David E. Kelley today is mourning the loss of his mentor Steven Bochco, who died Sunday at 74, calling him “my beacon, my friend.”

In 1986, Kelley was a practicing attorney in Boston when a legal thriller feature screenplay he had written in his spare time, From the Hip, got in the hands of Bochco. The TV showrunner was looking for writers with a legal background for the new NBC series he had co-created, L.A. Law.

Bochco gave Kelley his first TV writing job on the show. Kelley, who kept his Boston law office for the first year just in case writing did not work out, excelled, and Bochco quickly promoted him to executive producer. The two shared three consecutive Best Drama Series Emmys together, two of which were accompanied by writing Emmy trophies for Kelley.

The mentor and the mentee teamed to create together the series Doogie Howser, M.D., which ran from 1989-93 and made Neil Patrick Harris a star.

“A devastating loss. For television,” Kelley said today about the death of Bochco. “For those who loved him and were loved by him. My beacon, my friend. The ground feels different now.”