Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Boston Legal

Boston Legal is about to end. Unlike most cancellations, this one is voluntary.

The show has had a strange run. Most of the cast is recycled from other shows. At one point two cast members were from different incarnations of Star Trek with a third (Candice Bergen) having been in a different Gene Roddenberry show. Younger cast members came and went without a ripple, replaced by more colorful actors.

Originally the premise of the show was that nothing is illegal. Whatever you did or wanted, they would plead it in court, with passion. James Spader's character was an example of the world's shadiest lawyer. He didn't win cases. He intimidated people. In one case he hired someone to break into a plaintiff's house and tie him up. Spader then informed that person that this would happen weekly.

A few years ago things changed. Spades's character started pleading cases. He also started pontificating. The show started including a weekly anti-Bush rant. It was also horribly unbalanced. Characters who were supposed to disagree usually said something like, "Yes, everything you say is true but..."

Spader's character also engaged in enough hijinks to get an entire law firm disbarred. He had affairs with the presiding judge. He bet on his own cases.

The real fun in the show was watching Shatner's character, Denny Crane. He shot people. In one episode he was on trial for shooting his doctor. The doctor pulled out his own gun and threatened the court whereupon Crane shot him again. It seems that they both knew how to bypass the metal detector.

The show took a different turn this season. In one case a teenager wanted to have an abortion. Candice Bergen's character was all for this until she realized that it was for the wrong reason. The girl who was of Chinese ancestry, wanted an abortion because the child was a girl. Bergen's character objected to the procedure, earning a lecture from the judge. In a surprising bit of nuance, Spader's character admitted that he was in favor of abortion because he was looking for justification for his own actions. He had impregnated two women and paid for their abortions and he worried about the morality of it.

The show wraps up next week with a two-hour finale. They will plead before the Supreme Court that someone who might benefit from a drug should be allowed to bypass FDA approval. This is surprising from them since this has been a conservative/libertarian position for years.

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