Thursday, February 22, 2018

Thursday Movie Picks #189: Legal Dramas (TV edition)

This being Thursday, it's time for another edition of "Thursday Movie Picks", the blogathon run by Wandering Through the Shelves. This being the last Thursday of the month, it's time for another TV edition, with the theme for this month being legal dramas. This one was a bit more difficult for me, since I don't watch much episodic TV, and since I used Perry Mason last month. At any rate, I was able to come up with three items that fit the theme:

L.A. Law (1986-1994). I never watched this one since I wasn't really old enough at the start of the series and it was on at 10:00 PM Thursday. But it was quite popular back in the day, looking behind the scenes and at the personal lives of the members of a law firm, much the way later shows like ER would do for an emergency room.

Matlock (1986-1995). Andy Griffith plays a southern version of Perry Mason, using his aw-shucks charm to make the real criminal confess on the witness stand. This one was immensely popular in reruns, and of course, was parodied as the show all the seniors liked on The Simpsons.

Gideon's Trumpet (1980 TV movie). Henry Fonda plays Clarence Gideon, a defendant who was too poor to afford an attorney. The Sixth Amendment to the US Constitution already was interpreted to mean that a defendant in a federal case had to have his legal care provided if he couldn't afford it himself, but at the time of Gideon's case, that wasn't so for cases in the state courts. Gideon sued, and eventually the case went all the say to the Supreme Court. José Ferrer played Abe Fortas, who argued Gideon's case before the Supreme Court and would later become a Supreme Court justice himself. The actual Supreme Court justices aren't named, but include an all-star cast of John Houseman, Sam Jaffe, and Dean Jagger.


joel65913 said...

We match on your first which I did watch regularly, the fact that Susan Dey aka Laurie Partridge was one of the stars pulled me in originally but I did get hooked on the show.

I've never been able to get into Matlock despite my fondness for Andy Griffith.

I haven't thought of Gideon's Trumpet in a long time but it was a fine show. Henry Fonda was excellent in the lead.

Since the number of shows about lawyers is nearly limitless I did a small theme within the theme. We’re L.A. bound!

Perry Mason (1957-1966)-Criminal attorney Perry Mason (Raymond Burr-in the role that took him from villain to hero) aided by his loyal, intuitive secretary Della Street (Barbara Hale) and investigator Paul Drake (William Hopper-son of famous gossip columnist Hedda) manages to save his client week after week with a last minute moment of revelation. Loaded with familiar faces including future stars like Robert Redford, Dick Clark, and in a guest shot when Burr was ill-Bette Davis. Based on the Erle Stanley Gardner series of novels.

The Bold Ones: The Lawyers (1969-1972)-Venerated Los Angeles attorney Walter Nichols (Burl Ives) takes brother lawyers Brian & Neil Darrell (Joseph Campanella and James Farentino) into his firm and mentors them through their cases and lives. Part of an alternating series of dramas all under the umbrella title (The New Doctors, The Protectors, The Senator were the others) shown on rotating weeks. Again loaded with rising stars, Ellen Burstyn (just before The Exorcist), Martin Sheen, Richard Dreyfuss and Jack Klugman among others as guests.

L.A. Law (1986-1994)-The trials and tribulations of the members of Los Angeles-based law firm McKenzie, Brackman, Chaney and Kuzak was a monster hit in its day. While it was highly glamourized rather than using the trials as a sort of mystery to be solved the series approach was more of one focusing on the nuts and bolts of the legal profession (torts, ethics, briefs etc.) at least in its initial seasons. It did however spend a great deal of time in the bedroom and actually created a huge buzz with a supposed sexual position called The Venus Butterfly that never failed to satisfy.

Sonia Cerca said...

I haven't seen any of these.

Birgit said...

OMG! Gideon’s Trumpet is one I totally forgot about and I remember watching it but not much else. LA Law was a good show and Susan Dey brought me to the show since she was on The Partridge Family and then, that’s it. What happened to her?? I also remember the Venus Butterfly and would have loved to know what it truly is:) We match on Matlock which was so formulaic but fun to of my mom’s favourite shows