- For more female attorneys in television, see Christine A. Corcos, 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. For tv shows women attorneys are listed by name. See also Erin E. Evans, Leading Ladies of the Law: Black Actresses Who Have Played Attorneys, The Root, Sept. 24, 2014.
A to Z (NBC, 2014). Stars Cristin Miloti as Zelda Vasco, an attorney who handles pro bono cases at a big law firm. Her friend Stephanie (played by Lenora Crichlow), also a lawyer at the firm, dreams of love. Zelda is far more down to earth. Zelda meets Andrew (Ben Feldman), who works for a computer dating service, in the first episode (“A Is For Acquaintances”). Each episode follows the couple’s romance through to marriage. (What happens if the show lasts longer than 26 episodes?)
Adam’s Rib (1973). Ken Howard and Blythe Danner in the Spencer Tracy (Adam Bonner) and Katherine Hepburn (Amanda Bonner) roles. This series was based on the 1949 film starring Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn.
Ally McBeal. Features Ally McBeal (Calista Flockhart), Georgia Thomas, Nelle Porter, Judge Cone, a Janet Reno clone, and an accumulation of other female attorneys.
Corcos, Christine A., Power of Attorney.
Epstein, Michael, For and Against the People: Television’s Prosecutor Image and the Cultural Power of the Legal Profession, 34 University of Toledo Law Review 817 (2003).
Joseph, Paul R., Saying Goodbye to Ally McBeal, 25 University of Arkansas Little Rock Law Review 459 (2003).
Kitei, B., The Mass Appeal of The Practice and Ally McBeal: An In-Depth Analysis of the Impact of these Television Shows on the Public’s Perception of Attorneys, 7 UCLA Entertainment Law Review 169 (1999).
Klein, D. Ally McBeal and her sisters: a quantitative and qualitative analysis of representations of women lawyers on prime-time television, 18 Loyola of Los Angeles Entertainment Law Journal 259 (1998).
Angel (1999-2004). Stephanie Romanov plays Lilah Morgan
Any Day Now (1998–). Lorraine Toussaint is a successful DC lawyer who returns to her Southern home town to take over her deceased father’s practice. One of the few shows to star an African-American attorney. (See also Sweet Justice).
Arrested Development (2003–). Julia Louis-Dreyfus plays Maggie Lizer, a prosecuting attorney, during two seasons. She appears in four episodes: Season One: “Altar Egos,” “Justice Is Blind,” Season Two: “Out on a Limb,” “Hand To God.”
The Associates (2001–). This Canadian series features five new attorneys hired by Young, Barnsworth, and King.
A. U. S. A. (NBC, 2003–). New comedy about U. S. attorneys in New York City. Originally billed as “Scrubs” with lawyers, it changed somewhat before NBC picked up its option. Set to debut February 2003 on Tuesdays at 9:30 (EST). Has Amanda Detmer as Susan Rakoff, a public defender, and Ana Ortiz as Ana Rivera, a federal prosecutor.
Bar Girls (TV pilot, 1990). Joanna Cassidy and Marcy Walker as defense attorneys.
Bad Judge (NBC, 2014–). Kate Walsh as Judge Rebecca Wright in this comedy.
Barbara’s Law (2014–). French tv series featuring (in the three-episode first season) Josiane Balasko as the title character who takes on prosecutors and a callow young associate.
Beauty and the Beast (CBS TV series, 1987-1990). Linda Hamilton plays Catherine Chandler, an assistant DA who is attacked and left for dead. Vincent (Ron Perlman), a mysterious man who lives in an underground area of the city, rescues and heals her with the assistance of his father, and together they solve crimes and eventually fall in love. The show became a cult classic. The CW is planning a remake.
Better With You (ABC TV series, 2010–). Jennifer Finnegan plays Maddie Putney, a trusts and estates attorney with a white shoe firm. In the episode “Better Without a Job,” (aired April 13, 2011) the firm lays her off and she accepts an offer from a firm of “ambulance chasers.”
The Big Easy (1996-1997). Susan Walters is Anne Osborne, the D.A. assigned to investigate crimes in N.O. Loosely based on the film of the same name. After the first season Walters left the series.
Blue Bloods (2010–). A police procedural set in New York City, and featuring the Reagan family. Erin Reagan is an assistant district attorney.
Bones (Fox, 2005–). Based on the novels and characters created by Kathy Reichs. Caroline Julian (played by Patricia Belcher) is a U.S. Attorney.
- The Man on Death Row. Rachelle Lefevre plays Amy Morton, the attorney for a death row inmate, who asks Brennan to take another look at her client’s case. First broadcast Nov. 22, 2005.
Boston Legal (ABC, 2004–). Rhoda Mitra, Monica Potter, Lake Bell, Candice Bergen as attorneys for the law firm of Crane, Poole and Schmidt. Kerry Washington guests as associate Chelina Hall.
Burden of Truth (CBC, 2018–). Kristin Kreuk plays Joanna Hanley, a big city corporate attorney who returns to her small Manitoba home town and immediately gets caught up in events surrounding the illness of a number of young girls in the town. Marina Stephenson Kerr plays Judge Francine Anders.
Canterbury’s Law (Fox, 2008–2008). Juliana Margolies stars as Elizabeth Canterbury, defense attorney, wife and mother of the abducted six year old Sam. Episodes available for viewing on the net. Also stars Aidan Quinn as her husband, a law professor, and Trieste Dunn as Molly McConnell.
Century City (CBS TV Series, 2004–). Viola Davis is name partner Hannah Crane in this futuristic legal drama, also starring Hector Elizondo and Kristen Lehman as Lee May Bristol.
Chicago Justice (NBC, 2017). Another Dick Wolf series. It features Philip Winchester as Peter Stone, the son of N.Y.C. D.A. Ben Stone (Law & Order). Among his assistant D.A.s is Assistant State’s Attorney Anna Valdez (Monica Barbaro). This show is linked to other Dick Wolf series–Chicago Med, Chicago Fire, and Chicago P.D.
Christine Cromwell (TV Series, ABC, 1989). Jaclyn Smith plays an attorney on this short-lived series, which formed part of the (rotating) ABC Mystery Movie.
Civil Wars (1991-1993). Mariel Hemingway is the star of this series about divorce lawyers.
Close to Home (TV series, CBS, 2005-2007). Starring Jenifer Finnigan as Annabeth Chase, a prosecutor. Kimberly Elise is her direct supervisor, Maureen Scofield.
Common Law (TV series, 1996). A WASP and an Hispanic, both graduates of Harvard Law School, marry and open a practice.
Conviction (TV series, NBC, 2006). Stephanie March as Alexandra Cabot (from Dick Wolf’s Law & Order franchise), in a new series featuring the public and private lives of New York district attorneys. Julianne Nicholson, Milena Govich also star.
The Cosby Show (Phyllicia Rashad as Clair Huxtable).
Cosby (1996). Features T’Keyah “Crystal” Keymah as Erica Lucas, a lawyer turned chef.
Courting Alex (CBS, 2006). Jenna Elfman as an attorney working with her father.
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (The CW, 2015-2019). Rachel Bloom stars as Rebecca Bunch, an Ivy law school graduate with a choice law firm job who gives it all up to chase her long-ago summer camp crush, who now lives in West Covina, California. Also starring Vincent Rodriguez III as Josh Chan, the unlucky object of Rebecca’s affections, Donna Lynne Champlin as Paula Proctor.
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (2000-2015). Palmer Davis plays Margaret Finn, a defense attorney. She appears in the episodes “Boom,” “To Halve and To Hold,” “Too Tough To Die,” “You’ve Got Male,” “Blood Lust,” “Random Acts of Violence,”
“Invisible Evidence,” “Turn of the Screws,” “Mea Culpa,” “No Humans Involved,” “Unbearable,” “Werewolves,” “Burn Out,” and “Bloodsport.”
Crimebroker (1993). Gabrielle Hammond as a prosecutor.
Cristela (ABC, 2014–). Cristela Alonso plays a law student interning at a Houston law firm. At the end of the one-year series, the lawyer in charge of the firm offers her a position as an attorney.
Daddio (TV series, 1999-2000). A husband becomes a stay at home caretaker while his wife pursues a legal career.
Damages (FX TV series, 2007–). Glenn Close stars as Patty Hewes, founding partner at Hewes and Associates. She hires Ellen Parsons (Rose Byrne) to work with her. Each season features a high profile star as a nemesis for either Patty or Ellen (in the first season it was Ted Danson; in season two Len Cariou, in season three, Ted Danson returns, in season four, John Goodman, in season five, Ryan Philippe).
The Deep End (ABC, 2010–). Four new associates at a white shoe firm. Includes Tina Majorino as “Addy Fisher” and Leah Pipes as “Beth Bancroft”. Here are some early takes from various reviewers, brought together courtesy of the ABA Journal. It premieres January 21st, 2010.
The D. A. (ABC, TV Series, 2004–). Sarah Paulson plays Chief Deputy DA Lisa Patterson.
The Defenders (CBS, 2010–). Stars Jim Belushi, Jerry O’Connell as the name partners and Jurnee Smollett as Lisa Tyler as a newly hired associate, with Natalie Zea as arch enemy and love interest D.A. Meredith Kramer.
Drop Dead Diva (Lifetime, 2009–). Stars Brooke Elliott as Jane Bingum, an attorney, who’s the reincarnated version of a model, the egotistical Deb. Kim Kaswell (Kate Levering) is an ambitious attorney at the firm.
Ed (TV series, 2000–). A female DA is interested in the title character.
Eli Stone (ABC TV series, 2008–). Eli Stone, the protagonist, an attorney in a white shoe San Francisco law firm, is engaged to Taylor Wethersby (Natasha Henstridge), an ambitious attorney and daughter of the managing partner at Eli’s firm. Eli also supervises Maggie (Julie Gonzalo), a flaky associate at the firm.
Equal Justice (ABC TV series, 1990-1991). Set at the Pittsburgh, PA, DA’s office. Features Debrah Farentino as Deputy D.A. Julie Janovich, Sarah Jessica Parker as Deputy D. A. Jo Ann Briggs, and Jane Kaczmarek as another D.D.A.
Engrenages (English title Spiral) (2005–). A French tv series focusing on the Paris law courts and criminal justice system. Audrey Fleurot as attorney (Maitre) Joséphine Karlsson.
Evening Shade (TV series 1990-1994). Marilu Henner played Ada Evans Newton, prosecuting attorney, married to Wood Newton (Burt Reynolds) in this gentle comedy about the town of Evening Shade and its leading citizens.
Fairly Legal (USA, 2011–). Stars Sarah Shahi as Kate Reed, a lawyer turned mediator, who maintains a connection with her late father’s law firm. With Virginia Williams as Lauren Reed, Kate’s stepmother, a highpowered partner at the firm, Michael Patrick as Justin Patrick, Kate’s former husband, a D.A. who still loves her, and Baron Vaughn as Leonardo Prince, Kate’s loyal assistant.
The Feather and Father Gang (TV series 1977). Starred Stefanie Powers as a lawyer who has trouble keeping her ex-con father in line.
Femmes de loi (2000-2009). This French television series about prosecutors and police features Natacha Amal as a prosecutor. English title: Ladies of Law.
First Monday (TV series, 2002). Series about the Supreme Court, starring Joe Mantegna and James Garner. The show featured two female justices.
For the People (Lifetime Television series, July 2002–). Stars Debbi Morgan as a newly elected Los Angeles DA and Lea Thompson as her chief assistant. Cecelia Suarez is chief prosecutor. This series was cancelled at the end of the 2003 season.
For the People (2018–). Newly admitted attorneys handle cases in the Southern District of New York. Sandra Bell and Allison Adams are public defenders, Kate Littlejohn works in the prosecutor’s office. Judge Nicholas Byrne (who, in spite of the name, is female) presides over a number of the cases. A Shonda Rhimes tv series.
Franklin & Bash (TNT, 2011–). Stars Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Brecklin Meyer as attorney; their colleague is Hanna Linden (Garcelle Beauvais). Dana Davis plays paralegal Carmen Phillips.
Frank’s Place (CBS, 1987-1988). Tim Reid stars as a Boston college professor who inherits his estranged father’s New Orleans restaurant.
Episode 4: The Bridge. Conchata Ferrell guest stars as Jan Rudy, an insurance lawyer. First aired October 5, 1987.
Girlfriends (CBS/Paramount, 2000-2008). Series about Joan Clayton, an African American corporate attorney in L.A. and her three closest friends. Features Tracee Ellis Ross as Joan.
Girls’ Club (Fox TV, 2002–). This new series by David E. Kelley stars Gretchen Mol, Kathleen Robertson and Chyler Leigh as ambitious young attorneys in San Francisco. Premieres October 21st. Cancelled October 29th after 2 episodes. Chyler Leigh is slated to join the cast of The Practice.
The Good Wife (CBS, 2009–). Starring Julianna Margolies as an attorney who goes back to work when her husband Peter, played by Chris Noth, is jailed for white collar crime.
Goliath (Amazon (2016–). Billy Bob Thornton plays Billy McBride, a brilliant but flawed attorney who has left the firm he co-founded with Donald Cooperman (William Hurt). Maria Bello is Michelle McBride, a partner at Cooperman, Billy’s ex-wife; the McBrides have a daughter (16-year-old Denise). Nina Arianda is Patty Solis-Papagian, a DUI attorney with a real estate agent’s license. Lucy Kittridge (Olivia Thirlby) is an associate at Cooperman, McBride. Callie Senate (Molly Parker) is a lawyer at Cooperman, McBride. Judge Martha Wallace (Alexandra Billings) also appears (third season).
The Greatest American Hero (1981–1983). Connie Sellecca is the hero’s lawyer girlfriend in this science fiction comedy/drama about a high school teacher who discovers a spacesuit that allows him to fly.
Harry’s Law (NBC, 2011–). Kathy Bates plays Harriet (Harry) Kern, a former patent lawyer who takes up the practice of criminal law in a streetfront office (which improbably includes shoes as an additional product for sale) in Cincinnati, Ohio. Also starring Nate Corddry as Adam Branch, Brittany Snow as Jenna Backstrom, the receptionist, and Aml Ameen as Malcolm Davies, the paralegal.
Haunted (UPN, 2002). Frank Taylor (Matthew Fox) is a former police officer who has a near death experience and finds himself able to see ghosts. Lynn Collins plays his ex-wife ADA Jessica Manning.
Helen West (2002–). A British series dramatizing Frances Fyfield’s novels about Crown Prosecutor Helen West (Amanda Burton). Conor Mullen plays Superintendent Bailey. The first tv movie made is Deep Sleep.
Hickey (1976). Also known as Hickey vs. Anybody. Unsold pilot. One episode aired 9/19/76. Jack Weston plays Julius V. Hickey, who hires young attorney Phyllis (Liberty, now Louise, Williams) to help him in his struggling practice.
Hill Street Blues (NBC, 1981-1987). Defense attorney Joyce Davenport is Lt. Frank Furillo’s girlfriend.
This podcast discusses the influence of the show and characters Joyce Davenport and Sergeant Lucy Bates. http://advancedtvherstory.libsyn.com/podcast/hill-street-blues-davenport-bates
House Rules (1998). In this short-lived series, two men (a doctor and a journalist) and a woman (a lawyer) share a house in Denver. Maria Pitillo plays lawyer Casey Farrell.
How I Met Your Mother (2006–). “Aldrin Justice”. Jane Seymour guests as Marshall’s never satisfied law professor. Barney takes on the challenge.
How To Get Away With Murder (ABC, 2014–). Shonda Rhimes is the executive producer of this legal drama, in which Viola Davis plays a criminal law professor who recruits her law students to help her with real cases.
In Treatment (HBO, 2008–). Gabriel Byrne plays a psychiatrist, Dr. Paul Weston, with high maintenance patients.
Insecure (HBO, 2016–). Molly Carter (played by Yvonne Orji) is a lawyer suffering from depression.
Imagine That (2002). Hank Azaria as a writer; Jayne Brook plays his wife, a district attorney.
JAG (1995–). Catherine Bell is Sarah McKenzie.
The Jean Arthur Show (11 episodes, 1966). Jean Arthur plays widowed lawyer Patricia Marshall.
Joey (TV series, NBC, 2004–). Matt LeBlanc (Joey on the long-running series Friends) moves to LA to pursue his acting career. One of his neighbors is the lawyer Alex Garrett.
Episode: Joey and the Assistant. In this episode Alex mediates a patent dispute between Joey’s nephew and a fellow student.
Jonathan Creek (BBC series, 1997-2004). Alan Davies stars as a specialist in the creation of illusions for a magician; Caroline Quentin is the journalist who recruits him to solve mysteries. When Quentin left the series, Julia Sawalha replaced her as a broadcaster who teamed up with Creek.
Episode: The Chequered Box. A police detective is the suspect in a female barrister’s murder.
Journeyman (20th Century Fox, 2007). Moon Bloodgood plays Livia Beale, a San Francisco prosecutor.
Judging Amy(TV series, 1999–). Stars Amy Brenneman as Judge Amy Madison Gray. Brenneman’s mother was one of the first women to graduate from Harvard Law School. Brenneman’s father is also an attorney. Various other actresses play judges (Nancy Stafford as “Judge Bell,” two episodes, 2003).
Just Cause (PAX TV, 2002–). Elizabeth (Lisa) Lackey is Alex De Monaco, unjustly convicted of insurance fraud. During her incarceration she earns her law degree. Also starring Richard Thomas as her boss. Also features Paula, an Asian-American attorney.
Just Legal (WB, 2005-2006). Susan Ward plays Kate Manat, David Ross (Jay Baruchel)’s love interest. There are also occasionally female judges and other female attorneys on the series as well.
Kate Brasher (TV series 2001). Rhea Perlman (“Carla” from Cheers) as a no-nonsense attorney.
Kate McShane (1975). Anne Meara stars as a lawyer who helps her father, a retired police officer, and her brother, a priest and law professor, solve crimes.
Kavanagh, QC (TV series, 1994–2001?. English series featuring John Thaw as a Queen’s Counsel. Anna Chancellor plays barrister Julia Piper (seasons 1-3); Jenny Jules plays the young barrister Alex Wilson.
Kevin Hill (2004-2005). Taye Diggs starred as an ambitious young attorney who left his law firm position to care for his cousin’s young child. He took a position at a law firm founded by women. The show featured several female attorneys, including Christina Hendricks as Nicolette Raye, Kate Levering as Veronica Carter, and Michael Michele as Jessie Grey.
The King of Queens (TV series 1998–). Kevin James is a delivery man for “IPS” and Leah Remini is a legal secretary (although sometimes she almost acts like a lawyer). Some female attorneys drift in and out of her firm.
Kingpin (TV series, ). Sherryl Lee plays a lawyer, Marlene McDillon Cadena.
The “L” Word (2004–). Jane Lynch as Joyce Wischnia, the lawyer companion of Phyllis Kroll (Cybill Shepherd).
L. A. Law (TV series, 1986-1994). Susan Dey as Grace van Owen, DA turned corporate lawyer, Jill Eikenberry, Michele Greene, Amanda Donohue, Rosalind Shays, as lawyers at MacKenzie Brackman, a Los Angeles law firm.
Ladies of the Law (Urban Movie Channel/WE, 2016–). “A hilarious examination of love, life, and litigation through the eyes of four gorgeous go-getters running their own personal injury law firm in Inglewood, California. Reality series about African American female attorneys.
Law & Order (TV series). Various actresses have played ADAs on t his show including Jill Hennessy as Claire Kincaid, Carey Lowell as Jamie Ross, Angie Harmon as Abigail Carmichael, Alana de la Garza as Connie Rubirosa, Annie Parisse as Alexandra Borgia, and Elisabeth Rohm as Serena Southerlyn. Dianne Wiest plays DA Nora Lewin.
Law & Order: L.A. (2011). Alana de la Garza plays Deputy D. A. Connie Rubirosa.
Law & Order: SVU (1999-). Angie Harmon as Abigail Carmichael.
Law & Order: Trial by Jury (TV series, 2005–). Bebe Neuwirth plays ADA Tracey Kibre, Amy Carlson plays ADA Kelly Gaffney. Part of the Law & Order franchise. Candice Bergen plays Judge Amanda Anderlee and Jessica Chastain plays ADA Sigrun Borg in recurring guest roles.
The Law Firm (NBC, Bravo, 2005). A reality show featuring young associates; the last man or woman standing wins. This was a David E. Kelley show. Noted trial attorney Roy Black played the Donald Trump role.NBC cancelled this show after two episodes.
Lie To Me (Fox, 2009–). Tim Roth as psychologist Cal Lightman who specializes in undercovering deception. Based on the work of Dr. Paul Ekman. Jennifer Beals plays Lightman’s former wife Zoe Landau, an AUSA.
Life (NBC, 2007-2009). Damian Lewis as Charlie Crews, a cop wrongfully imprisoned and finally released due to the hard work of his attorney, Brooke Langton (Constance Griffiths, first season only).
Life’s Work (TV series). A female DA tries to make it while also maintaining a stable home life.
Living Single (TV series, Fox, 1993-1998) Starred Queen Latifah as the publisher of a struggling magazine and Erika Alexander, Kim Coles, and Kim Fields as her closest friends. Alexander played an attorney, Maxine Shaw. Unofficial site.
Luther (BBC, 2010–) Starring Idris Elba. Zoe Luther (played by Indira Varma) is a human rights lawyer) is John Luther’s estranged wife.
Madam Secretary (2014–). A CBS drama starring Tea Leoni as U.S. Secretary of State. Her daughter Stephanie (Stevie), played by Wallis Currie-Wood, eventually attends Harvard Law School.
Made in Jersey (TV series, CBS, 2012). Stars Donna Murphy, Erin Cummings, Kyle MacLachlan, Janet Montgomery as Martina Garetti. Originally called Baby Big Shot. Cancelled after eight episodes. All available on iTunes.
Manhattan Love Story (NBC, 2014–).
Married People (1990-1991). A short lived tv series based on a movie. One of the characters is a female corporate lawyer.
Matlock (1986-1995). Andy Griffith as attorney Ben Matlock, and Linda Purl, Nancy Stafford (“Michelle Thomas”) and Brynne Thayer as his junior partners. Julie Sommars plays his love interest, the DA. Unofficial site. See also below for specific episodes featuring guest stars as female attorneys and judges.
Matt Houston (TV series, 1982–1985). Detective show starring Lee Horsley as P.I. Matt Houston and Pamela Hensley as his lawyer, C. J. Parsons.
Medium (TV series, NBC, 2005–). Aspiring law student gives up her dream when she ackowledges her psychic abilities, goes to work for an Arizona DA’s office as a consultant. Stars Patricia Arquette. Show occasionally features other women as attorneys in guest roles.
The Mentalist (TV series, CBS, 2009–). Patrick Jane (Simon Baker) is a former psychic and con man who decides to work with the California CBI after a serial killer murders his wife and child.
Men at Law (CBS, 1970-1971). Starred Robert Foxworth, Sheila Larkin, David Arkin. Also called Storefront Lawyers. Sheila Larkin played Deborah Sullivan, one of three lawyers (along with the Foxworth and Arkin characters),. who opened up a storefront law office. After a few episodes, the three rejoined Foxworth’s biglaw firm.
Every Rose Has Its Thorn. Jillian Bach plays Sarah Harrigan, a public defender. First aired April 7, 2011. Sarah becomes the love interest for series regular Wayne Rigsby (Owain Yeoman).
Blood and Sand. First aired October 20, 2011.
The Redshirt. First aired December 8, 2011.
My Bloody Valentine, First aired January 19, 2012.
War of the Roses. First aired February 16, 2012.
Mr. Belvedere (TV series). The mother of the family goes to law school.
Mia (2009–). Hope Davis plays the character of Mia, an unmarried attorney, in the second season of the series.
Miss Match (NBC TV Series, 2003–). Comedy series featuring Alicia Silverstone (Clueless) as a divorce lawyer by day, matchmaker by night. Ryan O’Neal plays her father and law partner. Silverstone’s character is based on real-life matchmaker Samantha Daniels.
Murder In the First (2014-2016). Nicole Ari Parker plays District Attorney Jacqueline Perez in this series, which follows one murder case per season, from arrest through trial.
Murder One (TV series).
My Two Dads (1987-1990). Florence Stanley is the judge who forces custody of a teenaged girl onto two bachelors who might be her father.
New Street Law (BBC, 2006-2007) A drama about two small Manchester (England) chambers, often finding themselves in competition. Joanna Roth plays a judge, Lara Cazalet plays barrister Annie Quick, Jayne Ashbourne plays solicitor Sally Benn.
North Square (BBC, 2000).
Night Court (TV series 1984-1992). Features Gail Strickland as defense attorney Sheila Gardner (first season), Markie Post as defense attorney Christine Sullivan.
Night Heat (1985-1991). Wendy Crewson played a prosecutor (1985).
NYPD Blue (TV series). Garcelle Beauvais as ADA Valerie Heywood (beginning in 2001).
One Life to Live (TV series). Nancy Barrett as ADA Debra Van Druden (1982).Nora Hanen, attorney played by Hillary B. Smith. Kourtenay Kardashian as lawyer Kassandra Kavanaugh, March 28, 2011.
Orleans (TV series 1997). Vanessa Bell Calloway as DA Rosalee Clark.
The Paper Chase (1978–1986). Picked up first by network tv and then Showtime. Covers the entire curriculum. Many female law students and some female professors.
Perry Mason (TV series, 1957-1966). Raymond Burr starred in this quintessential series as Perry Mason. Barbara Hale was his loyal secretary Della Street and William Hopper was P.I. Paul Drake. Based on the novels by attorney Erle Stanley Gardner.
- The Case of the Accosted Accountant. Dee Hartford plays corporate attorney Leslie Ross. Air date January 9, 1964.
The Case of the Corresponding Corpse. Lillian Bronson plays the judge. Air date September 20, 1958.
The Case of the Shattered Dream. Lillian Bronson returns as a judge. Air date January 3, 1959.
The Case of the Unsuitable Uncle. Paula Winslowe plays a night court judge. Air date November 8, 1962.
The Case of Constant Doyle. Bette Davis plays defense attorney Constant Doyle, defending a young man who knew her late husband Joe. Air date January 31, 1963.
Philly (2001-2002). Kim Delaney as Kathleen McGuire, a defense attorney.
The Practice (TV series). Features several female attorneys as defense lawyers, prosecutors and judges, including Lara Flynn Boyle, Camryn Manheim, Kelli Williams.
Proven Innocent (Fox, 2019–). Rachelle Lefevre plays Madeline Scott, the head of a law firm which takes on the cases of persons unjustly convicted, because Madeline herself spent ten years in prison for a crime she didn’t commit. Kelsey Grammer plays Gore Bellows, the prosecutor who put together the case against her. Jennifer Estlin plays Judge Cohen, Karen Woditsch plays Judge Boxer, Janet Ulrich Brooks plays Judge McGrath. Catherine Lidstone plays Isabel Sanchez, a new lawyer working in Gore Bellows’ office.
Public Prosecutor (TV series 1947). Anne Gwynne played the “prosecutor’s assistant.”
Queens Supreme (CBS, 2003–). New drama about city court judges. Cancelled after three episodes. Featured Annabella Sciorra and L. Scott Caldwell as judges (along with Oliver Platt and Robert Loggia).
Raising the Bar (TNT, TV series, 2008-2009). Gloria Reuben as attorney Rosalind Whitman and Jane Kaczmarek as Judge Trudy Kessler. Marc-Paul Gosselaar also starred.
Reasonable Doubts (TV series). Marlee Matlin is the DA, Mark Harmon the police officer who helps her investigate cases.
Reckless (CBS, 2013–). Anna Wood as Jamie Sawyer, a “gorgeous Yankee litigator” and a fish out of water in South Carolina, up against handsome, hunky attorney Roy Rayder (Cam Gigandet).
Related (WB, 2005-2006). Features two female attorneys, Ann and Ginnie Sorelli, and their sisters.
The Rockford Files (1974-1980). James Garner is the PI and Gretchen Corbett is his long suffering lawyer girlfriend in this popular series.
Rumpole of the Bailey (TV series). Includes various women barristers and solicitors, among them Phillida Erskine-Brown, who becomes a judge, and Liz Probert.
Samantha Who? (ABC, 2007-2009). Jennifer Esposito plays Andrea Belladonna, an attorney and best friend of Samantha Newly, the amnesiac Samantha of the title.
Scandal (ABC, 2012–). Shonda Rhimes (“Grey’s Anatomy”) created this series about a Washington DC “fixer” who handles political scandals for people (public figures and powerful private ones). Stars Kerry Washington as the “fixer,” attorney Olivia Pope, and Katie Lowes as newly hired attorney Quinn Perkins. (Washington played Chelina Hall on Boston Legal).
SeaChange (1998-2000). Australian series about a corporate lawyer who moves with her children to a small town and becomes the local judge.
Sex and the City (1998-2004). Miranda Hobbes (Cynthia Nixon) is an attorney on this groundbreaking series. Followed by two feature films (2008, 2010).
Shark (CBS, 2006-2008). James Woods plays A. D.A. Sebastian Shark, a former defense attorney. He works for Jessica Devlin, the Los Angeles D.A. (Jeri Ryan); on his team, Raina Troy (Sophina Brown).
Silk (BBC, 2010–). Maxine Peake as a barrister. Also starring Natalie Dormer.
Simon and Simon (CBS, 1981-1989). Gerald McRaney and Jameson Parker and brothers who own a detective agency. Jeannie Wilson (who plays Janet Fowler) is the attorney girlfriend of Jameson Parker (A.J. Simon) who eventually becomes an assistant D.A.
Sisters in Law (WE, 2016). Reality tv series about African American female attorneys in Houston, TX.
Soul Food (Showtime, 2000–). Based on the TV movie of the same name, this series features the adventures of three African American sisters, including a lawyer, Teri, played by Nicole Ari Parker.
Spiral. See Engrenages.
Storefront Lawyers (CBS, 1970-1971). See Men at Law.
Street Legal (1986-1994). Canadian tv series about young attorneys.
Street Legal (TV series, began 2000). Louise Wallace as Judge Adriana Saunders, Sonja Smits as criminal defense attorney Carrie Barr.
Suits (USA, tv series, 2011–). Gina Torres plays partner Jessica Pearson, who has to deal with (somewhat) loose cannon-y Harvey Spector (Gabriel Macht) and Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams). Rachel Zane (Meghan Markle) is a paralegal with attitude.
Sweet Justice (TV series 1994–1995). Melissa Gilbert and Cecily Tyson as partners in a small firm. A much underrated series.
To Have and To Hold (1998). This CBS drama featured Moira Kelly as Boston public defender Annie Cornell and Jason Beghe as her husband Sean McGrail, a police officer who usually arrests the folks Annie defends. It disappeared after 9 episodes.
Traders (Canadian TV series). Pamela Sinha as a lawyer.
Trust (BBC, 2003). Short lived series with Robson Green as a corporate lawyer. Sarah Parish plays Annie Naylor, a colleague and Eva Birthistle plays Maria Acklam, Green’s law clerk.
Toute la Vérité (Groupe TVA). This Canadian series, set in Quebec, follows the work of prosecutors, including Brigitte Desbiens (Hélène Florent), Dominique Lavergne (Maude Guérin), and Veronique Coté (Julie Le Breton).
UC Undercover (September 2001-March 2002). Vera Farmiga as “Alex Cross”, a former federal attorney.
Veep. (2012–) Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfuss) is Vice President, and eventually (in the third season) President of the United States. She is a Yale Law graduate.
The Walking Dead (AMC, 2010–). Laurie Holden plays Andrea Harrison, a civil rights attorney (2010-2013).
The Whole Truth (NBC, 2010).
Women’s Murder Club (2007-2008). Four women, including an assistant district attorney, work together to solve homicides. Paula Newsome plays ADA Claire Washburn.
Work With Me (TV series, September 29, 1999-October 20, 1999). Nancy Travis as an “alternative” lawyer and Kevin Pollack as her formerly employed corporate lawyer husband.
The Young and the Restless (CBS, ). Jessica Collins plays Avery Bailey Clark, an attorney on the show (began July 2011). Lauralee Bell plays Christine Blair, an attorney, on this show, and also played the character on The Bold and the Beautiful (CBS).
Young Lawyers (1970). Judy Pace is the obligatory female lawyer in this short lived series..
GUEST APPEARANCES. Female attorneys frequently appear as guest characters in series.
Almost Perfect (1995-1996). Various female attorneys slink through this comedy starring Nancy Travis as a Hollywood producer and Kevin Kilner as her attorney boyfriend.
The Big Bang Theory (CBS, 2007–).
The Irish Pub Formulation, aired October 28, 2010. Koothrappali’s sister, Priya, now a successful attorney, comes to visit and reasserts her attraction to Leonard.
The Cohabitation Formulation, aired February 17, 2011. Leonard and Priya begin dating again.
The Toast Derivation, aired February 24, 2011. Leonard and Priya continue seeing each other.
The Presdigitation Approximation, aired March 10, 2011. Friction mounts between Leonard and Priya when Priya disapproves of Leonard and Penny’s friendship.
The Zarnecki Incursion, aired March 31, 2011. Priya objects to Leonard’s childishness.
The Herb Garden Germination, aired April 7, 2011.
The Agreement Dissection, aired April 28, 2011. Priya’s lawyerly eye finds an exception in the “roommate agreement.”
The Wildebeest Implementation, aired May 5, 2011. Bernadette, Penny, and Amy try to explore the depths of Leonard and Priya’s relationship.
The Engagement Reaction, aired May 12, 2011. Priya and Penny bond over Leonard’s quirks as they wait for news of Howard’s mother’s health at the hospital.
The Roommate Transmogrification, aired May 19, 2011. Raj moves in with Sheldon after Leonard and Priya’s romance gets too imaginative.
The Infestation Hypothesis, aired September 22, 2011. Leonard and Priya try to keep their long-distance relationship going.
The Good Guy Fluctuation, aired October 27, 2011. Leonard tries to stay true to Priya.
Becker (Television series, 1998–). Episode: “Trials and Defibrillations”. Mariel Hemingway is the lawyer who defends Becker in a malpractice suit. JudyAnn Elder plays the presiding judge. This first of a two part episode ended the third season. First broadcast May 14, 2001. Episode: “Psychotherapy.” Judyann Elder and Mariel Hemingway return in this second of a two part episode. First broadcast October 1, 2001.
Brothers and Sisters (ABC, 2006–).
Episode, History repeating (2007). Eileen Barnett plays Judge Zisman.
Clueless (TV series): Cher fixes her father up with a lawyer turned successful author (Donna Pescow). “Fixing Up Daddy”, first broadcast January 3, 1997
The Cosby Show (TV series). “The Moves”. Clair goes up against her friend Bernadette (Mercedes Ruehl) over a day care center. First broadcast April 19, 1990.
Deadly Games (TV series, 1995). “The Divorce Lawyer”: Victoria Rowell guests as the lawyer. First broadcast November 13, 1995. This short-lived series starred Cynthia Gibb (Northern Exposure).
Dharma & Greg (TV series). Nancy Lenehan guests as lawyer Karen Love, Dharma’s opponent for a city council seat. Episodes: “See Dharma Run”, first broadcast February 10, 1999, “Run Dharma Run”, first broadcast February 17, 1999, and “See Dharma Run Amok”, first broadcast February 24, 1999, “I Think, Therefore I Am in Trouble,” broadcast March 19, 2002 (with Claudia Schiffer as Gretchen, a new lawyer in Greg’s office).
The District. Episode: “Faith”. Features guest star Jaclyn Smith as a civil rights attorney. First broadcast October 26, 2002.
Everybody Loves Raymond (TV series). Robert’s date Angela, an international trade lawyer, seems perfect–until Ray sees her eat a fly and Robert discovers she keeps dozens of frogs in her apartment. Episode: “She’s the One”, first broadcast November 18, 2002. Guest star: Elizabeth Bogush as Angela.
Family. Episode: Annie Laurie (broadcast 10/25/77). A female lawyer propositions Doug.
Family Ties. Episode: Read It and Weep. Julia Louis-Dreyfus guest stars as an attorney who helps Jennifer get permission to do a book report on a banned book, Huckleberry Finn.
Frasier (TV Series). Frasier has a brief affair with a successful corporate attorney, Samantha. “My Fair Frasier”, first broadcast November 25, 1997. Guest star: Lindsay Frost as Samantha Pierce. Continued on “Desperately Seeking Closure”, first broadcast December 9, 1997.Frasier hires a female attorney to defend him in a lawsuit brought by Donny, Daphne’s ex-fiance. “Legal Tender Love and Care”, first broadcast November 28, 2000. Guest star: Teri Polo as the attorney, Abby.
Futurama (TV series). Premise is of an alien race wishing to see the last episode of a series, “Single Female Lawyer.” “When Aliens Attack,” first broadcast November 7, 1999.
A Girl Thing (Miniseries). In one episode Elle MacPherson stars as an attorney.
Home Improvement (TV series).
Episode: “Ex Marks the Spot”. Tim and Al run into Tim’s high school girlfriend Stacy Lewis, now an attorney. First broadcast April 14, 1993.
How I Met Your Mother (CBS, )
Jenkins (broadcast January 18, 2010). Amanda Peet as Marshall’s female colleague, “Jenkins.” Lily refuses to believe that Jenkins is a woman.
Jake in Progress (TV series, ABC, 2005–).
Episode: “Ubusy”. Jake tries to formalize his relationship with an attorney girlfriend (Bridgette Wilson-Sampras).
Episode: Black Magic Woman. Deirdre Lovejoy guest stars as Laura’s lawyer.
Lie To Me (TV series, Fox, 2009–).
Episode: Better Half. Cal Lightman’s ex-wife, Zoe Landau, an Assistant U. S. Attorney (played by Jennifer Beals), asks Cal and his team to assist in the investigation of a suspected arson. First broadcast April 22, 2009.
The L Word (TV series, ). Episode: Lap Dance. Jane Lynch guest stars as Joyce Wischnia, a celebrated civil rights attorney who takes Tina’s case against Bette. First broadcast June 4, 2005.
Matlock (TV series).
In the two part episode The Trial Diana Muldaur is a judge. First broadcast February 19, 1991 and February 26, 1991.
The Mentalist (CBS TV Series (2008–).
Pink Chanel Suit, aired October 28, 2010. A female judge’s family is targeted.
Mom (CBS TV Series 2013–).
- Sword Fights and a Dominican Shortstop, aired November 3, 2016. Jennifer Taylor as an attorney who gives up the practice of law to work as a real estate agent at Jeanine (Rosie O’Donnell)’s real estate firm.
Monk (TV series, USA, 2002–). Monk is a former police officer with a lot of emotional and psychological hang-ups.
In the episode “Mr. Monk Meets Dale the Whale”, a female judge is murdered. First broadcast July 16, 2002.
In the episode “Mr. Monk Goes to the Carnival”, a female defense attorney appears briefly, defending the prime suspect in a murder. First broadcast August 2, 2002.
In the episode “Mr. Monk and the Missing Granny,” the woman who hires Monk to find her kidnapped grandmother is a law student. First broadcast February 6, 2004.
Moonlighting (TV series). In the episode “Shirts and Skins”, Joan Pringle plays a defense attorney, first broadcast January 17, 1989. In the episode “Take My Wife, Please”, Colleen Dewhurst has a guest starring role as a fierce divorce attorney who hires Maddie and David. First broadcast February 7, 1989.
Murder, She Wrote (TV series).
In the episode “Unwilling Witness”, Jessica is subpoenaed by an aggressive female U. S. attorney. First aired December 14, 1995.
My Wife and Kids (TV series). In the episode “Illegal Smile” (broadcast April 14, 2004), Michael (Daman Wayans) has an unnatural smile due to a botox injection, and incurs the wrath of a traffic court judge (Susan Pertz).
Ned and Stacey (TV series). Stacey hires a female attorney to handle her divorce. “Dorsey versus Dorsey,” first broadcast November 24, 1996. Guest star: Jacklyn O’Shaughnessy as Lela Cooper.
The Outer Limits (TV series).
Final Appeal. Kelly McGillis plays Nicole Whiteley, trying to appeal her client’s death sentence. Air date September 3, 2000.
I, Robot. Leonard Nimoy plays attorney Thurston Cutler who takes the case of a robot accused of killing its creator. Barbara Tyson is the DA. Air date July 23, 1995.
Tribunal. Lindsay Crouse plays a US Attorney. Air date May 14, 1999.
Person of Interest (TV Series, CBS, 2011–). Reece, a former CIA op (Jim Caviezel) helps Finch, a reclusive billionaire (Michael Emerson) use the Machine Finch invented to prevent crimes.
Pilot. Aired September 22, 2011. Natalie Zea plays ADA Diane Hansen, whom the Machine identifies as the target of unknown danger.
Judgment. Aired October 20, 2011. Zabryna Guevara plays prosecutor Monica Ramirez in an episode about a trial court judge targeted by the Eastern European mob.
Legacy. Aired January 19, 2012. April Hernandez-Castillo plays attorney Andrea Gutierrez, identified as a person of interest by the Machine.
Renegade. Episode: The Trial of Reno Raines. Nancy Everhard as a lawyer hired to defend Raines.
Raising the Bar (TNT, 2008-2009). Jane Kaczmarek played Judge Trudy Kessler, Gloria Reuben played a public defender and Melissa Sagemiller a D.A.
Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) (remake). Episode: Marshall and Snellgrove. Broadcast October 20, 2001. Jeff and Jeannie investigate threats on the life of a client. The client’s solicitor is female.
The Simpsons (Fox, –).
Jane Kaczmarek has provided the voice of Judge Constance Harm in seven episodes: Rome-oh and Juli-eh; On a Clear Day I Can’t See My Sister; The Wandering Juvie, Brake My Wife, Please, Barting Over, Brawl in the Family, and the Parent Rap.
Spin City (TV Series). Female attorney represents the mayor’s wife in divorce proceedings. “Paul Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” first broadcast September 24, 1997. Guest star: Paula Marshall as Laurie.
Star Trek (NBC, 1966-1969).
Court Martial. First aired February 2, 1967. Joan Marshall plays Areel Shaw, the attorney from the Judge Advocate General’s office who prosecutes Captain Kirk for “culpable homicide” in the deaht of Lt. Commander Ben Finney, an Enterprise crew member.
Taxi (TV series, ) Alex tries to reignite a romance with former girlfriend Diane, now an attorney. Episode: “Alex Gets Burned by an Old Flame”. First broadcast March 30, 1983.
Two and a Half Men (TV series, 2003–). Stars Charlie Sheen as Charlie Harper (until 2011), Jon Cryer as his brother Alan, Ashton Kutcher as Walden Schmidt (since 2011).
Episode: “No Sniffing, No Wowing.” Charlie becomes involved with Alan’s divorce attorney (Heather Locklear) and her paralegal. First broadcast May 14, 2004.
Episode: “Dum Diddy Dum Diddy Doo.” Alan fixes Charlie up on a blind date with a pretty judge, Linda Harris (Ming-Na). First broadcast October 8, 2007.
Episode: “City of Great Racks.” Charlie’s relationship with Linda intensifies. First broadcast October 15, 2007.
Episode: “Putting Swim Fins On a Cat.” Charlie babysits Linda’s son (played by Elijah Lee). First broadcast October 22, 2007.
Episode: “Help Daddy Find His Toenail.” Linda doesn’t want to be seen in public with Charlie. First broadcast October 29, 2007.
Episode: “A Fishbowl Full of Glass Eyes.” Walden meets Zoe (Sophie Winkleman), a British attorney now living in L. A. First broadcast November 21, 2011. Trivia: Winkleman is married to Lord Frederick Windsor, a distant cousin of Prince William of Wales.
Episode: “What a Lovely Landing Strip.” Walden tries to impress Zoe by taking her on a great date. First broadcast December 5, 2011.
Episode: “One False Move, Zimbabwe.” Walden makes plans to meet Zoe’s family. First broadcast December 12, 2011.
Episode: “Slowly and In a Circular Fashion.” Bridget tries to force Walden off the board of directors of his company. First broadcast January 2, 2012.
Episode: “A Possum on Chemo.” Zoe asks Walden to change his hairstyle and manner of dress. First broadcast January 16, 2012
Episode: “The Duchess of Dull-in-Sack.” Walden tries to overcome Zoe’s inhibitions in bed. First broadcast February 6, 2012.
Episode: “Sips, Sonnets, and Sodomy.” Valentine’s Day proves to be divisive for the two couples (Walden and Zoe, Alan and Lyndsey). First broadcast February 13, 2012.
Episode: “Not In My Mouth.” Walden tells Zoe he loves her, but she doesn’t respond. First broadcast February 20, 2012.
Episode: “Grandma’s Pie.” Zoe objects to Walden’s inclusion of Bridget as a business partner in his latest business. First broadcast April 9, 2012.
Episode: “Mr. Hose Says ‘Yes’.” Zoe and her daughter move in with Walden. First broadcast April 16, 2012.
Episode: “Why We Gave Up Women.” Alan has a heart attack, but Zoe has her doubts about his real physical condition. First broadcast April 30, 2012.
Episode: “The Straw In My Donut Hole.” Zoe believes Alan is exaggerating his physical ailments. First broadcast May 7, 2012.
Episode: “I Changed My Mind About the Milk.” Walden re-evaluates things after his marriage proposal to Zoe flops. First broadcast September 27, 2012.
Episode: “A Big Bag of Dog.” Walden misses Zoe. First broadcast October 4, 2012.
Episode: “Four Balls, Two Bats, and One Mitt.” Walden agrees to a threesome with Alan and Lyndsey, but he still misses Zoe. First broadcast October 11, 2012.
Episode: “That’s Not What They Call It In Amsterdam.” Walden has a new woman in his life: Rose. First broadcast October 25, 2012.
Episode: “Ferrets, Attack!” Zoe returns just as Rose makes her move. First broadcast November 1, 2012.
Note: Ming Na (who played Judge Linda Harris) also guest-starred on Boston Legal in the episode “Roe”, which aired November 10, 2008.
The X-Files (TV series).
Episode: “Tooms.” Female attorney represents Eugene Tooms at a parole hearing in “Tooms”, air date April 22, 1994.
Episode: “Kitsunegari.” Female attorney represents Robert Modell in “Kitsunegari”, air date January 4, 1998.
Walker, Texas Ranger (TV series, 1993-2001).
- Episode: “Special Witness.” Fredi Olster plays Judge Winters. First broadcast January 16, 1999.
- Episode: “Mind Games.” Fredi Olster plays Judge Winters. First broadcast May 8, 1999.
- Episode: “Wedding Bells, part 1.” Fredi Olster plays Judge Winters. First broadcast May 20, 2000.
- Episode: “Wedding Bells, part 2.” Fredi Olster plays Judge Winters. First broadcast May 20, 2000.
The West Wing (TV series). “College Kids”. Joanna Gleason plays Leo’s lawyer. First broadcast October 2, 2002.
Who’s the Boss? (TV series). Episode: “Car and Driver”. Sam and Jesse get into an accident. Molly Cheek plays the defense attorney. FIrst broadcast December 1, 1987.
Will & Grace (TV series, 1998-2006; 2017–).
- Episode: “Boardroom and a Parked Place.” Mr. Stein fires Sara, a long-time attorney. First broadcast Nov. 7, 2002.
- Episode: “Partners.” Margot evaluates several associates, including Will, for a partnership at the firm. First broadcast Jan. 13, 2005.
- Episode: “Forbidden Fruit.” Margot hires Grace to redecorate the law firm offices. First broadcast Jan. 19, 2006.
Page copyright 2010-2018 Christine A. Corcos
Some information provided by Arlene Olster.