 31
    - 67


    Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford, Robert Duvall

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  21. 21
    + 36
    - 64


    Simon Baker, Alan Rosenberg, Raphael Sbarge

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  22. 22
    + 26
    - 52


    Brittany Murphy, Stanley Tucci, Patricia Clarkson

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  23. 23
    + 35
    - 71


    Sarah Shahi, Michael Trucco, Virginia Williams

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    + 23
    - 21

    ranked low on reranks & added by Rumblefish61
    Richard Belzer, Clark Johnson, Yaphet Kotto

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    + 40
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    ranked low on reranks & added by d.raphael2011
    Madeleine Stowe, Emily VanCamp, Gabriel Mann

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  26. 27
    + 9
    - 21


    Craig Richards

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  27. 28
    + 15
    - 68


    Harry Guardino, Dane Clark, Monte Markham

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  28. 29
    + 17
    - 37
    No image


    Law & Order UK

  29. 30
    + 7
    - 35
    Raising the Bar is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time


    Raising the Bar

31 +

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