March 2, 2009

Picket Fences

Lance McMillian, John Marshall Law School (Atlanta), has published "All Roads Lead to Rome, Wisconsin: Judge Henry Bone, Douglas Wambaugh, and the Strange World of Picket Fences," in Lawyers in Your Living Room! Law on Television (Michael Asimow, ed. ABA, 2009). Here is the abstract.

This is a book chapter appearing in LAWYERS IN YOUR LIVING ROOM! LAW ON TELEVISION (Michael Asimov ed. 2009). The book is published by the ABA, which retains the copyright. This chapter analyzes the lawyers on the television drama Picket Fences, which won two Emmys for Best Drama in the early 1990s. The chapter compares and contrasts the approaches toward the law and lawyering of Judge Henry Bone and Douglas Wambaugh. Set in the small town of Rome, Wisconsin, Bone and Wambaugh face off on the great issues of the day: euthanasia, polygamy, transsexuality, gay adoption, separation of church and state, racial busing, animal abuse, the rights of dentists with the HIV virus, the presence of sex offenders in the community, temporary insanity by reason of menopause, and all manner of bizarre fetishes (to name one, sexual arousal through bath toys). Along the way, they confront colorful characters such as the Tin Man, the Frog Man, the Potato Man, an elephant-stealing circus dwarf, a transsexual set to play the Virgin Mary in the town's Christmas play, and many others. The success of Picket Fences can be attributed to its ability to show us the best and worst parts of ourselves. The portrayals of Bone and Wambaugh play prominent parts in revealing this glimpse of humanity.

Download the chapter at SSRN here.

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