L.A. Law (1986–1994)
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Pilot episode for the TV series introduces the lawyers and employees of McKenzie, Brackman, Chaney and Kuzak, a Los Angeles law firm, in dealing with their courtroom cases and personal ... See full summary »


Gregory Hoblit


Steven Bochco (created by), Terry Louise Fisher (created by) | 2 more credits »




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Harry Hamlin ... Michael Kuzak
Corbin Bernsen ... Arnie Becker
Jill Eikenberry ... Ann Kelsey
Alan Rachins ... Douglas Brackman, Jr.
Michele Greene ... Abby Perkins
Jimmy Smits ... Victor Sifuentes
Michael Tucker ... Stuart Markowitz
Susan Ruttan ... Roxanne Melman
Richard Dysart ... Leland McKenzie
Alfre Woodard ... Adrianne Moore
Joe Pantoliano ... Ralph Cavanaugh
Shannon Wilcox ... Lydia Graham
Tom O'Brien ... Justin Pregerson
Juanin Clay ... Judge Alice Ratakowsky
Robert Knepper ... George 'Georgia' Buckner (as Rob Knepper)


Pilot episode for the TV series introduces the lawyers and employees of McKenzie, Brackman, Chaney and Kuzak, a Los Angeles law firm, in dealing with their courtroom cases and personal matters out of the courthouse. While the entire office deals with the unexpected death of one of the founding senior partners, Norman Chaney, junior partner Michael Kuzak reluctantly takes on the defense of a wealthy and spoiled young man, accused with two friends, of raping a woman dying from leukemia. While intern Abby Perkins deals with her abusive alcoholic husband, divorce lawyer Arnie Becker takes advantage of his latest client caught up in her divorce. Public defender Victor Sifuentes is also offered to join the firm, while the ruthless managing partner, Douglas Brackman, deals with a surprising revelation from his new secretary. Written by matt-282

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis










Release Date:

15 September 1986 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Originally aired on NBC in a two-hour time slot, the pilot has aired on some cable networks as two, one-hour segments. See more »


[Roxanne shows Arnie the dead body of Norman Chaney across his desk]
Roxanne Melman: Mr. Chaney. I didn't actually touched him. But I'm pretty sure he's dead.
Arnie Becker: If he is, I got dibs on his office.
See more »


Followed by L.A. Law: The Movie (2002) See more »

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User Reviews

One of the better shows from the 1980's
7 January 2000 | by TroyAirSee all my reviews

Probably one of the better prime time not-quite-drama/not-quite-comedy television shows from the 1980's, this NBC hit became one of the network's cornerstones in their weekly prime-time line up. Several of the stars achieved their stardom here and cultivated the exposure into leading roles in various made-for-tv movies, and of course there was the usual workplace chatter the day after a show would air.

Leyland MacKenzie is the powerful top attorney of a prominent Los Angeles law firm. Grace van Owen, Ann Kelsey, Michael Kuzak Arnie Becker, and Stuart Markowitz handled the criminal, commercial, personal injury, divorce, and tax law cases (respectively). Later, Victor Sifuentes would join the firm, after being hired away from the Public Defender's office, to handle most of the firm's 'pro bono' work. Abbey Perkins was the junior attorney trying to work her way up the ladder and Roz Melman was the loyal legal secretary to Arnie Becker.

Each week, a new set of cases would be introduced, some dramatic, some humorous, some based on cases "ripped from the headlines". But what kept the viewers each week was the relationship between the characters. Handsom Kuzak was trying to romance the beautiful van Owen (at one point donning a gorilla costume and reading poetry to her on the courthouse steps)and later the diminuitive intellectual Markowitz was trying to develop a relationship with the hard-charging Kelsey (in real life, Jill Eikenberry and Michael Tucker became wife and husband during the show's running, which played out well for fans of the show). Perkins was the single woman trying desperately to balance her work, her home life, and her desire to succeed (I believe she may have even been a single mom, but I don't recall any children being cast). And there was the ongoing humorous interaction between Arnie and Roz to keep things light.

The show has held up well over the years, mostly because it played on people's common perceptions of attorneys, which hasn't changed in the years since the show went off the air.

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