Most recently, he's become known again for adapting Stephen King's Hodges Trilogy (Mr. Mercedes, Finders Keepers, and End of Watch) for television, assisted by King himself as executive producer and Game of Thrones alum Jack Bender as director.
Kelley is the first, and to date the only, person to see two series he created win Outstanding Comedy Series and Outstanding Drama Series on the same night, which happened at the 1999 Primetime Emmy Awards. The two shows in question were Ally McBeal and The Practice, respectively.
He is married to Michelle Pfeiffer since 1993.
Tropes common to David E. Kelley's work include:
- Creator's Pet: Invoked. Kelley is not ashamed to sideline old characters in favour of new ones. A good example would be Alan Shore on The Practice. James Spader received last billing in the opening credits but he was essentially the de facto lead for the last season, overshadowing all of the more established characters.
- Crossover: Most of Kelley's shows have crossed over with at least one other. As a result, pretty much all of his shows take place in the same universe/continuity.
- Reclusive Artist: According to a few of his actors, he's painfully shy and prefers to stay in the proverbial shadows.
- Write What You Know: Kelley was a lawyer before becoming a professional writer, and the overwhelming majority of his shows have been legal dramas/dramadies.