- Legal drama
A legal drama is a work of dramatic fiction about crime and civil litigation. Subtypes of legal dramas include courtroom dramas and legal thrillers, and come in all forms, including novels, television shows, and films. Legal drama sometimes overlap with crime drama, most notably in the case of Law & Order. Most crime drama focus on crime investigation and does not feature the court room.
It is widely believed by most practicing lawyers that legal dramas result in the general public having misconceptions about the legal process. Many of these misconceptions result from the desire to create an interesting story. For example, conflict between parties make for an interesting story, which is why legal dramas emphasize the trial and ignore the fact that the vast majority of civil and criminal cases in the United States are settled out of court. Legal dramas also focus on situations where there is an obvious injustice or ones in which either the plaintiff or defendant is very interesting and unusual. As a result, things such as the insanity defense occur far more often in legal drama than in real life. Finally, legal dramas often focus on areas of the legal process which can be portrayed dramatically, such as oral arguments, and ignore areas which are less easily portrayed, such as researching a written legal brief.
- Crime comics
- Crime fiction
- Detective fiction
- List of police television dramas
- Police procedural
- Trial movies
Television legal dramas
There have been successful legal dramas both serious and comedic. Notable examples of serious legal dramas that deal with the difficulties and the dark side of the law are The Practice and Law & Order. These shows often deal with the morals of dealing with people such as murderers, rapists, con artists, amoral lawyers, insane people, etc. and the difficulty of defending innocents found in situations where spectators and the public find the person to be dishonorable and cruel but in actuality were innocent people who were in the wrong situation at the wrong time. While there are comedic legal dramas that usually deal less with murder cases and more on cases that deal with issues such as divorce, sex, cheating and accidents portrayed in a comedic fashion. Notable examples of this type of legal drama are Ally McBeal and Boston Legal.
There are rarely any legal dramas on television that are outside of courtroom that doesn't focus on the battle between two opposing sides through litigation. Although in reality more often than not most lawsuits are usually resolved through a settlement before ever going to court. However Damages and occasionally The Good Wife do.
- Television shows that fall into this category
- Films that fall into this category
- Bergman, Paul; Asimow, Michael. (2006) Reel justice: the courtroom goes to the movies (Kansas City : Andrews and McMeel). ISBN 0740754602; ISBN 978-0740754609; ISBN 0836210352; ISBN 978-0836210354.
- Machura, Stefan and Robson, Peter, eds. Law and Film: Representing Law in Movies (Cambridge: Blackwell Publishing, 2001). ISBN 0631228160, ISBN 9780631228165 176 pages.
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