Best Television Lawyers Ever, Ranked

These are our favorite TV lawyers ever put on the small screen.

By Rick Gonzales | Published

Best Television Lawyers Ever

If you are going to have a solid legal drama on television, you are going to need a solid lawyer; the two go hand in hand. Some TV lawyers find themselves on the right side of the law, while others like to play on the fringe. Regardless, as in real-life, lawyers are the necessary evil that can drive a television show to greatness or can sink it.

We have found seven of the best television lawyers ever. 

7. Ally McBeal - Ally McBeal

David E. Kelly created this funny legal comedy series that follows TV lawyer, Ally McBeal, a quirky and endearing lawyer whose professional and personal life find a hard time co-existing. Calista Flockhart plays McBeal, a young lawyer who joins the fictional Boston law firm of Cage & Fish. Although billed as a legal drama with McBeal more than holding her own in the courtroom, the series also focused heavily on the irreverent humor that always seemed to find Flockhart’s McBeal.

6. Jack McCoy - Law & Order

Sam Waterson is Jack “Hang ‘em High” McCoy, an immediate fan favorite in the long-running legal drama, Law & Order. As McCoy, Waterson plays him as a no-nonsense and determined district attorney who has no issue using ruthless tactics to ensure justice is properly served. His unorthodox approach in court has seen him dozens of times in contempt, but it also makes him one of the best TV lawyers ever.

5. Ben Matlock - Matlock

Haven’t you ever been told never to judge a book by its cover? This can be said of TV lawyer Matlock, played with folksy charm by Andy Griffith. While Matlock comes across as a gentle, easy-going lawyer, he is definitely a shrewd defense attorney that will do what needs to be done to make sure his client is set free. His charm makes him a fan favorite, but it is his wily maneuverings that make him one of the best TV lawyers.

4. Harvey Specter - Suits

Gabriel Macht fit perfectly in his TV lawyer “suit” as the suave and confident Harvey Specter. His portrayal brought him a dedicated fan base which also made him one of television’s most memorable attorneys. Specter’s “by chance” meeting with Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams) sets the series in motion when he decides to hire Ross, even knowing that Ross does not have a license to practice law. Keeping his secret is one of the more endearing Specter moves.

3. Perry Mason - Perry Mason

Perry Mason is the TV lawyer character that got it all started. Raymond Burr took on the role of Perry Mason in 1957 and for nine seasons and became the standard for what TV lawyers would become. Mason was a defense attorney and took on every client and every case like it was his last.

2. Alicia Florrick - The Good Wife

Julianna Margulies was a good wife until she no longer could be one. When her Cook County State Attorney husband gets caught in a sex scandal and sent to prison, Margulies’s Alicia Florrick must return to work to provide for her family. Florrick is a lawyer who must find her footing once again while dealing with the fallout that is her husband’s public infidelity. Margulies earned critical acclaim for her portrayal as one of TV’s favorite lawyers.

1. Saul Goodman - Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul

Our first introduction to the charismatic Saul Goodman came in the hit series Breaking Bad. His performance was so well-liked that he was given the keys to the car for the spin-off Better Call SaulBob Odenkirk is simply fantastic as Goodman, a man who finds his shady past as a con artist is hard to separate from. His moral decline is slow but riveting to watch. His courtroom battles with his older brother Chuck McGill (Michael McKean) are explosive, making Saul the best TV lawyer we’ve seen.