Boston Legal

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Template:Infobox television

Boston Legal (working title Fleet Street) is an ABC television series that is a spin-off to the long-running legal drama The Practice. The series, like its parent also created by David E. Kelley, follows Alan Shore and Tara Wilson to their new law firm Crane, Poole & Schmidt. Its official premiere episode aired October 2004, and ended its first season run on March 20, 2005. The show has been renewed for the 2005 - 2006 season, but the series, which benefited from its strong lead-in, Desperate Housewives, has been moved, receiving a less favorable lead-in, Commander-In-Chief, a new drama starring Geena Davis. Whether this move will affect the show, which consistently won its time slot in its first season, is unknown.

The Practice did more than have one episode introducing Boston Legal (something which JAG did for Navy NCIS and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers did for Masked Rider). The Practice dedicated most of its final episodes to gradually introducing the other lawyers at Crane, Poole & Schmidt.

Thus, the story of Boston Legal can be said to begin with the episode of The Practice in which Eugene Young (Steve Harris) and Jimmy Berlutti of Young, Frutt & Berlutti decided to fire Alan Shore (James Spader) without consulting Ellenor Frutt, beginning a story arc of several episodes. They give Shore a severance package of only a few thousand dollars even though Shore has brought in millions of dollars of revenue to the firm. Tara Wilson (Rhona Mitra) gets fired for her loyalty to Shore. Shore then goes to Crane, Poole & Schmidt to represent him in the matter, thinking he has a claim under Massachusetts law to take over Young, Frutt & Berlutti. Denny Crane (William Shatner), the senior partner of Crane, Poole & Schmidt, takes an interest in the case and even argues at the trial, cross-examining Eugene Young. The jury awards Shore the millions of dollars of revenue he brought in to Young, Frutt & Berlutti but does not order the firm to rehire him. Denny Crane hires Shore at his firm. After Young is appointed a judge, his first case (in the final episode of The Practice) happens to be with Alan Shore for the defense, making Young wonder if Shore judge-shopped (this opens the door for Harris to guest-star on Boston Legal as a judge). By the time of this final episode of The Practice, almost all the action of the series had shifted to Crane, Poole & Schmidt.

Even with all this preparation, the official premiere episode for Boston Legal does introduce new characters, such as partner Paul Lewiston (Rene Auberjonois, in a role different from his tenure as a hapless judge on The Practice), and has an interesting cameo with Reverend Al Sharpton as himself.

In late May 2005, it has announced that Rhona Mitra and Monica Potter decided to leave the show to pursue other projects. Former Ed star Julie Bowen will join the series in the new role of Eileen Northrop in the fall.

Characters

  • Alan Shore (James Spader) A crooked lawyer with a heart of gold. Blackmail, bribe, disguise, computer hacking are all tools he uses without hesitation. Wherever he works he treats his coworkers with levity and refuses to take himself seriously.
  • Tara Wilson (Rhona Mitra) A paralegal at Young, Berluti & Frutt, she graduated from law school in time to go with Alan Shore to Crane, Poole & Schmidt.
  • Lori Colson (Monica Potter)
  • Brad Chase (Mark Valley) A lawyer who does things by the book, he hates Alan Shore. He served in the Marine Corps and has the ability to defuse bombs.
  • Sally Heep (Lake Bell) Associate at Crane, Poole & Schmidt. In the second episode with Shirley Schmidt, Schmidt fired Heep, but Heep promised that this would not be the last of her.
  • Paul Lewiston (Rene Auberjonois) Partner and legal advisor of Crane, Poole & Schmidt. Unlike Crane and Shore, he generally does things strictly "by the book." He has had several antagonistic run-ins with Crane and Shore over their apparent lack of respect for the law.
  • Shirley Schmidt (Candice Bergen) Founding and Senior partner of Crane, Poole & Schmidt. She first appeared in the January 9, 2005 episode. She used to have a romantic relationship with Denny Crane, a past she now views with sardonic detachment, often making jokes about it.
  • Denny Crane (William Shatner) Founding and Senior partner of Crane, Poole & Schmidt. He considers himself a legend and loves to say his own name to "sign" his verbal utterances. In one of the final episodes of The Practice he explained that often people don't believe they're in the room with a legend, so he says his own name to let them know it's true. Crane has no problem sleeping with wives of clients and judges.
  • Catherine Piper (Betty White) Alan's assistant; an eccentric character who attempted to start a relationship with a murderous client of Alan's, much to his dismay.

Crane is portrayed as somewhat of an idiot savant. On a case involving seniors and prescription drug prices, he forgot the details of the case and gave opening statements that caused a mistrial, to his client's benefit. He then finally took seriously Alan Shore's suggestion that he might have Alzheimer's, and went to get tested for it. Late in the first season, he admitted to Shore that he had been taking a type of amphetamine drug to help him focus on trial procedures; he later stopped taking the drug.

An avid rifleman, Crane claims to be a Marine Corps veteran, but he couldn't remember whether he was a pilot or a sniper in an episode where he shot a man who was threatening to shoot Alan Shore. This scene was particularly amusing, since Crane had Tara open the intervening door by yelling "Pull" (as in Skeet shooting), afterwhich he shot the assailant.

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