Boston Legal fans, catch me up on The Practice!

Hello all,

I really enjoy Boston Legal, even though I’ve missed a lot of episodes so far. I think James Spader and William Shatner are terrific actors, and I love their characters, Alan Shore and Denny Crane. Their friendship and the quirky, comedic nature of Boston Legal really sets it apart from other lawyer shows, which is why I like it.

Needless to say, I never watched The Practice because I thought it was a “typical” lawyer show and figured I wouldn’t like it. Can anyone catch me up on what Shore and Crane’s roles were on The Practice? From what I understand, they weren’t even introduced until much later in the show’s run, toward the end. Are the Shore/Crane episodes available on DVD, by any chance? Also, was the overall tone of The Practice as quirky and weird and funny as Boston Legal?

The Practice was much more serious, even tortured, in its tone. It was an excellent series, and not your typical lawyer show because it was a small, scrappy firm and not a huge established institution (like L.A. Law) which means they often got the crap cases, the sure losers, and they were always scrabbling for money. Excellent writing and acting, but the show started getting increasingly far-fetched and melodramatic. The inclusion of Alan Shore in its final season (as well as the elminiation of half the regular cast) definitely breathed some much-needed life into the series, as well as providing a suitable transition device.

Going off memory here, so I may be off in some of the details: In that last season, the practice had recently lost several of its main lawyers, and Alan, an old friend of Eleanor’s (Camryn Manheim), had just recently lost his job for embezzling money from his old firm (where he mostly practiced corporate law, not criminal). Eleanor brought him on and he made some enemies within the firm quite quickly for his dubious (if not overtly unethical/illegal) methods–all in support of his clients. He also brought in some enormous windfalls, financially, which made him invaluable to keep on. This is also where Alan’s flirtation with Tara began.

IIRC, Denny Crane had an arc of a couple of episodes, since the Boston Legal firm was one Alan was in opposition with over a case (I think they eventually settled; can’t recall exactly). Denny became enamored with Alan, and as the Practice finally dissolved (one lawyer moved, another became a judge, another started his own practice in his old neighborhood), Alan needed a new place to work. Tara (who had been loyal to Alan even when his Practice colleagues tried to have him disbarred) followed.

That’s the basics. As for the tone, I’d say Boston Legal is somewhere between The Practice (which was pretty serious with more than its share of provocative cases) and Ally McBeal (which was heavy on the cutesies and office politics). All three were created by David E. Kelly.

Thank you so much for the recap, that’s exactly what I wanted to know. I didn’t realize Tara (Rhona Mitra, what a stunner!) came from The Practice as well. And I had never seen Ally McBeal either, so this is my first exposure to a David E. Kelley show.

Actually, as I recall, the Practice firm eventually tired of Shore’s antics and fired him. He lashed back at them because he had helped bring in so much money. He used the Boston Legal firm as his legal representives in his case against the practice firm.

That sounds right. Thanks for the reminder. :slight_smile: