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August 28, 2015

Boston Legal: Angel of Death

by Richard Keller, posted Jan 10th 2007 12:05AM

Denny and Alan head to New Orleans(S03E11) My penis is already packed -- Denny Crane

Ah, there you are! We haven't seen each other in over a month and I thought you wouldn't come back. But here we are, together again, for a new episode of Boston Legal which was a pretty big spotlight for James Spader as Alan Shore, guest star Nia Long, and new cast member Gary Anthony Williams as Clarence/Clarice. That, and the never-ending sexual escapades at the Boston offices of Crane, Poole and Schmidt reached a new plateau.

Let's begin in a little town known as New Orleans.

It was in the Big Easy where we found Alan, Denny Crane, and CP&S, New York attorney Vanessa Walker defending a client in a case "ripped from the headlines". It involved a doctor who euthanized five hospital patients in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina when she realized that no one was going to come to their rescue. I'll be honest in saying that the Alan Shore who second chaired (really, he first chaired) the defense was not the usual confident, cheerful, yet relentless, attorney we usually see in the Massachusetts' courtrooms.

This Alan Shore was out of his element, and it definitely showed. He was nervous and unsure. His planning sessions with Vanessa showed him as a bit testy (it could've been the loud music, but his face showed otherwise). The jury didn't seem to be behind his client, the judge certainly wasn't behind his client, and witness testimony kept tearing pieces away at his client's defense. So, as usual, it came down to his closing argument. Even that he wasn't sure of.

In steps Denny, who seemed to show the strain of too much booze and too many hookers. While this episode showed Denny at his most childish he also had two prolific moments with Alan. In both he told his friend not to proceed in this trial like he was in Boston. As Denny said and showed a few times 'up is down'. With that, Alan was able to provide another stunning, emotional closing argument that featured elephants raping rhinos (I'm sure it has happened in real life. Just find it on the Internet on your own). In all seriousness it was not in the tone of Shore's normal closings. If you watched him while performing the closing you saw the pain on his face; the pain of those that suffered in the heat and filth of post-Katrina New Orleans.

SPOILER -- Of course, Alan and Vanessa win the jury over and the doctor is declared not guilty -- END SPOILER. How can it not be? The day that Alan loses a case is the day that the world will probably end. All in all, I enjoyed the whole 'Alan and Denny in New Orleans' subplot of Boston Legal. While I enjoy seeing the brash and horny Alan when he is in his home territory, I also like seeing his less-than-confident side when he feels like a fish out of water. Nia Long's first appearance as Vanessa wasn't anything too outstanding, but she'll probably come around in the next few episodes that she's in.

Moving on . . . Constance Zimmer has finally found a television show where seems comfortable. When I watched her on last year's mid-season replacement In Justice I just never felt that she fit into the whole ensemble. On Boston Legal she's in the right niche, especially with her connection to Clarence/Clarice Bell. While I would have liked Meridith Eaton to join the cast as Bethany Horowitz (and I hope she returns) I'm glad that Gary Anthony Williams has been added. I like his character, particularly in the way he can switch from shy law clerk to sassy big-boned woman. Add to that the fact that he has a law degree and passed the bar and we are looking at some potentially bigger stories for Clarence.

Finally tonight, let's take a look at the sex den known as Crane, Poole and Schmidt. Look, Julie Bowen is very attractive, but is there not another good-looking woman attorney in the Boston office that Brad and Craig (and Alan) can hit on? At first, I thought this whole sub-plot was going to go down the crapper. But then Shirley Schmidt instituted a bit of scheming, which led to Brad asking Bowen's character Denise to start dating. When she said no, Brad decided to go back to the way their relationship was last season: friends 'with benefits'. Denise agreed, then went to find Craig and propose the friends 'with benefits' package to him. Not being a stupid man he agreed. Whee, much scheming! But they should all beware because it looks like they'll be found out in the next episode.

That's all for this time around. Talk to you again in seven days or so.

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Whats with David Kelley and making the bayou south look backwards? He did the same thing with texas at the end of the first season.

David, I imagine thats why they have guest appearances by other female actors so often. Personally, i think they need to bring back Ryan Michelle Bathe, Rhona Mitra, and Lake Bell. But bringing in others, like Meredith Eaton, Constance Zimmer (when is she gona get over herself and join in the fun that is CP&S?), and now nia long brings in for lack of a better term, fresh meat for the hornballs at the firm.

I loved the end with Odo, er Paul Lewiston, showing some personal interest in more than reigning in Denny and saving the firm! He should hook up with Shirley, and let the Paul Vs Denny fireworks begin!

January 10 2007 at 1:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Great to see our friends at Boston Legal again this week. Loved the kazoo and how it was part of the intro music. Totally Boston Legal and what makes it so special.

I was afraid that having Gary Anthony Williams as a regular cast member--Clarence/Clarice--would be really lame (sometimes BL overplays its quirky characters) but the story was really sweet.

Thanks for another great episode ABC.

January 10 2007 at 11:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I thought the episode was rather bad.

They have way too many charaters now and all any of them do is want to sleep with the two women charaters on the show.

And I really thought this would be the day that Alan last the case. All the other cases I didn't mind him winning because it's a TV show and that he gave good closings. This however just screamed guilty. Hopefully before the end of the season he looses a case and goes into depression.

January 10 2007 at 10:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

A good show and one that shined a hard light on the plight of New Orleans before, during, and after Katrina. I'm not sure a real-life New Orleans jury would have bought closing, but it sure was one of his recent best. I absolutely love his "classicly over-written" closing arguments; they're such great theater. Considering the movie career James Spader had it's always a surprise to me that he fit so well into this role, but he sure does, and its only gotten better since moving from The Practice.

All that being said, does this cast really need yet another new player. Sure, I think Constance Zimmer is an under-used and under-valued actress who's finally found a home to showcase her talents, Gary Anthony Williams' performance is sometime just wonderful, and as good an actress as Nia Long is do we really need to add her as another headliner. Mark Valley and Julie Bowen are rarely for than comical punchlines to silly plots and Rene Auberjonois is rarely seen. They writers cut the dead weight a couple seasons ago and now they're just reverting back to an overly populated cast. Enough already!

January 10 2007 at 10:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

good episode. i loved the kazoo solo and the segue into the opening credits.

and a minor note, alan has lost one (season two "There's Fire") and possibly a few more cases. gee whiz, i need a life.

January 10 2007 at 1:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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