On Tonight's Boston Legal

As the final shot wiped to black I realized that Boston Legal won’t last forever. Indeed, I expect it to last perhaps no more than this season. But in that final shot, as William Shatner as Denny Crane and James Spader as Alan Shore walked down a street, smoking cigars and holding fishing poles, I knew that even two seasons of Boston Legal will suffice for its madcap lunacy.

Spader seemed far more spastic than usual. Shatner seemed far more introspective than usual. But both actors had their moments–Spader’s odd questioning of a police witness in Betty White’s murder trial, Shatner’s over-the-top closing argument in the guise of a Minuteman in the trial of a Congressman who failed to deliver on a campaign promise.

Some things about tonight’s episode still didn’t click, a problem the show has had, frankly, since it’s very beginnings. The two junior attorneys and their problem with a really bizarre priest felt like a storyline that belonged in some other television show.

The show is still endlessly quirky. The on-the-spot explanation for Denny Crane’s instability–“Mad Cow disease.” Denny showing Alan his collection of loaded firearms. Denny’s explanation for why Alan’s closing for his murder trial would work for his own case of the Congressman.

Boston Legal does comedy quite well. I wish it could do drama just as well. Still, this episode was a fun diversion, and the news that Michael J. Fox will be appearing later in the season should bring more attention to the show.

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