25 Best Courtroom Dramas

What are the elements of a great courtroom drama? A case that's more complicated than it appears, lawyers who grapple with moral quandaries, witnesses who offer surprises in their testimony, a connection to suspenseful events outside the courtroom and (just maybe) Matthew McConaughey.

McConaughey gave up pre-law college studies to pursue acting, but he's made up for it by playing trial lawyers in such movies as 'A Time to Kill,' 'Amistad,' and now 'The Lincoln Lawyer.' In this new film, based on the character created by author Michael Connelly, McConaughey plays Mickey Haller, a slick Los Angeles defense attorney whose office is the back of his sedan. His latest case, defending a playboy (Ryan Phillippe) accused of attempted murder, presents Mickey with some unexpected twists and moral dilemmas.

It's no wonder that McConaughey is drawn to such dramas. The courtroom is an inherently dramatic stage, where conflict is built into the proceedings, where everyone has a part to play but none of them knows what the outcome will be, and where life-and-death issues are distilled into individual, personal stories.

Prompted by the release of 'Lincoln Lawyer,' we've compiled a list of the greatest courtroom dramas of all time. See if you think 'Lincoln Lawyer' will ultimately merit a place on this list, and let us know if we've left out any of your favorites.
categories Top 25, Features