Owen Marshall, Counselor at Law (TV Series 1971–1974) Poster

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Riveting Courtroom Drama Series that has been neglected for years
rcj53654 March 2005
"OWEN MARSHALL:COUNSELOR AT LAW"-A Legal Courtroom Drama Series. Produced by David Victor and Jerry McNeely for Universal Television. Number of Episodes Produced: 69 episodes were produced for ABC-TV. First Telecast of the series: September 16,1971,The Pilot Episode. Last Telecast of the series: August 24,1974. Repeats of the series aired on ABC-TV during the summer hiatus of 1974.

*This popular lawyer drama depicted the life and trials of Owen Marshall,a compassionate defense attorney practicing in a small town in California. No other actor during the 1970's could pull this off more brilliantly then Arthur Hill,who was absolutely fantastic as the small town lawyer who will go out of his way to go beyond the limitations to the defense of his clients. Marshall's cases ranged from civil suits to murder,but were always marked with a warmth and consideration for the accused which Marshall would go out of his way to defend his client whenever the situation maybe. In a way,Owen Marshall was the courtroom equivalent of medicine's kindly,Marcus Welby,and in fact the two series sometimes had joint episodes. Since "Owen Marshall:Counselor At Law" and "Marcus Welby,MD" were both produced under the executive producer and creator-David Victor as well as University of Wisconsin law professor Jerry McNeely. David Victor is no stranger to television at all since David Victor was also the head-honcho and executive producer of several shows-and this was way before he created the lines for "Marcus Welby,MD",which premiered on ABC-TV in 1969,and "Owen Marshall" premiered in 1971,on the same network.

David Victor was the head producer as well as executive producer for the shows "Doctor Kildaire",as well as the producer in charge for seasons two through four of the spy series "The Man From U.N.C.L.E" as well as the spin off,"The Girl From U.N.C.L.E",as well as a flair in the short-lived Western series,"Dundee and the Culhane",as well as a another short-lived crime series "Griff",and so many more. But getting back to the series "Owen Marshall:Counselor At Law",you saw some of the most riveting courtroom drama as well as some great acting that kept its viewers in tuned for the three seasons that it ran on ABC-TV from 1971 to 1974. In some of the episodes,the series was a joint to an another episode that was from "Marcus Welby,MD",and from that the conclusion continued from that show onto this one. In an episode from 1972,Owen Marshall(Arthur Hill)found himself defending the father of one of Dr. Welby's patients against a murder charge,and another episode from 1974 he defended Dr. Kiley(James Brolin),Dr. Welby's associate against a paternity suit. Owen Marshall had several young law partners during his three year run,the first of whom was his assistant Jess Brandon(Lee Majors),and the other was Danny Paterno (Reni Santoni)who was on for a short run during the 1973-1974 season. For a time during the 1973-1974 season,in the show's final year,Lee Majors that actor portraying Jess Brandon,was starring in two ABC series,"Owen Marshall:Counselor At Law",and the other was with Lee Majors as Steve Austin in "The Six Million Dollar Man". He was finally replaced in February of 1974 by another future television star,David Soul,in the role of Ted Warrick. By the way,David Soul was no stranger to series television since before he made his mark on "Owen Marshall",he starred in the short-lived series "Here Come The Brides",and would later on after Owen Marshall left the air would go on the fame and glory in the fall of 1975,with producer Aaron Spelling to star for the TV series "Starsky and Hutch",which was also on the ABC network. Christine Matchett was Marshall's 12 year-old daughter Melissa,and Joan Darling was Frieda,his loyal law clerk.

During its three year-run,Owen Marshall was highly respected and well regarded by real-life legal associations,and won several public-service awards including some from distinguished law firms not to mention that this show was produced through the National Association of American Lawyers,and other chapters. This was a show that has been neglected for years,but it is seldom seen. The last time this series was ever shown was during TV Land Crimestoppers and some of the episodes haven't been seen since its original broadcast. It needs to be back on the air again,don't you think?
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8/10
Owen Marshall: Counselor At Law: A view from the legal profession
Kenneth Brower1 August 2008
Owen Marshall: Counselor At Law (1971-74) was an appealing series that was somewhat unique. The late Arthur Hill was excellent in the title role and his performance exceeded the scripts. I think it was Mr. Hill's fine and compassionate portrayal of an attorney that made him ideal for legal organizations that honored the series. He was later featured by a company that advertised in Trial magazine, the publication for The Association Of Trial Lawyers Of America, now The American Association For Justice.

An episode in the first year of the series, "Victim In Shadow," was very powerful and involved the indignities a rape victim must endure when dealing with the legal system. The focus of the episodes changed in the last half of the third and final year. During that time, there were also some outstanding episodes and one entitled, "House Of Friends," was simply brilliant. It was an unusual episode and its emotional impact was shattering. Owen Marshall defended a physician who was sued by a private hospital for his defamatory statements about it. To say more might divulge the heart wrenching contents of this episode for anyone who may get the chance to see it. David Hartman superbly played the physician, Joyce Van Patten, his wife, and Kathleen Quinlan, his college-aged daughter. After this, some other first-rate episodes included such subjects as: the right to bear arms; a warrant-less break-in; military desertion; pornographic sales; and sterilization of the mentally deficient.

Unfortunately, Owen Marshall: Counselor At Law was canceled just as it began to ripen. Before the episodes described above and after an honorable beginning, the plots had drifted with Owen Marshall's client often being exonerated near the close of the trial by another person's confession. This is entertaining but rarely happens. As an attorney myself, I personally believe more episodes should have had a closer connection to reality than those that were mentioned last.
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I'd turn to both Marshall and Welby if I were in trouble
bpatrick-82 October 2013
A combination of whodunit a la "Perry Mason" and issue-oriented episodes a la "The Defenders," "Owen Marshall, Counselor At Law" is the legal profession's answer to "Marcus Welby, M.D.," as mentioned above. The similarities are obvious: Welby practices in Santa Monica, Marshall in Santa Barbara; both have an assistant with strong appeal to women (James Brolin with Welby; Lee Majors, Reni Santoni, and David Soul with Marshall); both have a female assistant (Elena Verdugo and Joan Darling); both of their wives are apparently deceased, although Marshall has a teenage daughter. And, again as noted above, there are crossovers between the two shows (both created and produced by David Victor), such as Marshall's defending Brolin's character, Dr. Steven Kiley, on a malpractice charge.

Arthur Hill was at somewhat of a disadvantage re Robert Young; Young was already an icon from "Father Knows Best," while the Canadian-born Hill was not well-known in the U.S. when "Marshall" debuted. Yet both actors exude authority and the knowledge of their professions that makes one wish they were real and could go to them if they were either sick or in trouble. And it's perhaps--no, it's the reason--that Young was often asked to speak at medical gatherings, and Hill at legal ones. If both shows get a little sticky at times, stick around: there's plenty of substance to be had, as both can deal with sensitive issues.

Hill is one of the classiest actors I've ever seen, and I have enjoyed him in made-for-TV movies made since "Marshall" was canceled. I also remember him in his later years doing commercials, urging viewers to call a lawyer when a problem arose; maybe he was just being Owen Marshall, but he certainly appeared to mean it.

By the way, Lee Majors is said to have hated this show, simply because it required him to wear a jacket and tie. He's obviously more comfortable when he's casually dressed, as on "The Six Million Dollar Man" or "The Fall Guy."
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8/10
An Authentic-Sounding Family Show
diceyreilly495 January 2014
While I have no recollections of the show while it was aired, I do know I thoroughly enjoyed it. Perry Mason was a favorite of mine, but the setting was intense and hard-hitting while Owen Marshall was a warmer, slower-paced show. With a lead actor like Arthur Hill, how could you go wrong? One of the reviews stated it was produced by the same person who did Marcus Welby and I am not surprised as both shows had a similar atmosphere. Joan Darling was well-cast as his secretary and Lee Majors was a capable assistant. Funny how one reviewer pointed out Majors hated to have to wear a suit and tie and would be happier on The Six Million Dollar Man (a show I know but never watched) and another series, but I watched him on The Big Valley, another favorite show of mine. It was too bad such a well-done show should only last three seasons but I had the fortune of watching it on reruns during which time I filled six 6-hour videos with episodes I am now transferring on to DVDs. Maybe the show won't be released as others have been but I will have over 50 episodes at my fingertips.
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