6 TV Lawyers That Fought For Justice

Thursday, December 22 by John Coon

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	One reason so many legal dramas turn into a hit <a href=TV series is that they offer a proven formula for winning audiences. These shows take a lawyer and use them as a vehicle for bringing justice to villains attempting to get away with the perfect crime. These six TV lawyers showed a particular knack for exposing the guilty and redeeming the innocent:

Perry Mason

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No one could break down a witness and force a confession that absolved his client quite like Raymond Burr did as classic TV icon "Perry Mason." Burr served as the prototype for later shows in his title role. Mason is the crafty lawyer aided by his vigilant secretary and private investigator in digging up the dirt to expose the real killers week after week.

Ben Matlock

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Andy Griffith gave a folksy spin on this character cloned from the "Perry Mason" formula. With "Matlock," senior citizen audiences are treated to a lawyer who strums the banjo, snacks on hot dogs and always manages to corner the real killer into a dramatic confession on the witness stand. It gives elderly TV viewers everywhere the hope that they can also be a crime-solving super-lawyer.

Jack McCoy

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Female assistant district attorneys came and left as often as the leaves changed colors on "Law and Order." But Jack McCoy, played by Sam Waterston, was a fixture in the court room in getting justice. McCoy's bulldog approach to hurdling obstacles from inadmissible evidence to potential witnesses turning up dead makes him more relentless than the Energizer Bunny in reaching his goal.

Bobby Connell

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Dylan McDermott provided a moral center for "The Practice" with his character who deals with inner demons when he is forced to make ethical compromises in defending his clients. Connell knew his clients were not always virtuous or innocent and deserving of being acquitted of the charges they faced. It resulted in a nervous breakdown and his exit from the show.

Harmon Rabb

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David James Elliott did more than help set the stage for the wildly popular "NCIS." As Harmon Rabb in "JAG," Elliott did whatever was necessary to bring military criminals to justice. If that meant straddling the line between a legal and illegal course of action, he was fine with doing it. All that mattered was winning the case.

Sebastian Stark

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One thing that sets Stark apart from his peers is his efforts to obtain justice at all costs. James Woods attacks the role of defense attorney turned prosecutor with relish and puts the teeth in "Shark" by using morally questionable methods to take down the villains of the story in each episode. Woods relishes playing characters that blur the lines between good and bad, but he gets results in the courtroom – both for the prosecution and the defense.

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