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"Shark" Premieres on CBS: Is the Show Good Law?

Our "Lawyer Movies" category covers movies involving lawyers and the law, but we'll make an exception for TV shows every once and awhile.

A new "lawyer" show, "Shark," premieres tonight on CBS - it chronicles the legal crusades of Sebastian Stark (played by James Wood), a celebrity criminal defense lawyer who switches sides and joins the D.A.'s office.

What caught our attention was an analysis of the show's accuracy on points of law and legal practice by John Stillman, a veteran criminal and civil defense lawyer who spent 15 years as a district attorney in Los Angeles. In an interview with The Hollywood Report, Esq., Stillman says, among other things, that the show's pilot cites two fictional cases, but still got the law right on a key evidentiary ruling (btw, thank you to the WSJ Law Blog for the post that led us to the interview). Read a more detailed review here.

In the future, we invite readers to chime in on whether scenes from the movies we write about accurately represent the law. For example, in Regarding Henry (see post here), the opening scene shows Henry at a jury trial defending a hospital against a wrongful death claim. We later learn that Henry's firm possessed documentary evidence damaging to its client that it did not disclose to the plaintiff's attorney before trial. But was the firm actually obligated to have disclosed this evidence? This was, after all, a civil case, and it is not clear that the defendant was ever served with a discovery request that covered this piece of evidence. Moreover, Henry, after regaining his faculties following a gunshot wound, takes it upon himself to deliver this crucial piece of evidence to the plaintiff. Viewers feel justice was done, but query, didn't Henry just breach the attorney-client privilege?

We invite readers to respond to this and future "lawyer movie" posts using the comments link below.

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