The Practice, a show I’ve loved watching since its second season, went out with a whimper, not a bang. Knowing that some of the characters will carry on next season–in Fleet Street, the Alan Shore-centered legal drama, and the untitled sitcom featuring Ellenor Frutt–tempers the disappointment, but only some of the disappointment.
It didn’t feel like a finale. Yes, the firm is breaking up, the lights are going out, and the partners are moving on in new directions, but there was no sense of closure. On the contrary, it felt as if things were being set up for later development–Eugene as judge, Jimmy and Jamie’s new practice, Ellenor’s search for a new direction–developments that, except for the last, we very likely won’t see.
I thought we would see more Bobby, more than just a cameo.
I hoped we would see some rapproachment between Eugene and Alan.
I thought Ellenor was about to name Alan in the final scenes, as the old partners toasted the memory of their old firm. Seeing her daughter was a nice nod to the past.
I liked the name-checks Lindsay and Rebecca received. An on-camera presence would have been a nice surprise. Sadly, that wasn’t to be.
I liked the birth of Jimmy’s new firm. A show based on that premise? I’d tune in every week. I have to wonder, though, how much more character development Jimmy could undergo–of all the characters, his is the one that changed the most from the series’ beginning to its end, from Jimmy-the-Grunt to a respected legal mind.
I’ll miss Jamie. She didn’t receive the development over the past two seasons that perhaps she should have, not with Alan and Tara monopolizing this last season. I had heard, a while back, that she would join the Fleet Street cast, which looks unlikely, but I like the direction her character took over the past six or eight episodes, virtually the catalyst of the firm’s dissolution.
For a series where so much happened in the courtroom, tonight’s case seemed almost too slight, almost an afterthought. It certainly didn’t seem worthy of the great Denny Crane.
I’ll tune in to the spin-offs, because I like Alan, I like Ellenor, but they won’t be the same. The Practice had a great run, and while it might not have reached the same dizzying heights in the last few seasons as it reached in the third and fourth, it was always can’t-miss television in my book, and I can’t ask for more than that.