A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this drama series' overall message is rooted in compassion but doesn't always boil down to clear cases of "right" and "wrong." And while Harry is an obviously skilled lawyer who passionately advocates for her clients, she isn't perfect (and sometimes smokes pot). There's audible language (including "a--hole") and light sexual innuendo, too, along with some social drinking and a little name-dropping when it comes to name brands.
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What's the story?
In HARRY’S LAW, Harriet "Harry" Korn (Kathy Bates) tires of her life as a hotshot patent lawyer and decides to open her own firm in one of Cincinnati's roughest neighborhoods -- first, inside a shoe store under the banner of "Harriet's Law and Fine Shoes" and, later, in a much larger law office in an entirely different part of town. Her new army of attorneys includes cocky attention-seeker Tommy Jefferson (Christopher McDonald), rising star Adam Branch (Nate Corddry), level-headed legal mind Cassie Reynolds (Karen Olivo) and Oliver Richard (Mark Valley), a lawyer who once worked at Harry's old firm.
Is it any good?
Talk about a makeover. After premiering to a chorus of critical boos in its first season, Harry's Law underwent major changes in casting and concept for a second season that feels like an entirely different show -- one that's more in line with executive producer/writer David E. Kelley's impressive list of legal hits (including L.A. Law, The Practice, Ally McBeal, and Boston Legal). That's bad news for fans of the old law-firm-in-a-shoe-store shtick but great news for those who wanted better things for Bates and her talents.
Along with a revamped line-up of lawyers (including Broadway star Olivo, who won a Tony for her performance as Anita in the 2009 revival of West Side Story), the firm boasts an impressive roster of higher-profile cases that take Harry and her associates into more complicated legal territory than ever before. And while the firm's new cases are a far cry from those they used to champion, Bates at least tackles them with the same no-nonsense frankness that won audiences over the first time around.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the way the law (and the legal system in general) is portrayed on the show. Would Harry's methods work in an actual court of law? Is the law set up to punish people or to help them?
Why was Harry fed up with her former profession as a patent attorney? Is there something to be said for walking away from a lucrative, secure job that doesn't excite you anymore to pursue something you're more passionate about? What are the risks involved?
Does the show reinforce any negative stereotypes about the kinds of people who commit crimes? How does it compare with other shows about criminals and lawyers on TV?