Boston Legal: Season 1 (2004 - 2005)


Season 1
Boston Legal

Critics Consensus

Boston Legal is bursting with wry amusement and gangbusters chemistry between stars James Spader and William Shatner, although their characters - and the series as a whole - exhibit questionable attitudes toward women.

83%

TOMATOMETER

Critic Ratings: 23

100%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 26

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Episodes

Air date: Oct 3, 2004

A civil-rights issue hinges on the casting choice for a version of "Annie"; a child-custody battle turns ugly; an adultery case involves Crane. Rev. Al Sharpton portrays himself. Lewiston: Rene Auberjonois. Poole: Larry Miller. Lewiston: John Michael Higgins.

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Air date: Oct 10, 2004

An ex-lover (Elizabeth Mitchell) haunts Shore, who secures the woman's release from a psychiatric hospital where she was confined after trying to kill him. Elsewhere, Crane fights an opposing counsel's sanction charges. Carrie Lansing: Frances Fisher.

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Air date: Oct 17, 2004

Freddie Prinze Jr. plays Donny Crane, a legal eagle who's a chip off his namesake's block. Also, a sexual-harassment case evolves into a court battle between Shore and Christine (Elizabeth Mitchell), who's rehired as a corporate lawyer. Lewiston: Rene Auberjonois.

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Air date: Oct 24, 2004

A cop killing centers on a haughty defendant, reluctantly represented by Lori and zealously by a firm veteran, who has been a patient in a mental facility. Meanwhile, Shore plays hardball with a witness in a shoplifting case involving a kleptomaniac CEO. Litch: Jeremiah Birkett.

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Air date: Oct 31, 2004

Seniors take on a drug firm in a class-action case handled by the grandstanding Crane. Also: revenge motives are raised in a murder trial; and medical ethics are at issue in a civil suit. Jason: Fred Koehler. Morgan: Larry Clarke. Helen: Rusty Schwimmer. Mason: David Clennon. Judge Franzetti: Louis Giambalvo.

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Air date: Nov 7, 2004

Dana Delany guest stars as Shore's dream lover from college, now wed to a slick mayoral candidate who hires Shore to block his opponent's provocative TV-ad campaign. Meanwhile, a power struggle embroils Crane. Fleming: Brian Kerwin. Marcy: Missy Yager. Kirkland: Vincent Angell. Roberta: Danielle Bisutti. Mark Shrum: TJ Thyne.

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Air date: Nov 21, 2004

A showcase for the wily, agitating Alan Shore (James Spader), who badgers a dotty judge (Henry Gibson); romances Tara, whom he surreptitiously helps in a thorny criminal case; and backs Crane, who's been arrested for solicitation. Shea: Jon Bernthal. Mack: Willie Carpenter.

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Air date: Nov 28, 2004

A suit with a Yule theme finds Shore defending a gay cross-dressing Santa, contesting his dismissal from his department-store role. Rev. Al Sharpton appears as himself. Another thorny case involves doctor-patient privilege. Gil: Jim O'Heir. Dr. Konigsberg: George Newbern. Hingham: H. Richard Greene.

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Air date: Dec 12, 2004

Ethical issues embattle Shore and Crane, at odds as cocounsels representing a drug company in a civil suit that hinges on the testimony of a conflicted MD (Gina Ravera). Also, out-of-court impropriety busies Tara, who's guilefully conning an opposing lawyer.

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Air date: Dec 19, 2004

A homicide embroils Chase, who distinguishes himself in the defense of a wronged wife (Megan Ward) charged with killing her philandering husband and his lover. Elsewhere, a child-custody battle endangers Shore, who's held hostage by a crazed father.

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Boston Legal: Season 1 Photos

Tv Season Info

David E. Kelley's legal spin-off was an instant success thanks to stars James Spader and William Shatner, who won Emmys in the final season of "The Practice." Spader and Shatner each promptly collected another Emmy for their work in Season 1 of "Boston Legal," which introduces the wide range of characters who pass through the doors of high-priced, high-profile law firm Crane, Poole & Schmidt. Win-at-all-costs attorney Alan Shore (Spader) is known for his unorthodox style and questionable ethics in the pursuit of justice. He rules the office (and shares scotch and cigars on the balcony) with founding partner Denny Crane (Shatner), an eccentric, past-his-prime litigator who now gets by, for good or ill, on name recognition alone. Alan and Denny's over-the-top antics and the mental instability of another founding partner, Edwin Poole (Larry Miller), prompt managing partner Paul Lewiston (Rene Auberjonois) to call in Washington, D.C., associate Brad Chase (Mark Valley), and, later, Shirley Schmidt (Candice Bergen) from New York to restore a sense of order and decorum to the Boston office. Although somewhat embarrassed by a past romantic fling with Denny, Shirley is a no-nonsense partner and a confident, capable lawyer with the necessary gravitas to keep the firm from falling apart. Other associates include Sally Heep (Lake Bell), Tara Wilson (Rhona Mitra) and Lori Colson (Monica Potter). The first season's notable guest stars include Carl Reiner, Betty White, Philip Baker Hall, Dana Delany and Shelley Long.

Critic Reviews for Boston Legal Season 1

All Critics (23) | Top Critics (15)

The whole cast works well, and Shatner has a glorious time as a brilliant buffoon.

Oct 15, 2019 | Full Review…

Kelley has always had a knack for casting, and James Spader is perhaps the quintessential Kelley actor.

Feb 28, 2018 | Full Review…

Speaking of The Practice, its spin-off, Boston Legal, appears perfectly able to hold its own. The series stars the inimitable James Spader.

Oct 15, 2019 | Full Review…

Early episodes have featured surprise guest stars, grim plot twists, and a generally untethered spirit. Half the time, it doesn't make any damn sense. It's a blast.

Oct 15, 2019 | Full Review…

This is in every respect a Kelley production, a combination that seems to work for him about half the time... But Boston Legal hits more than it misses.

Feb 23, 2018 | Full Review…

Watching Spader and Shatner in action is a delight.

Mar 2, 2018 | Full Review…

Spader sparkles, set beautifully within a gem of a supporting cast featuring Shatner, whose over-the-top blowhard is a joy to watch.

Oct 15, 2019 | Full Review…

In hindsight, much of this first season seems like an experiment.

Oct 15, 2019 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Spader made a terrific first impression, and Shatner is priceless as the head of the firm.

Oct 15, 2019 | Full Review…

By the third episode ... watching the antics of high-priced litigators Alan Shore, Denny Crane, and their minions, was more like swigging tired prosecco in a provincial restaurant, a formulaic ritual that left a bitter aftertaste.

Mar 2, 2018 | Full Review…

Thanks to engaging storylines and witty writing, adults will find Boston Legal entertaining.

Mar 2, 2018 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

If you like Spader as a self-described "enormously unlikable person," give Legal time to make its case.

Feb 28, 2018 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Boston Legal: Season 1

  • Jul 25, 2020
    Season 1 is a lot of fun due to all the carryover characters that now carry the show.
  • Sep 06, 2019
    I miss this series so much! Had me laughing the entire time I watched.

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