With so many in-depth legal dramas on TV these days, someone might feel like they’re a lawyer after simply consuming these shows. However, some legal dramas spend less time than others on the law aspect whereas others have clearly spent months researching and working with real-life defense attorneys. Several great legal dramas feature a different case each week, but the very best legal dramas go further than the procedural nature of the genre and take some major risks.

UPDATE: 2023/01/25 14:00 EST BY STEPHEN BARKER

With Better Call Saul now completely wrapped up, seemingly putting an end to the Breaking Bad universe, fans likely won’t see Jimmy McGill in a courtroom ever again. But that doesn’t mean fans of law series are left without anything to watch. As one of the best legal dramas ends, several other seasons of long-running lawyer shows begin. And there are hundreds of episodes of television for procedural law fanatics to sink their teeth into.

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Bull (2016 – 2022) – 7.0

Available To Stream On Paramount+

Bull sitting at a table.

Bull came to CBS with a major star in place and he helped bring the fans that followed the show through six seasons. Michael Weatherly left NCIS to take the lead role in Bull, where he played the head of a jury consulting firm that helped his clients select the right jurors for their cases.

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He also worked to plan arguments to help the lawyers win the cases, loosely based on the early career of Dr. Phil McGraw. Bull was extremely popular in its first two seasons, the show averaging over 13 million viewers in 2018, and finally came to an end in 2022. And as serious as legal dramas can be, the show was always best when it didn’t follow the genre’s rules, as Bull even had a musical episode.

Reasonable Doubt (2017 – Present) – 7.3

Available To Stream On Fubo

Chris and Melissa in Reasonable Doubt

Tons of shows called Reasonable Doubt, most of which are lawyer shows, have come and gone over the years, but one of the most beloved and one of the newest is the series that started in 2017.

Reasonable Doubt takes on a concept that no other show has, as it follows two investigators that re-examine open-and-shut murder cases and find out if the convicted people’s families should appeal the verdict. While the show lacks recognizable actors and is almost unheard of, it’s such a slept-on gem. And as it’s five seasons deep, it’s one of the most binge-worthy too.

Law & Order: Criminal Intent (2001 – 2011) – 7.5

Available To Stream On Peacock

Law and Order Criminal Intent S7 E22

Being one of many Law & Order spin-offs that have graced the small screen, Criminal Intent is easily in the top tier of them. Despite low ratings, the show, which is based in New York this time around, is well-liked and the lead lawyers are sometimes more engrossing than the ones in the original series.

The show lasted for 10 seasons and 195 episodes, which are rookie numbers by Law & Order standards, but that run is still unbelievable. Criminal Intent also sports a stacked and talented cast that includes Vincent D’Onofrio, making the CSI spin-off one of two celebrated lawyer shows the Full Metal Jacket actor has starred in.

Fearless (2017) – 7.6

Available To Stream On Freevee

Emma and Kevin outside in Fearless

While most lawyer shows are set in the U.S., Fearless puts the spotlight on UK law. The six-part limited series is set in London and follows a human rights lawyer who attempts to prove that a convicted murderer is innocent of the murder of a schoolgirl 14 years after he was tried and convicted.

With a cast that includes Michael Gambon and other great British actors, the limited series packs a dramatic punch that few of its peers can reach. The show has a cinematic quality to it too, as it was directed by Pete Travis, known for blockbuster movies like Vantage Point and Dredd, though some believe Dredd was ghost-directed by Alex Garland.

Your Honor (2020) – 7.6

Available To Stream On Amazon Prime Video

Bryan Cranston as Michael sitting in a courtroom in Your Honor

With two iconic television shows under his belt, Bryan Cranston jumped back into the medium after becoming a movie star, as he plays a judge whose son kills a teenager in a hit-and-run in Your Honor. The series is special because it’s one of the few legal dramas that is serialized, whereas others tend to be procedural case-of-the-week type shows.

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On top of that, Your Honor is a limited series, too, meaning there won’t be another season. But what audiences got was something special and completely different from anything in the genre, and Michael Desiato (Cranston) isn’t much better than Walter White from Breaking Bad.

The Practice (1997 – 2004) – 7.7

Available To Stream On Hulu

William sits on the couch reading a magazine in The Practice

The Practice is somewhat of a first for TV, as the legal drama was created as an answer to L.A. Law, which was a show that totally romanticized the American legal system; it made it flashier and cooler than it really was.

The Practice was much more realistic, it actually treated its viewers with respect, and it didn’t dumb anything down. And when it came to legal proceedings, deep themes were explored; including personal morality, which was a great approach considering criminal lawyers had never really been depicted in such a light before.

Eli Stone (2008 – 2009) – 7.7

Available To Stream On Hulu

Eli Stone in a cathedral

Eli Stone is one of the few lawyer shows that actually inject a sense of humor into its episodes. The comedy-drama follows the titular San Francisco-based detective as he goes about working on cases that are morally rewarding but have no financial gain.

The show is borderline surreal, as Stone regularly hallucinates and makes some extraordinarily accurate predictions, such as an earthquake hitting the city. Unfortunately, Eli Stone was canceled too early, as it ended after just two seasons and before wrapping up the show’s events, and fans will never get a satisfying conclusion.

Law & Order (1990 – 2010, 2021 – Present) – 7.8

Available To Stream On Hulu And Peacock

Mike and Lennie on the streets in Law & Order.

Law & Order was the most famous legal drama on television for many years. It ended up getting beaten by its own spinoff, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, which eventually not only outlasted it but ended up with a higher IMDb rating according to fans. It wasn’t over with either, as the show was picked up for a 21st season, 11 years after it was canceled.

The show’s heyday saw some memorable characters, from Mike Logan (Chris Noth) and Lennie Briscoe (Jerry Orbach) to the iconic district attorney Jack McCoy (Sam Waterston.) When it comes to scripted dramas, only SVU has more seasons than the 22 of the original CSI series.

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1999 – Present) – 8.1

Available To Stream On Hulu And Peacock

Law and Order SVU Organized Crime crossover Elliot Stabler return

The Law & Order franchise is one of the most successful on TV, but the first spin-off of the series, Special Victims Unit, is rated higher than even the original series. Situated in a fictionalized version of the NYPD, SVU often focuses on crimes that are loosely based on real events that have gained considerable media attention.

RELATED: Every Law & Order Series, Ranked By IMDb

SVU has run for a long time, as there are close to 500 episodes in the series, and it’s an amazing feat that the show has managed to remain consistently great after all this time. As NBC continuously produces new Law & Order shows, whether it’s focusing on different units or taking place in different cities, future iterations of the format should borrow more from SVU than any other L&O series.

Damages (2007 – 2012) – 8.1

Available To Stream On Hulu And Starz

Patty leaning on her thumbs and smiling

Though it was fairly short-lived compared to other legal dramas, as many of them tend to have hundreds of episodes, Damages is one of the most engaging lawyer shows there has ever been.

Each major case in the show spans a whole season, so more time and effort has gone into the research and it properly breaks down how legal proceedings go, unlike other shows that throw weeks-long proceedings into 40-minute episodes. What also makes the show so intense is the fact Patty (Glenn Close) will do anything to win a case, no matter how unethical it is.

How To Get Away With Murder (2014 – 2020) – 8.1

Available To Stream On Netflix

Annalise Keating sits in court in How to Get Away with Murder

As so many occupational shows take place where the main character acts as a mentor to a group of people, whether it’s medical shows like House or detective shows like Lie To Me, How To Get Away With Murder is the legal drama’s answer to those shows.

The series follows Annalise Keating (Viola Davis), a law professor and criminal defense attorney who takes five students under her wing. It’s a fascinating drama, as those very people become intertwined in their very own murder plot. The show is rated so high mostly due to Davis’ incredible portrayal of Keating and bringing an Oscar-caliber performance to the small screen. And it has some interesting crossovers with Scandal, too.

Goliath (2016 – 2021) – 8.2

Available To Stream On Prime Video

Billy looking to the side in Goliath

Goliath was a Prime Video original series starring Billy Bob Thornton. The series lasted for four seasons before it was canceled in 2021 and told the story of a down-and-out lawyer looking for redemption. The show was important in that it showed how corruption ran rampant in the legal system, which favored the wealthy.

Thornton himself was responsible for much of the Goliath’s success, giving a compelling performance as Billy McBride, a formerly brilliant lawyer who helped a man on trial for murder get a not-guilty verdict, only to learn that he killed his family. Thornton won a Golden Globe for the show’s first season.

Perry Mason (1957 – 1966) – 8.3

Available To Stream On Paramount+

Perry Mason sitting in his office.

Perry Mason was the lawyer show that started it all. It set the template for what shows like L.A. Law and Law & Order would hope to accomplish in later years. Debuting in 1957, Raymond Burr starred as defense attorney Perry Mason, based on the character of the same name by author Erle Stanley.

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Each episode showed the titular lawyer taking on a new case and solving it by the end, lasting nine seasons and 271 episodes. There was also a revival in the 1970s and some made-for-TV movies, proving this show’s popularity stretched out over four decades. And most recently, the series was remade by HBO, with the first season having a very respectable 7.5 on IMDb, and a second season will be released later in 2023.

The Good Fight (2017 – 2022) – 8.3

Available To Stream On Paramount+

A cast photo from The Good Fight.

While it wasn’t quite as successful as the show that preceded it, The Good Fight was the Paramount+ original spinoff of The Good Wife. In this series, Christine Baranski reprises her role as Diane Lockhart from The Good Wife, and she returns as the lead once again, as Lockhart loses her job and has to start anew.

In this lawyer show, she joined a new firm and then proceeded to rebuild her name and regain her prestige. The show was also important because it mostly dealt with the lives of the three female leads and touched on several political and social commentary hot buttons.

The Good Wife (2009 – 2016) – 8.4

Available To Stream On Paramount+

Finn and Alicia sit at a large desk in a meeting in The Good Wife

The Good Wife is grounded in reality almost more than any other legal show if it wasn’t for American Crime Story, which is based on real-life court cases. As the show is about a wife of a state attorney who goes back into law when her husband is caught in the middle of a sex scandal, The Good Wife is massively influenced by real-life events, such as the scandal involving Bill Clinton.

The show interestingly explores the dynamic between these women who allow their careers to take a backseat to further benefit their husbands’ ambitions, even when they are caught with their pants around their ankles.

American Crime Story (2016 – Present) – 8.4

Available To Stream On Hulu

Scene from The People v. O.J. Simpson.

Being a seasonal anthology series, every season of American Crime Story revolves around a different real-life crime story. The series has taken the world by storm, especially the first season, which was one big reenactment of the infamous trial of O.J. Simpson.

Though the second season wasn’t as phenomenally well-received, it was still enjoyed by audiences, as it followed the murder of fashion designer Gianni Versace. The third season is based on yet another hot topic; it follows the impeachment of Bill Clinton and his sex scandal. And it’s endlessly entertaining seeing all the uncanny portrayals of the historical figures.

Available To Stream On Hulu

Alan Shore speaks in a courtroom in Boston Legal

It’s fascinating how it’s legal dramas that get so many spin-off shows. Law & Order has several spin-offs, Breaking Bad received a legal drama spin-off in the form of Better Call Saul, and of course, the great Boston Legal is a spin-off of The Practice.

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The series is one of the rare times in which a spin-off is better than the original. Boston Legal is slightly different from The Practice, as it’s known to break the fourth wall a lot more, but there’s just as much law mumbo-jumbo for any fan of procedural courtroom dramas to love.

Suits (2011 – 2019) – 8.5

Available To Stream On Amazon Prime Video And Peacock

Harvey and Alex talk in Harvey’s office In Suits

Suits is most interesting because it looks more at the inner workings of the law firm than it does the actual cases that the firm takes on. As Suits follows Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams), a law associate who never actually went to law school, Suits cleverly sees the character close the book on cases while maintaining his secret at the same time.

For the most part, the show is full of predictably angry, loud, and obnoxious lawyers yelling over one another with the densest law terminology possible, and that’s exactly what makes it so entertaining.

Marvel’s Daredevil (2015 – 2018) – 8.6

Available To Stream On Disney+

Daredevil and Kingpin Charlie Cox Vincent D'Onofrio

While Marvel’s Daredevil, one of the early Netflix successes, is a superhero series, it’s just as much of a procedural drama, as Matt Murdock (Cox) goes about solving cases as the best lawyer in Hell’s Kitchen. Murdock is an attorney at law by day and a masked and very violent vigilante by night, and both parts of the character are equally entertaining.

Though Daredevil features a groundbreaking hallway fight and is full of other phenomenal isolated action sequences, the courtroom scenes are just as exciting. The series is getting a sequel/reboot with this year’s Daredevil: Born Again, and Cox and Vincent D’Onogrio will be reprising their roles too.

Better Call Saul (2015 – 2022) – 8.8

Available To Stream On Amazon Prime Video And Netflix

Jimmy betrays his parents in Better Call Saul

It barely comes as any surprise that Better Call Saul is the highest-rated legal drama of them all. Being a descendant of Breaking Bad and taking place before the events of that show, Better Call Saul expands on the criminal underbelly of Albuquerque in ways that weren’t even imaginable. From going into greater detail about Madrigal to showing how Gustavo Fring built his meth empire, it goes into great depth about organized crime in the city.

But what the show does better than anything is its elements of courtroom drama. From multi-episode arcs about money scandals to the explosive courtroom battle between Jimmy (Bob Odenkirk) and Chuck (Michael McKean), the legal drama aspect of the show is why some seasons even rank higher than Breaking Bad.

NEXT: 10 TV Lawyers That Redditors Love In The Courtroom

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