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This essay offers a social history and examination of The Defenders as a popular, critically acclaimed television text that negotiated anxieties regarding crime, law, justice, liberalism, and masculinity in the 1960s and 1990s. Both The Defenders television series (1961)(1962)(1963)(1964)(1965) and the Showtime motion picture series (1997)(1998) by the same name rearticulated enduring tensions between law's formalism and just desires for compassion and mercy, depicting defense attorneys as mendoi:10.1177/1527476406298904 fatcat:fxzfzwac5jarxpdusy6uqngdze