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"Family Law"
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Reviews & Ratings for
"Family Law" More at IMDbPro »

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8 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Terrific legal drama before Tony Danza's arrival.

Author: Pepper Anne from Orlando, Florida
22 July 2004

Before CBS became quite successful with the legal drama of Judging Amy, there was a short-lived series called 'Family Law,' starring some of television's better stars (Kathleen Quinlin, Christopher MacDonald, and my favorite, Dixie Carter) as attorneys in a California law firm.

Likewise, the show followed a 1998 show called 'L.A. Doctors,' which seemed to be quite a similar, fast-paced drama, except involving doctors (and that's pretty much what any drama is these days if it isn't about cops: lawyers and doctors), which itself was not a bad show, starring Ken Olin and Matt Craven, but it, too being short-lived.

'Family Law' was both a funny drama and also addressed some pretty good policy issues, including unique legal issues. For example, there was one episode where Dixie Carter's character, Randi King, takes a case that she is sure is going to get thrown out of court--I think it had to do with social responsibility of bartenders or something--but the judge actually agrees to take the case, and it becomes this hilarious legal issue (not that the issue of drunks and the responsibility of bartenders is any laughing matter). Christopher MacDonald (as Rex Weller), too, was the witty cynic who seemed to enjoy screening cases based on the pay-off, was another element of comedy relief, whereas Kathleen Quinlin's character, Lynn Holt, and her usual partner often took the policy issues that dealt with all sorts of family law issues such as child abuse, divorce, etc. and in a way that often hit home for Lynn Holt, as (like Judging Amy's lead character, Amy Gray), her cases often paralelled with situations in her life as the single mother of two young children.

The show was pretty funny (mostly because of Christopher MacDonald and Dixie Carter-->who came in the show less and less over the years), and you got a pretty good mix of about three cases going on in each episode.

Then, everything changed and Tony Danza, an terribly eager idealist (and not too much realist) "fighting for the little guy" type of attorney, Joe Selano, was added to the cast for the remaining two years. The format of the show changed as well, and I suppose it was all because of the network scrambling to do what they could to boost ratings (instead of working with writers or other things, they went the easy route--a new look). Suddenly, the law firm changed. One of the main female characters left the show and much of her screentime then shifted to Tony Danza, who's character was sometimes very irritating. Dixie Carter all but disappeared entirely, and even Christopher MacDonald made rare appearances. By then, each episode seemed to only manifest importance on one case, one particular set of events that would amass the whole show.

They did this too, with an old CBS show, Early Edition in which the episode used to hinge on three or more stories and no real main plot (usually just a collage of subplots, but interesting ones nonetheless), until it became entirely focused on one plot in each episode. If the plot wasn't interesting, or was weak, then so was the episode. That show didn't last long either.

This is unfortunate considering the potential of the cast as well as the issues at hand that were offered in the first half of the seasons on air (the show ran till 2002). It was actually a pretty funny show, but once they reformated everything, it was all downhill from there. It may be lost to obscurity forever, but if you do every catch the reruns, I highly recommend the pre-Danza shows. They were funny and thought-provoking.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Family Law is Outstanding

Author: Leslye Allen (LJAllen) from United States
28 August 2000

I haven't been this pleased with a legal drama since LA Law. The multi-dimensional cast is fabulous and the writing is absolutely flawless. I am also pleased to see Dixie Carter given the opportunity to spread her glorious wings. I do wish, however, the show would broaden Salli Richardson's portrayal of Viveca Foster. I hope they remember that she is not only beautiful--she can act.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

One serious, yet light hour of intense drama.

Author: Richard J. Maher (maherri) from Napa, CA
18 August 2001

This show is a far cry from others with similar themes. Sometimes I am shocked at the themes and other times I roll off the couch laughing at some of the hilarious dialogue. It blends humor along with touching and real-life stories. This is the best drama on television, for the time being. The cast is also great, but the story lines and plots are what make it such a good show. They are so unpredictable. I love this show!! :-)

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

One of the best lawyer drama's ever.

Author: dpp
27 February 2001

Family Law is one of the best lawyer drama's that I have ever seen. It is brilliantly written and acted. Kathleen Quinlan should at least receive an emmy nomination for her portrayal as a single mother who is trying to run a law firm. With the addition of Tony Danza, this series is surely one of, if not the best show on television right now.

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one of the great series

Author: thiu (tasukiph@yahoo.com) from Philippines
21 October 2004

i just started watching htis series and each time it sucks me into the lives of this characters. this series has the drama and the comedy. it has everything that one could ask for. i love how real, human and quirky the characters are. it's so easy to relate to each one of them. everday they wrestle with choices. tough choices on what it is to be human. what it is to interact with others and to find each of their places in what they do. it's a vocation for them. it's not something they do for money. i love this series. the casting is great. each one of them contributing something to make the show great. i can't believe they cancelled this!

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Loved the recent inter-faith marriage episode

Author: rhbwebpages from Ann Arbor, Michigan
12 March 2001

Was my first time watching "Family Law," and I was glad to see a network weekly program tackling such a controversial episode. It effectively dealt with religion, atheism, interfaith marriages (and their problems), and separation of church and state, as well as the interaction of all these elements. I might be willing to give this a second viewing next week after seeing what they did with these topics.

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Kathleen Quinlan deserves an Emmy

Author: setter9 from Toronto, Ontario
23 September 2000

Family Law is one of the best television shows to come around in a long time. Kathleen Quinlan is my favourite actress - her portrayal of Lynn Holt as a woman with strength and intelligence is amazing - and I thank whoever it was that decided to cast her in this series. Family Law is extremely well-written and well-acted and is very deserving of any accolades that come its way. I sincerely hope that it is on for many years to come and that the Emmy voters don't take too long to realize how worthy Family Law is of its praise. *Please don't cancel this show, CBS!*

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

one of the great series

Author: thiu (tasukiph@yahoo.com) from Philippines
21 October 2004

i just started watching htis series and each time it sucks me into the lives of this characters. this series has the drama and the comedy. it has everything that one could ask for. i love how real, human and quirky the characters are. it's so easy to relate to each one of them. everday they wrestle with choices. tough choices on what it is to be human. what it is to interact with others and to find each of their places in what they do. it's a vocation for them. it's not something they do for money. i love this series. the casting is great. each one of them contributing something to make the show great. i can't believe they cancelled this!

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

that chris macdonald

Author: (twopre@aol.com) from LA
6 January 2000

what a pleasure it is to watch chris macdonald every week. i've been a fan since "thelma and louis", where he played the wicked husband cuckolded by brad pitt. he really does have a big range and great presence and i am so happy he has his own show. the other actors are fine, but chris makes the evening. loved him in "into thin air", although he is apparently a lot taller then the author he portrayed.

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0 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

What has happened to this show since Tony Danza is on Board?

Author: mjs2342 (mj.schulz@web.de) from munich, germany
23 February 2002

I just seen a sequel from the series "family law" and I was very astonished to see Tony Danza ("Who's the boss?") doing all the job while Kathleen Quinlan was much too quite. What has happened? Were the quotes falling so that the producers decided they need a new star? I would rather watch 100 sequels with K. Quinlan as the star than one show where Tony Danza has the leading role.

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