A Lawyer's Guide to Fall TV: The Verdict on 3 New Legal Dramas

By William Peacock, Esq. on September 08, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

History is littered with the carcasses of legal dramas -- good ones, like "Boston Legal" and "Ally McBeal," and bad ones, like "Harry's Law" or "Law and Order: Cancun" (kidding ... or am I?). This fall, unsurprisingly, there will be a ton of new shows botching the law on primetime. Thankfully, some (anyone remember "Rake"?) have already been cancelled.

So what's left? These are the new shows on the block, the proverbial 1Ls that haven't dropped out yet. Maybe they will get cancelled within a few episodes, or maybe, despite enduring mediocrity, they'll last forever (like "Grey's Anatomy").

Here's our take on three legal TV shows for Fall 2014:

1. "How to Get Away With Murder" (ABC).

Premise: According to IMDB, it's a "sexy, suspense-driven legal thriller about a group of ambitious law students and their brilliant, mysterious criminal defense professor." They become entangled in a murder plot or something like that.

Reason to watch: It's a Shondaland production! Shonda Rhimes is not related to either Busta or LeAnn, but is the producer of both "Grey's Anatomy" and "Scandal." All three shows are scheduled to air back-to-back-to-back, giving ABC an all-Shondaland Thursday-night lineup. We're hoping that this is more "Grey's" or "Scandal" than that other Rhimes production, "Private Practice" -- though even that abomination somehow managed to last six seasons.

Odds of Cancellation: Slim to none. Shondaland is a machine for ABC, droppin' dramas that won't be remembered by history as anything more than mediocre television, but do, somehow, gain a long-lasting audience. Here's a trailer for the new show:

2. "Bad Judge" (NBC).

Premise: Rebecca Wright is a tough and respected Los Angeles Criminal Court judge, whose conduct off the bench is simply naughty. Alas, an 8-year-old boy whose parents were jailed by Judge Wright may change all that. Fun fact: Judge Wright (props for the obvious, ironic name choice) is played by Kate Walsh, giving us yet another "Grey's Anatomy" connection.

Reason to watch: Kate Walsh. She's a fine actress, despite her role as the epicenter of that miserable "Private Practice" spin-off of "Grey's Anatomy." Also of note: Will Ferrell and Adam McKay are producing "Bad Judge."

Odds of Cancellation: Slim. With star power behind and in front of the camera, this seems like it'll stick for at least a few seasons.

3. "Reckless" (CBS).

Premise: It's directed by somebody from "Twilight." It stars a guy from "Twilight." And it has something to do with a litigator and a city attorney and their dirty, naughty sexual tension -- tension which must, of course, be suppressed because there is some police sex scandal that "threatens to tear the city apart."

Reason to watch: There isn't one. Reviews on Rotten Tomatoes for the show, which has already broadcast a handful of episodes, are "meh," and did we mention the "Twilight" connection?

Odds of cancellation: High. We'll set the cancellation countdown at another few months or so.

What are your thoughts on these (and other) legal TV shows? Let us know via Twitter (@FindLawLP) or Facebook (FindLaw for Legal Professionals).

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