I’ve recently watched a couple of legal dramas that I found interesting, so I thought I would share my thoughts on them.
Synopsis from teh internets
Beautiful Charleston litigator Jamie Sawyer uses her Chicago street smarts in the Old South atmosphere of South Carolina, especially with her handsome courtroom rival, City Attorney Roy Rayder — with whom she shares a strong mutual attraction. When disgraced Officer Lee Anne Marcus hires Jamie to represent her in a lawsuit against the police department, Jamie and Roy discover a sinister sex scandal that threatens to tear the city apart. Jamie and Roy hide the tension between them as they spar in court — and out. Dark secrets remain hidden behind closed doors, threatening to destroy the town’s genteel facade.
What I enjoyed about this series was that both sides had some of the answers, and both sides thought they were right, and for good reason. Often legal dramas show lawyers just being general jerks without an explanation of why they had to legally and ethically behave the way that they did. There are certain rules for what a Prosecutor verses a Defense attorney is legally obligated to turn over and what they don’t have to turn over to the other side. Additionally, most cases have either side sussing out the issues so that there isn’t much surprise in court. Here, both attorneys are smart, both of them are doing their jobs well, and both of them think they have some of it right, and they both do. They also figure out most of the issues before going to court (though there are a couple Perry Mason moments that made me roll my eyes). So from a legal aspect I enjoyed how the show played out.
It doesn’t hurt that the two main characters were really good looking and had the hots for each other. The spiceyness of the series was played perfectly. I also really liked that Jamie was a Chicago street smart attorney whose background explained her character’s reactions to things. I enjoyed this show so much, I had only a few quibbles. Now, I don’t know exactly how the Charleston city legal department is set up, but I don’t think any sizable town has ONE city attorney. Plus, if it was a smaller town and there was ONE city attorney he or she would be so busy at traffic court they wouldn’t be able to try bigger cases, and if they did have time to try bigger cases for the city, there is no way they could then have a private practice as well. It is the Abby Sciuto Syndrome, where one person does a dozen people’s job on the show, in real life that is not how it works. Secondly, I don’t know where it says that lawyers who have cases against each other can’t date. There is a side of things that is missed in most legal dramas where the courtroom is a stage and behind the scenes most of the actors/lawyers are friendly with each other. Clients come and go, but in small towns, legal departments, or areas of law, the opposing lawyers remain the same. It’s often imperative to maintain a civil relationship with them in order to get what you want for your client.
Reckless is an interesting legal drama that is available in Netflix for a fun week of binge watching a one season show. The mini legal dramas each episode keep up the fun while the over all legal case for the first (and only) season was intense and had some interesting twists.
Synopsis from IMDB
A hard-living, sexually unapologetic woman who plays with the law, and whose life on the edge is constantly in balance as she also happens to be a judge in the Criminal Court system.
Rebecca is a glorious mess. She is both a super intelligent adult who rightly judges people under the law and also a super messy can’t leave college behind girl who can’t give up her hideous van or cut-off denim shorts. I love her like I love Mindy from The Mindy Project. Women who are unapolegetically chaotic. I always feel I have to have everything in order or the world will end. But life is rarely in order and it hasn’t ended yet. So, Rebecca and Mindy remind me that I don’t have to be perfect, because I will fail if I try, but I should try to be happy, because that is something I can achieve.
Executive Producer Adam McKay explains: “Rebecca kind of has one foot in each side of life. Like there is part of her that is still her college girl, partying, getting in to trouble. Then there is another side of her that is very grown up and is a judge and occasionally surprises you by doing the right thing.”
What is really amazing is that the legal aspect of this comedy is more right on than a lot of legal dramas I’ve seen. So, I found that refreshing. While Rebecca seems to take a Judge Judy way of handing out sentencing, I’m not sure what she does is always available to her under the law and the counts brought before her, a lot of it is pretty spot on. One quibble is the court reporter’s relationship to the judge and bailiff. Most court reporters are actually hired through a court reporting agency and have no real relationship to the judges or the court other than as people they see all the time and work with. So, I found that a tad strange, but hey it’s California, maybe that explains the difference.
One really odd thing is that Ryan Hansen (Dick from Veronica Mars) shows up as a well rounded psychologist who has his life more together than Rebecca does. It is mind boggling and he does a great job as the character. Check it out on IMDB where they host full episodes of the show via Hulu.