Reagan. Martha Quinn. McKenzie, Brackman, Chaney & Kuzak.
Forever etched in minds as icons of the 1980s, “L.A. Law” took the me-first attitude of the decade — added a little California sun and sex — and gave viewers a reason to brush up on their legalese.
While the firm’s cases touched on many topical issues — gay rights, discrimination and equal rights for women, among them — the heart of the show rested with the personal lives of the attorneys and, especially, onscreen couple Harry Hamlin and Susan Dey.
Whether it was Hamlin courting Dey in a gorilla suit or Michael Tucker teaching wife Jill Eikenberry the famed Venus Butterfly sexual maneuver, the show was much more about love — both budding and already broken — than courtroom dynamics.
Divorce attorney Corbin Bernsen, playing one of the brokenhearted, tried to bed just about anyone with legs that walked in the office while later in the series, Amanda Donohoe was one of the first lesbian characters on a primetime drama.
“We really sort of plugged into that general perception that lawyers and politicians are the absolutely lowest members of the food chain,” says series co-creator Steven Bochco. “It was in that environment and that kind of humor that we were able to elevate a few of our lawyers to heroic status.”
Bochco, who co-created the show with Terry Louise Fisher and then handed off the reins to David E. Kelley after the third season, says the cast was a very tight-knit group.
“It was the nicest group of people I’ve ever worked with. Everybody was really an adult and whatever conflicts they had never spilled into the work arena.”