Stories of suspense, usually crime dramas, with an emphasis on lawyers and legal machinations.
A Thriller set in the legal world, with tension driven both by action in the courtroom and outside of it. Legal Thrillers tend to differ both in style and content from other Law Procedurals. The opposing lawyers in a traditional Law Procedural are seldom worse than Villainy Free Villains—after all, even the worst criminals are entitled to legal representation. But in a legal thriller, they're more likely to be criminal lawyers, engaging in Jury and Witness Tampering, bribery, evidence falsification and sometimes even murder of the opposing side. Corrupt Corporate Executives, Politicians and Bureaucrats are common antagonists. Frequently the main plot will involve a civil lawsuit against an Evil Corporation, which spirals into criminal behavior as the corporation tries to stymie the suit through extra-judicial means. Often some sort of organized crime will be involved as well, typically supplying the Evil Corporation with muscle. The genre has older precedents, but became prominent in the 1980s with Scott Turow's novels, and reached its apogee in the 1990s with John Grisham, the best-known writer in the genre. The Other Wiki has a good list of notable legal thrillers not yet listed on this wiki. When the antagonist is a government official, the genre can overlap with the Government Procedural. Legal Thriller should be indexed under Thriller, The Courtroom Index, and Crime and Punishment Tropes. Subtrope of Law Procedural Needs More Examples!
- A Few Good Men is a Legal Thriller done military-style.
- Michael Clayton
- Rules of Engagement is another military-style Legal Thriller.
- Witness for the Prosecution
- John Grisham specializes in these.
- The Lincoln Lawyer series by Michael Connelly.
- Murder in the First
- Primal Fear
- Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney in its more dramatic courtroom scenes.
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