You’ve watched Suits now what? Everyone is raving about how much of a thriller Suits is which is justifiable, to be sure but there are other equally thrilling legal TV shows they haven’t watched. These ones for me are the crème de la crème of legal drama.
(1) Michael Clayton (2008)
One of my all-time best and brings lots of memory with it. Here a former prosecutor Michael Clayton (George Clooney) works as a “fixer” at the corporate law firm of Kenner, Bach and Ledeen, and takes care of his employer’s dirty work. Burned out and deep in debt, he is bound tightly to the firm. Clayton faces the biggest challenge of his career when a guilt-ridden attorney (Tom Wilkinson) has a breakdown during a huge class-action lawsuit.
(2) Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1999- present)
Law & Order “SUV” as it is commonly called has been described by movie goers as the most underrated crime TV series ever on IMDb. Presently in its season 18, it’s the longest running Primetime drama currently on television with over 396 episodes premiered. It chronicles the life and crimes of the Special Victims Unit, a new elite squad In New York City who detect and investigate sexually related crimes. Sergeant Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) a seasoned veteran acts as the commander of the SVU and leads with enviable professionalism while also dealing with her painful past as a product of rape. She allows this reflect in the way she relates with victims in need of help.
(3) Breaking Bad (2008- 2013)
Breaking Bad has been described by Wikipedia as one of the greatest television series of all time. It is a crime TV series that tells the story of Walter White (Bryan Cranston), a struggling high school chemistry teacher diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer who decides to manufacture and sell methamphetamine (an illegal substance) in order to secure his family’s financial future before he dies. In doing this he has to navigate the pitfalls of the world of crime. Walter hires criminal lawyer Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk) who helps Walter to launder drug money. Saul also acts as a go-between connecting drug distributors and other criminals for hire. Saul is the epitome of an effective lawyer who employs illegal tactics, dirty schemes and criminal solutions to get his clients out of trouble.
(2) Legally blonde (2001)
I’d recommend this one any day to law students. Ranked 29th on Bravo’s list of 100 Funniest movies in 2007. The movie basically captures the exploits of a girl who does away with the California sorority lifestyle in an attempt to win back her ex-boyfriend at Harvard Law by getting a law degree. It doesn’t just end there, the movie has a touch of comedy too and does the law school experience in as real a way as it can get.
(4) Suits (2011- present)
Very few law series have captured the essence of law practice the way Suits has. Every law student would dream of the looks, guts and mentality of a Harvey Specter. One that knows nothing of the bitter taste of “losing small” as Harvey would put it. The photographic memory of a Mike Ross, the diligence and dedication of a Donna, the cunning and savvy of a Jessica Pearson except be a Louis Litt (unless of course, you’d prefer getting Lit up in your own mess). Suits is based on a New York Fictitious law firm “Pearson Hardman” and the show follows Michael Ross (Mike) a college dropout who barely ever cleans up his “shit”. With no law degree, he unexpectedly lands an associate position in a law firm after impressing partner Harvey Specter in an unplanned interview. Mike has raw talent but has to bear the weight of his secret of practicing law without a license throughout his time there. Is Mike a fraud? Find out!
(5) The Good wife (2009- present)
The Good wife is a legal and political drama series that focuses on Alicia Florrick (Margulies), the wife of a former state attorney (Peter) in Cook County, Illinois. He has been jailed following a notorious political corruption and sex scandal. Alicia after thirteen years of being a stay-at-home mother decides to return to the courtroom as a litigator in order to provide for her two children but she has to prove herself in court.
(6) Silk (2011- 2014)
Silk show features Martha Costello, off to her day-to-day routine in the world of criminal prosecution. She is faced with the oft recurring problems of criminal barristers on their long daunting odyssey to becoming a Queens Counsel (QC) also known as “taking silk”. Throughout Martha’s time at her chambers she deals with impending deadlines, rivalry within chambers and an uncontrollable pupil all at the top of her own personal issues which include pregnancy, having a stalker and distrusting friends.
(7) The West Wing (1999-2006)
The West Wing is an American drama first aired in 1999. It’s an older TV series, ending in 2006 but no doubts lives up to the billing. A real classic by any other name. Majorly a political show, it still deals with many legal issues and is simply every law students must see. Whether your interests bother on politics or law, it would be still ideal for you. It details the day-to-day work of the US government, the strategies hatched up for state emergencies and terror threats and recreates how the White House may have dealt with these situations if they were to have arisen in real life.
(8) Damages: (2007-2012)
A suspense filled legal thriller which chronicles the life of a brilliant and ruthless, high-stakes litigator Patty Hewes (Glenn Close) and her newest protégée, Ellen Parsons (Rose Byrne) a recent law school graduate. The relationship between them becomes very complicated when Ellen attempts to distance herself from Hewes & Associates. At each season of the movie, Patty Hewes takes on a season long case that is viewed from the perspective of both a law firm and an opponent.
(9) How to Get Away with Murder (2014- present)
How to get away with murder portrays the stressful act of attending law school and the intricacies of becoming a lawyer. In the movie, Annalise Keating (Viola Davis) a law professor and prominent criminal defense lawyer at a prestigious Philadelphia university and her 5 students become involved in a twisted murder plot that promises to change the course of their lives. At the start of the semester, Professor Annelise Keating tells the students she will teach them “How to Get Away with Murder”.
(10) Ally McBeal (1997-2002)
This is an American legal comedy drama TV series which documents the life of Ally McBeal (Calista Flockhart) a single young lawyer working in the fictional Boston law firm Cage and Fish, with other young lawyers whose lives are eccentric, humorous and dramatic. She works with her ex-lover at her new law firm for whom she still has feelings and this puts her in quite the predicament.
Patrick Herbert is the Editor-in-Chief and founder of Law Student Hub. He is an LL.B. Law graduate from the University of Benin, Nigeria. He’s a life enthusiast, a budding writer and internet entrepreneur. Patrick is deeply passionate about law and research and has inspired many with his thought-provoking articles. To get in touch, follow him on social media.