If there were a lawyer who could win even in the worst of circumstances, it would have to be Alan Shore (James Spader). Sticky cases are his specialty, and he always gives it his best shot no matter how much of an uphill battle he faces. When he gets his latest case, though, the complexities are a little higher.
Taking on a murder case is the least of Alan's problems. The man Alan must try and defend is accused of trying to cover up a murder his brother committed. He admits he did it, but Alan's closing argument results, as usual, in an acquittal.
Denny Crane (William Shatner) takes on the role of second chair, which proves to be interesting in and of itself. The two are a study in contrasts, especially when it comes to law. Alan may have a bag of tricks, but at least he knows when the stakes require his full attention. He also respects the law enough to not cross the line, too far. Although he could have told the district attorney his client murdered her fiancee, he would be breaking a confidence. In law, privilege means nobody else is supposed to know what a client tells the attorney. Cases are meant to be won or lost by the evidence alone. Renata was convicted for the murder she committed; Alan forced Renata to take a plea deal by showing her he was willing to lose his license to uphold justice ("The Bride Wore Blood"). Denny has seen his most effective days as a lawyer go by. Still, the pair together are fun to watch.
Back at the firm, a battle is taking place. Paul Lewiston (Rene Auberjonois) brings a document around which he wants everyone to sign. The people he wants most to sign are the ones who are dating another firm employee. Should a pair break up, Paul wants to avoid a lawsuit for sexual harassment.
Despite being standard procedure for business these days, Brad Chase (Mark Valley) refuses. He thinks the idea is "dumb", which does not sit well with the managing partner. Neither is about to give in, but Paul has the option to fire Brad if he doesn't sign. Brad doesn't, so Paul does, but the situation is not over.
Brad goes to Shirley Schmidt (Candice Bergen) and asks if Paul has the authority to fire him. He suggests he can bring a lawsuit, although not the one Paul is trying to prevent. Brad plans to sue for wrongful termination. However, he is merely telling Shirley so she can be prepared.
Brad decides to file an appeal with all the partners. Fortunately, they agree he should remain with the firm. When Brad asks Shirley if she would have fired him, she says yes.
I seem to recall Denny nearly firing Brad once, after he found out Brad tried to bribe Bev Bridges into leaving Denny ("Too Much Information"). Shirley then told Brad that Denny could not act alone in the decision, despite Denny being one of the founding partners. Brad may not appear in court often, but his verbal patter is on a level with Alan's. Which reminds me, they need to appear together in court again sometime soon.
On another front, Claire Simms (Constance Zimmer) spots her former assistant, Clarence Hall (Gary Anthony Williams) having a pleasant conversation with another woman. Since she and Clarence are in a relationship, Claire immediately decides she is being cheated on and dumps him.
When Alan sees Clarice, Clarence's alter ego, at his assistant's desk, he knows something is wrong. Although Clarice refuses to talk, Alan gets the story out of Clarence. He goes to Claire and says she misinterpreted the circumstances. Claire realizes she was too hasty in her judgment, and takes Clarence back.
This episode had multiple storylines, and one central theme. Brad not only stood up for himself, but stood his ground. It backfired, but the message was sent loud and clear. I have to wonder if Paul is going to have a heart attack one of these days. He spends so much time focusing on the firm, and the effort is clearly a strain.