12 Shows Like Presumed Innocent You Must See

Jake Gyllenhaal stars in ‘Presumed Innocent,’ the television adaptation of Scott Turow’s eponymous novel, as prosecutor Rusty Sabich, who finds himself accused of the murder of his colleague and lover. Premiered on Apple TV+, the thriller takes its viewers inside the courtroom as the proceedings unfold and disturbing facts surrounding Rusty’s character begin to surface. Joining Gyllenhaal on the screen is Ruth Negga as Barbara Sabich, Rusty’s wife, whose complex relationship with her husband adds emotional depth to the narrative.

The ensemble cast also includes Bill Camp as Raymond Horgan, Rusty’s boss, and O-T Fagbenle as Nico Della Guardia, a determined prosecutor. Exposing innumerable webs of deceit and moral ambiguity, David E. Kelley’s creation utilizes his experience as an attorney and screenwriter to the fullest and presents a compelling commentary on justice, betrayal, and the fine line between guilt and innocence. For viewers who enjoy stories where dramatic legal procedures take center stage, here are 12 shows similar to ‘Presumed Innocent’ to watch next.

12. The Trial (2019)

The Trial‘ is an Italian drama about a high-stakes murder trial that captures the nation’s attention. The plot follows prosecutor Elena Guerra both in and outside the courtroom as she finds herself profoundly and personally entangled in the case. Gathering all her strength following the brutal murders of a teenager, Angelica Petronio, Elena must try the wealthy and powerful defendant Linda Monaco.

The cunning defense attorney, Ruggero Barone, attempts to control the justice system to bend it in favor of Linda. The characters in Stefano Lodovichi’s thriller hunt for truth and retribution day and night, much like those in ‘Presumed Innocent.’ Both shows explore the profound personal impacts of legal proceedings on the individuals involved while staying truthful to the intense arguments and the moral dilemmas faced by those seeking justice.

11. Anatomy of a Scandal (2022)

A political thriller centered on the lives of Britain’s elite, Netflix’s ‘Anatomy of a Scandal‘ is an adaptation of Sarah Vaughan’s book of the same name. The plot covers a high-profile case of sexual assault involving the Tory politician James Whitehouse. Created by David E. Kelley of ‘Presumed Innocent’ and Melissa James Gibson, the legal drama captures the mayhem and bias that might stem after the attention of media and the populace peaks.

Starring Sienna Miller and Rupert Friend as James, the narrative captures the relationship differences among spouses and the scandalous extramarital affairs they might lead to, reflecting the relationships between the central characters in Kelly’s Apple TV+ installment. The indirect societal pressures and deep psychological analysis behind the motives further push ‘Anatomy of a Scandal‘ towards the intense drama witnessed in ‘Presumed Innocent,’ adding dimensions to the courtroom battles that ensue in the two series.

10. Innocent Defendant (2017)

‘Innocent Defendant’ is a South Korean series that takes the slightly exaggerated tropes of K-dramas and puts them into a legal thriller. Developed by Han Jung-hwan, the series follows Park Jung-woo, the amnesiac head prosecutor who wakes up one day to find himself on death row, accused of a crime he doesn’t remember committing. As he struggles to piece together the events leading up to his incarceration, Jung-woo must play against a treacherous legal system to prove his innocence. Filled with suspense, intense emotional moments, and plenty of cliffhangers through its exploration of memory in the quest for truth, the K-drama mirrors the deeply conflicted protagonist of ‘Presumed Innocent,’ making it a captivating legal thriller. Moreover, the flashback sequences also turn the fast-paced screenplays into a race-against-time for the leads.

9. Goliath (2016-2021)

Having worked for every major cable network, David E. Kelley finally joined hands with Jonathan Shapiro in 2016 to helm, ‘Goliath,’ his first-ever project for a streaming platform, Amazon Prime Video. The web series stars Billy Bob Thornton as Billy McBride, a disgraced lawyer with alcohol addiction who seeks redemption by taking on a wrongful death lawsuit against a powerful law firm that he had co-founded. In his chase for redemption, McBride confronts corruption, realizing the deviation in the justice system between the rich and the ordinary folks.

The realizations keep haunting the lawyer over his past misdeeds, which take the form of personal demons and raise the already impossible odds. Akin to Kelly’s version of ‘Presumed Innocent,’ ‘Goliath’ goes deep in defining the meanings of justice, corporate malfeasance, and moral ambiguity. The two series let their characters fully demonstrate their anger and intolerance as the heated debates begin getting under their nerves.

8. American Rust (2021-)

This Showtime production brings Philipp Meyer’s titular novel to life as a chilling crime drama that explores the complexities of small-town life in Midwestern America. The series stars Jeff Daniels as Del Harris, a morally compromised police chief who, after the son of the woman he loves is arrested for murder, finds his life torn apart between his duty and his personal feelings.

A creation of Dan Futterman, ‘American Rust‘ delves into the intricacies of the legal system and the personal dilemmas faced by those involved in both sides of the system. This blend of conflicted thought processes and indecisiveness mirrors the dilemma Rusty and the entire District Attorney’s office divide themselves in ‘Presumed Innocent.’ The atmospheric settings and character-driven narratives further serve as layers of tension and realism, making ‘American Rust’ a valid small-town companion to the metro backdrop of the Apple TV+ series.

7. Chance (2016-2017)

‘Chance’ is a psychological thriller that once again features ‘House’ actor Hugh Laurie embodying a doctor, Eldon Chance, who is participating in investigations. A neuropsychiatrist who becomes entangled in the dangerous lives of his patients, Dr. Chance joins hands with Darius, a furniture conservator, as the two attempt to protect a patient from a corrupt police detective. Created by Kem Nunn and Alexandra Cunningham and based on Nunn’s book of the same name, ‘Chance’ features the brave acts of the titular doctor as he plays with fire amidst the psychological manipulation and alarming criminal activities of San Francisco.

Similar to ‘Presumed Innocent,’ ‘Chance’ explores the dark side of human nature and the thin line between professional duty and personal involvement. Both protagonists, Rusty Sabich and Eldon Chance, find themselves drawn into complex legal and moral battles that challenge their integrity and resolve. The shows’ intense character studies and ethical revelations raise unpredictability factors through immense psychological and legal dramas.

6. For Life (2020-2021)

This biographical drama presents the real-life story of Isaac Wright Jr., who was wrongfully convicted on the charges of supplying enormous amounts of cocaine. Created by Hank Steinberg, the ABC series stars Nicholas Pinnock as Aaron Wallace, the fictionalized version of Wright, who becomes a lawyer while serving a life sentence on the false charges of drug trafficking.

‘For Life’ explores Aaron’s fights to overturn his conviction and his role in bringing fellow inmates due justice while navigating a flawed legal system. The series shares thematic elements with ‘Presumed Innocent,’ such as the pursuit of justice and the moral complexities within the trusted procedures. Both shows highlight protagonists who claim they were wrongfully accused and must fight against corruption and prejudice to prove their innocence.

5. Your Honor (2020-2023)

A remake of Ron Ninio and Shlomo Mashiach’s Israeli television series of the same name, ‘Your Honor‘ stars Bryan Cranston of ‘Breaking Bad’ as Michael Desiato, a respected judge in New Orleans. When his son becomes involved in a hit-and-run accident, Desiato faces a moral dilemma that leads him down a path of corruption, deceit, and desperate actions to protect his family. Created by Peter Moffat, the series explores the lengths one — even the supposed protector of justice — will go to safeguard loved ones.

The show’s exploration of ethical ambiguities and the personal toll of legal battles resonate strongly with ‘Presumed Innocent.’ Much like Rusty Sabich in the latter, Michael Desiato’s legal shrewdness is tested as he maneuvers through a complex web of lies and half-truths. Both series feature protagonists who are integral parts of the system they are up against as their professional and personal lives collide dramatically.

4. The Burden of Proof (1992)

‘The Burden of Proof’ is a television adaptation of Scott Turow’s follow-up novel to ‘Presumed Innocent.’ Created by John Gay, the story of this legal show picks up after the events of the latter and features Héctor Elizondo as Alejandro “Sandy” Stern, who investigates the mysterious death of his wife. As the renowned attorney delves deeper into the investigation, he begins to experience the same turmoil as Rusty Sabich.

Just like the protagonist of the Apple TV+ production, Stern, too, uncovers a network of legal and personal secrets that challenge his understanding of his loved ones and himself, ensuring identical narrative depth and complex story structure. Moreover, stemming from the mind of the same author, ‘The Burden of Proof’ shares the sophisticated attention to detail surrounding the legal system that characterizes ‘Presumed Innocent.’

3. American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson (2016)

The first season of the hit seasonal anthology, ‘American Crime Story,’ chronicles the infamous trial of O.J. Simpson, a former football star accused of murdering his ex-wife, Nicole Brown, and her acquaintance, Ronald Goldman. An adaptation of ‘The Run of His Life: The People v. O. J. Simpson,’ written by Jeffrey Toobin, the true crime series delves into the legal strategies, media frenzy, and racial tensions surrounding the case, featuring a star-studded ensemble led by Cuba Gooding Jr., Sarah Paulson, and John Travolta.

Helmed by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, the series mirrors ‘Presumed Innocent’ in portraying a high-profile legal battle where public perception and personal stakes are paramount. Both narratives explore how the legal system handles sensational cases and media scrutiny’s impact on their potential verdicts. The detailed — and somewhat accurate — depiction of courtroom drama and the behind-the-scenes look at legal maneuvering in ‘The People v. O.J. Simpson’ resonate with the intense legal and personal struggles faced by Rusty Sabich in ‘Presumed Innocent,’ as both men — proven heroes in their respective fields — are accused of murdering their former lovers.

2. When They See Us (2019)

Ava DuVernay’s ‘When They See Us‘ is a tragic crime drama based on the true story of 1989’s Central Park Five case. It follows the wrongful convictions of five teenage boys of the Black and Latino community, accused of assaulting a jogger, a white woman, in Central Park. The Netflix miniseries follows 15 long years of investigation and the first of two court cases based on the incident, shedding light on the actual crime scene, the arrests of the boys, their treatment in the jail, and the many after-discovered evidences that serve as strings of hope in their fight for justice.

The heart-wrenching drama explores the impact of systemic racism, flawed justice, and the personal tragedies endured by the boys and their families. Much like ‘Presumed Innocent,’ it delves deeply into the flaws and biases within the judicial system. Both stories highlight how personal lives are shaken up forever by legal battles, yet the boys do not so much as flinch in their relentless quest for justice. The show’s focus on the human cost of legal proceedings further corresponds to the themes explored in the Apple TV+ venture.

1. The Night Of (2016)

‘The Night Of’ is an acclaimed HBO miniseries from Steven Zaillian and Richard Price, who adapted the first season of Peter Moffat’s BBC series, ‘Criminal Justice.’ The mystery show stars Riz Ahmed as Nasir ‘Naz’ Khan, a Pakistani-American college student who is accused of murdering Andrea, a woman he just met and had sex with. Having no recollection of the night’s events, Naz finds himself trapped inside the complexities of the criminal justice system, which won’t believe his innocence at any rate. John Turturro stars as John Stone, a lawyer with his own set of personal challenges, who takes on Naz’s case.

The series also explores the themes of guilt, prejudices, the harsh realities of prison life, and the manipulative tactics of lawyers who may prefer a hasty trial over the truth. Both ‘The Night Of’ and ‘Presumed Innocent’ center on protagonists embroiled in legal nightmares that dramatically alter their lives. The detailed portrayal of legal processes, the meticulous investigation of the crime, and the personal struggles of the accused create a strong link between the two series. The narrative of ‘The Night Of’ mirrors the tension and fear in ‘Presumed Innocent,’ solidifying its reputation as a solid character-driven drama.

Read More: Where Was Apple TV+’s Presumed Innocent Filmed?