Ben Matlock, also known as the reason I went to law school, has died. More specifically, Andy Griffith has passed away. As an attorney now, I can assure you that lawyers like Matlock don’t exist. No criminal attorney asks his client if he or she is innocent, and they certainly don’t make a point out of finding the real killer.
But I love those episodes where the murderer says on the stand, "and then you broke the window and you snuck inside and you killed her and you put the tire iron in my client’s car!" and the guy says "you’ll never proove it" and Matlock looks at the jury and says, "all I have to do is create reasonable doubt." That is some darn good lawyering right there.
I grew up on Matlock. My sister and I both did. We used to watch with my grandmother, but only because we found out we all liked the show. It was cop-drama without being about cops, and every once in awhile, he would have a guilty client, which was when it got really interesting. But some of the cleverest storylines I’ve seen on a criminal drama show come from Matlock – an episode where the killer was blind, and extremely clever, and one where the killer was paralyzed and his wife was killed on the second floor of the house when his scooter chair didn’t work and he was supposedly out working anyway. It’s a surprisingly accurate portrayel of the innerworkings of the human element of a small firm – not a lot of drama in between the coworkers, just good hard work and people that care deeply for each other.
I’ve conducted enough cross examinations to know that it never goes the way Matlock shows it going, but I always hope that someday, my opposing party will break down on the stand and confess to lying. Anyway, may Andy Griffith rest in peace and may Ben Matlock be laid out in his finest gray suit.