84. THE DEFENDERS - TIE
Created by Reginald Rose
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Aired: CBS, 1961-1965
Reginald Rose won two Emmys for his writing on The Defenders, which continued in the vein of the work for which he was most known for writing, Twelve Angry Men. The Defenders was based on a two-part episode Rose had written for the 1957 live NBC anthology series Studio One, in which Ralph Bellamy and William Shatner portrayed a father-and-son defense team whose client, played by Steve McQueen, is on trial for murder. In doing The Defenders, Rose and producer Herbert Brodkin (Studio One, Playhouse 90) fashioned a series in which the cases of the father and son (co-stars E.G. Marshall and Robert Reed) sometimes asked complex moral questions of the audience. In the infamous episode called “The Benefactor,” for instance, their client was a doctor who’d performed an abortion. It made The Defenders as much a pioneer of the social issues drama as the legal series.
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