Courtroom dramas have been a staple in American television since the 1970s. TV lawyers are not only in dramas anymore. Many TV lawyers are hardly ever or never actually seen in the courtroom. This is a list of my favorite TV lawyers and the actors that play them.
1. Perry Mason (Perry Mason)
When you say TV lawyer, Perry Mason is the first to come to mind. Perry Mason (Raymond Burr) is the father of all great TV lawyers. Perry Mason was the epitome of the perfect defense attorney: his clients were always innocent.
2. Jack McCoy (Law and Order)
Sam Waterston played McCoy since 1994. He is the District Attorney known for his unconventional and sometimes ruthless behavior in the courtroom.
3. Denny Crane (Boston Legal)
William Shatner plays this self-proclaimed best lawyer in history to a tee. Denny Crane is pompous, arrogant and has an ego the size of Texas, but that’s what makes him so much fun to watch.
4. Ben Matlock (Matlock)
Andy Griffith portrayed this down home southern lawyer. Matlock often visited crime screens and discovered clues that the detectives had overlooked. Conveniently, all Matlock’s clients were framed by someone else.
5. Dan Fielding (Night Court)
John Larroquette was awesome as this over-confident, sex-crazed prosecutor. He was one of the great comedic lawyers that had viewers holding their sides with laughter.
6. Bobby Donnell (The Practice)
Donnell (played by Dylan McDermott) was the senior defense attorney on the practice. He was sensitive and struggled with his conscience while defending his clients
7. Patty Hewes (Damages)
Emmy-winner Glenn Close plays Patty Hewes the cutthroat lawyer that would do anything to win. She is determined to protect the innocent at any cost.
8. Ally McBeal (Ally McBeal)
Ally McBeal, (Calista Flockhart) was a romantically challenged lawyer constantly searching for her soul mate. Ally was often scatterbrained and ditzy, which lead to the portrayal of a different kind of lawyer.
9. Miranda Hobbes (Sex and the City)
Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) is the sophisticated lawyer that we never actually saw in the courtroom. We assume she was as hard hitting and blunt in court as she was in her personal life
10. Will Truman (Will & Grace)
Eric McCormack played Will Truman a gay lawyer in New York. Will was a business lawyer and did work for Karen, the wealthy, pill popping assistant to grace.
Lawyers are a big part of TV history. Without them we would have missed out on some really great moments in American TV. So, my hat’s off to all those actors out there making a living by playing an attorney.