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TV Review: Boston Legal – “Why Can’t We All Get A Lung”

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Jerry Espenson (Emmy Winner Christian Clemenson) is driving along a Boston street sometime during the night. He notices the police cars behind him and dreads the confrontation. He agrees to pay the ticket for illegal carpooling, but assaults the officer when the cop tries to take a life-sized plastic doll into custody, and is immediately arrested.

Melissa Hughes (Marisa Couglan) takes Jerry's call and goes to find Alan Shore (James Spader), an attorney and Melissa's boss.

Upon finding his door locked, she pulls it open and finds Alan and Marlene Stanger (Parker Posey) having intercourse. She passes on the news about Jerry and Alan runs to court.

Denise Bauer (Julie Bowen) enters an office and asks Paul Lewiston (Rene Auberjonois) and Shirley Schmidt (Candice Bergen) if she can talk to them. She says she is engaged to Daniel Post (Michael J. Fox in a guest star role) which is joyous indeed. Denny Crane (William Shatner) draws her into a much to long kiss before the two come apart. It seems Daniel has been arrested for trying to purchase an organ, specifically, a lung.

Marlene congratulates Denise on her big news and mentions it is good about Daniel being wealthy since Marlene is sure to make partner first ("BL/LA").

Just when things could not get any worse, Brad Chase (Mark Valley) finds out Denise's news, from Marlene. He is stunned, realizing Denise has gotten involved with another man.

Alan goes to see Jerry. Jerry tells Alan the doll is important. Alan does not understand, but Jerry says she is someone he can talk to on an intimate level.

Denise and Shirley take on Daniel's case. From his jail cell, he says he made a friend at the cancer institute where he is being treated for terminal cancer. The friend is dying, and offers Daniel a lung if Daniel will pay for the friend's daughter's college funds.

Back at the firm, Brad finds Denise in her office and angrily asks how can she be marrying a man twice-accused of criminal behavior ("The Cancer Man Can"). Denise tries throwing him out verbally, but it doesn't work. When he points out that she always gets exactly what she wants, Denise responds she is engaged to a dying man. Brad realizes he made an serious tactical error, and Denise says she does not want to love with Daniel but does.

Alan, meanwhile, goes to Denny and asks if the latter has ever used a sex doll. Denny says yes, which throws Alan for a loop. Inside Denny's closet is a plastic carbon copy of Shirley. The doll's name: Shirley Schmidto.

Luckily for him, the female founding partner is in court and does not hear the exchange. However, she gets an unpleasant shock when the judge is Clark Brown (Henry Gibson). They don't get along, so Denise takes over.

Alan talks to Jerry and suggests therapy might be in order. Jerry points out he is not delusional. Alan recommends a sex therapist. Being the friend he is, he offers to come along for the first visit.

In court, Denise points out Daniel has done much without asking for anything in return, so perhaps paying college tuition was another good deed.

Alan makes a discreet visit to Joanna, a therapist he knows. She says she has retired, but Alan persuades her to take his case. When she meets Jerry, she tells him his behavior is not unusual or a man his age. It's obvious her words mean something to Alan, too. Joanna says she would like to lie down with Jerry without having any sex. Alan is asked to stay away.

At a hotel, Joanna and Jerry are about to commence their session when the cops burst in and arrest them. Melissa takes Jerry's frantic call, but this time, the locked closet reveals Denny and the Shirley sex doll.

Shirley closes her case, and the verdict is not guilty. Daniel later tells Denise he is going on vacation for several weeks, and she probably does not want to know details. Denise goes to her office and sobs.

Alan defends Joanna and Jerry in court, pointing out there are other things A.D.A. Ginsberg (Currie Graham) could focus on besides sex ("Breast in Show"). The judge agrees, and drops charges.

When Alan and Denny  talk later, they notice an empty office. Marlene is transferring to the New York branch of the firm. Alan feels especially bereft because he has gotten into a phase perhaps best described as a "series regular on a television show".

Their moment is interrupted by Shirley, who asks Denny if the rumor about a sex doll in her image is true. When he says yes, she demands to meet her double. She looks, and asks Denny if he realizes the potential embarassment. Denny wonders out loud if she is jealous.

Season number three reminded me of how uncomfortable this show can get sometimes. While Jerry's tension filled storyline made sense for the autistic lawyer, was the subtext of plastic sex necessary? Mark Valley is a talented actor, but his yelling is far too strident for my tastes. It's going to be interesting to see where his storyline goes. Will Denise come running to Brad once Daniel is dead, or long before? Speaking of guest stars, there were almost too many. The good thing is Parker Posey left. Whether she returns or not is anybody's guess, but the transfer worked. Michael J Fox is good in small doses, so his exit helped. Christian Clemenson now has a well deserved Emmy, and the stage is set for a least one more episode. Speaking of, I wonder how long Melissa will put up with the office antics….

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