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TV Review Boston Legal “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”

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The writers must have gotten bored. Usually their titles are more original than this.

As the episode opens, Shirley Schmidt (Candice Bergen) is having a meeting with a client (Ed Begley, Jr.) going through a divorce. The marriage is ending and there is one item in dispute. While married, the couple amassed a collection of Victorian erotica. Each wants to keep it all. Even after Shirley points out that, legally, the wife is allowed to have part of it, the husband is extremely reluctant to give it up. He says that his family has done business with the firm for a long time and he wants her to take action. The wife shows up with her lawyer, Ivan Tiggs (Tom Selleck in a recurring role). Shirley mentions that the two of them were involved and either party would be wise to seek alternate counsel. However, neither wants to give up their lawyer.

Ivan is still in love with Shirley, or so he says. She says that since he remarried, he belongs with his wife, Missy.

In the boardroom, Shirley meets with Denny Crane (William Shatner) and Brad Chase (Mark Valley). Since Paul Lewiston (Rene Auberjonois) is taking care of his granddaughter, Fiona, after his daughter Rachel went into rehab for cystal meth addiction (“Stick It”), he isn’t around the office much. After Denny makes a comment about Paul’s “druggie” daughter, Brad says that Rachel is merely someone who needs help.

One thing Paul has to do is interview a couple of junior associates. This is because Sara Holt (Ryan Michelle Bathe) and Garrett Wells (Justin Mentell) left the firm. With the way the show has been running, though, I would hardly be surprised if one or both returned.

I understand that this season is longer than it would be if last season had not been interrupted for the sake of Grey’s Anatomy. The longer storyline arcs are the same technique used on The Practice, when Alan Shore defended a childhood friend accused of murder. For those interested, he lost. Something has gone wrong, here though, in midseason. This show is simply nowhere near the fun and entertaining piece of work it once was.

Catherine Piper (Betty White) has made yet another appearance. Are the producers of Boston Legal relying on her to draw in viewers? Guess what? It doesn’t work. She should have stayed out of the firm once she was fired by Shirley.

After Catherine got caught trying to help her friend Adele (Norma Michaels) get out of an assisted living facility, she asked that the administrators call Alan rather than the police. They agree, and Alan shows up to rescue Catherine yet again. When he asks why she didn’t ask him for help, she says that even though he got her cleared of murder charges (“A Whiff and a Prayer”) and prevented her from being charged with armed robbery (“Too Much Information”), she thought she could handle this herself.

Adele tells Alan that she came to the facility after her son died and she needed help getting over depression. When she asked when she would go home, however, she was told that she was staying there permanently. Adele never met the man who was directly responsible.

Denise Bauer (Julie Bowen) and Alan discuss the case in the firm’s break room. In an amusing moment, Denise noticed Alan was eating something she had never seen before. He said it was a Japanese delicacy. When she reached over and speared some on a fork to try, Alan was nice enough to warn that the pink parts had been known to cause vomiting and sometimes death! She promptly flung her forkful back in the container from which it came.

The conservator who was appointed by the court to oversee Adele’s affairs (Matt Malloy) tells Alan and Denise he wants to make sure Adele gets the help she needs. He seemed nice enough, but Alan had already heard from Catherine that he was sneakier than he appeared. Then again, so is Alan.

Adele comes to Alan’s office with a computer site that shows her house up for sale. Denise walks in with a title search showing he has been appointed eleven times previously. One of these former “clients” died. Alan uses one of his more creative solutions to help Adele get her independence back.

He makes a phone call, and the conservator is assaulted and robbed. Once his mouth is duct taped and he is tied to a chair, Alan walks in and mentions how helpless he must feel. Alan forces him to sign the release form so that Adele will no longer be under his care.

Brad met with the building manager and discovered that “extra” money had to be paid in order to take care of proper maintenance. Brad took money out of his own wallet to do so. He did not know that Paul had an “arrangement” for a set amount, and underpaid. Uh Oh! Heat got turned off, and the elevator was suddenly not working. Brad asked if a bribe was set up in advance and was told no.

Paul told Denny his priorities are changing and he is where he needs to be. When Rachel gets out of rehab, he may or may not be returning to the firm. After Denny charged personal expenses to the firm, Paul briefly considered setting up his own law practice with Denise (“There’s Fire”). There may be a new managing partner come next fall….

On the balcony, Alan tells Denny he is shocked at how easy violence has become. One phone call, and a man was beaten up and robbed. The experience has shaken Alan.

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  • Angie

    I LOVE Tom Selleck’s character!! Ivan is so intriguing and so sexy! You never know what he is going to do or say next! How does Shirley continue to resist his charms??? She has more willpower than I do! I can’t wait to see what happens next between Ivan and Shirley! I hope Ivan will become a regular cast member and that he and Shirley will continue this romantic storyline!

  • If there are going to be more season regulars, I suspect it would not happen until next fall. Easier. But I think Tom Selleck might be in another episode before this season runs out. Not sure, though, so don’t quote me on it.

  • Imamess

    Enjoyed your thorough review. May I point out an error? Alan did not lose the case in the three episode arc in The Practice where he defended his childhood friend. Or do you consider his finding out at the end of the episode that his friend WAS guilty, losing? James Spader did a great job of conveying his horror at that revelation. And without saying a word! By the way, did you know that was the episode he chose to submit for Emmy consideration. And he won!

    I don’t agree that Catherine Piper should have stayed away after Shirley fired her. I love how her character seems to exasperate Alan. Do you really think she has enough pull that the producers would use her for that? I thought that’s what they used actors like Michael J. Fox and Tom Selleck for.

  • Congrats! Your article was placed on Advance.net

  • Imam-
    obviously the jury thought the state failed to prove its case. But if Alan’s friend DID commit the crime he was accused of, Alan lost too. The evidence should have proven that. I suspect Mr. Shore was taken advantage of.