Like the critically acclaimed "Freaks and Geeks" and "My So-Called Life" before it, "Boston Public" is high drama set in a high school.
Unlike most academically based TV shows, however, this one revolves around the lives - both professional and personal - of the faculty and staff.
And, boy, what lives they lead. This ain't your parents' "school drama", kids. The problems are never simple at Winslow High, that's for sure.
This David E. Kelley production is way over-the-top.
In the beginning, there was 'Harry Senate' (played by Nicky Katt), teacher extraordinaire. He shot off a gun in the classroom just to drive home his anti-violence lesson plan. Don't worry, it was loaded with blanks. The only thing hurt was Senate's career. But he wasn't fired, because behind the gruff exterior of 'Principal Steven Harper' (Chi McBride) is a heart of gold. Harper himself later killed a parent. But it was self-defense. He was cleared of all charges.
In any case, this is "Boston Public", so before too long it all became too much for poor Harry. He lost that "teaching fire" in his belly.
He lost his will to live.
He lost his mind. But not before bedding fellow teacher 'Ronnie Cook' (Jeri Ryan).
Hey, he might've been crazy - but he's not stupid!
Then, poor Harry took an "extended leave of absence." Doh!
Yes, teachers seem to come and go quickly on this show. There was the older male teacher who had an affair with a nubile young female student. His best friend, the Phys. Ed. coach, knew about the affair but said nothing. Sooner rather than later, the extracurricularly copulating couple got caught during a "private tutoring session" - by her dad, no less.
The amorous teacher got fired. His best friend got fired for not turning the guy in. The sexed up one moved on, the friend committed suicide. Cut to morgue scene of Principal Harper having a heart-to-heart talk with the corpse. Obviously, Harper did most of the talking. Not like that time he killed a parent. But, hey, that was clearly self-defense. The charges were dropped. In case you missed that the first time.