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 - 'Boston Legal,' signature Kelley                                                                                  Page 1 of 2

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           Weather      Posted 9/30/2004 9:48 PM   Updated 10/1/2004 9:59 AM
                        'Boston Legal,' signature Kelley
                        By Robert Bianco, USA TODAY
            Movies      Every David E. Kelley show has one important star you
      Movies home       never see: David E. Kelley.
    Box office report
      DVD releases                                                Newly minted
              Music                                               Emmy winners
        Music home                                                Shatner (left)
       On the Verge                                               and James
                                                                  Spader (right)
        Top albums                                                are joined by
        Top singles                                               Rhona Mitra
                                                                  and Keen
           Listen Up                                              Eddie alum
                  TV                                              Mark Valley.
           TV home
     Nielsen ratings
     Critic's Corner
                                                                  ABC                         ENTERTAINMENT GUIDES
                                                                                              Plan your cold weather activities
                        That's not to diminish the contributions of his visible stars                           Movies: Calendar, clips and more
       Books home
                        — in this case, newly minted Emmy winners James                                         TV: Schedule your nightly viewing
     Top 150 books      Spader and William Shatner, repeating their Practice                                    Music: The latest on your fave artists
         Open Book      roles of Alan Shore and Denny Crane. But what
                        ultimately distinguishes Kelley's series — from hits such                               Books: Browse rave reads
                        as Ally McBeal, Picket Fences and The Practice to flops               Today's Top Life Stories
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                        such as Snoops, Girls Club and The Brotherhood of
       Columnists       Poland New Hampshire — is the singular, extravagantly                  •   Leno was suspicious of Jackson accuser -
   Columnists home      inventive voice of their creator.                                      •   'Sopranos' star crosses over to 'Law & Order'
      Robert Bianco                                                                                12:26 PM

     Peter Johnson      Though fan sentiment is split, I tend to prefer that voice             •   Cruise's 'Oprah' couch trip: Is it love or hype?
                                                                                                   12:16 AM
  Whitney Matheson      when it's more restrained and muted, as it was in the first
    Alison Maxwell      few years of The Practice. That's why I had no particular              •   Parental group says Hilton ad too hot - 2:26 PM
       Craig Wilson     use for the Shore and Crane duo when they were                         •   Thurl Ravenscroft, the voice of Tony the Tiger,
                        shoehorned into The Practice, pushing aside old                            dead at age 91 - 10:07 AM
          More Life     favorites and depriving them and their show of a fitting
            People      finale.                                                                •   Add RSS feeds
         Media Mix       About the show                   Still, whatever one
        Pop Candy                                         thought of Practice
      Photo archive       Boston Legal                    last season, Boston                                                              What's this?
        Talk Today        * * * (out of four)             Legal is a separate
                          ABC, Sunday, 10 ET/PT           show — and it should
                                                          be viewed with a                    Buy and sell tickets to premium and sold out events
             Tickets                                      clean slate. Taken on
           Shopping     its own purposely outrageous terms, Boston succeeds as                Search by events or regions:
         Newspaper      a decent legal comedy led by two broadly amusing                                                     5/24/2005 - 'Boston Legal,' signature Kelley                                                                                 Page 2 of 2
        Classifieds   characters. Their act isn't for everyone, but there's no                                    Location Select a region
                      denying Spader and Shatner are well-matched scene-
                                                                                                                      Genre Select a genre

                      Sunday's premiere reintroduces us to the flamboyant
                      lead lawyers while adding to the mix brisk-talking Brad
                      Chase (Mark Valley of the late and lamented Keen
                      Eddie). Brad is horrified by the team's behavior, not to                 Ticket holders:
                      mention another partner's appearance without pants at a
                                                                                               Looking to sell tickets quick? Register now.
                      morning meeting. ("Demagnetize his parking pass," says
                      an unsympathetic Denny.)

                      Brad's job is to rein in the uncontrolled Denny, which brings him into instant conflict
                      with Alan. It doesn't help, of course, that Alan and Brad have both had romantic
                      relations with Sally (Lake Bell).

                      Like Ally, the cases range from serious to frivolous, and it's not always clear at first
                      glance which is which. Alan, for example, gets pressed into representing an African-
                      American girl who is suing because she was not cast as the lead in Annie. Silly as the
                      case starts out to be, the issues involved get a more sensible airing than you might

                      Sexual politics usually play a part in Kelley's dramas, and Boston is no exception. You
                      have a partner who is sleeping with the wife of a client, which somehow leads to Lori
                      (Monica Potter) recruiting Tara (Rhona Mitra) to flirt with the client — something she'd
                      be good at because she's "nasty hot." There's also a custody case that is resolved by,
                      you guessed it, sex.

                      As with all Kelley shows, Boston is likely to provoke strong and opposite reactions,
                      sometimes from scene to scene. The show undoubtedly goes too far, but that's
                      Kelley's signature style.

                      You hire a star, you get the star's act.
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