The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time TV Programs

The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time

3,742 votes 593 voters 32,389 views 30 items tags f p @

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).

Time to vote, or even to rerank this list your way. Enjoy!


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  • 11 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    + 145
    - 74

    the people's #1 & most listed
    Angie Harmon, Jill Hennessy, Dianne Wiest

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  2. 2
    + 172
    - 86


    Sharon Stone, Mariska Hargitay, Ann-Margret

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  3. 3
    + 223
    - 84

    ranked low on reranks
    Gina Torres, Meghan Markle, Sarah Rafferty

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  4. 4
    + 141
    - 83


    Julie Bowen, William Shatner, Lake Bell

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  5. 5
    + 114
    - 72


    James Spader, Rhona Mitra, Chyler Leigh

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  6. 6
    + 94
    - 92


    Susan Dey, Jimmy Smits, Blair Underwood

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  7. 7
    + 143
    - 63

    ranked low on reranks
    Julianna Margulies, Alan Cumming, Christine Baranski

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  8. 8
    + 65
    - 60


    Raymond Burr, Barbara Hale, Richard Anderson

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  9. 9
    + 93
    - 64


    Catherine Bell, David James Elliott, Trevor Goddard

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  10. 10
    + 95
    - 84


    Hayden Panettiere, Robert Downey Jr., Lucy Liu

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  11. 11
    + 67
    - 57


    Andy Griffith, Linda Purl, Daniel Roebuck

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  12. 12
    + 36
    - 67

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Amy Brenneman, Tyne Daly, Columbus Short

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  13. 13
    + 45
    - 70


    Kathy Bates, Brittany Snow, Christopher McDonald

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  14. 14
    + 60
    - 64


    Rose Byrne, Glenn Close, Ryan Phillippe

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  15. 15
    + 56
    - 71


    Malcolm McDowell, Jason Alexander, Danny Trejo

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  16. 16
    + 41
    - 58


    Kristin Kreuk, Alfred Molina, Terrence Howard

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  17. 17
    + 36
    - 64


    Bebe Neuwirth, Jerry Orbach, Fred Thompson

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  18. 18
    + 31
    - 60


    Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford, Robert Duvall

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  19. 19
    + 26
    - 53

    added by ScottChupack
    Don Cheadle, Lauren Holly, Holly Marie Combs

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  20. 20
    + 34
    - 57


    Simon Baker, Dabney Coleman, Wendy Moniz

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  21. 21
    + 27
    - 61


    Natasha Henstridge, Jonny Lee Miller, Loretta Devine

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  22. 22
    + 25
    - 46


    Brittany Murphy, Stanley Tucci, Patricia Clarkson

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  23. 23
    + 32
    - 66


    Sarah Shahi, Richard Dean Anderson, Michael Trucco

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  24. 25
    + 18
    - 19

    ranked low on reranks & added by Rumblefish61
    Elijah Wood, Alfre Woodard, Vincent D'Onofrio

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  25. 26
    + 6
    - 17


    Craig Richards

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  26. 27
    + 14
    - 63

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Harry Guardino, Dane Clark, Monte Markham

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  27. 28
    + 31
    - 42

    added by d.raphael2011
    Emily VanCamp, Madeleine Stowe, Amber Valletta

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  28. 29
    + 11
    - 17

    added by d.raphael2011
    Jennifer Morrison, Jamie Chung, Ginnifer Goodwin

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  29. 30
    + 6
    - 31


    Raising the Bar

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