drama The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time  

Ranker Community
Originally by
4.8k votes 856 voters 42.0k views 36 items Embed

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
239 137
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

The Best Serial Cop Dramas of All Time The Best Netflix Original Documentary Series

2
208 122
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

3
329 127
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

4
247 98
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

5
166 110
The Practice is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
The Practice Dylan McDermott, Kelli Williams, Lara Flynn Boyle

6
189 122
Boston Legal is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
Boston Legal James Spader, William Shatner, Candice Bergen

7
127 124
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

8
111 78
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

9
127 91
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

10
118 116
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

11
98 80
Matlock is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
Matlock Andy Griffith, Linda Purl, Kene Holiday

12
84 92
Damages is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
Damages Glenn Close, Rose Byrne, Tate Donovan

13
76 97
Franklin & Bash is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
Franklin & Bash Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Breckin Meyer, Reed Diamond

14
58 95
Harry's Law is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
Harry's Law Kathy Bates, Nate Corddry, Christopher McDonald

15
47 95
Judging Amy is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
Judging Amy Amy Brenneman, Tyne Daly, Karle Warren

The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time The Best Movies Based on TV Shows

16
49 87
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

17
57 84
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

18
46 79
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

19
37 79
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

20
37 84
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

21
37 84
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

22
36 68
Murder One is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
Murder One Brittany Murphy, Stanley Tucci, Patricia Clarkson

23
21 54
Conviction is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
Conviction Hayley Atwell, Eddie Cahill, Shawn Ashmore

24
43 87
Fairly Legal is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
Fairly Legal Sarah Shahi, Michael Trucco, Virginia Williams

25
41 32
Homicide: Life on the Street is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
Rumblefish61 added Homicide: Life on the Street Richard Belzer, Clark Johnson, Yaphet Kotto

26
25 77
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

27
53 60
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

28
27 48
Law & Order UK is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
Law & Order UK

29
13 33
Pickett Fences is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
Pickett Fences Craig Richards

30
7 10
Shark is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
stevenpellini added Shark James Woods, Danielle Panabaker, Sophina Brown

31
5 10
The Defenders is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
stevenpellini added The Defenders Jim Belushi, Alona Tal, Jerry O'Connell

32
3 9
The D.A. is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
stevenpellini added The D.A. Harry Morgan, Robert Conrad, Ned Romero

33
3 9
Arrest and Trial is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
stevenpellini added Arrest and Trial Ben Gazzara^! Chuck Connors^! Roger Perry

34
2 9
Sam Benedict is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
stevenpellini added Sam Benedict Edmond O'Brien, Richard Rust, Joan Tompkins

35
2 10
Kaz is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time
stevenpellini added Kaz Patrick O'Neal, Ron Leibman, nm0943927

36
2 10
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