15 Amazing Fictional Law Books, Movies, TV Shows and Podcasts for Fans of 12 Angry Men

In real life, being called for jury duty may seem like a boring nightmare. The act of fulfilling one's civic duty never seemed more exciting, however, than when it was put to screen in 12 Angry Men. And–despite the tedious process of coming to a consensus–the film may have left you longing for more.

For those calculating minds who love hearing all the evidence and drawing their own conclusions, legal thrillers are an optimal choice for entertainment. As you take in the action, flip through the pages, or listen to the drama, you place yourself in the role of a scrutinizing juror without the pressure of actually having to make a decision. 

If twelve angry men weren't enough for you, here are some more places you can turn to for courtroom conflicts


If you want to READ a law thriller:

Like any good thriller, Thirteen packs a punch from the very beginning. Forget about being "hooked at the first page"—the front cover's tagline should be enough to draw you in: "The serial killer isn't on trial… he's on the jury." In this thrilling tale, you get to watch a jury be manipulated from the inside by the man 

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who has the most to lose from their verdict. It's an up-close look at courtroom action, but don't get distracted—you could be fooled yourself. Read here.

 

Much like 12 Angry Men, Picoult's House Rules tells a story that leaves its audience wondering if the wrong man could be on trial. It tells the story of Jacob, a young man with autism whose love of crime scenes makes him the prime suspect in a murder. Through alternating points of view, you'll creep closer and 

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closer to the truth without ever being confident that you've guessed the shocking ending. Get ready to question all of your instincts and understand more than ever why those twelve men had such a hard time agreeing with each other. Read here.

Are you ready to fully commit to the jury role? The Appeal by Janice Hallett puts you in the center of a mystery. Told entirely through letters, documents, and pieces of evidence, this unique book gives you everything but an answer. Your task is to take in all of the provided information and decide who is responsible for

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a murder. This is more than a book—it's a case file. Can you crack it? Read here.

Agatha Christie is the queen of mystery, but this short story may still be unknown to you. What begins as a straightforward murder trial gets turned entirely on its head by a stunning cross-examination. In just 35 short pages, Christie will have you questioning everything. Within these pages, you'll be made to feel as if 

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you're sitting in on the trial, ready to help make a decision. The only question is—will you be able to come to the proper conclusion before it's all over? This is an unbeatable bite-sized mystery if you're ready to return to the courtroom and miss the drama that comes with questioning evidence. Read here.

Fictional courtroom thrillers might make you think or lose a little sleep. Still, nothing is more mindbending and scary than real-life jury scenarios. In Law & Disorder, renowned FBI profiler John E. Douglas recounts cases in which they got the wrong guy. You'll witness the danger of juries getting tunnel vision and 

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find yourself baffled by evidence that the jury ignored. Equally fascinating as it is frustrating, this isn't one to miss. If you're not yet convinced, know that this book's author is the brilliant investigator who inspired Netflix's hit show Mindhunter. Read here.

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IIf you want to WATCH some jury drama:

No one gets closer to the courtroom action than the judge. Robert Downey Jr. stars in this action-packed legal movie, which puts not only criminals on trial but those who are meant to bring them to justice. It will leave you questioning who you can trust, as well as wondering how far you'd be willing to go to protect 

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someone you love. The intense courtroom moments are broken up by heartfelt family connections, making it perfect for watching even with friends who aren't as obsessed with 12 Angry Men as you are. Watch here

Shonda Rhimes may have broken your heart with Grey's Anatomy, but she's sure to get it pounding again if you tune into her other show, How to Get Away With Murder. The series follows a group of law students who quickly find themselves in an ever-tangling web of lies and secrets. Within each episode, 

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they help to prepare a new case and are involved in decisions like jury selection. Between the plot twists and backstabs, you're sure to learn more about the jury experience and just how hard lawyers will work to manipulate the decisions made by those selected. Watch here 

As you take in PBS's documentary on the historic "Central Park 5" case, you may find yourself questioning how the jury got things so wrong. This in-depth look at the trial exposes some of the biases that go into making legal decisions. It calls to mind the heated debates and sometimes way-off considerations made 

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by the jurors in 12 Angry Men. The only difference? This time, the consequences were real. Watch here.

Runaway Jury is based on a John Grisham novel by the same name, but its star-studded cast makes this story worth watching on the big screen. The movie follows the case against a major gun manufacturer. If that debate wasn't contentious enough, someone with ulterior motives might be on the jury. Don't

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miss out on the captivating performances by John Cusack, Rachel Weisz, and Gene Hackman. Watch here.

Just like Runaway Jury, Just Mercy was a book first. And just like The Central Park Five, it's based on a devastating true story. But why is it similar to 12 Angry Men? This film gives you an up-close look at the justice system and all the players involved. You'll wish you were involved in the judicial debates for some of

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these cases, helping to change the outcomes. At the very least, this film is guaranteed to make you angry. Watch here.

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If you want to LISTEN to something similar to 12 Angry Men:

1. Jury Duty

If the simple title of this podcast isn't enough to intrigue all you 12 Angry Men fans, wait until you hear its concept. Each season of this award-winning listen follows today's most exciting and hotly debated trials. It keeps you completely up-to-date and provides enough detail that you'll start to feel like you're a juror—

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no need to feel sad that you didn't get a summons to a trial in the mail. Now, you can be in the know on your own schedule, tuning in to every piece of evidence and never missing a cross-examination.

In 12 Angry Men, we saw how a single piece of evidence or persuasive juror could shift an entire conversation. Every episode of the "You're Wrong About" podcast will have the same effect on listeners. A journalist introduces a person, historical event, or well-known phenomenon that—surprise!—you've been

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entirely wrong about this whole time. Your headphones will be in, and your jaw will be on the floor. Listen here.

12 Angry Men came out in 1957; think of all the juicy real-life courtroom debates that have happened since then! In the "Legal Wars" podcast, a graduate of Harvard Law School gives you the run-down of history's most intriguing trials. It may be too late to be on the jury, but it's never too late to form an opinion and 

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wish you could've been there to change the others' minds. Listen here. 

4. Law&Crime Sidebar

In twenty minutes (or less!), this podcast provides insight into three modern trials. Your taste of jury duty can fit into your daily commute instead of pulling you out of the office for weeks at a time. The show features reporters who are in the courtroom and legal professionals, meaning you'll be making your assessments 

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of each case based on expert testimony.

Last but not least is the podcast "Court Junkie", which, if you make it through all fifteen items on this list, you definitely are. It follows stories of people who were failed by the jury, either through a wrongful conviction or from letting a killer walk free. Leave it to those twelve angry men, huh? It's guaranteed to get your blood 

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boiling but will also get you your jury fix and helps to spread these important stories of miscarried justice. Listen here.

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A colored picture illustrating a justice scale as depicted in the fictional legal thriller book, A Time to Kill by John Grisham
A colored picture of a woman holding a sword statue to illustrate fictional law as depicted in Law and Order 2022