Series co-Creator Terry Louise Fisher, former Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County, former entertainment lawyer for Twentieth Century Fox, and Producer and Writer for Cagney & Lacey (1981), composed a form letter she was thinking of sending to lawyers who complained about this show: "Dear So-and-so: If I were a good lawyer, I'd still be practicing law. Instead, I'm stuck in Hollywood, making ten times as much money. I hope you are as conscientious about your clients, as you are about our show. Thank you for your writing."
In early 1991, a season five episode had two female characters, Abby (Michele Greene) and the newcomer C.J. (Amanda Donohoe) kissing each other. The scene was recognized as the first kiss between two women in a prime time American series, and was considered quite controversial.
Series Creator Steven Bochco was so taken with the show being parodied on the cover of the October 1987 issue of Mad Magazine, that he staged a photo shoot with the show's actors and actresses in the exact same positions that their caricatures had appeared on the magazine's cover. Mad Magazine ran the photo in a subsequent issue.
In the opening title sequence, the car's "L.A. Law" license plate expiration sticker always showed the ending year for a given season (it showed "87" for the 1986-1987 season).
The license plate in the beginning of the opening credits was, during the first seven seasons, mounted on the rear of a Jaguar, but for the final season, it changed to being mounted on a Bentley Continental R, a car which was mentioned in several episodes of the eighth season, when Arnie Becker (Corbin Bernsen) was thinking of buying one. He finally received one as a gift in episode three of the same season.
David E. Kelley was the head writer on this show. It was Kelley's feeling that this show was unrealistic, and tended to glamorize the law, and deify lawyers. Kelley created The Practice (1997), which was a grittier, less sexy, and flattering portrait of the law, as a direct response to this show.
In a recent "Emmy TV Legends" interview, Diana Muldaur (Rosalind Shays) said she refused to do the infamous Rosalind-falls-to-her-death-in-the-elevator-shaft scene, when the director asked her to do it herself. She said it took the stuntwoman fifteen times before they got the shot right. "I would have broken my neck!" she said.
In a recent "Emmy TV Legends" interview, David E. Kelly said that he killed off Rosalind Shays (Diana Muldaur) because he was leaving the show, and he loved the character so much, that he didn't want to see her mishandled in the hands of another writer.
William M. Finkelstein became Executive Producer of this show shortly after his series Civil Wars (1991) was cancelled. Finkelstein transferred two "Civil Wars" characters from their New York City law firm to "L.A. Law": attorney Eli Levinson (Alan Rosenberg), and his secretary, Denise Iannello (Debi Mazar).
Douglas Brackman, Jr. (Alan Rachins) kept a portrait of his father in his office. This portrait was of Rachins' own father.
The series ended the last day of shooting their final episode the morning of May 10, 1994. Corbin Bernsen called into the Howard Stern Show about a half hour before they wrapped for the last time.
At one point, Dann Florek (Dave) takes over the firm and does a pep talk, à la Hill Street Blues (1981): "Let's be careful out there!"
Alan Rachins (Douglas Brackman, Jr.) is the brother-in-law of Steven Bochco, as he has been married to his elder sister Joanna Frank since 1978.
The cast of characters included two married couples, played by actors and actresses who were married to each other in real-life: Ann Kelsey and Stuart Markowitz (Jill Eikenberry and Michael Tucker), and Douglas and Sheila Brackman (Alan Rachins and Joanna Frank).
In an "Emmy TV Legends" interview, Steven Bochco admits that when he was developing this show, he basically ripped off Hill Street Blues (1981).
In one episode, Kathy Bates played a woman whose husband was molesting her daughter, and the state won't protect her when she reports it, so she decides to take the law into her own hands. Coincidentally, this is almost the same plot as Dolores Claiborne (1995), a movie in which she starred.
John Spencer joined the cast in the fifth season to play lawyer Tommy Mullaney. A story arc in the second season had featured a different character by the same name, a defendant represented by Grace Van Owen (Susan Dey).
The famous lesbian kiss episode between C.J. and Abby was always meant to be a one- off sweeps stunt. The producers were never intending to seriously explore lesbian relationships in any on-going way. It was a one time thing just for the ratings.
Corbin Bernsen was so eager to get the role of Arnie Becker, that he drove cross-country in his Jeep to track down Steven Bochco and asked him to give him another shot.