How Well Do You Know "L.A. Law"?

Ian Fortey

Image: NBC

About This Quiz

The first episode of "L.A. Law" aired on September 15, 1986, and it quickly became one of TV's most-watched programs. It was like the "Game of Thrones" of its time. It was the show all the cool kids had to watch and then talk about the next day at work. While legal dramas are old hat these days, and there have been dozens of memorable ones, no one had ever seen anything like "L.A.Law." It was sexy and exciting. It was quirky and intense. And, for better or worse, it had a gritty realism to it that audiences couldn't get enough of. It dealt with serious issues that other TV shows had always shied away from, things like homophobia, racism, domestic violence, the AIDS crisis, the LA Riots and so much more. 

"L.A. Law" redefined the way TV dramas were presented to audiences. There were huge personalities, storylines that stretched across seasons, and curveballs were thrown at the audience that no one could have ever seen coming. In short, it was just a great show. If you were one of the legions of fans and remember how great the show was, then you might stand a chance of acing this quiz. There's only one way to find out!

Everyone remembers the iconic "L.A. Law" license plate. But what was the car?

The "L.A. Law" license plate was affixed to a Jaguar XJ6 Series III during the opening credit sequence for most of the show's run. In the final season, the credits were tweaked and the car was a Bentley Continental R.

Who joined the firm in the very first episode?

Portrayed by Jimmy Smits, Victor Sifuentes joins the firm in the very first episode as a new associate. Smits remained a cast member for five seasons and then did periodic guest appearances in the sixth season before leaving the show.

Do you remember the full name of the law firm featured on the show?

The firm was named McKenzie, Brackman, Chaney and Kuzak. You'd likely remember three of those names from the show, but Chaney is the odd one out thanks to the fact that there was never a character by that name. That partner died in the first episode.

What historic television first happened in a 1991 episode of the show?

Actresses Amanda Donohoe and Michele Green made TV history in 1991 when their characters shared a kiss on episode 512 of "L.A.Law." There had almost been a kiss between two women on "21 Jump Street" the year before, but they didn't show the bottom of their faces, so you couldn't really see it.

"L.A. Law" creator Steven Bochco also created what medical sitcom?

Steven Bochco is a bit of an icon in television history and is responsible for creating such shows as "Hill Street Blues," "NYPD Blue," the legendary "Cop Rock" and the sitcom "Doogie Howser, M.D."

Around what sound did the composer base the entire composition of the show's theme song?

The image during the opening credits of the show is a car trunk closeup. That sound kicks off the theme song and it's the sound creator Steven Bochco told composer Mike Post to focus on when composing the music for the show.

What major news did senior partner Leland McKenzie reveal in the show's final episode?

The final episode of the show revealed that Richard Dysart's character, Leland McKenzie, was terminally ill with cancer and was not expected to survive. It was also said that he had only five years to live at the time.

How many Emmy Awards did "L.A. Law" win during its 8-season run?

"L.A. Law" won 15 Emmy Awards in eight seasons of television. Four of the wins were for Outstanding Drama Series, but many were for the cast for supporting or main roles.

Do you know what game show staple appeared on an episode playing themselves?

Vanna White appeared as herself on a season five episode cleverly titled "Vowel Play." In the episode, the character, Douglas Brackman, gets on "Wheel of Fortune" and ends up going on a date with Vanna White.

It's not every day someone falls down an elevator shaft. Who met their demise this way on "L.A. Law"?

Diana Muldaur played the villainous Rosalind Shays and said in an interview that producers wanted her to do the stunt herself, falling down the fake elevator shaft to a padded bottom. She declined, and her stunt woman had to film the scene ten times before the director was happy with it.

Which character is eating in every single scene that takes place in the conference room?

According to Harry Hamlin, when they were finishing up the pilot scene in the conference room, he started eating a sandwich. The next scene in the same room had a plate of croissants, and Hamlin decided he would make it a thing for Michael Kuzak to always be eating in that room.

In the final season, Benny is all set to get married until he finds out what about his fiance?

Benny Stulwicz was the office mail guy in the series and slowly became a more prominent character as the show developed. While he was ready to get married in season eight, he found out rather late in the game that his fiancée was already married.

Which "Friends" star had a recurring role as a bit of a jerk lawyer?

A year before he was cast as Ross on the NBC sitcom "Friends," David Schwimmer played an attorney named Dana Romney on "L.A. Law." He was a recurring character and something of an antagonist during the season in which he appeared.

What job did writer David E. Kelly have when he was hired to work on "L.A. Law"?

David E. Kelly would go on to be a huge force in television after "L.A. Law" and created shows like "Chicago Hope," "Ally McBeal," "The Practice" and "Big Little Lies" among many others. When he started work on "L.A. Law," he was an attorney in Boston.

What real-life event became a major plot point at the beginning of season 7 in 1992?

The L.A. riots featured prominently at the beginning of season 7. In the premiere episode, Douglas and Stuart find themselves stuck in the riots and Douglas ends up being falsely arrested for looting.

What popular series did "L.A. Law" replace on Thursday nights?

"L.A. Law" took over for "Hill Street Blues" on Thursdays at 10 p.m, which is kind of ironic since "Hill Street Blues" was another show that creator Steven Bochco had worked on but was fired from before he started "L.A. Law."

How many cast members were nominated for Emmys in the 1988-1989 season?

Nine cast members were nominated for Emmys in the '88 season of the show and three of them won. It shares a record with "Hill Street Blues" and "The West Wing" for having the most acting nominations in a single season. The show took home a series of other Emmys as well that year.

What famous cartoon character made an appearance on "L.A. Law"?

Homer Simpson popped up on the show when Dan Castellaneta guest-starred in an episode. Castellaneta is the voice of Homer on "The Simpsons" and he appeared on "L.A.Law" as a man who wears a Homer costume at a theme park and was fired from his job.

Which two actors from the show are married in real life?

Michael Tucker and Jill Eikenberry played Stuart Markowitz and Ann Kelsey on the show. In real life, the two have been married for a fairly impressive length of time. They got married in 1973.

What famous comedian appeared as himself in an episode suing other comedians for stealing this jokes?

In the season 7 finale, Buddy Hackett appears as himself and is represented by Douglas Brackman as Hackett is suing other comedians who have been stealing his material. No one likes a joke thief!

What magazine cover did Steven Bochco have the cast reproduce in a photo after he saw it?

The October 1987 issue of MAD Magazine included a parody of "L.A. Law" that creator Steven Bochco really took a shine to. The magazine cover featured a goofy drawing of caricatures of the cast. Bochco assembled the cast to reproduce the cover for real because he liked it so much.

Who got shot at the end of a case against a gang member?

In one of the more serious moments on the show, Grace Van Owen was pushing hard to get the death penalty for a gang member convicted of murder. The gang member's friends don't take kindly to this and respond with some severe violence, but she survives.

What effect did a New York Times article say the show had on real-life court cases?

Though some of it was good and some bad, the show was said to have a profound impact on real-life courtrooms, ranging from changing how lawyers dressed and spoke to how quickly clients expected trials to last and what juries thought lawyers could do. The producers apparently received critical letters from lawyers quite often.

Steven Bochco already knew cast member Michael Tucker. Where did they meet?

It's always good to be friends with the boss, so it worked out well for Michael Tucker who played the role of Stuart Markowitz. Tucker and Bochco were old friends from their time together in college.

What was the name of the show's co-creator who was fired in the show's second season?

Steven Bochco created the show with Terry Louise Fisher who had previously been the deputy district attorney for Los Angeles as well as an entertainment lawyer for 20th Century Fox before getting into TV writing.

Two cast members, played by Debi Mazar and Alan Rosenberg, joined the cast in season 8. What show did they come from?

The characters of Eli Levinson and Denise Iannello had previously been on the show, "Civil Wars," which had also been produced by Steven Bochco. When that show was canceled, Bocho resurrected the characters on "L.A. Law."

Alan Rachins played Douglas Brackman Jr., but in real life, how was he was connected to showrunner Steven Bochco?

Alan Rachins was married to Joanna Frank, who is Steven Bochco's sister, making Rachins the brother-in-law of Bochco. In honor of their close relationship, Bochco routinely humiliated Rachins' character.

What show did David E. Kelley create as a mea culpa for working on "L.A. Law"?

Though David E. Kelley spent years working on "L.A. Law," one of his criticisms of the show was that it was too unrealistic and too glamorous. He created "The Practice" to be a dirtier, darker version of what life as a lawyer was really like.

What popular show replaced "L.A. Law" on Thursday nights?

NBC's powerhouse medical drama "ER" replaced "L.A.Law" when the series ended. Initially, it was expected that "Homicide: Life on the Street" would take the coveted Thursday slot, but audiences responded better to "ER."

How many actors auditioned for the role of Victor Sifuentes?

Jimmy Smits played the role of Victor Sifuentes and was the first and only actor to audition for the role. Steven Bochco said in an interview that Smits nailed it on his first try and just became the character in his audition.

For how many episodes did "L.A. Law" run?

In eight seasons of television, "L.A. Law" aired 172 episodes. This included the 2-hour premiere "movie" which counts as two episodes together but does not include the reunion TV movie that was made in 2002.

What show did Steven Bochco say he ripped off in creating "L.A. Law"?

Bochco had a deal with NBC to create a show and only the vague idea of it being a law show. He admitted in an interview that he made "L.A. Law" by ripping off his old show, "Hill Street Blues," in terms of structure, ensemble casting and story arc.

At what unusual location did Susan Dey have her audition?

Susan Dey auditioned for her role as Grace van Owen while both she and creator Steven Bochco were attending a school picnic. Both Dey and Bochco's children attended the same school, so it was a convenient time for both of them to get together.

Terry Louise Fisher and Steven Bochco co-created another show that inspired the creation of the word "dramedy." What was that show?

Bochco and Fisher worked together to create "Hooperman," as show that starred John Ritter. Ritter played the role of a San Francisco police officer named Harry Hooperman who became a building owner when his landlady died.

What was the wardrobe budget per episode?

The show wasn't one to spare any expense since it was trying to recreate the world of lawyers in Los Angeles accurately. As such, all the cast members wore designer clothes, and the budget was around $40,000 per episode.

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