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July 31, 2015

Boston Legal: Son of The Defender

by Paul Goebel, posted Apr 4th 2007 9:41AM

William Shatner in Nick of Time on The Twilight Zone(S03E18) This is why television was invented.

I hardly know where to begin. Let's start with Alan and his hilarious storyline. It was a great idea to separate Alan & Denny for this episode and "Mr Wisenheimers" (Spader) dynamite delivery provided some much needed comic relief. Also, this is the second episode in a row to start with women in their underwear. I hope it becomes a trend.

Now for the rest of the episode. For those of you who foolishly didn't watch, the biggest deal in tonight's episode was that actual footage of a very young William Shatner is used for a series of flashbacks. This footage comes from an episode of Playhouse 90 entitled The Defender, which also starred Ralph Bellamy as Shatner's father. If that title sounds familiar it's because the episode was eventually turned into a series starring E.G. Marshall and Robert Reed. I should note that Shatner did play a lawyer later on in a series called Man of the People, but the footage used for tonight's show was definitely from a live performance.

As I watched tonight's episode awash in goosebumps, I was reminded why I admired David E. Kelly aside from hooking up with Michelle Pfieffer. His brilliant understanding of the legal drama gives him the ability to take the genre in directions it has never gone before. It's nice to see that he still can do what he does best when he's not busy with garbage like The Wedding Belles.

In my expert opinion, this episode is the shining example of why Shatner is a great actor. Sure, he's become a caricature of Captain Kirk as well as himself, but there was a time when he was so damn engaging that you had to watch him when he was on the screen. Whenever my favorite Twilight Zone episode is on (Nick of Time with the devil head, not Nightmare at 20,000 Feet with the gremlin) I watch with bated breath. Shatner is the epitome of television acting. In the early days of live TV, he was one of the few actors who could utilize what he learned in the theater and make it work on the small screen.

I must admit that I was really caught off guard by how much of Denny Crane's character was revealed by the flashbacks. It was much more than a great gimmick. Watching those scenes, we all got to see what made Denny the lawyer he became and the enormous price he paid for it. The yearning that a young man has for his fathers approval is something every guy can identify with.

The cast was incredible throughout the episode. I have been a big fan of Stephen Lee's ever since he played Tom Arnold in that TV movie. James Keane is a welcome sight because I loved him so much on The Paper Chase (where he played a law student). I barely recognized Mike Hagerty without his beard and his performance was equally hilarious and heartbreaking.

In closing, I have to point the brilliant comedic talents of Mark Valley. I know he wants to be a leading man but watching him tonight made me long to see Keen Eddie again

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Suman Pal

Boston Legal is my favorite show. Its a comedy show. i like to watch Boston Legal online. I like its all characters. Its an amazing show. I enjoyed it so much.


April 15 2011 at 11:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
john gula iii

Hands down,the best episode this season. This one may save this season.

May 07 2007 at 6:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
D. Hagedorn

Our power went out just before the end of this episode. We saw the man 'testify' in his own defense and the jury come back, but how was the bomber disarmed? I can't wait to see if this episode shows up in a rerun!

April 16 2007 at 4:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Renee Sinrod

The relationship between Denny Crane and Alan's character can never be equalled. I look forward to their conversations after the end of the day as if I am eavesdropping. Every morning at 8:00A.M.
I watch the reruns of The Practice for the brilliant writing, but when Boston Legal evolved I was thrilled with the cast you assembled especially Candace Bergen and Rene D'Auberjenois and the woman who plays the "little person". Please don't mess it up the way The Practice was messed with.

April 07 2007 at 4:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Rob Walley

Wow! This is what we watch "Boston Legal" for folks. This episode really did have it all and no scene or line of dialog seemed wasted. Mark Valley may have gotten the butt end of things here, but you won't ever forget that he was there. Shatner did what he has done time and again with Denny Crane, coming out of nowhere with a comedic character and makes him the dramatic center of everything going on, then gently slipping back into the character we know. It doesn't happen often (they are good at not overdoing it) but when it does, Shatner rises to the occasion. We will never look at Denny Crane quite the same way again. For those who have complained here that Boston Legal has lost it's way this season, you have but to view "Son of the Defender" and then catch the Emmy's this fall when Shatner picks up his third award.

April 05 2007 at 10:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Great review, Paul! I was a little turned off to you when you wrote about all the gameshows you've been on and all the stuff you won, but I'm beginning to think that you're one of the best bloggers here. You actually seem to enjoy television - and it shows!! You, Adam and Jay seem to enjoy what you're doing here and it's infectious.

My opinion of Shatner was raised a couple of notches after this episode. I saw no sign of captain Kirk in that old performance. He was engaging. Makes me want to get a hold of a copy of that old episode.

April 04 2007 at 3:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
F Sandler

Yes, another great episode.

Misty, to answer your question: the man, who hadn't testified in his own defense, "testified" in this trial, saying he had been in the bldg and fled upon hearing the noise, that it was he whom the dead woman's husband saw, but he fled and stayed silent because he's gay and couldn't out himself or his married lover who lived in the bldg. The "jury" unanimously found him not guilty. No proof offered.

April 04 2007 at 3:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The song used repeatedly in last night's episode is "And So It Goes," by Billy Joel...first appearing on the album "Storm Front" (same album with "We Didn't Start the Fire").

It's already been said, btu I'll echo it as well: great episode and a perfect example as to why this is one of television's true gems. Shatner certainly looked like he may have earned himself an Emmy with that performance.

April 04 2007 at 2:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Lou Stoolz



April 04 2007 at 1:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Excellent comments on last night! Does anyone know what the music/song was that concluded the episode?

Thanks for the help! and, IT is a good day to be Denny Crane!

April 04 2007 at 1:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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