drama The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time  

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Originally by Ranker Community
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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).

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

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264 159
Law & Order: Special Victims U... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Mariska Hargitay, Christopher Meloni, Ice-T Law & Order: Special Victims Unit is an American police procedural, legal, crime drama television series set in New York City, where it is also primarily produced. In the style of the ...more

2
228 142
Law & Order is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
Law & Order Jerry Orbach, Jesse L. Martin, Dennis Farina Law & Order is an American police procedural and legal drama television series, created by Dick Wolf and part of the Law & Order franchise. It originally aired on NBC and, in ...more

3
393 151
Suits is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
Suits Gabriel Macht, Patrick J. Adams, Meghan Markle Suits is a USA Network legal drama created by Aaron Korsh that stars Patrick J. Adams as Michael "Mike" Ross and Gabriel Macht as Harvey Specter. The first episode debuted on June 23, ...more

4
297 113
The Good Wife is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
The Good Wife Julianna Margulies, Chris Noth, Josh Charles The Good Wife is an American television legal and political drama that premiered on CBS on September 22, 2009. The series was created by Robert King and Michelle King. It stars Julianna ...more

5
218 135
Boston Legal is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
Boston Legal James Spader, William Shatner, Candice Bergen Boston Legal is an American legal dramedy created by David E. Kelley and produced in association with 20th Century Fox Television for ABC. The series aired from October 3, 2004, to December 8, ...more

6
179 123
The Practice is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
The Practice Dylan McDermott, Kelli Williams, Lara Flynn Boyle The Practice is an American legal drama and comedy-drama created by David E. Kelley centering on the partners and associates at a Boston law firm. Running for eight seasons on ABC from 1997 to ...more

7
140 134
L.A. Law is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
L.A. Law Corbin Bernsen, Jill Eikenberry, Alan Rachins L.A. Law is an American television legal drama series that ran for eight seasons on NBC from September 15, 1986 to May 19, 1994. Created by Steven Bochco and Terry Louise Fisher, it contained ...more

8
116 89
Perry Mason is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
Perry Mason Raymond Burr, Barbara Hale, William Hopper Perry Mason is an American legal drama series originally broadcast on CBS television from September 21, 1957, to May 22, 1966. The title character, portrayed by Raymond Burr, is a fictional Los ...more

9
140 97
JAG is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
JAG David James Elliott, Catherine Bell, Patrick Labyorteaux JAG is an American legal drama television show with a distinct U.S. Navy theme, created by Donald P. Bellisario, and produced by Belisarius Productions in association with Paramount Network ...more

10
131 124
Ally McBeal is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
Ally McBeal Calista Flockhart, Greg Germann, Jane Krakowski Ally McBeal is an American legal comedy-drama television series, originally aired on Fox from September 8, 1997 to May 20, 2002. Created by David E. Kelley, the series stars Calista Flockhart in ...more

11
105 86
Matlock is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
Matlock Andy Griffith, Linda Purl, Kene Holiday Matlock is an American television legal drama, starring Andy Griffith in the title role of criminal-defense attorney Ben Matlock. The show, produced by The Fred Silverman Company, Dean Hargrove ...more

12
60 99
Judging Amy is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
Judging Amy Amy Brenneman, Tyne Daly, Karle Warren Judging Amy is an American television drama that was telecast from September 19, 1999, through May 3, 2005, on CBS-TV. This TV series starred Amy Brenneman and Tyne Daly. Its main character is a ...more

The Best Serial Dramas of the 21st Century

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95 100
Damages is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
Damages Glenn Close, Rose Byrne, Tate Donovan Damages is an American legal thriller television series created by the writing and production trio of Daniel Zelman and brothers Glenn and Todd A. Kessler. It premiered on July 24, 2007 on FX ...more

14
81 108
Franklin & Bash is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
Franklin & Bash Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Breckin Meyer, Reed Diamond Franklin & Bash is an American comedy-drama television series created by Kevin Falls and Bill Chais. The series stars Breckin Meyer and Mark-Paul Gosselaar as unconventional lawyers and ...more

15
61 104
Harry's Law is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
Harry's Law Kathy Bates, Nate Corddry, Christopher McDonald Harry's Law is an American legal comedy-drama television series created by David E. Kelley, which ran from January 17, 2011, to May 27, 2012. On May 12, 2011, NBC renewed the show for a second ...more

16
58 95
Law & Order: Trial by Jury is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
Law & Order: Trial by Jury Bebe Neuwirth, Amy Carlson, Kirk Acevedo Law & Order: Trial by Jury is an American television drama about criminal trials set in New York City. It was the third spin-off from the long-running Law & Order. The show's almost ...more

17
61 94
Law & Order: LA is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
Law & Order: LA Corey Stoll, Rachel Ticotin, Alfred Molina Law & Order: LA, originally titled Law & Order: Los Angeles, is an American police procedural and legal drama television series set in Los Angeles, where it was produced. Created and ...more

The Most Annoying TV and Film Characters Ever

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49 90
The Guardian is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
The Guardian Simon Baker, Alan Rosenberg, Raphael Sbarge The Guardian is an American drama series which aired on CBS from September 25, 2001 to May 4, 2004. In the United States, as of 2012, it is being broadcast in re-runs on the Sleuth Channel and ...more

19
38 88
Picket Fences is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
ScottChupack added Picket Fences Kathy Baker, Tom Skerritt, Lauren Holly Picket Fences is an American television drama about the residents of the town of Rome, Wisconsin, created and produced by David E. Kelley. The show initially ran from September 18, 1992, to June ...more

20
40 92
The Defenders is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
The Defenders Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford, Robert Duvall The Defenders is an American courtroom drama series that ran on CBS from 1961–1965. It starred E. G. Marshall and Robert Reed as father-and-son defense attorneys who specialized in legally ...more

21
40 94
Eli Stone is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
Eli Stone Jonny Lee Miller, Natasha Henstridge, Loretta Devine San Francisco lawyer Eli Stone begins to see things, which leads him to discover a brain aneurysm. But his visions lead him to accept cases with little monetary gain but a lot of moral

22
28 60
Conviction is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
Conviction Hayley Atwell, Eddie Cahill, Shawn Ashmore Conviction (ABC, 2016) is an American legal drama television series. Former First Daughter Hayes Morrison (Hayley Atwell) is blackmailed into heading the Conviction Integrity Unit, a department ...more

The Best Serial Cop Dramas of All Time

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49 38
Homicide: Life on the Street is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
Rumblefish61 added Homicide: Life on the Street Richard Belzer, Clark Johnson, Yaphet Kotto Homicide: Life on the Street is an American police procedural television series chronicling the work of a fictional version of the Baltimore Police Department's Homicide Unit. It ran for seven ...more

24
38 78
Murder One is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
Murder One Brittany Murphy, Stanley Tucci, Patricia Clarkson Murder One is an American legal drama television series that first aired on the ABC network in the United States in 1995. The series was created by Steven Bochco, Charles H. Eglee, and Channing ...more

25
43 98
Fairly Legal is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
Fairly Legal Sarah Shahi, Michael Trucco, Virginia Williams Fairly Legal is a television series which aired on USA Network from January 20, 2011, to June 15, 2012. The series starred Sarah Shahi, Michael Trucco, Virginia Williams, Baron Vaughn, and Ryan ...more

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27 85
The New Adventures of Perry Ma... is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
The New Adventures of Perry Mason Harry Guardino, Dane Clark, Monte Markham The New Perry Mason is a 1970s TV series that was a revival of the long-running hit television series of the 1950s and '60s about Erle Stanley Gardner's brilliant defense attorney. While several ...more

27
58 69
Revenge is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
d.raphael2011 added Revenge Madeleine Stowe, Emily VanCamp, Gabriel Mann Revenge is an American primetime television series that airs on ABC, starring Madeleine Stowe and Emily VanCamp, which debuted on September 21, 2011. During its first season it aired on ...more

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33 56
Law & Order UK is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
Law & Order UK

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6 2
The Good Fight is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
Stephanie Kuchinski added The Good Fight Christine Baranski, Cush Jumbo, Rose Leslie The Good Fight (CBS All Access, 2017) is a legal and political drama television series, a spin-off of the 2009 series The Good Wife. A year after the finale of The Good Wife, an enormous ...more

30
15 42
Pickett Fences is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
Pickett Fences Craig Richards Cory and Topanga realize that a house is not for them after Shawn sells them on working together to fix up their apartment. Meanwhile, Angela and Rachel play the roommate shuffle once again; and ...more

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11 18
Shark is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
stevenpellini added Shark James Woods, Danielle Panabaker, Sophina Brown Shark is an American legal drama created by Ian Biederman that originally aired on CBS from September 21, 2006 to May 20, 2008. The series stars James Woods.

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0 3
Bull is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
Stephanie Kuchinski added Bull Robert Lindsay, Maureen Lipman, Claudia Jessie Bull (Gold, 2015) is a British television sitcom created and written by Gareth Gwynn and John-Luke Roberts. Rupert Bull (Robert Lindsay) tries to run an antiques shop, but knows nothing about ...more

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8 17
The Defenders is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
stevenpellini added The Defenders Jim Belushi, Alona Tal, Jerry O'Connell The Defenders is a 2010 American legal comedy-drama that was ordered to series by CBS for the 2010–11 television season. The series originally ran from September 22, 2010 to March 11, 2011. Set ...more

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7 16
Arrest and Trial is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
stevenpellini added Arrest and Trial Ben Gazzara, Chuck Connors, Roger Perry Arrest and Trial is a 90-minute American crime/legal drama series that ran during the 1963-1964 season on ABC, airing Sundays from 8:30-10 p.m. Eastern.

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5 17
The D.A. is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
stevenpellini added The D.A. Harry Morgan, Robert Conrad, Ned Romero The D.A. is an American half-hour legal drama that aired on NBC as part of its lineup for the 1971-72 season. It ran from September 17, 1971 to January 7, 1972 and was packaged by Jack Webb's ...more

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4 19
For the People is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
stevenpellini added For the People William Shatner, Martin Sheen, Jessica Walter For the People is a crime drama TV series.

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3 18
Sam Benedict is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
stevenpellini added Sam Benedict Edmond O'Brien, Richard Rust, Joan Tompkins Sam Benedict is an American legal drama that aired on NBC from September 1962 to March 1963. The series was created and executive produced by E. Jack Neumann. Sam Benedict is based on real-life ...more

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3 19
Kaz is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
stevenpellini added Kaz Patrick O'Neal, Ron Leibman, nm0943927 Kaz is an American crime drama series that aired on CBS from September 10, 1978 to April 22, 1979.