Films Featuring Women Attorneys***
If you know of material that we should include, please let us know.
Women and minorities have always been over-represented as lawyers and judges in the movies.
***The word “featuring” may be a little strong. Some of the women attorney roles in these movies are miniscule.For more women judges and lawyers search the IMDB database using the “character name” search template and the words “lawyer”, “attorney” or “judge as the search term. Set the gender to “female”. [Note that IMDB has now opened up its database so that individuals can post; as a result some information in the “comments” and plots synposis sections may be incorrect, misspelled, grammatically faulty or otherwise misleading].
Last updated 04/25/16. For more women lawyer films see
Corcos, Christine A., Portia and Her Partners in Popular Culture, 22 Legal Stud. F. 269 (1998). Includes bibliographies and lists of women attorneys in film, television and fiction.
A la folie, pas du tout (2002). See He Loves Me Not.
Absolute Strangers (TVM 1991). Henry Winkler as the husband in a docudrama about a pregnant woman in a coma; Patty Duke plays the judge.
The Accused (1988). Kelly McGillis and Jodie Foster in a film based on the “Big Dan” rape case. Both McGillis and Babs Chula play attorneys.
Adam’s Rib (MGM, 1949). The classic farce starring Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn as married attorneys on opposite sides of a sensational attempted murder case. Inspired a short-lived series starring Blythe Danner and Ken Howard.
Addicted to His Love (TVM 1988). Barry Bostwick is a charming con man, and Linda Purl, Polly Bergen, Dee Wallace Stone and Erin Gray are his targets. Peggy Lipton plays the prosecuting attorney.
Against Her Will: The Carrie Buck Story (TVM 1994). Melissa Gilbert is the attorney who takes the case of Carrie Buck, a young Virginia woman sterilized because the state believes she is mentally handicapped. According to the film’s plot, Gilbert goes up against her fiance, the attorney arguing for the state in the case.
American Tragedy (TVM 2000). Dramatization of the Simpson-Goldman murders and O. J. Simpson’s murder trial. Features Diana LaMar as Marcia Clark. See also The O.J. Simpson Story (below).
L’Amour en fuite (1979). In this Truffaut film the hero meets up with his former girlfriend, now a lawyer.
Arrivano il dollari! (1957). A widow and lawyer change places.
Avenging Angel (1985). A former prostitute gives up the life, goes to law school with the help of a caring cop.
L’Avvocato delle Donne (1996). Movie about a female human rights lawyer practicing in Rome.
The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer (). Cary Grant is the love interest for both Shirley Temple and older sister Myrna Loy, a local judge.
The Bachelor’s Baby (TVM 1996). A bachelor is surprised to discover he’s the father of a bouncing baby boy. Female judge grants him temporary custody. In Australia title is Here Comes the Son.
The Badge (TVM 2002). Billy Bob Thornton is a Louisiana sheriff involved in a murder mystery; Sela Ward is his prosecutor wife.
Le Bal Cupidon. See The Cupid Club.
Baldini e Simone (1999). Female lawyer and her daughter move in with her sports journalist boyfriend.
Batman Begins (2005). Katie Holmes plays ADA Rachel Dawes.
Beaches (1988). Barbara Hershey as a lawyer and Bette Midler as her long time friend, a singer.
Beck (1997). Mia Benson as an attorney in this Swedish thriller.
Ben & Arthur (2002). Gina Aguilar plays an attorney in this independent film.
The Beneficiary (TV 1997). Stacy Haiduk is a former Columbia Law School student who murders her husband (Ron Silver), but why (apart from the fact that he is a cold, calculating, cheating sleaze)? Two detectives (Suzy Amis and Linden Ashby) decide to investigate; Ashby falls in love with Haiduk but Amis doesn’t give up her suspicions that Haiduk is responsible, not only for Silver’s death, but for the seemingly unrelated death of a construction worker.
Better Off Dead (TVM 1993). A lawyer has second thoughts about the woman she helped convict of murder.
Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (2009). Amber Tamblyn is an ADA who tries to help an ambitious reporter (Jesse Metcalfe) prove her boss (Michael Douglas) is corrupt.
The Big Chill (1983). Mary Kay Place is Meg, the attorney who wants a child.
The Big Easy (Columbia Pictures, 1987). A female U.S. attorney (Ellen Barkin) investigates corruption in the New Orleans Police Department, falls in love with one of the targets of the investigation (Dennis Quaid).
Bird On a Wire (Universal, 1990). Goldie Hawn as a lawyer who meets up with a college sweetheart in the FBI witness protection program (Mel Gibson); they end up on the run. Strictly for Goldie diggers and Gibson girls.
The Bling Ring (2013). Directed by Sofia Coppola, and based on “The Suspects Wore Louboutins,” this film chronicles the adventures of a teen group of burglars who targeted celebrity homes in the L.A. area. Patricia Lentz has a small part as Judge Henley.
Blood On Her Hands (1998). Katherine Ashby as an attorney in this romantic thriller that stars Susan Lucci. Barbara Eve Harris plays the prosecutor.
Blood Ties (TVM 1991). Kim Ulrich is a lawyer who helps her boyfriend investigate vampires.
Bodywork (1999). Jane Bertish has a small part as a solicitor in this crime thriller.
Border Line (TVM 1999). An attorney discovers that illegal adoptions are being handled through the agency she represents.
Brian Banks (ShivHans Pictures/Glidden Media, 2019). A biopic about the football player Brian Banks, falsely accused and convicted of rape. Tiffany Dupont plays attorney Alissa Bjerkhoel of the California Innocence Project (CIP).
Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001). Bridget Jones (Renee Zellweger) looks for love in all the wrong places until she meets up (again) with a childhood friend, attorney Mark Darcy, who seems to be involved with colleague attorney Natasha (Embetz Davidtz).
Career Woman (1936). Claire Trevor as a successful criminal defense attorney.
A Case for Murder (Universal, 1993). Jennifer Grey is the trusting attorney who falls in love with a hotshot criminal lawyer.
The Case of the Velvet Claws (Warner Brothers, 1936). Did you know that Perry Mason and Della Street did actually plan to get married? In this early adaptation of one of the popular novels, a female judge unites them, but murder delays their honeymoon.
The Cat and the Canary (1979). Remake of the 1939 film starring Bob Hope and Paulette Goddard; this one features Honor Blackman, Yvette Mimieux and Edward Fox. Wendy Hiller is the solicitor who gathers the clan together for the reading of Wilfred Hyde-White’s will in a spooky house during a thunderstorm.
Celebrity (TV miniseries, 1984). Based on Tommy Thompson’s novel, and starring Joseph Bottoms, Ben Masters, Michael Beck, Hal Holbrook as D. A. Calvin Sledge, and Jennifer Warren as his associate Martha Dalton.
Chasing Freedom (TVM 2004). Juliette Lewis is a corporate lawyer who takes on an asylum case. Made for Court TV.
Christmas Everlasting (TVM 2018). When her sister dies, corporate attorney Lucy returns to her small hometown to take care of the estate. Tatyana Ali stars as Lucy, and Dondré T. Whitfield is the love interest. One of the few Hallmark holiday TVMs featuring African Americans as main rather than secondary characters.
Class Action (1991). A female lawyer goes up against her father in a class action product liability lawsuit. Lots of ethical issues in this one.
Close Contact (1991). Australian film about a female lawyer needing a bodyguard.
Closed Circuit (2013). Rebecca Hall as Claudia Simmons-Howe, one of two barristers assigned to defend a suspected terrorist in a complicated case before a UK court.
Columbo and the Murder of a Rock Star (TV Movie 1991). Columbo investigates the death of a singer, but is hampered by the murderer, a real criminal lawyer, and his law partner (played by Shera Danese, Peter Falk’s wife).
Columbo: A Trace of Murder (TVM 1997). Columbo tracks down a businessman’s real killers. Donna Bullock plays his lawyer; Kimberley Newberry is the DA.
A Comedy of Power (France 2 Cinema, 2006). Isabelle Huppert as a judge who takes on corporate fraud. Based on the ELF scandal.
Commis d’office (2009). A moderately successful attorney takes up a more prosperous rival’s offer to join his firm, then finds out that he has made a deal with the Devil. Starring Roschdy Zem as the lawyer, with Sophie Guillemin as a judge who is a university friend of the lawyer’s, Vinciane Millereaux as a magistrate. The film’s title means “Legal Aid” in English. The director, Hannelore Cayre, a criminal lawyer, wrote the book on which the film is based, and adapted it for the screen.
The Confession (1999). Alec Baldwin is an aggressive attorney hired to guarantee that his client will fight a murder charge. Female judge in one scene, female DA in another. Based on the novel Fertig by Sol Yurick.
Conspiracy Theory (1997). Julia Roberts is a Justice Department attorney who meets up with a cabbie (Mel Gibson) who believes someone is after him. Patrick Stewart is the bad guy. Judith (Judy) Woodbury also has a small part as a female attorney.
The Coroner (1999). Thriller about a female lawyer being watched and stalked.
Cosmos (1999). Canadian film; six vignettes about various characters including a female lawyer.
Coto de caza (1983). Thriller about a female defense attorney.
Cottonmouth (2002). Female attorney starts an investigation of conspiracy and murder. Also called Lethal Force and Silent Justice.
The Cradle Will Fall (TVM 1983). Lauren Hutton as A.D.A. Kathy deMaio, who discovers that a doctor is carrying out illegal experiments on his patients. Based on a Mary Higgins Clark novel, as is When The Bough Breaks.
Crazy in Love (TVM 1992). Short courtroom scene with female judge.
Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011). Emma Stone is Hannah, the daughter of Cal (Steve Carell), separated from Hannah’s mother. Jacob (Ryan Gosling) tries to teach Cal to pick up women, and in the course of their friendship meets and falls for Hannah.
Crimebroker (1993). Jacqueline Bisset plays a judge who arranges crimes, and becomes involved in murder.
Criminal Behavior (TVM, 1992). Farrah Fawcett is the lawyer-in-distress who won’t admit it and A Martinez her love interest in this formulaic entry.
Crimes of Passion: I Know What You Did (TVM 1998). See I Know What You Did.
Criminal Intent (TVM 2005). Linda Purl as a district attorney and Vanessa Angel as a divorce lawyer turned defense attorney in a thriller about a man accused of killing his ex-wife.
Criss Cross (short film, 2010). A crossword puzzle champion woos a female lawyer with his word skills.
The Cupid Club (1949). Isabelle, a female attorney, and Flip, a private investigator, solve a murder. They start out as enemies because she has him jailed for speeding, but love wins out in the end.
Daddy’s Little Girls (2007). Gabrielle Union as an attorney romanced by a mechanic (Idris Elba).
Dallas: J. R. Returns (1996). Based on the long running TV series. Tracy Scoggins is attorney Anita Smithfield.
Dead by Sunset (TVM 1995). Law provides no protection for an attorney whose sociopathic ex-husband plans to murder her. Based on the true crime book by Ann Rule, Dead by Sunset ().
Dead Innocent (1996).Genevieve Bujold is a lawyer trying to protect her young daughter from a killer.
Deadly Family Secrets (1995). Loni Anderson as the witness to a murder in a small town. Female judge in courtroom scene is played by Dell Aldrich.
The Deadly Look of Love (TVM 2000). Female attorney (small role) in this thriller about a young woman who is accused of the death of her lover’s wife.
Death Benefit (TV Movie, 1997). Docudrama based on the true crime work Death Benefit about a lawyer who attempts to solve the mysterious death of a client’s daughter, aided by a female California DA.
Death in Small Doses (TV Movie, 1995). Tess Harper is determined DA Gerri Sims investigating the mysterious death of a prominent Dallas architect. Based on the true crime book by A. W. Gray, Poisoned Secrets(1993). The primary suspect’s family attorney (cameo role) is also a woman.
The Defenders: Choice of Evils (TV Movie, 1998). The Prestons defend an accused murderer.
The Defenders: Payback (TV Movie, 1997). E. G. Marshall returns in the television role that made him famous to millions, with Beau Bridges as his son Don and Martha Plimpton as his granddaughter M. J., both attorneys.
The Defenders: Taking the First (TV Movie, 1998). The Prestons try a wrongful death case. Cast includes Martha Plimpton as M. J. Preston. Female D. A. in this one as well.
Defending Santa (TVM 2013). A small town sheriff (Dean Cain) arrests a man he thinks is a vagrant (Bill Lewis), who claims to be Kris Kringle. Local attorney Sarah Walker (Jud Tylor) defends him in court. Reminiscent of the classic Miracle on 34th Street.
Defenseless (1990). Barbara Hershey defends an old friend, and the wife of her lover, against a murder charge.
Degree of Guilt (TVM 1995). Patricia Kalember is a judge in this mini series based on Richard North Patterson’s novel.
Determination of Death (TVM 2001). Veronica Hamel is an attorney involved in insurance fraud and the disappearance of her brother-in-law.
The Devil’s Advocate (1995). Alice Krige plays a defense attorney. Connie Nielsen plays Christabella Andreoli.
Diamond Girl (TVM 1998). Harlequin romance movie featuring a talented paralegal in love with her boss, a San Francisco lawyer, who shifts her affections to his brother, a London based attorney.
A Different Kind of Christmas (TV Movie, 1996). Shelley Long is the attorney whose career is threatened by a wacky father who thinks he’s Santa Claus. Note that Nelle, one of the attorneys on Ally McBeal, has the same problem in the episode The Man With the Bag.
The Disappearance of Vonnie (TVM 1994). Woman suspects her brother-in-law of killing her sister and hiding the body. Based on a true story. Female defense attorney. Stars Ann Jillian as Connie, Joe Penny as Ron Rickman. The case made history; it was the first time in Wisconsin legal history that a defendant was convicted of murder before the victim’s body was found (to date Vonnie Rickman’s body has never been found).
Disclosure (Warner Brothers, 1994). Three women attorneys in this film: Susan Sanders (married to the Michael Douglas character), Catherine Alvarez, and Stephanie Kaplan.
Doc Hollywood (1991). “Lou” (Julie Warner) plays an aspiring law student in this Michael J. Fox comedy about an ambitious physician on his way to an L. A. job interview.
The Doctor is Out–Really Out (TVM 2005). John Laroquette is a criminal defense attorney. Small part of a female family court judge in early scene.
Double Jeopardy (TVM 1992). Sela Ward plays an attorney who defends her husband’s ex girlfriend on a murder charge. Bruce Boxleitner is the husband, Rachel Ward the defendant. Marjorie Wilkes plays Judge Hilton.
Double Jeopardy (1999). Ashley Judd as a woman framed for the murder of her husband. Betsy Brantley is the prosecutor.
Dragonfly (2002). Kevin Costner is a physician whose wife dies in an accident, but is she really dead? Kathy Bates is the lawyer friend who demands that he produce evidence, or get psychiatric help.
The Eileen Franklin Story (TVM 1992). See Fatal Memories.
The Elevator (2001). Jill Courtney Chenault as a prosecuting attorney.
Erin Brockovich (2000). Julia Roberts as a feisty paralegal. Veanne Cox plays a plaintiff’s attorney with no social skills, and a female attorney is on the opposing side in the courtroom and settlement scenes.
Every Woman’s Problem (1921). Female judge faces down crime and yellow journalists.
Everything to Gain (TVM 1997). Woman loses her husband and children in a robbery gone wrong; falls in love with the police officer assigned to the case. Female prosecutor and judge. Based on a novel by Barbara Taylor Bradford.
Evolution (2001). Ivan Reitman directed this SF comedy, reminiscent of his Ghostbusters movie, with David Duchovny as a disgraced scientist and Julianne Moore as a CDC doctor. In a short scene Moore acts as prosecutor in a hearing over Duchovny’s demand to be allowed into a restricted area to investigate a meteorite.
The Execution (TVM 1985). Valerie Harper plays an attorney and survivor of a concentration camp.
Exit in Red (1996). Another evil psychiatrist thriller, with Mickey Rourke as the shrink and Annabel Schofield as the lawyer.
The Exorcisim of Emily Rose (Lakeshore Entertainment, 2005). Laura Linney plays a defense lawyer who takes on the case of a priest charged with negligent homicide.
Eye of the Stalker (TVM 1995). There are TWO female judges in this one, played by Joanna Cassidy and Barbara Tarbuck.
Eyes of Texas (1948). Evil woman attorney (Nana Bryant) tries to grab an estate.
Fair Game (Warner Brothers, 1995). Cindy Crawford as a lawyer and William Baldwin as the cop who protects her from ex-KGB agents.
Faithless (1998). See The Falling.
A Fall From Grace (2020). Bresha Webb plays a defense attorney in this Tyler Perry legal drama, which debuted on Netflix.
The Falling (1998). Judith Maxie plays a judge. Also called Faithless.
False Witness (TV Movie 1989). Set in New Orleans and based on a Dorothy Uhnak novel. Phyllicia Rashad is the DA.
The Familiar Stranger (TVM 2001). Margaret Colin as a woman who believes her husband is dead, then discovers he has faked his death. Michelle Moffett plays a prosecutor.
The Family Man (2000). Nicolas Cage as an executive in love with a corporate lawyer (Tea Leoni) in an “It’s a Wonderful Life” kind of film.
A Fatal Affair (1998). AKA The Stalker. Female lawyer, also, surprisingly, an Asian lawyer, make appearances.
Fatal Error (TVM 1999). Several small lawyer parts in this thriller, including “Female Lawyer” and “Lawyer #5” (played by Judith Maxie, who has played a lot of small parts as judges or lawyers).
Fatal Instinct (1993). Spoof of crime thriller films. Eartha Kitt plays a trial judge and Susan Angelo plays a prosecutor.
Fatal Memories (TVM 1992). Shelley Long plays a woman who recovers the memory of her father killing her best friend. Based on a true story. The father, convicted of murder, was later released and sued his daughter’s therapist. Helen Shaver plays the DA. Eileen’s mother is also identified as a lawyer.
Fatal Vows: The Alexandra O’Hara Story (1994). Marium Carvell as an attorney in this serial killer thriller, Lili Francks is the judge. Also called To Sleep With Danger.
A Father For Brittany (TVM 1998). Andrew McCarthy is a widower who wants to adopt the child placed with him and his late wife; the adoption agency refuses to place children with single parents. Deborah Grover plays the family court judge.
A Father’s Betrayal (TVM 1997). Also called: Indefensible. Brian Dennehy as a high profile and successful attorney accused of raping his date. Firm lawyer Katherine Trentini (Lori Triolo) defends him in the face of opposition from his son, newly made a partner in the firm.
A Father’s Choice (TVM 2000). A man gets custody of his children after his ex-wife is murdered. Judith Maxie plays a judge. Mary McDonnell plays the lawyer, Susan Shaw.
Feel the Heat (Paramount Television, 1983).
Female Perversions (1996). Tilda Swinton as an ambitious lawyer with odd hobbies.
A Few Good Men (Castle Rock Entertainment, 1992). Demi Moore as an attorney fills the familiar role of admirer and supporter to Tom Cruise’s JAG officer burdened with defending Marines charged with murder.
Les filles uniques. See Sole Sisters.
Final Jeopardy (TVM 2001). Dana Delany as a prosecutor investigating a murder. Based on the Linda Fairstein novel.
Final Justice (TVM 1998). Annette O’Toole is a teacher who kidnaps the defense attorney who obtained the acquittal of her brother’s killer. Features a female judge (Karen Trumbo) presiding over her trial, female defense attorney (C. C. H. Pounder).
Final Verdict (TVM 2009). Prosecutor Megan Washington (played by Erica Durance) is drawn back into a case when the defendant she had succeeded in convicting wins an appeal.
Fletch Lives! (1989). Chevy Chase as the wacky Los Angeles reporter who inherits a Louisiana plantation. A female lawyer tries to warn him of danger but ends up dead.
The Flower Shop Mysteries. Based on the Kate Collins mystery novels featuring former law students Abby Knight. Updated to feature Brooke Shields in the Abby Knight role as a former attorney turned flower grower and flower shop owner.
- Flower Shop Mystery: Mum’s the Word (2016)
- Flower Shop Mystery: Snipped in the Bud (2016)
- Flower Shop Mystery: Dearly Depotted (2016)
Forbidden Sins (Columbia TriStar Home Video, 1999). Shannon Tweed plays the lawyer who gets involved with an accused murderer. Extended nude and sex scenes.
Forget Me Never (1999). Mia Farrow is an attorney suffering from Alzheimer’s.
Friends at Last (TVM 1995). Kathleen Turner as a woman who leaves her husband to find fulfillment. Sharon Prince plays her lawyer.
Full Exposure: The Sex Tapes Scandal (TVM 1989). Lisa Hartmann is an assistant DA who helps a police officer investigate a murder.
Genealogies d’un crime (1997). French film about a criminal defense attorney who agrees to defend her late son’s friend on a murder charge. Stars Catherine Deneuve.
The Gingerbread Man (1998). Kenneth Branagh as an Atlanta attorney, Darryl Hannah as his partner.
Giving Up the Ghost (TVM 1998). Marg Helgenberger as a young attorney mourning her husband’s death. He comes back as a ghost and helps her solve a murder.
Gone But Not Forgotten (TVM 2004). Brooke Shields is a defense attorney forced into representing a client in order to get back her kidnapped daughter. With Lou Diamond Phillips, Scott Glenn, Marilu Henner. Based on a novel by attorney Philip Margolin.
Good Night, Sweet Wife: A Murder in Boston (TVM 1990). Docudrama about the murder of an up and coming Boston attorney (Annabella Price) by her husband and the race war that almost ensues when he blames an unidentified black man for the killing.
Le grand appartement (2006). A woman tries to hang on to the Paris apartment her grandmother lived in. Lots of lawyers in this film, including two female judges; the main character also studied law.
Green Card Fever (Forthcoming 2002). Gabrielle Burton as an INS attorney.
Gross Misconduct (TVM 1993). Jimmy Smits is a professor accused of sexual misconduct. Female judge presides over the trial. Also called Gross Indecency).
Guilt By Association (TVM 2002). Mercedes Ruehl as Susan Walker, a woman charged and convicted of conspiracy to distribute drugs, although her only crime is to have been innocently involved with a man who deals in them. Highlights the problems with US drug laws. Early scene features a female attorney who explains the problems that the protagonist faces.
The Guilty (2000). Bill Pulliam as a sleazy lawyer up for a federal judgeship. Judith Maxie has a small part as a judge.
Guilty as Sin (1993). Rebecca de Mornay is the attorney who defends a recent widower on a murder charge.
The Hailey Dean Mysteries. Kellie Martin plays a former prosecutor who becomes a therapist but stills finds herself involved in solving crimes.
- Hailey Dean Mystery: Dating Is Murder (2017).
- Hailey Dean Mystery: Deadly Estate (2017).
- Hailey Dean Mystery: A Marriage Made For Murder (2018).
- Hailey Dean Mystery: Murder, With Love (2016).
- Hailey Dean Mystery: 2 + 2 = Murder (2018).
- Hailey Dean Mystery: A Will To Kill (2018).
Hanna K (1984). Jill Clayburgh as a lawyer defending a Palestinian accused of terrorism.
Halifax F. P.: Deja Vu (1997). Cecelia Cheek as a defense team solicitor.
Halifax, F.P.: A Person of Interest (2000). Trudi Hellier is a prosecutor.
Happily Even After (Hotbed Media, 2004). Kimberly Guilfoyle (who earned her J.D. from the University of San Francisco School of Law) as a public defender.
Harrison: Cry of the City (TVM 1995). Female defense attorney hires a p.i. (played by Edward Woodward).
Haven’t We Met Before? (TVM 2002). Nicolette Sheridan is a law student who is stalked; she helps the detective assigned to her case trap the perpetrator. Based on a Mary Higgins Clark story. The law student angle is minimal.
He Loves Me Not (2002). French title: A la folie, pas du tout. A student has a fixation on her married neighbor and tries to get him to leave his wife, a lawyer. Stars Audrey Tautou as the student, Angelique.
He Sees You When You’re Sleeping (TVM 2002). Based on a Mary Higgins Clark novel. Claire Riley plays a judge.
Her Fatal Flaw (TVM 2006). Female lawyer (Victoria Pratt) defends her fiancé, who is suspected of murder.
Her Final Fury: Betty Broderick, the Last Chapter (TVM 1992). Meredith Baxter returns as Betty Broderick, the woman convicted of killing her lawyer ex-husband and his new wife. Judith Ivey is the prosecutor, and Renata Scott is a judge.
Hearttoheart.com (2000). A woman inherits her mother’s estate on condition that she marry within six months. Her female lawyer friend tries to talk her out of it.
Heat of Anger (1971). Susan Hayward plays a defense attorney involved in a high profile case.
Her Fatal Flaw (TVM 2006). Victoria Pratt as a defense attorney who takes the case of her fiance, a successful Chicago businessman accused of murdered a local politician. William B. Davis (The Cigarette Smoking Man from The X-Files) is the prosecutor.
Her Final Fury: Betty Broderick, the Last Chapter (TVM 1992). Meredith Baxter gives a chilling performance as Betty Broderick, convicted of murdering her ex-husband and his new wife. Judith Ivey is the prosecuting attorney.
High Crimes (2002). Ashley Judd is an attorney who hires lawyer Morgan Freeman to defend her husband.
High Fidelity (2000). A record store owner loses his lawyer girlfriend, decides to examine his fear of committment.
Hollyridge. See Where the Truth Lies.
Honor Thy Father and Mother: The True Story of the Menendez Murders (TVM 1994). Like Menendez: A Killing in Beverly Hills (below), a dramatization of the murders of Jose and Kitty Menendez by their sons. Features Susan Blakely as defense attorney Leslie Abrahamson. Also called: Honor Thy Father and Mother: The Menendez Killings. See also Children Who Kill Their Parents. (this wesite).
Hostile Makeover (Lifetime, 2009). Second in a series of tv movies based on novels by Ellen Byerrum, starring Maggie Lawson as fashion reporter Lacey Smithsonian, who solves mysteries with the assistance of her friends, including attorney Brooke Barton. See also Killer Hair.
Hostile Witness (1968). Sheila Larkin (Sylvia Syms) defends her colleague Simon Crawford (Ray Milland), a barrister charged with murdering the man he suspects killed his daughter in a hit-and-run accident. Milland also directed, from the Jack Roffey screenplay based on his play.
Hudson River Blues (Romance Classics, 1997). An attorney and her husband try to recapture the romance in their marriage.
I Am Sam (2001). Michelle Pfeiffer is the attorney who takes on the case of a mentally challenged father who wants to retain custody of his daughter. For commentary see Carrie Mendel-Meadow, I am Sam as an ADR movie.
I Know What You Did (TVM 1998). Rosanna Arquette as a defense attorney who specializes in rape cases. She accidentally kills an attempted rapist, then hides the body. Could have been a trite thriller but rises above the plot because of Arquette’s acting and some good scenes.
Illegally Yours (1988). Rob Lowe as a juror in love with the defendant. The defense attorney is female.
In Defense of a Married Man (TVM 1990). A lawyer (Judith Light) defends her husband on a charge of murdering his mistress.
Indefensible (TVM 1997). See A Father’s Betrayal.
In Quiet Night (1998). Claire Rankin is the DA who loses a molestation case and still tries to protect the young victim.
In the Deep Woods (1992). Beth Broderick is defense attorney Myra Cantrell in this thriller about a serial killer. Rosanna Arquette is the damsel in distress and Anthony Perkins is cast against type as the vengeful PI chasing the murderer of his girlfriend. A couple of scenes show attorney Cantrell in a legal ethics disaster, counseling her client, Arquette’s brother, while both Arquette and the brother’s wife, are in the room.
In the Glitter Palace (TVM 1977). A lawyer asks her ex-lover to defend her new partner against a murder charge. Also called A Woman Accused.
In the Name of the Father (1992). Emma Thompson is the dedicated barrister who assists Irish defendants charged with murder. Based on the true story of the “Guilford Four”, one of whom, Paul Hill, later married Mary Courtney Kennedy, last born daughter of Robert F. Kennedy. Hill’s conviction was overturned when police admitted altering evidence.
Indict and Convict (TVM 1973). William Shatner is a district attorney accused of murdering his wife and her lover. Myrna Loy plays a judge.
Indiscreet (TVM 1998). Luke Perry as a PI who falls in love with his client’s wife. Lisa Edelstein has a supporting role as Beth Sussman, an attorney with the client’s business.
Inflammable (TVM 1995). A female attorney investigates sexual harassment and murder in the Navy. Starring Marg Helgenberger.
Innocent Blood (1992). Angela Bassett as a U. S. Attorney.
The Insider (TVM 1999). Gina Gershon is CBS counsel Helen Caperelli.
The Inspectors (TVM 1998). Louis Gossett Jr. and Jonathan Silverman as U. S. Postal Inspectors on the trail of a mail bomber. Claire Riley has a small role as Gossett’s attorney love interest Catherine Hughes.
The Inspectors: A Shred of Evidence (TVM 2000). Gossett and Silverman return as postal inspectors, with Claire Riley as attorney Catherine Hughes.
Irreconcilable Differences (1984). A little girl sues her estranged parents for divorce claiming they are acting like children. Lorraine Vozoff is the presiding judge.
L’Ivresse du pouvoir. See A Comedy of Power.
Jack Reacher (2012). Molly Miller has a very small part as a lawyer.
Jagged Edge (1985). Glenn Close takes one last criminal case, defending a man accused of the brutal murder of his wife and her maid. Lots of legal ethics issues.
JFK (1991). Agnes Aurelio has a small part as “district attorney staff member”.
Josei no Shori (1946). Japanese film featuring a female defense attorney and her prosecutor brother-in-law.
Judgment Day: The John List Story (TVM 1993). This dramatization of the story of John List, who murdered his mother, wife and children and then disappeared stars Robert Blake (Baretta), ironically currently under arrest for the murder of his wife Bonny Bakley. Both List’s defense attorney and the presiding judge are female.
The Judge (2001). This film, based on a Steve Martini novel, features Chris Noth as a defense attorney who takes the case of a trial judge accused of killing a police officer (Heidi Mark). Noth’s co-counsel (Lolita Davidovich) was previously a prosecutor, which leads to ethical complications.
The Judge and Jake Wyler (TVM 1972). Bette Davis is a retired judge who runs a detective agency and Doug McClure is the ex-con who helps her.
Un juge sous influence (TVM 2007). English title: A judge under the influence. Delphine Rich as a judge who is assigned to investigate the murder of the wife of a colleague. She mishandles the case completely until the end.
Une juge sous influence (2006). English title: A judge under the influence. Line Renaud as a judge. Directed by Jean-Louis Bertucelli.
Judicial Consent (TV Movie). Judge (Bonnie Bedelia, who played the wife in Presumed Innocent) ) falls for a mysterious younger man and finds herself charged with murder. Major legal ethics problems.
Just Cause (1995).Sean Connery is a Harvard Law professor who takes on the case of a death row inmate (Blair Underwood). Kate Capshaw is his wife, a former Florida ADA. Colleen Fitzpatrick plays a prosecutor.
Justice (TVM, Justice Productions, 2000). Tracey Needham is the DA investigating a drug cartel.
Justice on the Bayou (TVM 1995). Gerald McRaney as the hero Jake Lassiter in this thriller; Lenore Banks plays a judge.
Key to the City (MGM, 1950).
Killer Hair (Lifetime, 2009). Stars Maggie Lawson (Psych) as Lacey Smithsonian, a fashion reporter turned sleuth, and her friends, including attorney Brooke Barton (Sarah Edmondson). Based on the novels by Ellen Byerrum.
Kopitiam (1997). Malaysian film about a woman who inherits a coffee shop. A female lawyer is a customer.
The Lake of Darkness (1999). See The Ruth Rendell Mysteries: The Lake of Darkness.
The Law in Her Hands (1936). Two young female attorneys open their own practice, become involved with mobsters.
Laws of Attraction (2004). Pierce Brosnan and Julianne Moore as rival divorce attorneys who get married, then fall in love. Cute and well acted although you’ve seen this one before. Nora Dunn plays Judge Abramovitz.
Legal Deceit (Spectrum Films, 1997). Lela Rochon is the ambitious Sydney Banks who discovers murder can be part of a lawyer’s average day. Also called The Promised Land.
Legal Eagles (1986). Robert Redford and Debra Winger take the case of an eccentric artist (Darryl Hannah) who claims she’s been defrauded of her inheritance.
Legalese (TVM 1998). Stars James Garner, Edward Kerr and Mary-Louise Parker as high-profile L. A. lawyers defending an actress (Gina Gershon) accused of murdering her brother-in-law.
Legally Blonde (2001). Reese Witherspoon is a Valley girl who loses her boyfriend to Harvard Law, and decides to get him back by getting a law degree herself. Various roles for women lawyers including that of Professor Stromwell (Holland Taylor).
Legally Blonde 2: Red, White and Blonde (MGM, 2003). Elle Woods, now a Harvard Law Grad, heads to Washington to stop animal testing in lab research.
Let Me Call You Sweetheart (TVM 1997). Based on a novel by Mary Higgins Clark, stars Meredith Baxter as district attorney Kerry McGrath. Other Clark novels that have been filmed include The Cradle Will Fall, starring Lauren Hutton as a DA and Haven’t We Met Before? with Nicollette Sheridan as a law student.
Lethal Force (2000). See Cottonmouth.
Letters from a Killer (1998). Patrick Swayze is unjustly convicted of the murder of his wife. His new attorney, Elizabeth (Tina Lifford) gets him a new trial and an acquittal, but ends up as a victim in a copy cat killing spree.
Liar, Liar (1997). Jim Carrey as an attorney condemned to tell the truth for an entire day. Amanda Donohoe and Swoozie Kurtz play attorneys.
Life in the Balance (Europa Films, 2001). Bo Derek as a lawyer dealing with addiction and a seemingly impossible case–saving a death row inmate from execution. Bruce Boxleitner co-stars. Filmed in Montreal.
Like Mother, Like Son (TVM 2001). Docudrama telling the story of mother and son grifters. Mary Tyler Moore as the mother, Sante Kimes. Deirdre Rubenstein plays a judge.
The Lincoln Lawyer (2011). Marisa Tomei is an attorney and the old flame of hero Matthew McConaughey.
Lipstick (1976). Margaux Hemingway as a model who seeks out revenge against her rapist (Chris Sarandon). Anne Bancroft plays the district attorney.
The Little Death (1995). Julie Garfield as a judge and Troy Beyer as an attorney.
Little John (TVM 2002). Gloria Brittain as a family court judge who gave up a child when she was young. Ving Rhames as her father who raises the child.
Love Can Be Murder (1992). Jaclyn Smith as a lawyer turned private eye who solves a forty-year-old murder with the assistance of a ghost (Corbin Bernsen). Harmless romantic thriller.
Love Crimes (1991). Sean Young is the DA pursuing a sexual predator.
Love Is a Four-Letter Word (TVM 2007). A movie made for the Hallmark Channel about two divorce lawyers who fall for each other, but represent opposing clients. Never mind the conflicts of interests, and since this is a Valentine’s Day film, everything turns out okay in the end. Starring Barry Bostwick and Donna Mills as the clients, Teri Polo and Robert Mailhouse as the lawyers.
Lucky 7 (TVM 2003). A young lawyer believes that she is destined to marry her seventh boyfriend, but falls in love with the sixth.
Madea Goes To Jail (2009). Aisha Walker plays D. A. Fran Walker in this Tyler Perry comedy. Judge Mablean Ephriam plays herself.
Maid in America (1982). Harmless movie (except for the misstatements of law) about a civil rights attorney (Susan Clark) who refuses to hire a man (Alex Karras) as a lady’s maid. Georgia Allen plays a judge.
Malpractice (TVM 2001). Stephanie Zimbalist is a lawyer, her husband the doctor accused of malpractice.
A Marriage of Convenience (Lifetime TVM, 1998). Jane Seymour is a high powered exec who moves to Denver to raise her deceased sister’s son. James Brolin is the boy’s biological father who sues for custody. Lorena Gale is the judge who prompts them to marry in order to share custody.
Married People (1990). Pilot film for a tv series. One character is a female lawyer.
The Mating Season (TVM 1980). Lucie Arnaz is an attorney out of her element at a bird watching camp.
The Mayflower Madam (TVM 1987). Candace Bergen as Sydney Biddle Barrows hires a female attorney to defend her against charging of pandering.
McBride: Anybody Here Murder Marty? (TVM, 2005). Monnae Mitchell plays a judge. [Women never seem to play attorneys in the “McBride” franchise. Only judges].
McBride: The Chameleon Murder (TVM, 2005). John Larroquette is McBride, the cop turned lawyer. Irene Roseen plays Judge Charlotte Cahill in the opening scene.
McBride: The Doctor is Out…Really Out (TVM, 2005). Danielle Kennedy plays Judge Olson this time (maybe she got married, or divorced?)
McBride: Dogged (TVM, 2007). Danielle Kennedy is Judge Hunt in this entry in the John Laroquette series.
McBride: Fallen Idol (TVM, 2006). Connie Cooper plays a judge in this episode.
McBride: It’s Murder, Madam (TVM, 2005). Kathryn Joosten plays Judge Broderick.
McBride: Murder Past Midnight (TVM, 2005). John Larroquette is a cop turned lawyer in this Hallmark movie. Casey Kramer plays a judge.
McBride: Turn in To Murder (TVM 2005). John Larroquette is the lawyer; Monnae Mitchelle returns as Judge Daly to preside over the murder trial.
Melanie Darrow (TVM 1997). Delta Burke is a lawyer who takes on a difficult case; pilot for a tv series.
Menendez: A Killing in Beverly Hills (TVM 1994). Features Margaret Whitton as defense attorney Leslie Abrahamson. Based on a true story.
Michael Clayton (Warner Brothers, 2007). George Clooney plays an attorney and “fixer.” Tilda Swinton is Karen Crowder, legal counsel for U-North.
The Midsomer Murders: Last Year’s Model (TVM 2006). Stephanie Jacob plays a prosecuting attorney in this episode featuring a woman on trial for killing an old school friend.
The Midsomer Murders: A Worm in the Bud (TVM 2002). Chief Inspector Barnaby investigates another murder. A key character is barrister Bernadette Sullivan (Emily Joyce), who is involved with the dead woman’s husband.
Mind Over Murder (TVM 2006). Tori Spelling plays an assistant district attorney who can reads minds after suffering a bump on the head.
More Sex and the Single Mom (TVM 2005). Gail O’Grady returns as Jess Gradwell, a single mother and lawyer dealing with raising a small son and a teenaged daughter who doesn’t want to deal with her. See also Sex and the Single Mom.
A Mother’s Revenge (TVM 1993). Lesley Ann Warren as a mother who shoots her daughter’s alleged rapist in open court. Annette O’Toole is defense attorney Ellen Wells.
Mr. Jones (1993). Anna Maria Horsford is the judge presiding over the title character’s sanity hearing.
Mrs. Doubtfire (1993). Juliette Marshall plays the wife’s attorney in this Robin Williams comedy-drama.
Mumford (1999). Loren Dean as a newcomer to the town of Mumford who opens a psychology practice. Joy Carlin has a small part as a judge.
Murder in Black and White (TVM 1990). One of a series of tv movies based on the work of William Bayer and featuring Richard Crenna as NYPD detective Frank Janek. This film also stars Diahann Carroll as the lawyer ex-wife of the murder victim, the NYPD Police Commissioner.
Murder in Mind (TVM 1997). Thriller about a woman suspected of killing her husband and a handyman; her defense is that she can’t remember. One defense attorney is a woman.
My Idiot Brother (Weinstein Company, 2011). Rashida Jones play attorney Cindy. Also known as Our Idiot Brother.
My Last Love (TVM 1991). See To Live For.
My Silent Partner (TVM 2006). A mob lawyer deceives a female police officer into working for him in order to secure custody of her children. Female judge in one scene.
Mystery Woman (2003). Trite thriller about a woman who inherits a mystery bookstore and sleuths the murder of her former professor (Robert Wagner). Her best friend, played by Constance Zimmer, is an ADA. First aired on the Hallmark Movie Channel.
Mystery Woman: Mystery Weekend (2005). Kellie Martin returns as Samantha Kinsey, the bookstore owner with a nose for clues. She and her friends, ADA Cassie Tilman, and the reclusive Philby, sleuth the death of mystery writer Claire Beckman. Both the motive and the killer are obvious even to non mystery readers, and errors in police procedure and professional ethics are troubling.
Nave de los Locos (1995). A female lawyer defends a native chief accused of arson.
Ne le dis à personne. See Tell No One.
A New Life (1988). Eve Crawford plays a small part as a lawyer.
Nickel and Dime (1992). Lise Cutter as a district attorney who is the unknowing heiress to a fortune. In an opening scene we see a female probate court judge.
Not in My Family (1993). Joanna Kerns as a new mother who recovers memories of abuse. The D. A. is female. Also called Shattering the Silence.
Nuts (1987). Female ADAs in the background of courtroom scenes.
90 Days at Hollyridge. See Where the Truth Lies.
The O. J. Simpson Story (TVM 1995). Dramatization of the events leading up to the Simpson-Goldman murders and Simpson’s criminal trial. Features Darwyn Carson as the “woman prosecutor”.
The Oldest Living Bridesmaid (TVM 1990). Donna Mills is the successful attorney who finds love with a younger man.
On the Basis of Sex (Focus Features, 2018). Felicity Jones as Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Cailee Spaeny as Jane Ginsburg.
One Angry Juror (Front Street Pictures, Lifetime Television, 2010). Jessica Capshaw as a New Orleans lawyer serving on a jury.
One True Love (TVM 2000). Terry Farrell plays Dana Boyer, a lawyer turned dog breeder/groomer, who plans to marry another attorney, but is saved from a burning car by a fire fighter who turns out to be her “one true love,” Mike Grant (played by David Hasselhoff). Of course they end up together.
Ordinary Miracles (TVM 2005). Jaclyn Smith as a judge who takes a troubled teen into her home. Title seems contradictory (how can a miracle be “ordinary”?)
Other People’s Money (1991). Larry the Liquidator (Danny de Vito) meets his match in lawyer Kate Sullivan (Stephanie Ann Miller).
Our Idiot Brother (Weinstein Company, 2011). Rashida Jones plays attorney Cindy. Also known as My Idiot Brother.
Our Lips are Sealed (2000). A Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen comedy. Julie Araskog plays an attorney.
Partner(s) (TVM 2005). Jay Harrington pretends to be gay in order to get a coveted promotion to partner in his San Francisco law firm. Julie Bowen plays Katherine, another associate, who suspects he is straight. Brooke Langton (Lucy), yet another lawyer, falls in love with him. Many, many ethical problems in this made for tv entry.
Peace, Love, and Misunderstanding (BCDF Pictures, 2011). Catherine Keener is Diane, an “uptight” (the production company’s word) lawyer who leaves her dissolving marriage and takes her two children to her free-spirited mother’s home to try to understand herself and the world. Hippie mom (played by Jane Fonda) and her friends provide friendship and understanding. Lots of stereotypes here, but it’s a rom/com, and well-acted by Fonda and Keener, as well as the young actors who play Keener’s children.
Personal Effects (TVM 2005). An attorney (Penelope Ann Miller) tries to solve her brother’s mysterious disappearance.
The People Next Door (TVM 1996). Dell Aldrich is a female DA in this film about domestic violence.
The People Versus John Doe (1916). Features a female attorney.
The People Versus Larry Flynt (1996). Janice Holder plays a judge.
Perfect Prey (TVM 1998). Kelly McGillis is a pathologist who helps detective Bruce Dern track down a serial killer. Early courtroom scene has female judge, female defense attorney.
Many of the made for television movies featuring Raymond Burr as Perry Mason offer us women (usually Betsy Jones-Moreland) in small roles as the judge, and sometimes larger ones as district attorneys.
Perfect Witness (TVM 1989). Stockard Channing is an ADA who helps prosecuting attorney Brian Dennehy put away some mob figures.
Perry Mason: The Case of the Avenging Ace (TVM 1988). Pam Ward has a small part as Judge Eleanor Daniels.
Perry Mason: The Case of the Fatal Fashion (TVM 1991). Diana Muldaur is accused of murdering a fashion magazine editor. Judge Treyball is played by Pat Finley. She turns up as Judge Nachman in The Case of the Killer Kiss.
Perry Mason: The Case of the Glass Coffin (TVM 1991). Betsy Jones-Moreland is the judge.
Perry Mason: The Case of the Grimacing Governor (TVM 1994). A Perry Mason movie without Raymond Burr. Features Hal Holbrook as “Wild Bill” McKenzie; has African-American female judge in small role.
Perry Mason: The Case of the Killer Kiss (TVM 1993). Pat Finley is Judge Andrea Nachmann in this traditional film outing.
Perry Mason: The Case of the Lethal Lesson (TVM 1989). This PM movie takes place in and around a law school and offers Kathryn Christopher as Judge Hoffman, and several female law students as suspects or acquaintances of the victim.
Perry Mason: The Case of the Lost Love (TVM 1987). The gifted Jean Simmons plays lawyer Laura Kilgallen, a successful politician and former love of Mason’s, married to the defendant (Gene Barry).
Perry Mason: The Case of the Maligned Mobster (TVM 1991). Betsy Jones-Moreland returns as a presiding judge, this time named Elinor Harrelson.
Perry Mason: The Case of the Ruthless Reporter (TVM 1991). Yup, Betsy’s back, as the judge, now named Phyllis Markham.
Perry Mason: The Case of the Skin-Deep Scandal (TVM 1993). Betsy Jones-Moreland is the judge again, with a different name.
Perry Mason: The Case of the Telltale Talk Show Host (TVM Movie 1993). Betsy Jones-Moreland as the judge.
Philadelphia (Columbia TriStar, 1993). Includes both a female attorney and a female judge.
Pinocchio’s Revenge (1996). A defense attorney finds trouble when her daughter becomes attached to a mysterious puppet.
Portraits of a Killer (1996). Jennifer Grey is the attorney who falls in love with her client, a suspected murderer.
Power of Attorney (1995). Thriller about a lawyer corrupted by a mobster. TWO female judges in this one: Liduin Currell and Susan Astley.
Plain Truth (TVM 2004). Mariska Hargitay as an attorney defending an Amish woman accused of murdering her infant.
Presumed Innocent (Warner Brothers, 1990). Based on the Scott Turow novel, stars Harrison Ford as Rusty Sabich, accused of murdering his lover Carolyn Pohlhemous (Greta Scacchi), an assistant district attorney. Also has several other female attorney roles; Christine Estabrook as “Mac” and Kimberleigh Aarn as a prosecuting attorney.
Primal Fear (Paramount Pictures, 1996). Richard Gere is the ambitious attorney who takes a high profile case; Laura Linney is the ADA, his former lover, who tries to get the conviction.
Primary Colors (Universal Pictures, 1998). Emma Thompson as the Hillary Clinton-like character in the film based on Joe Klein’s roman à clef.
The Promised Land. See Legal Deceit.
The Prosecutors (TVM 1996). Pilot for a series featuring female district attorneys. Stars Stockard Channing and Michelle Forbes.
A Question of Privilege (TVM 1999). A female attorney takes on the defense of teenagers accused of murder; her prosecutor husband is on the other side. Unbelievable ethical situation combined with misstatements of law and procedure.
Raskenstam (1983). Swedish comedy features Kim Anderzon as a defense attorney.
Ransom for a Dead Man (TV Movie, 1971). This second of two Columbo pilots features Lee Grant as a murderous attorney.
Red Corner (1997). A female lawyer defends Richard Gere in a Chinese court.
Regarding Henry (1991). Alva Chinn plays a small part as an attorney in this film about Henry (Harrison Ford), a successful lawyer injured in a shooting.
Renegade Force (1998).Maria Becoates-Bey as a defense attorney.
Restraining Order (1999). Natalia Nogulich as a judge.
Revealing Evidence (TVM 1990). An assistant district attorney and her co-worker are involved with a cop who is a suspect in a series of murders.
Reversal of Fortune (20th Century Fox, 1990). Annabella Sciorra is the old friend who helps Alan Dershowitz get a new trial for Claus von Bulow.
Roman J. Israel, Esq. (2017). Denzel Washington is a passionate civil rights attorney who must find another position after his law partner dies of a heart attack. Nanzeen Contractor and Annie Sertich play prosecutors.
The Rose Garden (1989). Liv Ullman is a defense attorney who uncovers war crimes committed by her client’s victim. Maximilian Schell is the client.
Rounders (1998). Matt Damon is the former poker player who goes to law school. Gretchen Mol is his girlfriend and fellow law student.
Runaway Father (TV 1991). Donna Mills as a woman trying to force her ex-husband to pay child support; she acts as her own attorney.
The Ruth Rendell Mysteries: The Lake of Darkness (1999). Caroline Devlin as a solicitor.
Sacrifices of the Heart (TVM 2007). Melissa Gilbert as an attorney who takes a hiatus from her high-profile practice to look after her ailing father (Ken Howard). Working title: Spring Thaw.
Santa Fe (1997). Pamela Reed plays an attorney.
A Season For Miracles (TVM 1999). Kathy Baker plays a D.A. and Lynn Redgrave a family court judge in this below par weeper about a homeless family that pulls a scam in a small town named Bethlehem during the Christmas holidays. Fear not; all is forgiven as an angel (Patty Duke) intervenes to melt the hard heart of a local police officer.
Secret Sins of the Father (TVM 1994). Lloyd Bridges as a man who confesses to killing his wife. Victoria Rowell is the special prosecutor.
Seems Like Old Times (1980). On the run from kidnappers, Chevy Chase seeks assistance from ex-wife Goldie Hawn, a defense attorney now remarried to D.A. Charles Grodin.
Serious Moonlight (2009). An angry lawyer (Meg Ryan) gets revenge on her husband (Timothy Hutton). Here’s a review.
Sex and the Single Mom (TVM 2003). A law student is pregnant out of wedlock, and her teen aged daughter rebels. Gail O’Grady, who plays Jess Gradwell, the mom, is employed by a workaholic female attorney, who tells her that she (the attorney) has sacrificed family and children for her own career and Jess had better be prepared to face those choices as well. See also More Sex and the Single Mom.
Shades of Gray (TVM 1992). Also called: What She Doesn’t Know. Valerie Bertinelli gives up a good corporate job offer to become an ADA, becomes involved in corruption.
Shadow of Doubt (Largo Entertainment, 1998). Attorney investigates the sordid death of a young woman; finds corruption in high places. Also called: Reasonable Doubt. Features Melanie Griffith.
Shadows Run Black (1986). Olwen Armstrong plays an attorney in this slasher film.
The Shaggy Dog (2006). Update of the earlier film; stars Tim Allen as the D.A. bitten by the dog of the title. Jane Curtin plays a judge, Annabelle Gurwitch plays an attorney.
Shame (1987). Australian lawyer Asta Cadell helps a girl pursue a date rapist.
Shame (TV Movie 1992). Remake of the 1987 movie, starring Amanda Donohue as the lawyer, now called Diana Cadell.
Shame II: The Secret (TV Movie, 1995). Diana Cadell (Amanda Donohue) helps a death row inmate.
Shattered Trust (TV Movie, 1993). An attorney working on an incest case discovers she too is a victim of sexual abuse.
Shattering the Silence (1993). See Not in My Family.
She Said No (TVM 1990). Veronica Hamel as a career woman who unsuccessfully charges attorney Judd Hirsch with rape. He subsequently files a defamation suit against her. Lee Grant plays the prosecutor, Rae Allen plays a judge, and Hirsch’s lawyer is also a woman. Note that Hamel played Joyce Davenport, the attorney love interest for Captain Furillo, in the series Hill Street Blues.
She Woke Up Pregnant (TVM 1996). Lynda Carter as lawyer Susan Saroyan defends dentist Joe Penny in this thriller; his patients accuse him of sexually assaulting them while they’re under sedation in the dental chair.
Silent Justice (2000). See Cottonmouth.
Simon and Simon: In Trouble Again (TVM 1995). Jeannie Wilson returns as A.J.’s girlfriend, the lawyer.
Skinwalkers (2002). Based on the Tony Hillerman novel of the same name. Alex Rice co-stars as defense attorney Janet Pete.
Die Skorpionfrau (1989). A Viennese judge falls in love with a man about the same age as her son.
The Sleepwalker Killing (TVM 1997). Female attorney defends man accused of killing his mother-in-law; his defense is that he was sleepwalking. Based on a real case.
Slow Burn (2007). Female ADA (Jolene Blalock) involved with DA (Ray Liotta).
Small Vices (TVM 1999). Lawyer Rita Fiore (Laila Robins) hires Spenser to investigate a murder case. Based on the novel by Robert B. Parker.
Smart Woman (Allied Artists, 1948). A female attorney understands the law but not men.
The Snoop Sisters (TVM, ABC, 1972-1974). In the episode “Fear Is a Free Throw,” Ernesta (Helen Hayes) mentions that she is a law school graduate.
The Socratic Method (2001). Female law professor, female law students, in this comedy about law school education.
Sole Sisters (Canal Plus, 2003). A judge and a petty thief team up to bring in crooks. French title: Les filles uniques.
Something Borrowed (Warner Brothers, 2011). Ginnifer Goodwin as Rachel, an attorney who watches her best friend (Kate Hudson) marry her study partner from law school, Dex (Colin Egglesfield). Of course, Ginnifer finally realizes she’s in love with Dex. Somewhat unexpected bittersweet ending.
Soul Food (TVM 1997). “Feel good” movie about a close-knit African American family that includes a woman lawyer, “Teri”, played by Vanessa L. Williams. Later became a series on Showtime.
Sparks: The Price of Passion (TVM 1990). Victoria Principal is mayor of Albuquerque and the target of a blackmailer.
Speaking of Sex (2001). Catherine O’Hara plays a lawyer representing a woman suing a sex therapist. Bill Murray plays opposing counsel.
Spread (2009). Ashton Kutcher in a sex comedy as a young man trying to sleep his way into a comfortable life; Anne Heche as Samantha, the attorney who is currently supporting. How long will their relationship last?
Staatsanwältin Corda (1954). A young attorney has trouble separating her personal and professional lives.
The Star Chamber (1983). Michael Douglas is Judge Hardin, a judge who joins several other judges in the Star Chamber, a group constituted to find ways to exact extrajudicial punishment on defendants they think managed to evade the system. A young female district attorney has a small role as a prosecutor who loses a case in Hardin’s court. A female judge is part of the Star Chamber.
Stick It (2006). A wealthy teen in trouble is enrolled in an elite gymnastics program and finds a purpose in life. Stars Missy Peregrym and Jeff Bridges. Polly Hollyday has a small part as an understanding judge.
Storm (2009). Kerry Fox plays Hannah Maynard, a prosecutor at the Hague War Crimes Tribunal.
Strange Justice (TVM 1999). Dramatization of the confirmation of Justice Clarence Thomas and the accusations made by Professor Anita Hill.
Stranger in My Home (TVM 1997). A female criminal defense attorney believes that her new client may be her long-lost brother.
Surrender (1987). Michael Caine is a successful novelist trying to avoid entanglements with money hungry women. Short scenes with a female divorce court judge and female divorce court lawyer.
Suspect (1987). Cher is the public defender saddled with a client apparently headed for conviction, until juror Dennis Quaid gives her an unexpected assist.
Sweet Revenge (TVM 1990). Carrie Fisher, in a most un-Princess Leia-like role, is the lawyer who tries to get her ex-husband to remarry so she doesn’t have to pay alimony.
Switched at Birth (TVM 1999). A hospital mixes up two babies born on the same day. Sharon Marschak plays a judge.
Taken Away (TVM 1989). Valerie Bertinelli tries to regain custody of her daughter; DA is a black woman.
Taking Back Our Town (2001). Based on the real life story of a woman fighting Shin-Tech’s plans to place a factory in her small town. She received assistance from Tulane University’s Law School clinic, which caused a change in the Louisiana Supreme Court rules regarding representation of non-profit groups by law students. Female environmental law professor.
Tell It To the Judge (1949). Farce about a woman nominee to a federal judgeship pursued by her lawyer ex-husband and another man. Rosalind Russell is the nominee, Bob Cummings the ex-husband.
Tell Me No Secrets (TVM 1997). A DA is stalked by the man she’s prosecuting, all because her ex-husband wants her back.
Tell No One (2006). Based on a novel by Harlan Coben and starring François Cluzet. Nathalie Baye plays his attorney. French title: Ne le dis à personne. Listen to an NPR story about this film.
The Test of Love (TVM 1999). Roma Downey plays a betrayed wife, who accepts her husband’s daughter in her home. A woman attorney gives her advice.
Three Men and a Baby (1987). Margaret Colin has a small part as Tom Selleck’s lawyer girlfriend.
A Time to Kill (1996). Sandra Bullock plays Ellen Roark, a law student.
To Live Again (TVM 1998). Features female attorney, played by Dell Aldrich.
To Live For (TVM 1999). Nancy Travis as a female attorney battling cancer. Original title: My Last Love.
Too Close to Home (TVM 1997). Docudrama about Diana Donahue, the last woman to die in California’s gas chamber. Dawn Greenhalgh plays a judge in one courtroom scene featuring Donahue’s son, an attorney.
A Touch of Scandal (TVM 1984). Angie Dickinson is a lawyer running for state wide office and facing political scandal.
13th Devil (2002). Lesley-Anne Down as a D.A. investigating weird doings in New Jersey.
Tracey Takes On (series). Tracey Ullman plays many roles in this series including Sydney Cross, an entertainment lawyer with an attitude.
Trial: The Price of Passion (TVM 1992). Not be confused with the Victoria Principal vehicle, Sparks: The Price of Passion, this film features Peter Strauss as a criminal defense attorney involved in two high profile cases which turn out to be connected, Laila Robins is his girlfriend, also a lawyer. Jill Clayburgh plays a domineering judge, Lorraine Toussaint (before she played a lawyer in Any Day Now) plays the public prosecutor in one of the trials. Lots of ethical issues, well acted. Based on the novel by Clifford Irving.
Trial by Fire (TVM 1999). Based on Frances Fyfield’s characters, Helen West and Geoffrey Bailey, and her novel Not That Kind of Place.
The Trophy Wife’s Secret (TVM 1998). Routine outing about a pretty woman whose abusive wealthy husband turns up dead. She and her attorney-lover are the prime suspects. Features Christopher Darden (one of the O.J. Simpson prosecutors) as a police detective on the case, a female DA who thinks he’s a loose cannon. Surprise ending. Also called: One Hot Summer Night.
True Crime (1999). A Clint Eastwood directed thriller in which he plays a journalist out to prove a death-row inmate’s innocence hours before his scheduled execution. Nancy Giles plays the condemned man’s lawyer.
Trust (TV movie, 2000). Stars Caroline Goodall as Anne Travers, a solicitor whose psychiatrist husband is suspected of murder.
Truth or Dare (TVM 1996). Female attorney drawn into mysterious doings by former college friends.
Twelve Angry Men (TVM 1997). Excellent remake of the 1957 film, with George C. Scott and Jack Lemmon. Mary McDonnell is the judge.
Twist of Fate (1997). Female attorney attempts to catch the serial killer who is stalking her and whose victims seem primarily to be female law students.
Two Shades of Blue (2000). Marlee Martin is a DA who becomes personally involved in a murder case.
Two Weeks’ Notice (2002). Sandra Bullock plays corporate counsel Lucy Kelson, in love with her boss (Hugh Grant). Alicia Witt (Cybill) plays a young and ambitious Harvard law grad also employed by Grant’s firm.
2000 Malibu Road (TVM 1992). Jennifer Beals as a lawyer sharing a beach house with three other women.
Undercover Christmas (TVM 2003). Jami Gertz is a federal witness, Shawn Christian is her FBI protector, and Anne Hawthorne is Christian’s sister, an attorney, in this themed love story.
The Verdict (20th Century Fox, 1982). Charlotte Rampling plays the siren-ish attorney from the opposition who tries to derail Paul Newman’s representation of his clients in a medical malpractice case.
Verdict in Blood (2001). Wendy Crewson plays a reporter investigating the murder of a female judge.
Web of Deceit (TVM 1990). Linda Purl as an attorney investigating a rape and murder who falls in love with a prosecutor on the case.
Web of Deception (1993). Female judge.
What Makes a Family (2001). Brooke Shields as a lesbian fighting to retain custody of her dead companion’s child. Whoopi Goldberg plays a lawyer, Jayne Eastwood plays a judge.
What Rats Won’t Do (1998). Natascha McElhone as a soon-to-be-married barrister who falls in love with opposing counsel James Frain. Jennifer Patterson has a small part as a judge. The title comes from the old joke about why scientists now use lawyers instead of rats in experiments: they’ve become too attached to the rats, and there are some things rats won’t do.
What Women Want (2000). Mel Gibson is a chauvinistic ad executive who acquires the ability to hear women’s thoughts. Christine Rose plays the in-house counsel for his agency, Sloane/Curtis.
When Harry Met Sally (1989). The hit movie starring Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan as friends who explore whether they can also be lovers; Harley Jane Kozak has a very small role as Harry’s ex-wife lawyer Helen Helson who leaves him for a tax lawyer.
When Justice Fails (1998). Marlee Matlin is the DA who’s a murder suspect in this formulaic thriller, Jeff Fahey is the cop who falls in love with her. Some mischaracterization of search and seizure law damages the plot. Why does Matlin play so MANY lawyers?
Where Are My Children? (TVM 1994). Marg Helgenberger stars in this docudrama about a woman separated from her children by the FBI. Bonnie Bartlett plays a judge.
When the Cradle Falls (TVM 1997). A woman attorney helps a crooked adoption service kidnaps healthy white babies and place them with adoptive parents.
Where the Truth Lies (Lifetime, 1999). An attorney takes a murder case; ends by believing her client is guilty. Regina King and Marlee Matlin star. Also called 90 Days at Hollyridge, Hollyridge.
Wild Orchid (1990). Jacqueline Bisset and Carrie Otis are lawyers intrigued by Mickey Rourke’s millionaire. Zalman King helped write the screenplay.
Willing to Kill: The Texas Cheerleader Story (TVM 1992). Like The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleading-Murdering Mom (TVM 1993), which starred Holly Hunter as Wanda Holloway, this television movie features Holloway’s story with Lesley Ann Warren as Holloway. Short scenes features Sally Hightower as the judge and another actress as a prosecutor.
The Wishing Tree (1999). Alfre Woodard is an attorney who returns to her childhood home and discovers some truths about life and love.
With Hostile Intent (TVM ). Female police officers take on the “old boy network” within their department. With Holland Taylor as the attorney who takes their case.
The Wives He Forgot (TVM 2006). Molly Ringwald as an attorney who defends Jay Miller (Mark Humphrey) on a charge of bigamy (he claims amnesia). The DA is also female.
A Woman Accused (TVM 1977). See In the Glitter Palace.
Woman on the Edge of a Nervous Breakdown (Mujures al borde de un ataque de nervios)(1988). A woman tries to find out why her romance has ended; discovers her lover is now involved with a female attorney.
Woman Undone (TVM 1996). Woman is charged with murder after shooting her husband. Judge is played by Patricia Belcher.
Word of Honor (2003). Don Johnson is a Vietnam vet whose past returns to haunt him. Jeanne Tripplehorn plays the lawyer who prosecutes him for a massacre just revealed in a new book.
A Worm in the Bud. See The Midsomer Murders: A Worm in the Bud.
You Belong to Me (TVM 1998). See In Quiet Night.