Steven Bochco, best known for creating one of the most groundbreaking network shows ever with Hill Street Blues, also co-created L.A. Law for NBC which ran for eight seasons and earned 15 Emmy awards. The series followed ambitious senior lawyers and junior staff at Los Angeles-based firm McKenzie Brackman Chaney & Kuzak who pursue legal careers.
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Dysart first made his mark off-Broadway in plays like All In Good Time, The Little Foxes, and A Place Without Doors, later winning a Drama Desk Award for his portrayal of Coach in That Championship Season. Dysart was well known to television audiences throughout his career, appearing in such movies as the thriller The Thing as well as Clint Eastwood’s Pale Rider and Hal Ashby’s Being There.
Character actor Charles Christopher Dysart had a soothing manner that earned him widespread acclaim throughout his long acting career in theater, film, and TV from the mid-1950s up until his passing at age 86 on Sunday in Santa Monica – leaving behind artist Kathryn Jacobi Dysart who survived him as his partner.
Dysart had long battled cancer. He is best remembered for playing Leland McKenzie, the cranky senior partner in NBC legal drama L.A. Law from 1986-1994 – for which he earned four consecutive Emmy Award nominations and eventually won one in 1992. Other cast members on that show included Harry Hamlin, Corbin Bernsen, Jill Eikenberry, and Susan Dey. Steven Bochco created it.
Corbin Bernsen will reprise his signature role of divorce attorney Arnie Becker for ABC’s L.A. Law sequel series pilot, according to TheWrap. The original legal drama ran on NBC from 1986-1994 and tackled subjects including racism, homophobia, gay rights, abortion, and capital punishment – ultimately winning 15 Emmy Awards.
Bernsen will reunite with Blair Underwood (Jonathan Rollins on the original show). In this updated storyline, McKenzie Brackman law firm will work on more controversial cases than its regular legal work and depict former Lothario Becker as someone who hasn’t changed much since 1980 but struggles to navigate today’s changing social and political environment.
Bernsen has continued his involvement in the industry after leaving The Office, winning a Drama-Logue Award for his off-Broadway production of Lone Star and serving as a regular on the daytime drama Ryan’s Hope for two years. Bernsen wrote, produced, and directed several films through the Home Theater Films production company, known for their extensive snow globe collection.
Susan Dey is an American actress best known for her roles in The Partridge Family, L.A. Law, and former model. Born December 10, 1952, to Ruth Pyle Dey and Robert Smith Dey, Dey initially started modeling before landing her first acting role on The Partridge Family; since then, she has appeared in over 50 movies and television shows.
Dey quickly earned fans’ love in her role as Laurie Partridge for her beauty and charm; her acting talent allowed her to shine on screen. Following The Partridge Family, Dey starred in L.A. Law from 1986 until 1992.
NBC gave Bochco’s series the prime Thursday 10 PM time slot it shared with Hill Street Blues; both proved critically and commercially successful, garnering multiple Emmy awards during their runs.
The show reflected its time’s social and cultural ideals and became an influential legal and police drama. Dey, Corbin Bernsen, and Blair Underwood made memorable characters.
Harry Hamlin made headlines as part of the original cast for L.A. Law, one of television’s biggest legal dramas of the 1980s, where he won an Emmy award as Leland McKenzie – his role earned him several other Emmy nominations and award wins; later, he appeared on other shows like Ink and Veronica Mars as well as many film credits and modeling opportunities.
Steven Bochco and Terry Louise Fisher’s series was well-known for its strong ensemble cast, multiple storylines, exploration of office politics, and reflecting social beliefs of its time. Running for eight seasons before concluding in 1994, it returned with a reunion movie in 2002.
Alan Rachins played Managing Partner Douglas Brackman, providing comic relief in a show that often focused on serious legal matters. Additionally, Alan has appeared in films such as 1981’s Clash Of The Titans and hosted various talk shows; most notably with Lisa Rinna, who appeared alongside them both in Harry Loves Lisa reality series in 2010.
Jimmy Smits first gained widespread acclaim as attorney Victor Sifuentes on L.A. Law. His fan-favorite character quickly won him an Emmy nomination in 1990. Additionally, he appeared in the gritty police drama N.Y.P.D Blue and cultivated an image as a Latino heartthrob, later appearing in Old Gringo; however, it failed to attract broad audiences.
Smits’ career flourished further following his departure from L.A. Law in season six. He appeared in popular TV shows such as The West Wing and Sons of Anarchy before playing Bail Organa in two Star Wars movies (Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith).
Steven Bochco and Terry Louise Fisher created this iconic television series, which became one of the most critically acclaimed shows ever shown on television. It often reflected social and cultural beliefs at the time of broadcast. Furthermore, its ensemble cast and parallel storylines made this show uniquely appealing.
Jill Eikenberry is best known for her role as Ann Kelsey on the NBC series L.A. Law, for which she earned four Emmy nominations and one Golden Globe Award. Additionally, she appeared in several TV movies, such as An Inconvenient Woman and Chantilly Lace, and theater productions by Lanford Wilson, such as Lemon Sky and Life Under Water, which garnered her Obie Awards.
Jennifer Tucker married actor Michael Tucker (Attorney Stuart Markowitz from the NBC series), becoming known as “The Tuckerberries.” They continued acting together on stage and television shows – including performing in repertory at Washington Arena Stage – and several TV movies such as Assault and Matrimony, A Town Torn Apart, and Gone in a Heartbeat.
Eikenberry produced an hour-long documentary for NBC that examined the emotional aspects of breast cancer and continued educating and informing the public about prevention and research efforts for it. She has also become an activist fighting HIV/AIDS.
Drake won two Emmy Awards for portraying Benny Stulwicz on L.A. Law from 1987 to 1994. He also appeared on Hardcastle and McCormick, Hunter Tales From the Crypt, Boston Legal Crossing Jordan 7th Heaven, and more television series.
ABC has given ABC Studios’ revival of iconic legal drama Dallas a pilot order, with Blair Underwood set to reprise her role of Jonathan Rollins. Written by former attorney turned television writer Marc Guggenheim (The People vs. OJ Simpson) and co-creator Ubah Mohamed (Legends of Tomorrow), the new series should begin airing next year.
At its original run, this show won 15 Emmy Awards over eight seasons, with Richard Dysart, Corbin Bernsen, Susan Dey, Harry Hamlin, Jimmy Smits, and Jill Eikenberry serving as cast members. Known for its high-stakes cases and unique cast dynamics – making it a highly-rated drama from the 1980s and ’90s – its revival is part of ABC’s more significant push to restore previously canceled shows.
Blair Underwood, an accomplished television and film actor, is best known for portraying Attorney Jonathan Rollins on L.A. Law from 1986 to 1994. Underwood made his acting debut with Krush Groove in 1985 before appearing in numerous small-screen series and two movies (Cause and Set It Off).
Underwood has also distinguished himself in other projects outside L.A. Law, such as Downtown and numerous TV guest appearances. Additionally, he has appeared in films like Scarecrow & Mrs King and 21 Jump Street.
Corbin Bernsen and Blair Underwood are the only original L.A. Law cast actors who signed up for its reboot. They play their respective roles: Bernsen as Arnie Becker (played by Bernsen) and Underwood as Rollins. The new series will focus on McKenzie Brackman law firm taking on high-profile cases that challenge legal and social norms, with several former cast members making guest star appearances.