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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.
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That's not to diminish the contributions of his visible stars Movies: Calendar, clips and more
— 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 -
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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?
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 USATODAY.com 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
USATODAY.com - '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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