The Paper Chase (1978–1986)

TV Series  |   |  Drama
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 529 users  
Reviews: 18 user | 7 critic

A TV Series about a bunch of Law students, their everyday lives and their effort to make it through Law School. Hart, Ford, Bell and the rest of them have to face Kingsfield, the most ... See full summary »


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4   3   2   1  
1986   1985   1984   1983   1979   1978  
Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 4 wins & 18 nominations. See more awards »
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Series cast summary:
 Professor Charles W. Kingsfield Jr. (58 episodes, 1978-1986)
James Stephens ...
 James T. Hart (58 episodes, 1978-1986)
Tom Fitzsimmons ...
 Franklin Ford III (58 episodes, 1978-1986)
 Willis Bell (55 episodes, 1978-1986)
Betty Harford ...
 Mrs. Nottingham / ... (43 episodes, 1978-1986)
 Gerald Golden (36 episodes, 1983-1986)
Clare Kirkconnell ...
 Rita Harriman (29 episodes, 1984-1986)
Andra Millian ...
 Laura Kiernan (27 episodes, 1984-1986)
 Vivian Conway (27 episodes, 1984-1986)


A TV Series about a bunch of Law students, their everyday lives and their effort to make it through Law School. Hart, Ford, Bell and the rest of them have to face Kingsfield, the most feared of professors but they are determined to study hard and eventually get their diploma... Written by Xenophon Tsakanikas <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis







Release Date:

9 September 1978 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Paper Chase: The Fourth Year  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(57 episodes)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

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Did You Know?


Chicago PBS station WTTW bought the rights to air season one episodes over a year after the series ended on CBS. The program aired on numerous PBS stations between 1980 and 1982. The revival was such a success, the Showtime cable network aired new episodes from 1983 to 1986. See more »


Featured in Casting By (2012) See more »


First Years
(Theme Song - 1st season only)
Music by Charles Fox
Lyrics by Norman Gimbel
Sung by Seals & Crofts
See more »

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User Reviews

One of the greatest and most underrated television shows of all time.
7 February 2003 | by See all my reviews

The television show "The Paper Chase" is one of the greatest television shows of all time. That seems like an incredible statement to say about a show that lasted about 2 seconds on commercial television but it was that good. It unfortunately never had a chance to continue because it was placed at the same time spot as one of the hottest shows on television at the time.

Amazingly enough, it got a second chance on the cable network Showtime years after it was cancelled! Because cable allowed the show greater freedom, I actually found the show to be superior to the commercial network version! The show centers around the great actor, John Houseman and James Stephens as the law professor Charles W. Kingsfield and his student James T. Hart but the ensemble cast was also excellent. Tom Fitzsimmons and James Keane were the main supporting characters but it also had major contributions in later years from excellent actors like Jane Kaszmarek, (Malcolm in the Middle) Penny Johnson (24 and The Larry Sanders Show)and Michael Tucci.

The show eventually ran its course on cable and ended with the graduation of the students, 8 years after the show started on commercial television! A show that should be rated with the greatest shows of all time but is largely forgotten today. Just superbly acted with great writing.

27 of 27 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
I Was the Composer for the CBS Series and the Years on Showtime sedonamethodkiss
Who could play Kingsfield today? XYZZY123
Why Did Jane Kaczmarek (Lehman) Leave Series? petergun1234
Petition for DVDs? chaosmonk
Season 2 : personal finances of Hart and Bell??? Dr. Cumin
Has Anybody Purchased Series on DVD? rbtm18
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