In early 1991, a season five episode had two female characters, Abby (Michele Greene) and the newcomer C.J. (Amanda Donohoe) kissing each other. The scene was recognized as the first kiss between two women in a prime time American series, and was considered quite controversial.
Series co-Creator Terry Louise Fisher, former Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County, former entertainment lawyer for 20th Century Fox, and Producer and Writer for Cagney & Lacey (1981), composed a form letter she was thinking of sending to lawyers who complained about the show: "Dear So-and-so: If I were a good lawyer, I'd still be practicing law. Instead, I'm stuck in Hollywood, making ten times as much money. I hope you are as conscientious about your clients, as you are about our show. Thank for your writing."
Series Creator Steven Bochco was so taken with the show being parodied on the cover of the October 1987 issue of Mad Magazine, that he staged a photo shoot with the show's actors and actresses in the exact same positions that their caricatures had appeared on the magazine's cover. Mad Magazine ran the photo in a subsequent issue.
The license plate in the beginning of the opening credits was, during the first seven seasons, mounted on the rear of a Jaguar, but for the final season, it changed to being mounted on a Bentley Continental R, a car which was mentioned in several episodes of the eighth season, when Arnie Becker (Corbin Bernsen) was thinking of buying one. He finally received one as a gift in episode three of the same season.
David E. Kelly was the head writer on this show. It was Kelly's feeling that this show was unrealistic, and tended to glamorize the law, and deify lawyers. Kelly created The Practice (1997), which was a grittier, less sexy, and flattering portrait of the law, as a direct response to this show.
William M. Finkelstein became Executive Producer of this show shortly after his series Civil Wars (1991) was cancelled. Finkelstein transferred two "Civil Wars" characters from their New York City law firm to "L.A. Law": attorney Eli Levinson (Alan Rosenberg), and his secretary, Denise Iannello (Debi Mazar).
Season one, episode eighteen, "Fifty Ways to Floss Your Lover", involves a woman who believes she can pick up the radio in her fillings. This is a spoof on, and is influenced by, The Partridge Family (1970), season one, episode sixteen, "Old Scrapmouth", where Laurie Partridge (Susan Dey) starts to pick up radio signals in her braces.
In a recent "Emmy TV Legends" interview, David E. Kelly said that he killed off Rosalind Shays (Diana Muldaur) because he was leaving the show, and he loved the character so much, that he didn't want to see her mishandled in the hands of another writer.
In a recent "Emmy TV Legends" interview, Diana Muldaur (Rosalind Shays) said she refused to do the infamous Rosalind-falls-to-her-death-in-the-elevator-shaft scene, when the director asked her to do it herself. She said it took the stuntwoman fifteen times before they got the shot right. "I would have broken my neck!" she said.
In one episode, Kathy Bates plays a woman, whose husband is molesting her daughter, and the state won't protect her when she reports it, so she decides to take the law into her own hands. Coincidentally, this is almost the same plot as Dolores Claiborne (1995), a movie, in which she would star.
John Spencer joined the cast in the fifth season, to play lawyer Tommy Mullaney. A story arc in the second season had featured a different character by the same name, a defendant represented by Grace Van Owen.
Rosalind Shays on LA LAW is very similar to Allan Shore on the Practice. His ouster/firing from Donno Young and Dole, and the subsequent court case, is very similar to Rosalind's ouster from Mackenzie Brackman; and the subsequent court case on that show.
Ray Abruzzo played the recurring character Anthony Gianell on LA LAW; a Mackenzie Brackman lawyer who became a circus performer and who proposes to Abby. Later he became a recurring character on another David E. Kelly legal drama; THE PRACTICE. On the Practice he played tough-as-nails detective Michael Mcguire. He also had recurring roles on LAW AND ORDER and LAW AND ORDER:SVU where he appeared alongside fellow LA LAW alum, Dann Florek.
The famous lesbian kiss episode between CJ and Abby was always meant to be a one- off sweeps stunt. The producers were never intending to seriously explore lesbian relationships in any ongoing way; it was a one time thing just for the ratings.
Conchata Farrell who played Susan Bloom on LA LAW is probably more well known as Berta from Two and a Half Men, another hit show which she starred on for several years. Conchata would co star on that show with David E Kelley allum Holland Taylor, who started on THE PRACTICE.
Conchata Farrell played tough brassy and zoftig Susan Bloom on LA LAW. She would go on to star as Berta on Two and a Half Men for several seasons. She co-starred with Holland Taylor on that show. Holland Taylor is another David E Kelley star, having starred on THE PRACTICE.