Legal procedure as displayed on TV is usually a cause for lawyers to gnash their teeth and wail "That's not what really happens". This particularly went for the bed-hopping antics of Judge John Deed.
But documentaries are a different beast and in recent years flies have stuck to the walls of 'no win, no fee' lawyers Amelans and criminal solicitors' firm Tuckers.
Last week it was the turn of the Crown Prosecution Service in BBC4's 'The Prosecutors', and the TV reviewers, as you can see below from The Guardian, generally liked it a lot.
The Independent said: "This was an unprecedented glimpse inside the workings of the justice system and offered real insight into the heavy caseloads, the complex decisions behind charges, and the frustrations at getting all the required evidence together – never mind securing a conviction."
The Daily Telegraph was positive but not quite so enthralled: "Good stories on television live off emotional involvement, not paperwork. As such The Prosecutors couldn’t avoid being dry at times. Part of its point was that the boring stuff is the important stuff. I suspect this is one reason that it was shown on BBC Four."
As The Guardian noted, the cameras had to stop at the doors of the court, which is a real problem for a programme of this type and, one could argue, open justice. But televising courts is a debate is for another day.
What really struck me, however, was the profession's response, as perfectly summed up by this post on the Secret Barrister blog. It is a running sore for criminal defence lawyers that the blame for delays and other problems in the courts are often laid at their door without considering the role of other players in the system, most notably the prosecution.
Programmes like this, it is fair to say, will only serve to send defence lawyers' blood pressure soaring yet further.
As with previous documentaries shedding light on police procedure, this one gave you a sense of people doing immensely important jobs with great diligence and sensitivity, even when the nature of the work must put severe constraints on their job satisfaction. “Some cases are kind of indelibly marked on your heart, to be honest,” said Lindley.