The Defenders (1961–1965)

TV Series  |   |  Drama
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 232 users  
Reviews: 12 user | 1 critic

A Father-Son lawyer duo take a variety of cases that often deal with the important issues of the day.


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Title: The Defenders (1961–1965)

The Defenders (1961–1965) on IMDb 8.1/10

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4   3   2   1  
1965   1964   1963   1962   1961  
Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 14 wins & 19 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

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Complete series cast summary:
 Lawrence Preston (132 episodes, 1961-1965)
 Kenneth Preston (132 episodes, 1961-1965)


Recent law school graduate (Robert Reed) joins his father (E.G. Marshall) as the pair tackle challenging legal cases, often involving issues which were highly touchy for the times (abortion, euthanasia, "un-American" activities, movie censorship). In most the freshly minted lawyer has much to learn from his father's extensive legal experience. Written by Ed Stephan <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

law | courtroom | See All (2) »


Tense drama in and out of court in the noted series with E.G. Marshall and Robert Reed.







Release Date:

16 September 1961 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Los defensores  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(132 episodes)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The characters first appeared in an episode of Studio One in Hollywood (1948), when they were played by Ralph Bellamy and William Shatner. See more »

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User Reviews

The Firm Of Preston & Preston
29 August 2008 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

From the early Sixties came this show which one viewer described as that era's Law and Order. It wasn't that, it couldn't be that because the Prestons were defense attorneys. Still the cases raised some of the legal issues that Law and Order raises. The Defenders whatever else it was, was not a who done it show like Perry Mason.

E.G. Marshall and Robert Reed played the father and son law firm of Preston&Preston. E.G. as Lawrence Preston was a widower and Reed was his son Kenneth. What I remember was these two guys apparently had no personal life at all. I can't remember a single episode where these two weren't on the clock defending all kinds of clients.

But lawyers and law students loved this show as it took on some really important issues. The episode that I remember best was one involving the McNaghten Rule which evolved from an English murder case in which a guy named McNaghten killed Prime Minister Robert Peel's Secretary, thinking it was Peel. The poor demented jerk thought that the government was plotting against him personally. That case set a standard for a successful insanity defense, that someone like McNaghten had to be unaware of the difference between right and wrong when he committed the homicide.

I still remember Marshall saying that in behalf of his client the McNaghten Rule should be repealed. He certainly gave it one good effort in trying to repeal about a 120 years of Anglo-American jurisprudence. The rule's been modified, but never repealed. But that was typical of the stuff the Prestons did. No arraignments in night court for this duo.

The scripts though were intelligently written even if you didn't agree with what the Prestons were doing. Proof that entertainment can be intelligent and informative, the show ran for four years.

I wish that TV Land would pick up this series.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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