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Courtroom drama

 

Disciplines > Storytelling > Plots > Classic story types > Courtroom drama

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

The courtroom drama often rotates around the genius of one lawyer who either prosecutes or defends in a case that typically appears as a lost cause. Through patient research and persistent questioning the truth is uncovered and the case is won.

Significant action may take place outside the courtroom as the lawyer's team chase evidence and the lawyer's character is developed with glimpses of their private life.

The central character need not be a lawyer - it can, for example be a judge, juror or defendant.

Example

Perry Mason
12 Good Men
Rumpole of the Bailey

Discussion

Many of us worry vaguely about getting things wrong and ending up in court. Courtroom dramas play on this fear, associating us with sympathetic defendants and hence increasing the excitement of the case.

When defending, lawyers play to our need for a strong hero to rescue us from harm. When prosecuting, they are the warriors of truth, protecting society from unchallenged evil.
We may also associate with judge or jury, enjoying the position of moral superiority and meting out just punishment.

The episodic nature of court cases, in the clear start, middle and end within a limited time frame, makes them ideal for a series of stories in multiple books or across a TV series.

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