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TV Review: Boston Legal – “Fine Young Cannibal”

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Jeffrey Coho (Craig Bierko) and Denise Bauer (Julie Bowen) get their client released from jail. While the murder trial for the judge he supposedly killed has yet to occur (and I can think of three others more likely to have done the deed), at least he gets to relax for a while.

Back at the firm, Bethany (Meredith Eaton-Gillen), sues an HMO for malpractice on behalf of a client after his wife died from heart surgery in India. She is terrified, but says it is only ‘opening day jitters’. Denny Crane (William Shatner) points out she may not want to smoke if she’s anxious.

In the hallway, Denise and Claire Sims (Constance Zimmer) decide who approaches the therapist responsible for turning over a confidential patient session to the A.D.A. How? With rock, paper, scissors, of course! Since the session was with their client, subterfuge is necessary. As Paul Lewiston (Rene Auberjonois) walks up, Denise suggests he might want to chat with the client’s husband since they are acquainted.

Meanwhile, Shirley Schmidt (Candice Bergen) goes to Alan Shore (James Spader) and asks him to second chair a case of cannibalism. Shirley knows Alan, adept at handling grisly cases, is the best chance for a win.

Denise and Jeffrey inspect pictures from the crime scene. Denise realizes someone brought fresh cut flowers from a private garden to the dead judge’s home. Aloud, she wonders if maybe the man recently convicted of being a Peeping Tom stopped over once their client left.

In court, Bethany assures Brad Chase (Mark Valley) she is okay to handle things. Denny tells her to remember who she is — The Badger, tenacious in spite of perceived odds.

Back in a jailhouse visitation room, Alan and Shirley see their client. The man says his victim was his best friend, and they made a pact. Because the dead guy was homeless, his fate would have left him on a slab at the morgue. To prevent this from happening, a cremation of sorts was performed. The man, homeless and starving for two weeks, got ravenously hungry, so he took a bite out of his friend’s leg. The lawyers agree to talk to the D.A. (Currie Graham), who says he is not dropping charges. Shirley brings up the man’s re-election bid, so any case which could bring him notice is one he will take. When questioned as to the defense strategy, Alan says he will not use cannibalism.

Back to the heart patient. The opposing counsel asks for two minutes with Bethany. She is then told she can get her client $400,000, but only has thirty seconds to decide. After conferring, the client wants to take the deal. She does, but opposing counsel says she took thirty-three seconds, so the deal is off.

In a private room in the courthouse, Brad tells Bethany opposing counsel knew her well. Bethany is not pleased to hear this, but Denny gives her a pep talk. It works much better than Brad’s efforts.

Paul goes to the dead judge’s husband, Judge Hooper (Armin Shimerman, Star Trek Deep Space Nine). Apparently, the woman was involved in extramarital affairs. Now there’s a motive. The only fingerprints found at the scene other than the dead judge’s are those of the husband.

Alan tries to stop court proceedings when testimony gets graphic. The judge (Henry Gibson) threatens to hold him in contempt, and he backs down. However, the judge reacts to the testimony with shock at what happened, so Alan has to really work to get the verdict in his favor.

Claire finds the psychiatrist who recorded the session where her client practically confessed to murdering the judge. The doctor turned over the CD to the judge’s husband. He is reluctant to open up, as he treated both the murdered judge and her husband. He says he cannot talk due to his being connected in a ‘big way’. If nothing else, the dead judge was a former patient, so he would be breaking confidentiality. Sounds like hypocrisy to me.

Back at the firm, Shirley tells Alan she expects him to close the case. She mentions he can make even the most terrible things palatable. Alan changes the subject to sex with her. All he wants is a chance, but Shirley reminds him Denny is his best friend. Why is this important? Because Denny has a special place in his heart for the firm’s other founding partner. Alan agrees to get Denny’s blessing, then they will talk again.

He goes to Denny, and brings up their close friendship. Denny agrees, but says Alan must stay away from Shirley.

On try number two, Bethany makes a reasonable and impassioned plea. While overseas surgery is cheaper, her client’s wife was sent to India without deciding to make the trip on her own. Bethany hints American health care should be better. The opposing counsel knows he is going to have to settle.

Shirley tells her client she could not find anyone to testify on his behalf. She states he must go on the stand. Alan says the jury might need to see their client is not a monster.

Alan asks Denny why he is so pigheaded when it comes to Shirley. They work out a deal which horrifies her — they want to fight things out! Alan tells her she should be flattered two men are willing to ‘fight to the death’ for her.

Back at the firm, Brad asks Denise how her case is going. When she says fine, he replies that he thinks Jeffrey should simply have his client plead guilty to murder in the second degree. Denise says Jeffrey wouldn’t even consider it. Just then, Bethany walks up to Brad and says opposing counsel has made another offer, and this time she thinks it’s for real. She notices Denise staring at her, and asks Brad why. She is not happy.

In the firm’s boardroom, opposing counsel tells Brad, Bethany, and Denny he is making a final offer of $650,000. Brad says looking foolish is what counsel really fears. He says their client must get $950,000. When counsel agrees, Bethany faints. As Denny remarks, “The dwarf fainted,” Brad takes a look down to make sure Bethany’s okay.

In his office, Denny pours Bethany a glass of scotch. She thanks Denny for his help, and says somewhere underneath he is a nice person. He asks if they can have lunch again. She suggests ‘a week or two’ before they can try again.

Alan uses the sacraments to make his closing argument. When the judge gets offended, Alan apologizes. He continues by saying cannibalism is illegal and subtly mentions the election for district attorney repeatedly. The tactic works, and the defendant is found not guilty.

Claire goes out with the psychiatrist. He asks if he can see her again, and notices her hesitation. He thinks she does not trust herself with him. Gee, where did he get that idea? She says he should call the next time he wants to get together.

Alan and Denny find a ring for their fight. Denny wears a red pair of Spandex boxing shorts, and gloves. As Brad and Denise watch, Alan enters the room in an Indian costume. Catherine Piper (Betty White), Alan’s former secretary and current employee, holds the ropes for him to enter the ring. Denny remarks how much Alan resembles one of the Village People. Once the bell goes off, Denny flips Alan onto his back and sits on his head. Fight over!

On the balcony, Alan and Denny talk about life, or not, after death. Denny, who thinks nothing would occur, is shocked when Alan says something would indeed happen. This is a major switch for Alan, since not too long ago he said he didn’t believe in God (“Death Be Not Proud”).

I think I already referred to the similarity to the last season of The Practice when James Spader was also Alan Shore. The difference was he was previously a lot more naster, rotten, and vicious. This would explain the challenge to steal Shirley away from his best friend. I also saw shades of Boston Legal‘s first season when Claire tried to get information from the doctor by being underhanded. Didn’t Alan use this same technique with Sally? The writers must be desperate for storylines now. How tired and how sad.

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About NancyGail

  • http://bonamassablog.us Joan Hunt

    Congratulations! This article has been selected for placement on Advance.net

  • Neil

    Great summary…anyone know who writes Spader’s courtroom rants? They are sarchastice, smart and beautiful. Mix of Dennis Miller and Bob & Tom.

  • http://notesfromnancy.blogspot.com NancyGail

    A team of writers is the standard operating procedure for television. Although, I also remmember hearing someplace that David E Kelley writes the scripts himself. He used to be a lawyer, so he would understand the technicalities.

  • http://notesfromnancy.blogspot.com NancyGail

    Constance Zimmer may have been promoted to series regular, but she has yet to be in opening credits. Craig Bierko, on the other hand, has always been. Could this be a prelude to the exit of Denise?