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The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time

Updated January 25, 2021 5.9k votes 1.4k voters 57.9k views40 items

List RulesVote up your favorite courtroom dramas that unfold their complex stories episode-by-episode.

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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    The Practice

    Dylan McDermott, Kelli Williams

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  • 7
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    Perry Mason

    Raymond Burr, Barbara Hale

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  • 8
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    JAG

    David James Elliott, Catherine Bell

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  • 9
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    L.A. Law

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    Murder One

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    Matlock

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    Damages

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    Ally McBeal

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    Judging Amy

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    The Good Fight

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    Law & Order: Trial by Jury

    Bebe Neuwirth, Amy Carlson

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  • 17
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    Bull

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  • 18
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    Richard Belzer, Clark Johnson

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    All Rise

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    Kathy Bates, Nate Corddry

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    For the People

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    Goliath

    Billy Bob Thornton, William Hurt

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  • 23
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    Bluff City Law

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    Bradley Walsh, Robert Glenister

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