Sitcoms and many other television shows are very common and popular all across the country today. Most of these shows feature recurring characters in common environments that most people can relate with e.g. our homes, churches and workplace. Most of these shows originated in radio and with time were adapted by the televisions where they are now almost exclusively found. Today, television shows have become one of the most dominant narrative art forms in the industry. Among some of the most common television shows today are legal dramas that are usually based on crime and civil litigation. One common feature between the series 'Good Wife' that is currently being aired on CBS, 'The D.A' that was aired in the early 70s, and 'Law and Order' is that they are all investigative legal dramas that revolve around crime and criminal defense.
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The 'Good Wife' was created by Robert King and Michelle King. The second season is currently airing on CBS and it stars Julianne Margulies, Josh Charles, Archie Panjabi, Christine Baranski, Alan Cumming, Mackenzie Vega, Graham Phillips, and Matt Czuchry. Some of the recurring cast that features in the show includes Chris Noth, Mary Beth Peil, Titus Welliver and Michael Ealy. The character development in the show is great even though the show is not centered on the main character Alicia Florrick as a wife but majorly as an attorney together with her working environment. A home environment and family life which is overshadowed by her work, focuses more on her struggles with her husband Peter, and his political life and ambitions. The husband who is a former Cook County State's attorney has been involved in public sex scandal and jailed for corruption and abuse of state office allegations (King & King 1). This forces her to make a lot of sacrifices for the sake of her children.
That being said, the production team of the show must be hugely commended for the incredible work they did on the show. The drama scenes are well written and organized, flowing in a way that makes it very easy for the viewers to follow, enjoy and relate with the show. One is able to grow with the show just like many others great legal drama shows that have been aired on CBS, as it builds up to a point that you find yourself hooked up to your television sets. Watching the show, one can definitely have the feeling that it was inspired by some of the common prominent American political sex scandals, particularly that of Bill Clinton who was romantically involved with Monica Lewinsky. In spite of the allegations, Bill's wife, Hillary Clinton who was also a lawyer stuck by her husband just like Alicia did in the show.
Similarly, The D.A was also a legal drama series that aired on NBC too. The show starred Robert Conrad as the Deputy District Attorney, criminal investigator Bob Ramirez, the chief deputy district attorney Stafford and the Public Defender Katherine Benson Miller. The D.A just like The Good Wife is more centered on legal practice and court procedures with little day to day social issues that people deal with. It was produced by Robert Forward. The show's owes its little success to its weak character development as well as its less organized and a not so flowing storyline that does not manage to capture the interests of its viewers. The shows rating is regarded as one of the worst ever televised by NBC in America. For this reason the show was cancelled in mid-season just as many NBC affiliates refused to air it. It was then replaced by the popular Sanford and Son that emerged to be highly successful at that moment.
Law and order on its part, was created by Dick Wolf and was aired on NBC too in the 1990s. It has combined both the police investigative and legal practice themes to come up with a concept that represents a relatively optimistic picture of the criminal justice system in the United States of America. It has been used to depict the issues people are dealing with more candidly by investigating common occurrences and focusing on stories that were based on real cases making headlines. The music used in the show was also deliberately chosen to march the style of the show as well as the different moods that arise inspired by murder and conviction scenes.
The show starred detectives George Dzundza and Chris North, as well as Mike Logan and Max Greevey who played the roles of surgeants. Every episode of the show briefly began with the normal everyday life then followed by the discovery of a crime, which in most cases was murder. Through a legal investigative process, suspects would be narrowed down until the main one was found as it ends. The show ran for two decades with the last episode being aired in May 2010. Due to its informative as well as entertaining nature, and its well organized storyline that's very captivating, the show ratings was very high with an average of 10 million viewers watching every season.
All these shows can be appreciated for acting as a mirror to our societies. They highlight some of the struggles most people in America are dealing. They have impacted on our social and political ways of life, exposing some of the social ills that are common in America. They equip their viewers with the information necessary to make major political decision and how to go about acquiring legal services. They can be seen to represent important trends within the television industry in the way the stories are created reflecting the ways of life in the different eras that they were made.