Friday, April 18, 2008

The Original Boston Legal: John Adams, Esq.

Posted by Alan Childress

We are happy to post this media reminder sent by Kelly Anders, Washburn Law School's associate dean for student affairs.  She writes:

HBO’s seven-part miniseries, “John Adams,” concludes on Sunday. History buffs, legal historians, and Con Law aficionados alike will appreciate this thoroughly-researched and well-acted depiction of the lives of John and Abigail Adams. The series is based on the Pulitzer-winning book by David McCullough (who also won the same prize for his book on Harry Truman). Additional details about the “John Adams” miniseries are available at and

And in the IMDB page for the series, here, you will find links to pages for trivia and errors. For example, IMDB reports:

The film shows all troops acquitted for the Boston Massacre, however two men were found guilty of murder because they were found to fire directly into the crowd. John Adams was able to have their charges reduced to manslaughter due to a loophole in British law by proving the men could read. The two solders were punished by branding on their thumbs.

My own research reveals that Dean Anders has long followed the role of lawyers and law in popular culture, so it is not surprising this caught her eye and she shared.  Here is an SSRN link I found to her 2007 article, "Reviewing Silkwood at 25: The Reel Impact on Environmental Policy."  It is about Cher, Streep, and a needed sequel to the movie. Her abstract is below the fold.

The abstract:

The year 2008 will mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of the release of the film Silkwood, which depicted the events surrounding the apparent plutonium contamination and mysterious death of Kerr-McGee employee Karen Silkwood. The film featured the facts leading up to the case, but many would argue that the resulting lawsuit involved a legal battle worthy of a sequel. The Kerr-McGee Corporation may no longer exist, but the former company continues to impact our concepts of environmental policy, whistleblower protection, and damages awards through case law. This essay provides a comparative analysis of the case and its depiction in film and follows with a summary of how both continue to impact environmental policy.

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