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The series centered around student James T. Hart, a core cast of fellow-students, and one truly dominant force of nature in the form of a legendary law professor, Charles W. Kingsfield Jr., played beyond iconic perfection by the fabulous John Houseman. Houseman had starred as Kingsfield in the movie version, then unbelievably reprised the role on the small screen to the delight of his fans. Sadly, Houseman died a year after the Showtime incarnation of the series ended. Hart, played by James Stephens in the series, and by Timothy Bottoms in the movie, is a hard-working student from Minnesota whose background ill prepares him for the rough and tumble of law school. Hart is utterly terrified and fascinated by Kingsfield, who challenges his students so vigorously that he has become a legend in his own time, and his classes are both loathed and cherished. The professor, the undisputed authority on contract law, becomes an unwilling and unknowing mentor to Hart, who decides he will do anything he can to meet and exceed the expectations of the master legal-eagle. By the time the series ends on Showtime, Hart graduates. While the series explores the relationship between Hart and his co-students who form a study group, it is Houseman's Kingsfield that inhabits every inch of the show, even when he is not on screen - a lasting testimony to the actor's skill.

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