Legal Dramas 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

1
283 169
Law & Order: Special Victims U... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
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
245 152
Law & Order is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
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
427 161
Suits is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
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
337 121
The Good Wife is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
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
234 142
Boston Legal is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
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
199 129
The Practice is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
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
147 139
L.A. Law is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
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
123 94
Perry Mason is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
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
148 103
JAG is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
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
138 130
Ally McBeal is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
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
112 92
Matlock is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
Andy Griffith, Linda Purl, Kene Holiday Matlock is an American television legal drama, starring Andy Griffith in the title role of attorney Ben Matlock. The show, produced by The Fred Silverman Company, Dean Hargrove Productions, ...more

12
108 101
Damages is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
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

13
68 103
Judging Amy is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
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

14
62 109
Harry's Law is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
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

15
83 115
Franklin & Bash is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
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

16
60 104
Law & Order: Trial by Jury is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
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
56 95
The Guardian is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
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

18
65 101
Law & Order: LA is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
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

19
43 92
Picket Fences is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
ScottChupack added 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
46 98
Eli Stone is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
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

21
42 97
The Defenders is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
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

22
55 41
Homicide: Life on the Street is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
Rumblefish61 added Richard Belzer, Clark Johnson, Yaphet Kotto This series 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 seasons on NBC ...more

23
30 67
Conviction is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
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

24
42 82
Murder One is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
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
21 4
The Good Fight is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
Stephanie Kuchinski added 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

26
46 103
Fairly Legal is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
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

27
29 90
The New Adventures of Perry Ma... is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
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

28
65 75
Revenge is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
d.raphael2011 added 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

29
35 60
Law & Order UK is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
Law & Order UK

30
11 8
Bull is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
Stephanie Kuchinski added Michael Weatherly, Freddy Rodriguez, Geneva Carr Bull (CBS, 2016) is an American drama television series created by Phil McGraw and Paul Attanasio, based on the early days of talk show host Dr. Phil. Psychologist and trial science expert Dr. ...more

31
16 45
Pickett Fences is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
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

32
13 22
Shark is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
stevenpellini added 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.

33
1 2
Better Call Saul is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
Bob Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks, Rhea Seehorn Better Call Saul (A&E, 2015) is an American television drama series created by Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould, and a spinoff prequel of Breaking Bad. The trials and tribulations of lawyer, ...more

34
10 19
The Defenders is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
stevenpellini added 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

35
0 2
The Deep End is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
Billy Zane, Clancy Brown, Nicole Ari Parker The Deep End is an American television series created by David Hemingson and produced by 20th Century Fox Television for the ABC television network. Starring Mehcad Brooks, Matt Long, Tina ...more

36
0 3
Philly is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
Kim Delaney, Tom Everett Scott, Rick Hoffman Philly is an American television series created by Steven Bochco that focused on criminal defense attorney Kathleen Maguire. It lasted a full season and was canceled due to low ratings. The ...more

37
0 3
The Jury is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
Cote de Pablo, Anna Friel, Patrice O'Neal The Jury is an American legal drama television series that was broadcast by the Fox Network in 2004. Each week, in the same New York City courtroom, a new 12-person jury deliberates over a ...more

38
7 19
Arrest and Trial is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
stevenpellini added 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.

39
6 19
The D.A. is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
stevenpellini added 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

40
6 22
For the People is listed (or ranked) 40 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.

41
3 21
Sam Benedict is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
stevenpellini added 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

42
3 22
Kaz is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
stevenpellini added 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.