Boston Legal TV Series

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Boston Legal TV Series
An overview of the Boston Legal TV Series

Series Overview

The Boston Legal TV series is an American legal drama-comedy show created by David E. Kelley, who also created Alley McBeal, The Practice, and Picket Fences. Boston Legal ran on the ABC television network from October 3, 2004, to December 8, 2008. 

The Boston Legal TV series is a spin-off of the long-running Kelley series The Practice. Initially, the series began by focusing on the continued exploits of a former Practice cast character who joins a new firm.

The popular series tells the story of a group of brilliant and emotionally charged attorneys who work at the Boston law firm of Crane, Poole & Schmidt. Many episodes are relevant to current social issues and balance drama, comedy, and silliness. Much of the series’ success comes from the masterful work of James Spader and William Shatner. With episodes similar to Alley McBeal, the ensemble cast delivers quirky, lovable, and entertaining episodes.

  • Alan Shore (played by James Spader)
  • Claire Simms (Constance Zimmer)
  • Jeffrey Coho (Craig Bierko)
  • Denny Crane (played by William Shatner)
  • Clarence Bell (Gary Anthony Williams)
  • Jerry Espenson (Christian Clemenson)
  • Carl Sack (John Larroquette)
  • Denise Bauer (Julie Bowen)
  • Garrett Wells (Justin Mentell)
  • Sally Heep (Lake Bell)
  • Mark Valley
  • Monica Potter
  • Paul Lewiston (René Auberjonois)
  • Rhona Mitra
  • Ryan Michelle Bathe
  • Shirley Schmidt (Candice Bergen)
  • Tara Summers
  • Taraji P. Henson
  • Saffron Burrows

Unconventional Heroes:

At the heart of “Boston Legal” are its protagonists, the brilliant legal minds who populate Crane, Poole & Schmidt. The dynamic duo of Alan Shore, played by James Spader, and Denny Crane, portrayed by William Shatner, steal the show with their eccentricities and exceptional performances.

Alan Shore, a charismatic and morally complex attorney, captivates viewers with his unconventional courtroom tactics and unyielding determination to fight for justice. His character tackles controversial cases and societal issues, often straying from conventional legal methods to champion his clients’ causes.

On the other hand, Denny Crane is a legendary lawyer with a larger-than-life personality and a deteriorating mental state due to early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Despite his flaws and idiosyncrasies, Crane remains a force to be reckoned with in the courtroom, aided by his charm and unorthodox approach to the law.

Supporting Cast:

While Alan Shore and Denny Crane take center stage, the supporting cast of “Boston Legal” is integral to the show’s success. The brilliant attorneys and staff members at Crane, Poole & Schmidt bring their unique perspectives, adding depth and complexity to the series.

Notable characters include Shirley Schmidt (Candice Bergen), a formidable litigator with a no-nonsense attitude, and Carl Sack (John Larroquette), a skilled lawyer grappling with his moral compass. Additionally, the enigmatic Jerry Espenson (Christian Clemenson), known for his idiosyncrasies and socially awkward behavior, provides a touch of both comedy and empathy.

Boston Legal Season 1-5 Complete Collection
The Boston Legal TV Series ran for five seasons and 101 episodes. All of the episodes are available to watch on Amazon Video.  In addition, all of the seasons and episodes are available in a single DVD collection at Amazon.com. This package of 22 discs is “Amazon’s Choice” as the best product to buy if you like this series. Many discs contain bonus features such as featurettes, cast interviews, and additional footage.

Season 1

The show quickly became a unique and entertaining legal dramedy in the first season. The show’s success can be attributed to the brilliant pairing of James Spader and William Shatner, who portrayed ethically complex attorneys Alan Shore and Denny Crane. Their witty banter and politically incorrect antics added depth to the series. Candice Bergen’s arrival as Shirley Schmidt further elevated the show. “Boston Legal” combined humor with courtroom complexity and addressed social issues. The series also featured notable guest stars and memorable “balcony scenes” between Spader and Shatner. The show’s chemistry and sharp writing garnered a dedicated fanbase.

  • S1 E1 – Head Cases
  • S1 E2 – Still Crazy After All These Years
  • S1 E3 – Catch and Release
  • S1 E4 – Change of Course
  • S1 E5 – An Eye for an Eye
  • S1 E6 – Truth Be Told
  • S1 E7 – Questionable Characters
  • S1 E8 – Loose Lips
  • S1 E9 – A Greater Good
  • S1 E10 – Hired Guns
  • S1 E11 – Schmidt Happens
  • S1 E12 – From Whence We Came
  • S1 E13 – It Girls and Beyond
  • S1 E14 – Til We Meat Again
  • S1 E15 – Tortured Souls
  • S1 E16 – Let Sales Ring
  • S1 E17 – Death Be Not Proud

Season 2

In Boston Legal’s second season, the series continues to shine with its impeccable ensemble cast and refined humor. Denny Crane (William Shatner) and Alan Shore (James Spader) maintain their amusing blend of political incorrectness and courtroom theatrics. The departure of Alan’s girlfriend Tara adds depth to his male bonding with Denny, forming the show’s emotional core. The season introduces new dynamics with expanded roles for cast members like Denise (Julie Bowen) and Brad (Mark Valley). The series thrives on outrageous behavior, compelling courtroom trials, and belligerent judges. Boston Legal remains a visual and auditory delight with superb guest stars and production values. Ultimately, Shatner and Spader’s chemistry is the show’s heart, emphasizing the compassionate co-dependence of their friendship. The series successfully combines drama and comedy for an engaging primetime TV experience.

  • E1 – The Black Widow
  • E2 – Schadenfreude
  • E3 – Finding Nimmo
  • E4 – A Whiff and a Prayer
  • E5 – Men to Boys
  • E6 – Witches of Mass Destruction
  • E7 – Truly, Madly, Deeply
  • E8 – The Ass Fat Jungle
  • E9 – Gone
  • E10 – Legal Deficits
  • E11 – The Cancer Man Can
  • E12 – Helping Hands
  • E13 – Too Much Information
  • E14 – Breast in Show
  • E15 – Live Big
  • E16 – …There’s Fire!
  • E17 – Shock and Oww!
  • E18 – Stick It
  • E19 – Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
  • E20 – Word Salad Days
  • E21 – Ivan the Incorrigible
  • E22 – Race Ipsa
  • E23 – Deep End of the Poole
  • E24 – Squid Pro Quo
  • E25 – Spring Fever
  • E26 – BL: Los Angeles

Season 3

In Boston Legal’s third season, the series continues its blend of comedy and pathos. It starts with Denise’s engagement with the terminally ill Daniel, who vanishes for an experimental treatment. New litigators Claire Sims and Jeffrey Coho join the firm, vying for Denise’s affection. The season features various cases, including a judge’s wife’s murder and an eccentric peeping tom’s obsession with Shirley. Denny Crane finds love, and Alan helps Jerry Espenson. The season addresses timely issues like religious freedom and immigration law, with recurring characters adding depth. Notable guest directors include Eric Stoltz and Adam Arkin. Spader and Clemenson’s friendship is highlighted in a featurette.

  • E1 – Can’t We All Get a Lung
  • E2 – New Kids on the Block
  • E3 – Desperately Seeking Shirley
  • E4 – Fine Young Cannibal
  • E5 – Whose God Is It Anyway?
  • E6 – The Verdict
  • E7 – Trick or Treat
  • Lincoln
  • On the Ledge
  • The Nutcrackers
  • Nuts
  • Dumping Bella
  • Selling Sickness
  • Fat Burner
  • The Good Lawyer
  • The Bride Wore Blood
  • Son of the Defender
  • Brotherly Love
  • Guise ‘n Dolls
  • Tea and Sympathy
  • Guantanamo by the Bay
  • Duck and Cover
  • Trial of the Century

Season 4

Some cast members depart in Boston Legal’s Season Four, while new faces like Katie Lloyd (Tara Summers) and Carl Sack (John Larroquette) join the firm. Alan Shore (James Spader) and Denny Crane (William Shatner) maintain their eccentricities, with Denny’s antics taking center stage in various situations. The season introduces intriguing story arcs, including a woman with Aspergers and a unique romantic inclination and a woman plotting her daughter’s killer’s murder. Spader shines when he passionately advocates for justice, such as in his memorable verbal confrontation with the Supreme Court justices. While Carl aims to bring order, the chaos at Crane, Poole & Schmidt continues, making Boston Legal an entertaining showcase of compelling characters.

  • Beauty and the Beast
  • The Innocent Man
  • The Chicken and the Leg
  • Do Tell
  • Hope and Glory
  • The Object of My Affection
  • Attack of the Xenophobes
  • Oral Contracts
  • No Brains Left Behind
  • Green Christmas
  • Mad About You
  • Roe v. Wade: The Musical
  • Glow in the Dark
  • Rescue Me
  • Tabloid Nation
  • The Mighty Rogues
  • The Court Supreme
  • Indecent Proposals
  • The Gods Must Be Crazy
  • Patriot Acts

Season 5

The fifth and final season of Boston Legal tackles controversial legal and personal issues across 13 episodes. Topics include the 2008 presidential election, Mad Cow disease, gay marriage rights, and health regulations for an unapproved Alzheimer’s drug. The outstanding ensemble cast, led by James Spader and William Shatner, delivers award-winning performances. Candice Bergen, John Larroquette, and several guest stars round out the cast. The season brings the series to a close, offering a mix of legal drama and humor.

  • Smoke Signals
  • Guardians and Gatekeepers
  • Dances with Wolves
  • True Love
  • The Bad Seed
  • Happy Trails
  • Mad Cows
  • Roe
  • Kill, Baby, Kill!
  • Thanksgiving
  • Juiced
  • Made in China
  • Last Call

Production Company, Distributors, and Executive Producers

David E. Kelley Productions and 20th Century Fox Television produced the Boston Legal TV series. 20th Television distributes the series. The executive producers (at different times during the show’s run) were Bill D’Elia, David E. Kelley, Janet Leahy, Jeff Rake, Lawrence Broch, Mike Listo, and Scott Kaufer.

Social Commentary and Ethical Dilemmas:

One of the most compelling aspects of “Boston Legal” is its ability to tackle contemporary social issues and ethical dilemmas. Through its cases, the show fearlessly delves into topics such as civil rights, gun control, euthanasia, corporate greed, and the erosion of personal privacy. These thought-provoking storylines provide a platform for the series to explore complex moral questions, sparking viewer discussions and challenging societal norms.

The legal battles in “Boston Legal” often serve as allegories for larger social and political issues, shedding light on the flaws and injustices within the legal system. By intertwining these narratives with personal journeys, the show masterfully balances entertainment with introspection, offering viewers a compelling mix of drama and societal commentary.

Critical Response, Ratings, and Awards

Boston Legal was nominated for 22 Emmy Awards and won five in its five-year run. William Shatner and James Spade both won Emmys for their performances. The Boston Legal TV series was nominated for 4 Golden Globe Awards and won one. The show also won a Peabody Award.

The series is rated 8.4 out of 10 stars on IMDB, 8.8 on TV.com, and has a score of 88% on Rotten Tomatoes. In addition, 93% of Google users indicate they like the show. Also, the series has a 4.5 out of 5-star rating on Amazon Video based on more than 450 reviews.

Legacy and Impact:

“Boston Legal” received critical acclaim during its run, earning multiple Emmy Awards and Golden Globe nominations. Its success can be attributed to its compelling storytelling, razor-sharp dialogue, and stellar performances. The show’s ability to tackle controversial issues head-on while still maintaining a sense of humor set it apart from other legal dramas of its time.

Moreover, “Boston Legal” pushed boundaries by exploring personal relationships, including romantic entanglements and complex friendships, in the context of a high-stakes law firm. It deftly portrayed the complexities of human emotions, allowing viewers to connect with the characters on a deeper level.

Questions and Comments

If you have any questions or comments about the Boston Legal TV series, please post a comment below. Also, check out other police crime dramas and detective TV series.

REVIEW OVERVIEW
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Michael Kissiah is the owner of Brandy Lane Publishing, LLC, which owns and operates a small portfolio of websites, including eInvestigator.com. Michael created eInvestigator.com more than 20 years ago after working as a private investigator in the state of Florida. Since that time, he has become an expert at how to find information online and has written over 1000 articles on topics related to the investigation industry. In addition, he is the author of the "Private Investigator Licensing Handbook", available at Amazon.com.
boston-legal-television-show-on-dvdWe give the Boston Legal TV series 4 out of 5 stars. All of the episodes are blast to watch and the ensemble cast delivers the perfect combination of humor, drama and wackiness that we loved on Alley McBeal.

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