15 Amazing Fictional Legal Thriller Books, Movies, TV Shows, and Podcasts for Fans of A Time to Kill Book

If you’re a fan of John Grisham’s A Time to Kill, you know there’s nothing quite like a legal thriller. These stories are full of suspense, drama, and plot twists that will keep you on the edge of your seat. And, of course, they always have a lovable defense attorney at their core.

A Time to Kill follows the story of defense attorney Jake Brigance, who takes on the case of a man who killed two men who raped his daughter. This story is full of courtroom drama and is a true legal thriller.

If you’re looking for more legal thrillers that follow the lives and cases of the men and women who defend the accused, then check out our list of 15 amazing fictional legal thrillers with strong defense attorneys. From books to movies, TV shows to podcasts, there’s something on this list for fans of the A Time to Kill book.

As an extra thank you, get to know the man and inspiration behind defense attorney Sam Johnstone - our number one book pick for this topic. 


If you want to READ amazing fictional legal thrillers with strong defense attorneys:

The first of four in the Sam Johnstone Series, Misjudged follows disabled veteran Sam Johnstone as he settles into retirement in rustic Wyoming. Despite his struggles with PTSD, Sam must rise to the occasion and represent another troubled veteran from a possible death sentence. The troubled vet’s alleged 

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crime? The murder of a somewhat shady lawyer. But things are not as they seem. You’ll find yourself cheering for the underdogs as a corrupt judicial system seems intent on fighting them every step of the way. Read here.

 

Joey Hartstone’s debut legal thriller is set in Marshall, Texas. James Eucher, one of the top patent attorneys in town, gets pulled into a case involving the murder of a friend and mentor judge. James has big shoes to fill, seeing as his father was one of the best defense attorneys around. Nonetheless, he agrees to 

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defend Amir even though he’s willing to turn on him on a dime if it becomes clear he’s guilty. Fans of the A Time to Kill book will love the explosive courtroom scene at this story’s beginning which sets a brisk pace for the rest of the story. Read here.

Lethal Defense follows small city lawyer Nate Shepherd as he strives to prove that not every killing is a murder. Quick warning: you might be tempted to think this book has little to offer. After all, you’ll start off knowing the murderer, the victim, and the supposed reasons the victim was dispatched to the afterlife.

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But then, the beauty is in how Nate presents the facts and weaves persuasive arguments to try to win over the jury. Surely, the murder was justified! This is the first book in the Nate Shepherd series. Read here.

Fans of the A Time to Kill book will appreciate the drama as a young prosecutor dying to make a name for himself faces off with Miss Leary. That Cass Leary doesn’t win points for having a knack for taking on cases that fellow townspeople hold against her is also obvious. But defense attorneys worth their salt must 

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surely represent their niece’s boyfriends, especially when said boyfriends are arrested for first-degree murder. Start with this book, and you’ll soon come to the conclusion that it isn’t always about who’s right but who’s better.  Read here.

In this second book in the Cadence Elliott Legal Thriller series, Cadence must defend a homeless man accused of murdering a tech entrepreneur. He can’t stop incriminating himself, and his signed confession is the least of Cadence’s worries. The more she tries to prove his innocence, the more she encounters 

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unexpected resistance. Will her “crazy” conspiracy theory hold up in court, or is she likely to face utter humiliation in her defense of Brandon Colter.  Read here.

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If you want to WATCH amazing fictional legal thrillers with strong defense attorneys:

1. The Lincoln Lawyer

The series is based on Michael Connelly’s The Lincoln Lawyer Novel Series and follows Los Angeles defense attorney Mickey Haller. Mickey has an unconventional life, working solely from his chauffeur-driven Lincoln Town Car.
Despite his odd choice of office, he nevertheless takes up a high-profile murder 

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case and commits himself to defending it in court. Mickey must defend Trevor even as he learns that a killer may be gunning for him next.

Set in 1932 Los Angeles, this series focuses on the origins of the legendary defense lawyer Perry Mason. Mason, who is based on Erle Stanley Gardner’s Perry Mason book series, is a low-rent private investigator turned defense attorney. He must establish the true facts when a kidnapping-gone-wrong sets a 

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fractured city on edge. Follow Mason as he navigates the path of what’s legal and what’s right, even as he’s haunted by his broken marriage and the effects of his wartime experiences in France. Watch here.

3. The Trial of Chicago 7 2020

The year is 1968. The venue is the Democratic Party Convention in Chicago. When what’s supposed to be a peaceful protest turns violent, one of the most notoriously unfair trials in history follows. Seven of the accused ringleaders are charged with a battery of offenses, leaving their pro bono lawyers staring at 

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seemingly insurmountable odds. However, the seven must lean on each other as the courtroom drama intensifies around them, despite their clashing political philosophies.

4. Anatomy of a Scandal

James Whitehouse, MP, might be a happily married man, but that doesn’t stop his aide from publicly coming forward with grievous accusations. It turns out that the Tory MP has been having an affair with Olivia and that he might have raped her. Based on the Anatomy of a Scandal novel by Sarah Vaughan, this 

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miniseries explores how far the British elite will go to defend themselves. Also, what happens when the prosecuting attorney holds a deep grudge from against the defendant?

Patrick is a dedicated lawyer who specializes in environmental law. France is a teacher who becomes an activist after her spouse contracts cancer as a result of chemical exposure. Mathias is a driven lobbyist for a multinational chemical firm.
The paths of these characters cross when a tragic act by a corporation affects 

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the lives of thousands, sparking a powerful movement. Brace yourself, for the international chemical corporation responsible, isn’t about to let the truth out without a fight, legal or not. Watch here.

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If you want to LISTEN to amazing legal thrillers with strong defense attorneys:

1. For the Defense – Podcast

Miami trial attorney David Oscar Markus hosts this podcast, which focuses on some of the most gripping criminal defense trials. Listeners will enjoy hearing about prosecutorial misconduct in one episode, then how defense attorney Roy Black flipped prosecution witnesses in his favor in another. It’s a great podcast 

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that dives deep into different trials, leaving you better informed about the kind of hand defense lawyers are often dealt.

Hosted by a former criminal defense lawyer, this podcast discusses different crimes each week. It breaks down how the investigation and prosecution were done, and manages to do so without giving you nightmares. If you loved the A Time to Kill book, you’ll enjoy listening to cases such as Patrick McCarthy’s.

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Was it death by exposure or murder? Intriguing stuff!. Listen here.

There’s nothing like a collaboration between defense attorneys and detectives to let you know you’re in for a treat. In The Reasonable Doubt podcast, retired Birmingham homicide detective Chris Anderson joins hands with defense lawyer Fatima Silva. The result is an excellent treatise on how the defense goes about 

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presenting its case. You’ll hear everything from a rapper’s overturned murder conviction to the case of a woman serving a life sentence for orchestrating her rich husband’s murder. You’ll be rooting for justice in no time! Listen here.

This podcast, hosted and produced by Kary Antholis, gets into the meat of high-profile criminal trials as those trials are happening. Each season brings with it a new case. The kicker, however, is that you get to listen in as the prosecution and the defense present their sides. It’s a fantastic podcast with just the right doses 

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of real testimony, summarization, and opinion. You’ll appreciate hearing your questions examined as you delve into the trial of Robert Durst, that of Kyle Rittenhouse, and others. Listen here.

At some point, even defense attorneys must ponder about the moral and ethical issues involved in defending suspects or accused parties. This podcast is hosted by Tom and Chris, who are two siblings intent on reframing true crime from the defense’s perspective. Listening to this podcast will teach you numerous 

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nuances of the law, as well as how defense cases are built over time. For instance, how can Jodi Arias be successfully defended when she lies so often and so convincingly? This podcast is a fascinating look at the legal system from wildly different perspectives. Listen here.

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A colorful photo of an empty courtroom depicting what happened in the fictional thriller law movie 12 Angry Men