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Scott Turow Explains How Legal Writing Changed Since “Presumed Innocent”

Twenty years ago, one bestselling novelist turned the publishing world upside-down with Presumed Innocent–a legal thriller success story that helped create a whole new legal fiction bookshelf.

In today’s installment of Media Beat, bestselling novelist and attorney Scott Turow explored the evolution of the legal thriller since he published Presumed Innocent in 1989. He has returned to the characters in his newest novel, Innocent.

Here’s an except about a popular television show: “I actually think quite a bit of Law & Order. The characters [in my novel] are using it as a measuring point for their real-life jobs in the law. I think Law & Order (and a lot of narrative about the law) has influenced juries in particular who come to court. They’ll be sitting as jurors on a routine robbery case and they’ll ask, ‘Where’s the DNA?!?’ The answer of course is that there is no genetic evidence. There’s an expectation that science will zoom in and provide an exact answer when very often, that’s not the case. ”

Part 2: Scott Turow Offers Novel Writing Advice: “Persistence Is Critical”

Part 3: Scott Turow Ponders the Future of Publishing, Royalties, and Piracy

Media Beat is’s interview series with the movers and shakers of the media world. View all past episodes at

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