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Head Cases / Season 1, Episode 1 / Series premiere
First broadcast: October 3, 2004
On a dare with Brad Chase, Alan Shore takes a case where a black mother
wants to sue the Annie on Tour production because she believes that they
did not choose her daughter to play Annie because she is black. Brad and
Sally Heep take a case where a client's ex-husband will not allow her to
take her children to New York. Denny Crane tries to prevent his client
from hiring an investigator to find out who his wife's lover is. Lori
Carlson asks Tara Wilson to do an unethical act. Brad and Sally share a
Directed by .... Bill D'Elia
Written by .... Scott Kaufer, David E. Kelley, Jeff Rake
Anne Betancourt .... Judge Isabel Hernandez
Kevin Cooney .... Atty. Smith
Helen Eigenberg .... Atty. Tompkins
Anita Finlay .... Helen Poole
Philip Baker Hall .... Ernie Dell
Melora Hardin .... Sharon Brant
John Michael Higgins .... Jerry Austin
Sharon Lawrence .... Judge Rita Sharpley
Larry Miller .... Edwin Poole
Eric Payne .... Sam Halpern
Aisha Hinds .... Beah Toomy [Sarah's mom]
Jadzia Pittman .... Sarah [Annie]
Al Sharpton .... Himself
Todd Stashwick .... Matthew Calder
Brad: Uh, I think that's my seat
Alan: Yes, I did see someone's things here. I moved them to a less
Brad: *smirky stare*
Alan: I'm sorry. We're not territorial about that sort of thing around
here, are we?
Denny: *introductions* Denny Crane.
Chicago Partner: I know. I'm from Chicago.
Denny: Oh, my kind of town. Always had the best sex of my life in Chicago.
What about you?
Associate: Where the hell is Edwin?
Edwin: Sorry I'm late, good people.
Alan: Is it casual Monday?
Brad Chase: I outrank you.
Alan Shore: And I'm such a slut for authority.
Alan: I have trouble talking that fast. I don't believe in being straight
up, but I'm a big fan of your aqua velva commercials.
Alan: You two have had sex!
Brad: You're not territorial about that sort of thing, are you
Little Orphan Annie's Mom: She's earned this, Mr. Shore.
Alan: I have no doubt. But you realize producers do have descretion in the
art of casting - strikes me as a very inexact science.
Sharpton: "The sun needs to come out today - not tomorrow, your honor."
*courtroom explodes in applause* "That's what you call a rabbit**, son.
Did You Know... ?
Legal "Head Cases" pilot episode script, dated July 12, 2004
Read the first seven pages of an early draft of the pilot. The aired
episode was quite different. For instance, this script has no reference
to the Little Orphan Annie storyline, does have a story of Edwin Poole's
romantic interest in Tara and incorporates the hypochondriac case that
actually aired in episode 5 in "An Eye for an Eye". To put in
perspective, this script is dated five days after it was announced Mark
Valley was hired as Brad Chase and over a month before Rene Auberjonois
was signed to play Paul Lewiston. This script references Jerry Austin
(John Michael Higgins) as having much of the dialog that is re-shot with
Read the script [pdf file. 4.5 mb]
2. Guest star Philip Baker Hall portrayed Denny's old friend Ernie
Dell in 'Head Cases'. In 2001, he portrayed George Reese Greeley in "Padadena",
the father of the character Mark Valley played (Robert Greeley). Too bad
they had no scenes together.
TVGuide.com - The
Oh, for God's sake — wasn't there a way to let us know Larry Miller wasn't
wearing any pants without showing us the lower half of his butt? I know
it's a Kelley show, but I was just about to tear into this unusually fuzzy
peach and... well, forget that now.
I was going to ask why a wealthy, powerful guy like Philip Baker Hall
couldn't just go out and hire his own private eye, but then he did. So
instead I'll ask: Couldn't he have gone out and bought his own gun?
While Annie's a cute show, I now have to spend the rest of the evening
with "Tomorrow" stuck in my head? That I will not forgive.
But speaking of tomorrow, toasting to "no tomorrows" is a sure way to jinx
a new series, if you ask me, Emmy or no Emmy.
Morality & Hooker Rabbits by
Abney [written for TV Tome]
First off, I'd like to start with an honest statement - I was not an avid
fan of The Practice, watching it only occasionally for its fantastic
writing and formidable cast. But it was always too serious for me; too
dramatic. I understand that was the nature of the show, and I can still
appreciate it. That said, I fell in love with the new characters
introduced in the final season - and I'll be the first to admit that The
Practice ended with Season 7's finale. Then the show became Alan Shore's.
If you were looking for a continuation of The Practice you've come to the
OK, I'll start now. I just needed that to be said.
In an overexerted effort to distance itself from The Practice, Boston
Legal employs deliriously fast camerawork, even faster delivery of lines,
uptempo music and practically hyperactive characters. In some situtations
it works; in others it can be harsh, or overly humorous. Depending on your
personal inclinations, you may or may not like certain aspects of the new
show's tone and mood. Hopefully, the crew will dial it down a bit to an
acceptable level or I might have to concede and watch this show in slow
motion just to make sure I don't miss any dialogue.
James Spader as Alan Shore, while still lovably unethical, is not featured
as prominently as he was in the final season of The Practice, and, while
he is still the undeniable center of the story, it allows for the
supporting cast to come into their own and to find their niche in the
plot. It would be easy to call his character 'different...not like he used
to be.' But you have to examine his environment. Around Eugene Young and
Ellenor Frutt, Alan Shore is a much different man, comparatively speaking.
In a law firm where everyone is just as nutty, if not nuttier, than he is,
he seems almost sane. (Did I just say that?)
Plus, a fantastic father/son relationship between Denny and Alan continues
to develop, with Alan now puncutuating Denny's sentences with the
obligatory and deliciously self-righteous mention of his name.Which lead
me to Denny Crane, whose mental condition continues to deteriorate, which,
while unfortunate for him, makes for great quips between him and...well,
everyone and anyone else. Anyone who didn't laugh at all during this
episode is watching it for the wrong reasons. At the end of it all, he
returns to his strong and determined state at the top of the totem pole.
In an attempt to find an opposing equal for the gloriously malevolent Alan
Shore, the people behind Boston Legal bring in Brad Chase, and while he is
almost Alan's equivalent when it comes to witty repertoire, he's going to
take some time to grow and develop into his role. There is, however, great
potential, especially since there is some built-in sexual tension with
already established character, Sally, and a 'two sides of a coin' feel for
Brad and Alan, with one willing to do anything to get the job done and the
other having reservations about crossing the line. Who will win this
battle of egos? Your guess is as good as mine.
At first, you would think that Sally and Tara are the playing the same
role within the firm, and I can easily understand why some people might
think having both of them onboard is unnecessary. However, they continue
to distance themselves from each other when it comes to asserting their
individuality; with a reluctant Tara compromising her integrity to help
the firm and Sally dealing with her former lover's re-entrance into her
life, we see that these women are anything but carbon copies of one
It was also nice to see Alan and Sally together, away from the world of
law, chatting harmlessly about life, and slowly meandering towards a
potential love triangle with Alan, Tara, and Sally, and a possible love
quadrangle/square when you throw Brad into the mix. Plus, Alan's sojourn
in the bar with Sally was not meaningless nor was it out of the kindness
of his heart. He had a plan; he executed it. To him, the ends justify the
means, a cliché that pretty much sums up who he is.
The final character rounding out the new team at Crane, Poole, and Schmidt
is newcomer Lori Colson, one of very few members of the firm who actually
has some semblance of a conscience which at first makes her seem out of
place but in the end solidifies why she is there. To her, she can do the
most good one step away from people she is surrounded by, but only if she
stays right where she's at. She provides a much needed voice of reason and
moral compass for the rest of the cast.
Senior Partner Edwin Poole's insanity manifests itself in a much different
way from the other 'off the deep end' members of the firm; instead of
quick wit and seemingly backwards values, he shows up to the board meeting
- bare assed. Fueling more Denny Crane-isms (muting the British
representative of the firm...) and setting up the rest of the episode
perfectly, if the writers of Boston Legal can contiune to weave the plots
and subplots with clever banter and thoughtful cases, they just might have
something of a hit on their hands, although the show will have to struggle
with it's lead-ins, (Desperate Housewives and Alias, both of which are
excellent but neither of which are a good fit along with Boston Legal.)
The Reverend Al Sharpton makes a stunning appearance, and I must say it
seemed a bit out of place; and despite the obvious comedic nature of his
showing up, it had undertones rooted in an emotional and social reality.
Where do we draw the line between 'equal oppurtunity' and flat-out
'equality'? Should we even make a distinction? With a brilliant,
underhanded social commentary Boston Legal succeeded in both furthering
the plot and making me think, something I can't say about a lot of shows
on TV today.
-The same two edged tone we've come to expect from these characters -
light-hearted and serious, all at the same time.
-New characters Brad Chase and Lori Colson, neither of which were a part
of the final season of The Practice, but both of which I believe fit right
in, in their own way.
-Hooker Rabbits. Hilarious.
-Unfitting use of uptempo music that didn't match the storyline at all.
And useless zooms in/out that served to do nothing but dizzy and unbalance
-Al Sharpton. He just seemed out of place, and the fact that the
resolution of the case came solely from his presence bothered to me.
-Edwin Poole's "full moon". Need I say more?
Written by: Abney | Send feedback and comments to Abney at
Daily Variety [Oct. 5, 2005]
ABC Entertainment prez Steve McPherson said he's happy with the perf of
"Boston Legal," noting some of the audience for "Housewives" simply "isn't
going to stick around" for anything that follows it. "The work on
('Legal') is good, as showed by the Emmys" for James Spader and William
Shatner, he said. "And the episodes are getting better and better."
NTI Fast Affiliate Ratings [Oct. 3, 2004]
ABC's "Boston Legal" debuted a strong No. 1 in its hour, besting
second-place NBC's "Crossing Jordan" by 1 million viewers (13.8 million
vs. 12.8 million) and by 14% in Adults 18-49 (5.0/13 vs. 4.4/11).
*The program debut of "Boston Legal" produced ABC's strongest Total Viewer
and Adult 18-49 numbers with a series in the time period in 2 years -
Nielsen Media Research Top 20 Week of Sept. 27-Oct. 3, 2004
RANK / PROGRAM / NET DAY TIME HOUSEHOLD VIEWERS RATING/SHARE AUDIENCE
1 DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES ABC Sun 9:00PM 13.6/20.0 14,926,000 21,645,000
2 CSI: MIAMI CBS Mon 10:00PM 13.0/21.0 14,205,000 19,716,000
2 NFL MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL ABC Mon 9:07PM 13.0/22.0 14,268,000 19,368,000
4 CSI: NY CBS Wed 10:00PM 12.5/20.0 13,753,000 19,474,000
5 EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND CBS Mon 9:00PM 12.1/18.0 13,262,000 18,685,000
6 SURVIVOR: VANUATU CBS Thu 8:00PM 11.5/18.0 12,626,000 19,915,000
7 TWO AND A HALF MEN CBS Mon 9:31PM 10.9/16.0 11,953,000 16,595,000
8 CSI SPECIAL(S) CBS Wed 9:00PM 10.8/17.0 11,887,000 16,363,000
9 LOST ABC Wed 8:00PM 10.5/17.0 11,506,000 17,004,000
10 60 MINUTES CBS Sun 7:26PM 10.2/17.0 11,161,000 14,908,000
11 COLD CASE CBS Sun 8:26PM 10.0/15.0 10,945,000 15,033,000
12 NFL MONDAY SHOWCASE ABC Mon 9:00PM 9.9/15.0 10,901,000 15,235,000
13 APPRENTICE 2 9/29(S) NBC Wed 9:00PM 9.3/14.0 10,222,000 14,695,000
13 NAVY NCIS CBS Tue 8:00PM 9.3/15.0 10,244,000 14,329,000
15 JOEY NBC Thu 8:00PM 9.0/15.0 9,882,000 13,592,000
16 DECISION '04 PRES ANALYS-(S) NBC Thu 10:31PM 8.9/14.0 9,791,000
17 LAW AND ORDER NBC Wed 10:00PM 8.8/14.0 9,663,000 12,943,000
18 LAW AND ORDER:SVU NBC Tue 10:00PM 8.7/14.0 9,573,000 13,000,000
18 WILL & GRACE NBC Thu 8:31PM 8.7/14.0 9,589,000 12,820,000
20 BOSTON LEGAL ABC Sun 10:00PM 8.6/15.0 9,480,000 13,069,000
*There are an estimated 105.5 million television households in the USA. A
single ratings point represents 1%, or 1,055,000 households for the 2001-02
season. Share is the percentage of television sets in use tuned to a
Boston Legal: Head Cases
Season 1, Episode 1
Airdate: October 3, 2004
Watch 1st segment clip
2nd segment clip (9:40)
wm stream; 298 bitrate / no downloads
Memorable scenes >>
Read the episode, transcribed by DrSheri: [pdf]
Share your thoughts
Won time slot
13.8 million viewers overall
#1 rating in 18-49 demographic
Download mp3 audio from "Head Cases"
(38 mb; 128k)
Cases"; 2 min.; windows media download (3.6 mb)