During its eight-year run on NBC from 1986 to 1994, L.A. Law showcased legal issues without tidying everything in a package for the audience. It was a more realistic way of looking at law practice, which can be messy, full of ambiguities, conflicts, and unresolved matters.
Archive for October, 2013
Of all guest stars or recurring characters on L.A. Law, perhaps none stand out more than direct mail king David Meyer (played by Dann Florek). Once married to Roxanne Melman (played by Susan Ruttan), secretary to Arnie Becker, Meyer is the firm’s court-appointed receiver in the fifth season episode Speak, Lawyers, For Me.
In the second season L.A. Law episode The Wizard of Odds, black overachiever Jonathan Rollins (played by Blair Underwood) interviews with McKenzie Brackman. Actually, Jonathan controls the interview from the outset, referencing powerful family friends, Ivy League accomplishments, and palpable confidence. He reasons that a smaller, prestigious firm like McKenzie Brackman can be more responsive to his personal needs.
The gorilla suit that Michael Kuzak wore to woo Grace Van Owen proved valuable in court. In the third season episode His Suit is Hirsute, Kuzak represents the plaintiff in the Hilbar vs. Bradley case. The plaintiff seeks damages caused by faulty installation of a heating system that blew up. He almost died.
L.A. Law pushed the boundaries of network television with dialogue. The writers employed their creativity to evade censors while maintaining script quality. For example, the premiere episode contains a scene with Arnie Becker and a private investigator discussing the P.I.’s photographs of Barry Graham (played by John McCook), the soon-to-be-ex-husband of Arnie’s client, Lydia Graham (played by Shannon Wilcox).
An attempt to list all of the outstanding moments, accomplishments, and cases in L.A. Law would not do it justice (pun intended). But a few, select pieces evidence a television show consisting of multi-layered characters, compelling story lines, and crisp writing.