Over twenty five years on, the series still looks good - interesting court cases, plenty of romance, lots of humour. Dated at all? Surprisingly little, despite a few rather alarming hairstyles and obvious wigs. Only gradually realized is the absence of cellphones and computers - these major technical advances we have since perhaps taken for granted.
Welcome here a feature length pilot and twenty one further episodes. Featured are the trials and tribulations of a high-powered legal firm mainly catering for the very rich. At its heart is excellent Richard Dysart as founder Leland McKenzie - he a calming influence when tempers rise (which often they do), words of wisdom tactfully offered to those in need.
When first aired, the sizzling relationship between Kuzak and Grace attracted much attention (Harry Hamlin declared the sexiest man alive, a claim which puzzles). Nowadays it may be the imput of Victor (Jimmy Smits) which impresses more, he the champion of those those without money to buy justice. Divorce lawyer Arnie's obsession with sex may once have amused but now seems tacky. Still very funny is Alan Rachins as Douglas Brackman. A humourless stickler for detail (especially when the firm's finances are involved), he is soon to have his private life hilariously in turmoil.
Highlights for many will be the court cases. Issues tackled include euthanasia, capital punishment, racism and rape. Success is by no means guaranteed, at least three times the outcome truly shocking.
The past few evenings have been greatly enjoyed, the show in so many ways as good as remembered.
We have spent all of this time waiting for the release of this great series on DVD, yet it contains no extras. Let's hope forthcoming releases will have these. The transfer quality is ok, but nothing to rave about. Some discs appear to have minor tech problems in that it returns you to the sub-menu, even though you have selected to view all episodes in sequence.
Back in February 1987, ITV started to screen the first series of a new US legal drama LA LAW. Screening at 9pm every Thursday through until July, LA LAW quickly became a ratings hit. Previous courtroom drama on ITV had been provided by John Mortimer's Rumpole of the Bailey. LA LAW was something different. This first series introduced us to the characters played by Harry Hamlin (Michael Kuzak), Jimmy Smits (Victor Sifuentes), Susan Dey (Grace Van Owen), Jill Eikenberry (Ann Kelsey), Richard Dysart (Leland McKenzie) and Corbin Bernsen (Arnie Becker) among others. This UK release of LA LAW is a worldwide first. Fans in the US have been waiting for a long time for a release there without success. Episodes on this set - 1 Pilot (10 February 1987) 2 Those Lips, That Eye (12 February 1987) 3 The House of the Rising Flan (19 February 1987) 4 The Princess and the Wiener King (26 February 1987) 5 Simian Chanted Evening (5 March 1987) 6 Slum Enchanted Evening (12 March 1987) 7 Raiders of the Lost Bark (19 March 1987) 8 Gibbon Take (26 March 1987) 9 The Venus Butterfly (2 April 1987) 10 Fry Me to the Moon (9 April 1987) 11 El Sid (16 April 1987) 12 Sidney, the Dead-Nosed Reindeer (23 April 1987) 13 Prince Kuzak in a Can (30 April 1987) 14 The Douglas Fur Ball (7 May 1987) 15 December Bribe (14 May 1987) 16 Beef Jerky (21 May 1987) 17 Becker on the Rox (28 May 1987) 18 Fifty Ways to Floss Your Lover (4 June 1987) 19 The Grace of Wrath (18 June 1987) 20 Sparky Brackman RIP ?-1987 (25 June 1987) 21 Oy Vey! Wilderness! (2 July 1987) 22 Pigmalion (9 July 1987)
Lets hope that this long overdue release is the first to come of the whole series.
I tottally agree with all those people who have written, a fan or not this show has been entertaining , an absolute must have . For those fans of Kuzak and Van Owen it is worth getting LA LAW THE MOVIE too as this brings a twist ..... Which i will not spoil. However this is only on Region1 .
If you loved watching LA Law every Thursday back in the late 80s to early 90s and have missed seeing decent quality television then this is for you. Relive the on/of romance between Grace Van Owen and Michael Kuzak, who can forget the moment in tv history when Mickey dressed as an ape stopped Grace's wedding and whisked her away to a more exciting life. Relive the pilot that introduced the characters we all know and love of Mckenzie Brackman, Kuzak and the late Cheney who died in his office chair, Arnie Becker who slept with every woman known to man sometime's his own clients and his faithfull and loyal secretary Roxanne who loved him. See Grace Van Own get shot by a youth who is annoyed that is homey was sentenced to death and the amazing portrayl by Susan Dey who showed us the aftermath of that event. This show is for anyone who wants to go back to watch drama instead of endless reality shows we have now.
Ah, the 1980's. The suits. The shoulder pads. The days when American shows ran for fifty minutes plus the adverts. And when ITV and the BBC would show quality import dramas on their main terrestrial channels in primetime. Not that ITV had more than one channel of any kind back then. But you know what I mean.
Producer Steven Bochco was riding high on the success of Hill Street Blues. Which had ushered in a whole new era of tv drama by telling realistic stories, shooting the show to make it look that way, and making it character focused with a large cast of endearing individals. The show told stories that were as much about them as they were about the crimes of the week.
Having done that for Cop Shows, he then moved to legal shows. With L.A. Law. A staple of ITV at 9pm on a Thursday night for quite some time [although they dropped it with two season to go, as their perception of 'mainstream' tv changed] and whilst it was never quite as acclaimed as Hill Street Blues - or as it might have been if it had come first - it's still fondly remembered by many.
Telling stories about the Lawyers at Los Angeles based McKenzie, Brackman, Chaney and Kuzak, the show had a big cast, ranging from paternal and wise old partner Leland McKenzie [Richard Dysart] to ladies man divorce lawyer Arnold Becker [Corbin Bernsen] and potentially naïve new associate single mom lawyer Abby Perkins [Michelle Greene], the show's main focus was on Lawyer Micheal Kuzak [Harry Hamlin] and his romance with prosecutor Grace Van Owen [Susan Dey]. But the breakout star, in one of his earliest roles, was Jimmy Smits as new associate Victor Sifuentes.
The show did repeat all that Hill St had done, in making us care about the characters - even Arnie when he could be a real pig - and telling stories than centred round them, and also doing cases of the week. With the same kind of occasional black humour that Hill St Managed so well it worked. And it was great entertainment for a Thursday night.
The dvd contains the double length pilot episode, plus the twenty single episodes that followed it to make up the first season. The single episodes all run for fifty minutes, the pilot double that length. The season is spread over a total of six discs.
There are no extras.
There are no subtitles.
Thus the only language option is English.
The picture hasn't been restored, by the looks, so the quality of it could be better. And perhaps the same goes for the sound. But it's perfectly watchable. Thus this set gets five stars purely for the fond nostalgia value and the chance to see it all again. If you haven't, give it a try. It's still quality drama.