Boston Legal

Boston Legal
Genre Legal drama
Created by David E. Kelley
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 5
No. of episodes 101 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s) David E. Kelley
Bill D'Elia
Mike Listo
Lawrence Broch
Janet Leahy (2.04–3.24)
Scott Kaufer (1.01–2.03, 2.23)
Jeff Rake (1.01–1.13)
Running time 42 minutes
Production company(s) 20th Century Fox Television
David E. Kelley Productions
Distributor 20th Television
Original network ABC
Picture format 480i (SDTV),
720p (HDTV)
Original release October 3, 2004 (2004-10-03) – December 8, 2008 (2008-12-08)
Preceded by The Practice
Boston Public

Boston Legal is an American legal dramedy created by David E. Kelley and produced in association with 20th Century Fox Television for ABC. The series aired from October 3, 2004, to December 8, 2008. The series, starring James Spader, with Candice Bergen, and William Shatner, is a spin-off of the long-running Kelley series The Practice, following the exploits of former Practice character Alan Shore at the legal firm of Crane, Poole & Schmidt.

Production details

Prior to the show's premiere, it had a working title of Fleet Street, an allusion to the real street in Boston where the fictitious Crane, Poole & Schmidt had its offices. The working title was later modified to The Practice: Fleet Street, but this title was dropped in favor of Boston Legal.[1] The real building shown as the law office is located at 500 Boylston Street, 1.4 miles away from Fleet Street.

The American producers of the series also hired British writer Sir John Mortimer, QC, (creator of the UK legal series Rumpole of the Bailey) as a consultant for Boston Legal.[2]

The show's pilot was originally produced with former The Practice stars James Spader and Rhona Mitra, guest stars William Shatner and Lake Bell, and Mark Valley. It featured an expanded storyline with Larry Miller as Edwin Poole and John Michael Higgins as senior partner Jerry Austin. Monica Potter was later cast as junior partner Lori Colson and René Auberjonois as senior partner Paul Lewiston, replacing John Michael Higgins. The pilot premiered on ABC on October 3, 2004.[3]

On November 30, 2004, it was announced that Candice Bergen would join the cast as senior partner Shirley Schmidt,[4] a character the producers had planned to introduce for several months.[5] Lake Bell left the series mid-season, and René Auberjonois was promoted to main cast member.[6][7][8] Anthony Heald and Betty White also made regular guest appearances, having both appeared as the same characters on The Practice.

On April 5, 2005, the series was renewed for a second season, although ABC chose not to screen the final five episodes of Season 1 until April 24, 2005 to allow greater exposure of mid-season series Grey's Anatomy to a larger audience.[9] The success of Grey's Anatomy placed Boston Legal on hold until autumn 2005, when it returned for an extended season of 27 episodes.[10][11] Both Rhona Mitra and Monica Potter left the series during the hiatus, while Julie Bowen was cast as Denise Bauer.[12] Ryan Michelle Bathe and Justin Mentell were later cast as junior associates Sara Holt and Garrett Wells.[13] The second episode of Season 3 introduced Craig Bierko as Jeffrey Coho and Constance Zimmer as Claire Simms. In Episode 11, guest star Gary Anthony Williams joined the cast, with Craig Bierko leaving in Episode 15.

On June 4, 2007, TV Guide announced that René Auberjonois, Julie Bowen, Mark Valley, and Constance Zimmer would not return for Season 4.[14] On June 13, 2007, it was announced that actor John Larroquette (former The Practice guest star) would join the cast as a senior partner transferred from the New York offices of Crane, Poole & Schmidt, with actress Tara Summers joining as a young associate. Christian Clemenson (former The Practice guest star), who had guest-starred occasionally as Jerry Espenson (a brilliant but socially inept lawyer) – was promoted to main cast.[15] Production also stated that René Auberjonois, Mark Valley, Julie Bowen, and Constance Zimmer may return in guest roles.[16] On July 2, 2007, it was reported that both René Auberjonois and Mark Valley would return in recurring roles;[17] It was also announced that Taraji P. Henson would join the cast in Season 4, with Saffron Burrows appearing in a recurring role. Burrows later became a full-time cast member.[18]

On May 13, 2008, ABC announced that Boston Legal would return for a fifth (and final) season in the fall.[19][20] Saffron Burrows did not return as a series regular, having joined the cast of My Own Worst Enemy. The final season consisted of 13 episodes to reach the "100" episode mark, which facilitated successful syndication.[21] There was speculation that Boston Legal might receive an additional episode-order if the show had another strong showing in the Emmy Awards and produced solid ratings in its new fall time slot.[22] The season began airing on September 22, 2008.

On June 18 and June 20, 2008, it was reported that Gary Anthony Williams and Taraji P. Henson would not return for Season 5 as Clarence Bell and Whitney Rome, respectively.[23][24] On July 17, 2008, Boston Legal was nominated for a series-high seven Emmy nominations, including for Best Drama Series for the second consecutive year. Spader, Bergen, and Shatner were each nominated for their respective roles.

Boston Legal's two-hour-long series finale aired on Monday, December 8, 2008, at 9:00PM Eastern/8:00PM Central. David E. Kelley stated in an interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on December 7, 2008 that it was ABC's decision to end Boston Legal, and that he "had to fight to bring it back for a short season of 13 episodes".[25]

The series features a trademark routine whereby characters would occasionally break the fourth wall and make comments implying they are aware that they are characters in a television show. Shatner, being famous for portraying Captain Kirk, also makes occasional Star Trek references.[26]

The series aired on TV Land in the past.


The Practice characters

Main characters


Ratings and audience profile

According to Nielsen Media Research, Boston Legal drew the richest viewing audience on television, based on the concentration of high-income viewers in its young adult audience (Adult 18–49 index w/$100k+ annual income).[27]

Seasonal rankings (based on average total viewers per episode) of Boston Legal on ABC.

Note: Each U.S. network television season starts in late September and ends in late May, which coincides with the completion of May sweeps. All times mentioned in this section were in the Eastern and Pacific time zones.

Season Timeslot Season Premiere Season Finale TV Season Season
(in millions)
1 Sunday 10:00 pm October 3, 2004 March 20, 2005 2004–2005 #28 12.53[28]
2 Tuesday 10:00 pm September 27, 2005 May 16, 2006 2005–2006 #47 10.30[29]
3 September 19, 2006 May 29, 2007 2006–2007 #62 9.57[30]
4 Tuesday 10:00 pm
Wednesday 10:00 pm
September 25, 2007 May 21, 2008 2007–2008 #51 9.62[31]
5 Monday 10:00 pm September 22, 2008 December 8, 2008 2008–2009 #47 9.62[32]

DVD releases

DVD Name Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
Season 1 May 23, 2006 July 24, 2006 August 9, 2006
Season 2 November 21, 2006 March 5, 2007 February 21, 2007
Season 3 September 18, 2007 January 14, 2008 October 10, 2007
Season 4 September 23, 2008 October 13, 2008 December 3, 2008
Season 5 May 5, 2009 May 11, 2009 August 5, 2009
The Complete Series May 5, 2009[33] May 11, 2009 November 18, 2009[34]


Primetime Emmy Awards:

Golden Globe Awards:

Peabody Awards


  1. Pergament, Alan (July 19, 2004). "Marketing, Legal Factors Influence TV'S Name Game". The Buffalo News. Retrieved December 10, 2008.
  2. The Christian Science Monitor. "In appreciation of John Mortimer". The Christian Science Monitor.
  3. Levin, Gary (2004-10-04). "'Housewives' lifts ABC's spirits — and ratings". USA Today. Retrieved 2008-12-10.
  4. ABC press release (November 30, 2004). "Candice Bergen Joins the Cast of ABC's 'Boston Legal'". The Futon Critic. Retrieved December 10, 2008.
  5. Rice, Lynette. "Legal Aid"]. "Entertainment Weekly" online, January 10, 2005.
  6. "Breaking News - Development Update: November 29–30 -".
  7. "Breaking News - Development Update: November 15–18 -".
  8. "Breaking News - Rene Auberjonois Joins the Cast of ABC's 'Boston Legal'". 2013-09-14. Retrieved 2013-10-14.
  9. "Breaking News - ABC's Medical Drama Series 'Grey's Anatomy' Premieres Sunday, March 27 at 10:00 P.M., Et". 2013-09-14. Retrieved 2013-10-14.
  10. "Breaking News - Building on a Slate of Returning Series That Produced the Largest Season-To-Season Adult 18-49 Audience Growth for Any Major Network in at Least 25 Years, ABC Announces the Addition of Five New Comedies, Six New Dramas and One New Alternative Series to Its 2005-06 Primetime Schedule -".
  11. "Breaking News - Grey's Anatomy to Continue Airing Sundays at 10:00 P.M. on the ABC Television Network -".
  12. "Breaking News - Development Update Special: Who's in and Who's Out -".
  13. "Breaking News - Three New Cast Members Join ABC's "Boston Legal" -".
  14. Ausiello, Michael. "Boston Legal Cleans House, Drops Four Actors!". TV Guide online, June 13, 2007.
  15. Ausiello Report Archived June 16, 2007, at the Wayback Machine. at TV Guide
  16. "Larroquette added to 'Boston Legal' bill". Reuters, June 14, 2007.
  17. "More cast changes at 'Boston Legal'". Reuters, July 2, 2007
  18. "Actress Burrows makes it 'Legal'". July 25, 2007.
  19. "Boston Legal".
  20. Schneider, Michael (May 11, 2008). "'Boston Legal' set for fifth season". Variety.
  21. "Zap2It". Zap2It.
  22. Martin, Ed (May 31, 2008). "Why <em>Boston Legal</em> is One of Broadcast's Best". Huffington Post.
  23. Welcome to AccessAtlanta! | AccessAtlanta Archived June 22, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  24. – What The Flick » Working Girl
  25. Owen, Rob (December 7, 2008). "'Boston Legal's' Kelley delivers parting shots". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved December 23, 2008.
  26. Stanley, Alessandra (February 14, 2006). "THE TV WATCH; Beneath the Quirks, There's Always a Message for the Masses". New York Times.
  28. "ABC Medianet". ABC Medianet. 2005-05-24. Retrieved 2013-10-14.
  29. "ABC Medianet". ABC Medianet. 2006-05-31. Archived from the original on 2014-10-11. Retrieved 2013-10-14.
  30. "ABC Medianet". ABC Medianet. 2007-06-05. Archived from the original on 2009-01-07. Retrieved 2013-10-14.
  31. "ABC Medianet". ABC Medianet. 2008-05-28. Archived from the original on 2010-04-13. Retrieved 2013-10-14.
  32. "ABC Medianet". ABC Medianet. 2009-05-19. Archived from the original on 2009-06-23. Retrieved 2013-10-14.
  33. " Boston Legal Season 1-5 Complete Collection: William Shatner, James Spader, Candice Bergen: Movies & TV".
  34. "Buy Boston Legal - The Complete Series (28 Disc Tin Set) on DVD-Video from".
  35. 65th Annual Peabody Awards, May 2006.

External links

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