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TV Review: Boston Legal “Deep End of the Poole”

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It’s a week of continuing storylines as these lawyers are forced to deal with the choices they made. Whether good or bad, every action has consequences.

Shirley Schmidt (Candice Bergen), Paul Lewiston (Rene Auberjonois), and Brad Chase (Mark Valley) are in the lobby to witness the return of Edwin Poole (Larry Miller) to the firm. When audiences first saw Poole, he went to a staff meeting without his pants in “Head Cases”. Amazingly, he got all the way to the office without anybody noticing. The result was Poole being hospitalized for a mental breakdown.

Poole enters the lobby ready to return to business. He brings a gift for Shirley, a framed certificate stating he has completed treatment. Denny Crane (William Shatner) is delighted to see the former partner. They reminisce about founding the firm.

Down the hall, Alan Shore (James Spader) is about to have problems of his own. Alan’s assistant, Melissa (Marisa Coughlan), sees cops enter the building and she starts talking about how she has already paid her taxes. Why? Because the last time they were there, they arrested her for tax evasion in “Stick It”. Alan made sure she would not have to go to prison.

The cops arrest Alan for aiding and abetting a fugitive, among other charges. His client fled the country after being accused of attempted murder in “Race Ipsa”. While Alan makes wisecracks, he does not fight handcuffs. Melissa promises to get Alan a lawyer.

At Alan’s trial, his case is tried by Assistant District Attorney Douglas Koupfer (Adam Arkin). He says the arrest is personal due to Koupfer’s animosity towards him. These two have met before when Alan successfully won a case Koupfer tried. But they have a longer history, going back to law school.

Personal grudges seem to be a recurring theme in this show. Didn’t Brad accuse the district attorney of making things “personal” when he had Brad arrested for chopping off the fingers of a priest? I thought Alan just might choose Brad to represent him in court. Then again, I thought the Shatner defense was fun.

Shirley tells Edwin he seems “less crazy with your pants down”, and suggests he might not be ready to practice. He proves it when he decides to sue a snack cake company on behalf of his computer installer, who is diabetic. With Shirley’s help, there is enough evidence to proceed to trial.

Denny finds Alan in his office. Alan is figuring out his next step. He admits he broke the law, taking an action which was immoral and unethical. He asks Denny to close the case. After all, there is power in the name of Denny Crane.

They visit Alan’s former client, now in prison. He says Koupfer offered him a deal of only two years in prison if he would testify against Alan. Alan asks the man to simply repeat Alan’s advice verbatim in court.

Back in court, Jerry Espenson (Christian Clemenson) is on the stand. He says Alan would NEVER advise a client to flee. Koupfer asks him why he would say it was his fault if no breech of ethics was committed. Jerry explains that what he said was IF Alan had advised a client to flee, it would be his fault because he screwed up the cross examination.

When the fleeing fugitive gets on the witness stand, he says Alan said that as a member of the Bar, he could not advise his client to run.

Alan asks the judge for permission to put Koupfer on the stand. The judge, famous for his stance against “jibber jabber”, is reluctant. Koupfer intercedes, saying he has no problem taking the stand. He says there was no bias in his decison, so he wants the opportunity to refute Alan’s claims. The judge agrees.

Alan tells Denny perhaps he is making a mistake in putting Koupfer on the stand. Koupfer understands Alan too well. Denny tells Alan “at the end of the day, you’ll always have me”.

After Brad gets miffed at Denise comparing him to Buzz Lightyear, he comes to her and tells her just what he is looking for in a woman. However, he says he would not want to ruin their friendship by getting involved with her.

Spader and Arkin go at it hammer and tongs, equally good at the parry and thrust game of conducting a trial. When Koupfer asks if Alan would like to go on the stand and put his character on trial, Alan replies that his character is to be honest with clients.

Denise and another female employee of the firm watch as Brad changes his shirt before heading to court. Thank heavens for office glass! Viewers are treated to the sight of Mark Valley’s powerfully built upper body. Denise rethinks the decision to be just friends.

Alan has to poke Denny since Crane has fallen asleep during Koupfer’s closing. Denny says all lawyers are targets. To prove his point, he drops his pants and shows the jury a bull’s eye painted on his undershorts. It works, and Alan is found not guilty.

Denise goes to Brad’s office. She tells him that there are different types of friends. She brings up “friends with benefits”. Brad asks for an explanation. She says the “benefits” includes sex, and they help each other out when needed. As she leaves, Brad asks if that night would be when benefits kick in. Needless to say….

On the balcony, Alan wonders if he and Denny are setting a bad example. Denny says they are only being themselves.

I have to say I was disappointed by this episode. The case which writers chose to focus on, at least title wise, was perhaps the worst I’ve seen. Mr. Poole does not care about doing the right thing by his client, just making money for the firm so his stature can be raised in the eyes of everyone else. Alan and the subsequent arrest was sharp, though. While Shore is going to do all he can to clear his name, he admits what he did got him into the mess he’s in now. As for Brad and Denise, is their relationship simply about sex? I’m not sure these two are the best pair, but they seem to be working better than when Rachel was around.

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