Created By: octopedingenue on August 24, 2011 Last Edited By: pyroclastic on November 12, 2017

Legal Thriller

Stories of suspense, usually crime dramas, with an emphasis on lawyers and legal machinations.

Name Space:
Page Type:
A Thriller set in the legal world, with tension driven both by action in the courtroom and outside of it.

While there is some overlap with Law Procedurals, Legal Thrillers tend to differ both in style - they are Thrillers, after all - and content. The opposing lawyers in a traditional Law Procedural are seldom worse than Villainy Free Villains, since everyone is entitled to legal counsel. 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 Political Thriller.

Legal Thriller should be indexed under Thriller, The Courtroom Index, and Crime and Punishment Tropes. Sibling trope to Law Procedural and Courtroom Drama.

(Is this a Sister Trope of Law Procedural, or a Sub-Trope?)

Needs More Examples!




Video Games

Live-Action TV
Community Feedback Replies: 17