Boston Legal

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Boston Legal
Boston Legal titles.jpg
The Boston Legal title card
Created by David E. Kelley
Starring James Spader
William Shatner
Candice Bergen
Tara Summers
Christian Clemenson
John Larroquette
Betty White
Julie Bowen
Rene Auberjonois
Mark Valley
Gary Anthony Williams
Constance Zimmer
Craig Bierko
Saffron Burrows
Taraji P. Henson
Monica Potter
Rhona Mitra
Ryan Michelle Bathe
Justin Mentell
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 5
No. of episodes 101 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) David E. Kelley
Bill D'Elia
Mike Listo
Lawrence Broch
Janet Leahy (2.04–3.24)
Scott Kaufer (1.01–2.03, 2.23)
Jeff Rake (1.01–1.13)
Running time 42 minutes
Production company(s) 20th Century Fox Television
David E. Kelley Productions
Distributor 20th Television
Broadcast
Original channel ABC
Picture format 480i (SDTV),
720p (HDTV)
Original run October 3, 2004 (2004-10-03)  – December 8, 2008 (2008-12-08)
Chronology
Preceded by The Practice
Boston Public

Boston Legal is an American legal dramedy created by David E. Kelley and produced in association with 20th Century Fox Television for ABC. The series aired from October 3, 2004, to December 8, 2008.

Boston Legal is a spin-off of long-running Kelley series The Practice, following the exploits of former Practice character Alan Shore (James Spader) at the legal firm of Crane, Poole & Schmidt.

Production details[edit]

Prior to the show's premiere, it had a working title of Fleet Street, an allusion to the real street in Boston where the fictitious Crane, Poole & Schmidt had its offices. The working title was later modified to The Practice: Fleet Street, but this title was dropped in favor of Boston Legal before the show premiered.[1] The real building shown as the law office is located at 500 Boylston Street, 1.4 miles away from Fleet Street.

The American producers of the series also hired British writer Sir John Mortimer, QC (creator of the UK legal series Rumpole of the Bailey), as a consultant for Boston Legal.[2]

The show's pilot was originally produced with former The Practice stars James Spader and Rhona Mitra. The Practice guest stars William Shatner and Lake Bell, Mark Valley and an expanded storyline featuring Larry Miller as Edwin Poole and John Michael Higgins as senior partner Jerry Austin. Monica Potter was later cast as junior partner Lori Colson and Rene Auberjonois as senior partner Paul Lewiston, replacing John Michael Higgins. The pilot premiered on ABC on October 3, 2004.[3]

On November 30, 2004, it was announced that Candice Bergen would join the cast as senior partner Shirley Schmidt,[4] a character the producers had planned to introduce for several months.[5] Lake Bell left the series mid-season, and Rene Auberjonois was promoted to main cast member.[6][7][8] Anthony Heald and Betty White also made regular guest appearances, having both appeared as the same characters on The Practice.

On April 5, 2005, the series was renewed for a second season, although ABC chose not to screen the final five episodes of the first season until April 24, 2005 to allow greater exposure of mid-season series Grey's Anatomy to a larger audience.[9] The success of Grey's Anatomy placed Boston Legal on hold until autumn 2005, when it returned for an extended season of twenty-seven episodes.[10][11] Both Rhona Mitra and Monica Potter left the series during the hiatus, while Julie Bowen was cast as Denise Bauer.[12] Ryan Michelle Bathe and Justin Mentell were later cast as junior associates Sara Holt and Garrett Wells.[13] The second episode of Season 3 introduced Craig Bierko as Jeffrey Coho and Constance Zimmer as Claire Simms. In episode eleven guest star Gary Anthony Williams joined the cast, with Craig Bierko leaving in episode fifteen.

On June 4, 2007, TV Guide announced that Rene Auberjonois, Julie Bowen, Mark Valley, and Constance Zimmer would not return for the fourth season.[14] On June 13, 2007, it was announced that actor John Larroquette (former The Practice guest star) would join the cast as a senior partner transferred from the New York offices of Crane, Poole & Schmidt, with actress Tara Summers joining as a young associate. Christian Clemenson (former The Practice guest star), who had guest-starred occasionally as Jerry Espenson (a brilliant but socially inept lawyer) – was promoted to main cast.[15] Production also stated that Rene Auberjonois, Mark Valley, Julie Bowen, and Constance Zimmer may return in guest roles.[16] On July 2, 2007, it was reported that both Rene Auberjonois and Mark Valley would return in recurring roles;[17] It was also announced that Taraji P. Henson would join the cast in the fourth season, with Saffron Burrows appearing in a recurring role. Burrows later became a full-time cast member.[18]

On May 13, 2008, ABC announced that Boston Legal would return for a fifth (and final) season in the fall.[19][20] Saffron Burrows did not return as a series regular, having joined the cast of My Own Worst Enemy. The final season consisted of 13 episodes to reach the "100" episode mark, which facilitated successful syndication.[21] There was speculation that Boston Legal might receive an additional episode-order if the show had another strong showing in the Emmy Awards and produced solid ratings in its new fall time slot.[22] The season began airing on September 22, 2008.

On June 18 and June 20, 2008, it was reported that Gary Anthony Williams and Taraji P. Henson would not return for the fifth season as Clarence Bell and Whitney Rome respectively.[23][24] On July 17, 2008, Boston Legal was nominated for a series-high seven Emmy nominations, including for Best Drama Series for the second concurrent year. Spader, Bergen, and Shatner were each nominated for their respective roles.

Boston Legal's two-hour-long series finale aired on Monday, December 8, 2008, at 9:00PM Eastern/8:00PM Central. David E. Kelley stated in an interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on December 7, 2008 that it was ABC's decision to end Boston Legal, and that he "had to fight to bring it back for a short season of 13 episodes".[25]

The series features a trademark routine whereby characters would occasionally break the fourth wall and make comments implying they are aware that they are characters in a television show. Shatner, being famous for portraying Captain Kirk, also makes occasional Star Trek references.[26]

The series currently airs in syndication on TV Land.

Cast[edit]

Episodes[edit]

Season Episodes Originally aired DVD release date
Season premiere Season finale Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
1 17 October 3, 2004 (2004-10-03) March 20, 2005 (2005-03-20) May 23, 2006 (2006-05-23) July 24, 2006 (2006-07-24) August 9, 2006 (2006-08-09)
2 27 September 27, 2005 (2005-09-27) May 16, 2006 (2006-05-16) November 21, 2006 (2006-11-21) March 5, 2007 (2007-03-05) February 21, 2007 (2007-02-21)
3 24 September 16, 2006 (2006-09-16) May 29, 2007 (2007-05-29) September 18, 2007 (2007-09-18) January 14, 2008 (2008-01-14) October 10, 2007 (2007-10-10)
4 20 September 25, 2007 (2007-09-25) May 21, 2008 (2008-05-21) September 23, 2008 (2008-09-23) October 13, 2008 (2008-10-13) December 3, 2008 (2008-12-03)
5 13 September 22, 2008 (2008-09-22) December 8, 2008 (2008-12-08) May 5, 2009 (2009-05-05) May 11, 2009 (2009-05-11) August 5, 2009 (2009-08-05)

Ratings and audience profile[edit]

According to Nielsen Media Research, Boston Legal drew the richest viewing audience on television, based on the concentration of high-income viewers in its young adult audience (Adult 18–49 index w/$100k+ annual income).[27]

Seasonal rankings (based on average total viewers per episode) of Boston Legal on ABC.

Note: Each U.S. network television season starts in late September and ends in late May, which coincides with the completion of May sweeps. All times mentioned in this section were in the Eastern and Pacific time zones.

Season Timeslot Season Premiere Season Finale TV Season Season
Rank
Viewers
(in millions)
1 Sunday 10:00 pm October 3, 2004 March 20, 2005 2004–2005 #28 12.53[28]
2 Tuesday 10:00 pm September 27, 2005 May 16, 2006 2005–2006 #47 10.30[29]
3 September 19, 2006 May 29, 2007 2006–2007 #62 9.57[30]
4 Tuesday 10:00 pm
Wednesday 10:00 pm
September 25, 2007 May 21, 2008 2007–2008 #51 9.62[31]
5 Monday 10:00 pm September 22, 2008 December 8, 2008 2008–2009 #47 9.62[32]

DVD releases[edit]

DVD Name Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
Season 1 May 23, 2006 July 24, 2006 August 9, 2006
Season 2 November 21, 2006 March 5, 2007 February 21, 2007
Season 3 September 18, 2007 January 14, 2008 October 10, 2007
Season 4 September 23, 2008 October 13, 2008 December 3, 2008
Season 5 May 5, 2009 May 11, 2009 August 5, 2009
The Complete Series May 5, 2009[33] May 11, 2009 November 18, 2009[34]

Awards[edit]

Primetime Emmy Awards:

  • 2005 Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series (James Spader)
  • 2005 Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (William Shatner)
  • 2006 Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series (Christian Clemenson)
  • 2007 Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series (James Spader)

Golden Globe Awards:

  • 2004 Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Miniseries, or TV Movie (William Shatner)

Peabody Awards

References[edit]

  1. ^ Pergament, Alan (July 19, 2004). "Marketing, Legal Factors Influence TV'S Name Game". The Buffalo News. Retrieved December 10, 2008. 
  2. ^ In appreciation of John Mortimer – csmonitor
  3. ^ Levin, Gary (2004-10-04). "'Housewives' lifts ABC's spirits — and ratings". USA Today. Retrieved 2008-12-10. 
  4. ^ ABC press release (November 30, 2004). "Candice Bergen Joins the Cast of ABC's 'Boston Legal'". The Futon Critic. Retrieved December 10, 2008. 
  5. ^ Rice, Lynette. [1] "Legal Aid"]. "Entertainment Weekly" online, January 10, 2005.
  6. ^ Breaking News – Development Update: November 29–30 | TheFutonCritic.com
  7. ^ Breaking News – Development Update: November 15–18 | TheFutonCritic.com
  8. ^ "Breaking News - Rene Auberjonois Joins the Cast of ABC's 'Boston Legal'". TheFutonCritic.com. 2013-09-14. Retrieved 2013-10-14. 
  9. ^ "Breaking News - ABC's Medical Drama Series 'Grey's Anatomy' Premieres Sunday, March 27 at 10:00 P.M., Et". TheFutonCritic.com. 2013-09-14. Retrieved 2013-10-14. 
  10. ^ Breaking News – BUILDING ON A SLATE OF RETURNING SERIES THAT PRODUCED THE LARGEST SEASON-TO-SEASON ADULT 18–49 AUDIENCE GROWTH FOR ANY MAJOR NETWORK IN AT LEAST 25 YEARS, ABC ...
  11. ^ Breaking News – GREY'S ANATOMY TO CONTINUE AIRING SUNDAYS AT 10:00 P.M. ON THE ABC TELEVISION NETWORK | TheFutonCritic.com
  12. ^ Breaking News – Development Update Special: Who's In and Who's Out | TheFutonCritic.com
  13. ^ Breaking News – THREE NEW CAST MEMBERS JOIN ABC'S "BOSTON LEGAL" | TheFutonCritic.com
  14. ^ Ausiello, Michael. "Boston Legal Cleans House, Drops Four Actors!". TV Guide online, June 13, 2007.
  15. ^ Ausiello Report at TV Guide
  16. ^ "Larroquette added to 'Boston Legal' bill". Reuters, June 14, 2007.
  17. ^ "More cast changes at 'Boston Legal'". Reuters, July 2, 2007
  18. ^ "Actress Burrows makes it 'Legal'". July 25, 2007.
  19. ^ Boston Legal on ABC – Boston Legal Spoilers, Episode Guides, Message Board | TVGuide.com
  20. ^ Schneider, Michael (May 11, 2008). "'Boston Legal' set for fifth season". Variety. 
  21. ^ 'Boston Legal' Bowing Out – ABC series will finish after five seasons – Zap2it
  22. ^ Martin, Ed (May 31, 2008). "Why <em>Boston Legal</em> is One of Broadcast's Best". Huffington Post. 
  23. ^ Welcome to AccessAtlanta! | AccessAtlanta
  24. ^ BET.com – What The Flick » Working Girl
  25. ^ Owen, Rob (December 7, 2008). "'Boston Legal's' Kelley delivers parting shots". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved December 23, 2008. 
  26. ^ Stanley, Alessandra (February 14, 2006). "THE TV WATCH; Beneath the Quirks, There's Always a Message for the Masses". New York Times. 
  27. ^ "ABC Renews BOSTON LEGAL, MEN IN TREES, BROTHERS, UGLY, HOUSEWIVES, GREY'S, LOST, 7 More For Next Season!!", Ain'tItCoolNews.com.
  28. ^ "ABC Medianet". ABC Medianet. 2005-05-24. Retrieved 2013-10-14. 
  29. ^ "ABC Medianet". ABC Medianet. 2006-05-31. Retrieved 2013-10-14. 
  30. ^ "ABC Medianet". ABC Medianet. 2007-06-05. Retrieved 2013-10-14. 
  31. ^ "ABC Medianet". ABC Medianet. 2008-05-28. Retrieved 2013-10-14. 
  32. ^ "ABC Medianet". ABC Medianet. 2009-05-19. Retrieved 2013-10-14. 
  33. ^ Complete Series DVD, Amazon
  34. ^ Complete Series DVD
  35. ^ 65th Annual Peabody Awards, May 2006.

External links[edit]