My Cousin Vinny, Ally McBeal, Anatomy of a Murder – lawyers have been a favorite part of contemporary media for decades. Sometimes hard-hitting dramatic players, sometimes comic relief, they’re always an intriguing glimpse at how people view the profession and how pop culture portrays them.
With so much to keep up with, you might have missed some depictions of lawyers and the profession in recent media. Fortunately, we at Voices of the Bar watch a lot of Netflix. (Kidding….or are we?)
Wondering what’s been happening in pop culture? Presented without further ado…
VoB’s Top 10 List of Current Legal-Related Media
- The Judge
We’ll start with the oldest first. Technically, The Judge came out in 2014, but we’re not going to hold that against it. The ever-charming Robert Downey, Jr. takes off his Iron Man suit for long enough to play a defense attorney who is the estranged son of a judge played inimitably well by Robert Duvall.
Speaking of superheroes…
Who wouldn’t be interested in the fantastical tale of a blind superhero lawyer? In this Netflix adaptation of a popular Marvel comic, Matt Murdock is an attorney by day, superhero-vigilante by night – think an exponentially more violent Batman, and in Hell’s Kitchen instead of the fictional Gotham. You may scoff at the idea of watching a show about superheroes, but it has been critically acclaimed and lauded as extraordinary – and we all know Netflix has a great track record in creating original series. (House of Cards, anyone?)
- Better Call Saul
For nostalgic Breaking Bad fans wanting to get a piece of that world back, you can always turn to Better Call Saul. It focuses on Saul Goodman in his former life as Jimmy McGill, a dubious scam artist-public defender with perhaps a few too many ties to the criminal underworld of New Mexico. We can’t wait for more!
- Truth or Die
We can’t give James Patterson top billing, but – it’s James Patterson. Classic guilty pleasure. The novel focuses on attorney Trevor Mann, whose life is upended after a startling discovery – and no, we’re not talking about legal discovery.
- GETT: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem
This one is a little different, but we felt this gripping tale that illuminates international legal proceedings deserved a spot on the list. Set in Israel, it focuses on an Israeli woman seeking a divorce from her unwilling husband, who refuses her request for three years. The tense drama is thrilling, and watching the legal arguments before a panel of religious leaders sheds light on the contrast between the law in the U.S. and in other countries.
Perhaps one of the most popular currents depictions of lawyers, Suits has no problems bringing the drama and intrigue to the small screen. It may be a slightly romanticized view of the profession, but hey, we’re charmed by it. A brilliant college dropout faking a law degree and reminding a hardened cynical partner why he chose the law in the first place? Brilliant.
- The Good Wife
Give it up for Julianna Margulies and her portrayal of Alicia Florrick, who weathers her husband’s corruption scandal and returns to work as a litigator with something to prove. The cast really carries this show, earning it a spot in the top five of our list.
- Secret in Their Eyes
This hasn’t even come out yet and we’re already excited for it. While this upcoming thriller focuses on an FBI investigation, we can’t wait to see Nicole Kidman’s headlining turn as Claire, a District Attorney who discovers a murder that hits far too close to home.
- Law & Order
Oh, come on – you know this list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Law & Order in all of its still-running iterations. We’ll be able to predict the Apocalypse on the day that there isn’t at least one episode of Law & Order in some form on a major TV station.
- Go Set a Watchman
The most recent and perhaps most controversial update in legal media: Harper Lee’s secret novel has been published at last, and – spoiler alert! – people have been dismayed to see Atticus Finch, a paragon of justice, change radically before their eyes. Beyond this, many feel that the book should not have been published in the first place, as it was unclear whether Lee, who was in ill health, ever intended for the book to be published.
Which is why we’re asking in a bonus poll: