Television Programs set in Boston

For more detailed information on tv programs pre-1992, please consult
Television Character and Story Facts by Vincent Terrace
Mugar Reference XPN1992.8 .S4 T48

Ally McBeal

(aired from 9/97 – 5/2002) Written by David E. Kelley, the creator of “Picket Fences”, “Chicago Hope” and “The Practice”, this popular show followed the trials and tribulations of Ally McBeal, an attorney and single woman living in Boston.


(aired from 9/13/72-9/3/74) Thomas Banacek, played by George Peppard, is an insurance company investigator who lives in Boston.

Beacon Hill

(aired from 8/25/75-11/4/75)
Once described as a Boston version of Upstairs, Downstairs, this show portrayed a wealthy Irish family and their company of servants living in the exclusive Beacon Hill neighborhood. This series was apparently such a flop that CBS never aired two of the thirteen taped episodes.

Boston Common

(aired from 3/21/96-4/28/97)
This short-run situation comedy featured the travails of a Virginia student who attends college in Boston.

The Cavanaghs

(aired during some seasons from 12/1/86 through 7/27/89)
This show portrayed the life of a Boston Irish-Catholic family who lived at the fictitious address of 36 Brookhaven Street.


(aired from 9/30/82-5/20/93)
This long-running comedy about this bar’s habitues still draws Boston tourists to visit the Bull and Finch Pub on Beacon Street, although it was never filmed at this location. The theme song boasts that the bar is “where everyone knows yourn name.” Diane Chambers, played by Shelley Long, is a part-time barmaid and taught at Boston University.

Dawson’s Creek

(aired from 1/20/98- 5/14/2003)
Set in a small coastal town near Boston named Capeside, this popular show depicted the lives of a few adolescents as they mature into adulthood.

Goodnight, Beantown

(aired from 4/3/83-1/15/84)
Matt Cassidy, played by actor Bill Bixby, is a television news anchor, who graduated from Boston University. He is joined by a female co-anchor, Jennifer Barnes, played by Mariette Hartley, who was hired to improve the ratings of WYN’s evening news show.


(aired from 1990-91)
This show featured local Boston comic, Lenny Clarke, who worked for an area utility company.

The Practice

(aired from 3/4/97- 5/2004)
Winner of several Emmy awards, this popular show portrayed the lives of attorneys at a Boston law firm.

St. Elsewhere

(aired from 10/26/82-5/25/88)
An extremely popular medical drama, this series was set in a Boston hospital.

Spenser: For Hire

(aired from 9/20/85-9/3/88)
Inspired by mystery writer Robert B. Parker’s books, this crime detective show was filmed on location in Boston.