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The Black Widow, season 02  episode 1

Boston Legal: The Black Widow / Season 02, ep 01 starring James Spader, Mark Valley, Julie Bowen, William Shatner, Candice Bergen, Rene Auberjonois, Justin Mentell, Sara Michelle Bathe

Episode Credits  |  Dialogue  |  Did You Know... ?  |  Reviews  |  News & Ratings

Episode Summary

The Black Widow / Season 2, Episode 1
Broadcast: September 27, 2005
Guest star: Rupert Everett (Malcolm Holmes), Heather Locklear (Kelly Nolan)
Alan Shore and Brad Chase represent Kelly Nolan (Heather Locklear), a splashy, exotic murder defendant dubbed by the media "The Black Widow," on trial for poisoning her much older husband. Denny Crane lusts after Mrs. Nolan and begs Shore to let him lend a hand in any way possible.

Denise Bauer enlists junior associates Garrett Wells and Sara Holt to assist her on a case involving a Jewish man who feels his civil rights were violated when his Christian co-workers held Bible readings in the workplace. To complicate matters, Denise's husband serves her with divorce papers in front of them.

Meanwhile, Shirley Schmidt and Tara Wilson (Rhona Mitra) defend a respected surgeon accused of sexually assaulting a mute woman, who ultimately testifies by very unconventional means. Shore is taken aback when he finds out that opposing counsel on the case is Tara's former lover, Malcolm Holmes (Rupert Everett).

Episode Credits

Directed by .... Oz Scott
Written by .... David E. Kelley
Edited by ... Craig Bench
Marty Belafsky .... Joshua Abrams
Jason Brooks .... Justin Murray
Shawn Christian .... Tim Bauer
Ellen Crawford .... Frances Stadler
James Eckhouse .... Dr. Adam Carter
Rupert Everett .... Malcolm Holmes
Anthony Heald .... Judge Harvey Cooper
Gregory Itzin .... A.D.A. Todd Milken
Leslie Jordan .... Bernard Ferrion
Jennifer Kuhn .... Mary Bradley
Heather Locklear .... Kelly Nolan
Fred Myers .... Willis Berger
Randy Oglesby .... Walter Edmunds
Ron Ostrow .... Atty. Everett Cone
Julie Pop .... Laurie Berger
Richard Portnow .... Judge Peter Harding
Deirdre M. Smith .... Jury Foreperson
Christina Souza .... Ellen Webster
Betty White .... Catherine Piper

The Black Widow, Season 01 Episode 01

Episode Dialogue

Alan: Denny, we look good, right?
Denny: We look great.

Brad: *all in one breath* Hello, Willis. I'm not FBI, you got that? You never heard me say FBI. Did any blogging today? Get away from the computer. Step away from the computer, son.

Alan: Good God, it doesn't muss.

Plaintiff: It's more like I was forced out. The office took on such a Christian tone, I felt ostracized as a Jew. Alienated.
Denise Bauer: And minorities enjoy civil rights that the majority doesn't?

Denise Bauer: So you quit the marriage!

Frances Stadler: Having lived in the same house with her for seven years, I know she's a cold, detached b-  person. She's capable.

Alan: You seem to have a finely-tuned sense of delivery.

Alan: Let me tell you. The housekeeper has considerable dramatic flair.

Alan: We'll bring a motion in limine. It's hearsay
Kelly Nolan: My last lawyer tried that.
Alan: Well, we try again. Frances Stadler cannot get in that witness chair.

Do you have a statement for the press?
Denny Crane. She loves me. She loves me not.

Judge Harvey Cooper: I must admit I'm new to the Commonwealth of Mass-eh-CHEW-sits, but I like to stick to my schedules.

Alan: Of course, Why bother with justice when there's a day planner involved.

Malcolm Holmes: As it happens, I speak cello.

Denise Bauer: I will decide whether to object or not!

Garrett Wells: You weren't listening. I saw your face. You weren't even paying attention.

Denise Bauer: My husband and I were over a long time ago, but this filing - I just don't like to fail at things.

Bernard Ferrion: It's like she's emotionally flatlined. She speaks with no affect. Its an associative disorder. She emotionally lobotomizes herself.

Alan:  He seems to take particular delight in all this, does he not, Catherine?
Catherine: We all do. It's fun to see pretty people fall.
Alan: Your little boyfriend is twisted. Trust me when I tell you, he's not finished killing.

Malcolm: One kiss. Hmm? Let's get it over with.
Tara: I'll see you in court, Malcolm.

Alan: Judge, not withstanding your tightly corsetted mind, no defendant can get a fair trial with less than a week to prepare.

Malcolm Holmes: It was dark and suddenly, You had a very strange feeling. You turned around. You looked around - and suddenly a man was coming. And he grabbed you. You were terrified. He molested you. He fondled your breasts. It was awful. You will never get over it. Ever.

Denny: That one. She's perfect. Oh, my God.
Alan: What's going on?

Brad: Problem. You've got a website, Kelly.

Kelly Nolan: I think I know who took these. Willis Berger. At times I thought he was stalking me.

Did You Know... ?

Production credits ran through three segments and finally ended 13 minutes into the episode with the final credit being 'Directed by Oz Scott'.

Monica Potter [Lori Colson] was relegated to 'special guest appearance' in the credits, but, no doubt due to editing to insert the new cast storyline, her wordless appearance consisted of standing behind Brad's chair and looking at Kelly Nolan porn over his shoulder, wide-eyed as usual. She then obediently departed [foreshadowing?] along with the conspiracy of lawyers also doing 'research' on The Black Widow.

Mark Valley and Heather Locklear. You might wonder if this is a sequence from Boston Legals' "Black Widow" episode. You'd be wrong.

In one of those one degree of separation things, Mark and Heather went on a date in "Spin City" in "A Tale of Four Cities" (April 30, 2002). "To spite Charlie for downplaying an encounter with an ex, Caitlin accompanies one of New York's ten sexiest men, Joseph Maxwell (Mark Valley), on a business date to make Charlie jealous."...

>> images  1  2  3

Guest star Jason Brooks [Justin Murray] worked with Mark Valley for many years in the soap opera "Days of our Lives". Their characters were rivals for the affections of one woman. [I'm not quite sure if I just missed noticing him in The Black Widow, but I think his storyline may have been cut due to inserting the new cast storylines. His part is supposed to be reprised in Schadenfreude.]
 >> image

Guest star Rupert Everett worked with Mark Valley in "The Next Best Thing". Mark's character in The Next Best Thing was Rupert Everett's 'doctor of the heart' - a cardiologist, actually, and Rupert's lover.   >> image

Have you checked the pulse of this country lately?
Imamess does a great job transcribing each episode. Sometimes it's difficult to decipher all the dialogue. Thank you to Sue B. for going way in depth with Garrett's "Have you checked the pulse of this country lately?" God video presentation. Following are her identifications. There are still a few unknowns. If you want to watch the clip in question and can supply the remaining names, the clip is here:
Watch "Have you checked the pulse of this country, lately?" clip (3:46)

Sue - thank you for this from Garrett's presentation:

George Bush jr.: We are guided by a power larger than ourselves.
???1: Jesus Christ the son of God.
Barak Obama: We worship an awesome God.
Martin Luther King, Jr: I just wanna do God’s will!
John Kerry: We are on God’s side.
George Bush jr.: When you turn your heart and your life…
Curt Schilling: I say a prayer, before I pitch.
George Bush jr.: … over to Christ.
Stephen Baldwin: God knows the truth.
George Bush jr.: When you accept Christ as a Savior. Garrett mouths the words along.
Stephen Baldwin: … in a man’s heart.
George Bush jr.: It changes your heart.
Jimmy Carter: What does the Lord require of thee?
Ronald Regan: My friends together we can do this.
Jimmy Carter: And to walk…
Ronald Regan: Do what we must.
Jimmy Carter: Humbly.
Ronald Regan: So help me God.
Jimmy Carter: … with thy God.
Bill Clinton: I did not have sexual relations with that woman.

Part 2
Al Sharpton: One nation under God.
???2: One nation under God.
Al Sharpton: One standard under God.
Ronald Regan: One people under God.
Al Sharpton: For the children of God.
Jesse Jackson, Jr: The Lord is my life!
George Bush jr.: I have, ah, accepted Christ.
John F. Kennedy: God.
Reverend Run DMC: Praise to my Lord and Savior.
Joan Rivers: God.
Stephen Baldwin: Jesus Christ and Christ Jesus.
Jimmy Carter: With God.
John Kerry: God.
Jimmy Carter: Through Christ.
???4: God bless
Jimmy Carter: Christ
Joe Lieberman: God
Ronald Regan: Jesus
???5: God
Barak Obama: God
Toby Keith: God
George Herbert Walker Bush: God
Bill Clinton: I did not have sex…

Some notes from Sue B's day of research:

- King was speaking in Memphis, Tennesee, on April 3, 1968, the night before he was assassinated. http://www.afscme.org/about/kingspch.htm

- Schilling helped the Boston Red Sox win the World Series in 2004, pitching heroically with an injured ankle despite blood seeping through his sock. After the World Series, he became a different sort of pitchman - speaking in support of George W. Bush's re-election campaign.

- Stephen Baldwin is the youngest of the acting Baldwin brothers. He made these comments on MSNBC's "Scarborough Country", on Dec 2, 2004.

- Jimmy Carter quoted this passage from the Bible during his inauguration speech in 1977.

- JFK's one-word snippet is from his inaugration speech in 1961, during which he mentioned "God" three times. One of the mentions: "And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe—the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God."

- Joe Lieberman ran for the democratic party in the 2004 election. Ironically (considering the topic of Garrett's tirade was "our Christian nation"), he's Jewish.

- Barak Obama was the keynote speaker at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. He mentioned God three times in his speech, including the line: "We worship an awesome God in the Blue States".

- Toby Keith won the 2004 Academy of Country Music's "Entertainer of the Year" award and said "Thank God for blessing us".

- In another storyline with Malcolm (Rupert Everett), the character mentions the "Big Dig". It is a notorious construction project (tunnel) in Boston, recently completed. That's what Malcolm was referring to.

Episode Reviews

Back In Black...And Yellow, Too | 2.01 'The Black Widow' written by Abney

Welcome back, Boston Legal!

Before I get into the meat of this review, I want to start out by extending my gratitude to one of the kindest and most dedicated fans of Boston Legal I could have ever hope to meet - Dana. Thank you so much for putting together everything you do over at boston-legal.org and thank you for tracking me down and giving me a place to post my reviews of Boston Legal, including my old reviews of S1 and these new ones for S2. I feel lucky to be a part of this and am glad that someone has been reading. ;)

Also, some more housekeeping before moving on to the review of the S2 premiere, 'The Black Widow'; I've already touched on this with Dana in the podcast for this episode (download it at boston-legal.org), but in case you haven't listened to that, a big congratulations out to James Spader for winning his Emmy for Lead Actor in a Drama Series for his role as Alan Shore on Boston Legal and to William Shatner for winning his for Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for his role as Denny Crane. That's a repeat win for both of them; James Spader won last year for the same role on The Practice and William Shatner won for Guest Actor in a Drama Series, also on The Practice. Maybe this kind of recognition will help boost the ratings...I can only hope.

((OK. Sorry about that. Here we go! Forgive me if this review is a bit rough around the edges; I've been out of practice for a while. So bear with me; thanks for reading!))

They opened up this episode with a crash course on the history of the show, covering most major (and some minor - was Bernie's story really important enough?) storylines from S1 to set up this season. A nice refresher course for those who did watch the show on Sundays last season, and an introduction to the show for those who did not.

Enter Alan Shore and Denny Crane. The place - the streets of Boston. The garb - top of the line suits, and suave shades to boot. The reaction - hilarity. These two men have some of the funniest chemistry the television (legal) drama has ever seen, with Alan's straightforward, unapologetic smugness blended with Denny's over-the-top antics. These men were made to walk the streets together; they were made to look damn good doing it, too. I would like to point out, that, while in many cases they appear to be very similar, especially in this scene, there is one key difference that must be noted. Fashion flair. Alan goes traditional, with the classic black tie; Denny makes a much bolder statement sporting the yellow tie. In doing so, he prevents me from ripping off an AC/DC song for the title of this review, so for that I thank him. And because it pretty much made my night to see them together like that.

There appears to be tumultuous changes underway at the Boston office of Crane, Poole, and Schmidt; but no one besides the audience seems to notice or care. I suppose the newly introduced (or rather, unintroduced, simply thrown into the mix) legal trinity of Denise Bauer, Garrett Wells, and Sara Holt has been around the whole time, working behind the scenes of those who used to be our main characters at the firm. Denise reminds me of Lori, with an important twist - more emotion. More drive; more passion. Whatever that X Factor is that brings success, Denise has it in abundance. She is the type of person who has cried, sweat, and bled to get to where she is and won't compromise anything without a fight. It makes her plucky, determined, and hopefully, fun to watch on screen.

That is, of course, unless she is continually hounded (some may say courted...right now, I prefer words with meanings closer to pestered) by Garrett Wells, an overeager junior associate at the firm. His advances seem juvenile at best and inappropriate at worst, but his dedication is sincere even if some of his motivation isn't what it should be and some of his effort is misplaced.  Despite not being as high up in the Crane, Poole, and Schmidt pecking order as Denise, he has the confidence to pursue her, if not one-hundred percent openly, knowing full well that the consequences for his career (or his heart, if he really is attached) could be devastating. Maybe he is something of a legal prodigy, as his 'Have you checked the pulse of this country, lately?' presentation suggests; he is certainly showing more potential than the statue Sara was in this episode. Right now, I have no prejudices or views of her, because, to be honest, she hasn't said or done anything. All we know is she has a friendship with Garrett (probably drawn from their equal rank; the old strength in numbers concept) and exercises far more restraint than he does.

Other than Denise's obvious barricades to Garrett's attempts at wooing her, there remains one little obstacle to impede Mr. Wells - Denise's (soon to be ex-) husband, Tim Bauer. Whether he was being honest, and he did want to serve her the divorce papers personally because he felt it was the right thing to do, or she was right, and he was only doing it to get a good look at her when he caught her off guard with them remains to be seen, but I doubt the writers would alienate their newest character so quickly by making her at fault in this failed marriage. However, history shows that they're both keen at making unlikable characters instantly likable (Alan Shore...) and capable of the exact opposite (Sally Heep...). Is Denise a female Alan? No.  She may follow in his sort of balance between fault and virtue, merit and flaw. Or she could be the next Sally only with blonde hair.

Meanwhile, Alan, Denny and Brad handled the case of Kelly Nolan - The Black Widow. Painted in the press as the woman who poisoned her husband who had experienced many more years and fired her previous attorney when she realized her representation was not going to get her the innocent verdict. Whether she really is innocent remains to be seen; Brad hasn't committed one way or the other, Denny is simply salivating over her (think of how he talks to Shirley, and then apply it not only to his words but his actions. He oozes sexual harassment, not unlike Alan.), and Alan, by the end, accepts her statement that she is innocent.  Whether this is a trust she deserves or one he'll get burnt for (Paul Stewart or Bernard Ferrion, anyone?) remains to be seen, but it is encouraging to see someone as jaded as Alan looking up for once. In spite of it all, he still does look for good things in this world, even when there doesn't really appear as if there is a good reason to. As always, he is more than meets the eye.

On the other side of the firm were Shirley and Tara, handling the case of a respected surgeon accused of sexual assault.  By a mute woman. (Who doesn't know sign language?) The case was really just convenient plotting to introduce a new character from Tara's past - a man named Malcolm Holmes, with the refined diction that comes with a nifty accent and the ability to quip with the best of them, including Shirley and Tara herself. For now, Tara has resisted his advances and remains loyal to Alan. For now. Alan has caught drift of her working against Malcolm in court, and, while the fact that Tara kept it from him can be seen as her trying to protect him from worry, the fact that she withheld it is going to lead to mistrust in an already fragile relationship. What effect Malcolm has could realign the firm by tossing the Alan/Tara dynamic into turmoil...right now, the ball is in Tara's court.

By the end of the night, I was satisfied; the socially, politically, and culturally relevant writing David E. Kelley has always brought is as finely tuned as ever; the characters are wild and unpredictable, but still exactly the same as they always have been; I laughed, and I got sucked into the drama. That's everything I expect from this show. So thank you, and welcome back.

And now, the premiere Good, Bad, and Ugly of S2 -

The Good
-It was great to see everyone back; I always love premieres of shows I love because it usually means it has been far too long since I saw the cast. That definitely applies here.
-Denise looks the most promising of the new cast additions; I was a fan of her on Ed and also her recent stint on Lost, so I know she is a capable actress (good at both comedy and drama, which is a perfect fit for Boston Legal) and her character seems like she will mesh well.
-The show was opened and closed with two instant classic Alan/Denny scenes. That just seems as if it is the way it should be.
-I am also an instant fan of Brad's 'FBI' ploy; he used his skills as a quick talker, took a page out of Alan's book, and got the job done. In a hilarious manner, I might add.

The Bad
-Heather Locklear was great in her role as Kelly Nolan. I think she was perfectly described as almost unnaturally unemotional, especially considering her circumstances. What is going on under the surface that she isn't showing anything at all? The fact that she isn't showing grief doesn't mean that she is guilty, but it certainly does not reinforce her innocence. I'm curious as to what Alan sees that makes him believe her the way he does.
-I am wary of cast changes, especially the demotions - Rhona Mitra and Monica Potter have both been demoted to 'Special Appearance By'. That leaves only Alan, Denny, and Brad from the main cast from the pilot, 'Head Cases'.
-Garrett's little crush on Denise irks me.  What is with these people and office romance?  When will they get it?

The Ugly
-We may not have seen them, but the photos Willis Berger was posting to the web of Kelly Nolan...
-Also worth putting here is the pro-Christian workplace; despite Garrett's work to justify it in this 'Christian America', it seemed quite 'ugly' to me. So that lands it here.

So, thanks for reading! I plan on being more prompt in the future.

Written by: Abney | Send feedback and comments to Abney at aliasabney@hotmail.com

[Listen to Abney and Dana's conversation about The Black Widow - mp3 download]

Episode News

The Word

It is being reported that BL may go on hiatus after the October 25 episode
airs, returning in January. This is pending the outcome of the
September/October ratings.
[Source: Boston Legal Yahoo Group]

September 27, 2005 "The Black Widow"
Households: 8.6/14, #4; adults 18-49: 3.4, #T8.

In year-to-year comparisons, "Boston Legal" was up 32.31% in households but only 3.03% in adults 18-49 from the season premiere of "NYPD Blue" (households: 6.5/11; adults 18-49: 3.3 on 9/21/04) last year. Overall, "Boston" was down just 4.44% in households and a surprising 32.00% in adults 18-49 from its Sunday opener last year (households: 9.0/15; adults 18-49: 5.0 on 10/3/04).

ABC programming for the night: households: 8.2/13, #1; adults 18-49: 3.5, #4), despite being first in overall viewership the Alphabet fell to fourth place among adults 18-49
[Source: Nielsen Media Research]

Top 20 Network Primetime Series
Total Household Rating/Share: 8.4/13.0
Audience: 9,249,000
Viewers:  12,366,000


Boston Legal's Men in Black

Episode Video

Boston Legal: The Black Widow
Season 2, Episode 1
Airdate: September 27, 2005
Watch segment clip (5:35)
wm stream; 340 bitrate / no downloads

Watch "Have you checked the pulse of this country, lately?" clip (3:46)
"Sometimes you have to take chances in life, in law, in love"
wm stream; 340 bitrate / no downloads

Watch "I'm not the FBI" clip (3:46)
Brad "Shore" Chase technically skirts misrepresentation in order to shut down a website defaming his client.
wm stream; 340 bitrate / no downloads

Boston Legal: The Black Widow Preview
Airdate: Sept. 27, 2005
Season Two Premiere: "Black Widow" promo (:30) 520 bitrate]

Boston Illegal Radio
Listen to a discussion of the episode
[87 min; 30 mb; 48k bitrate]
"The Black Widow" mp3 download
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Episode Images
Memorable scenes  >> go

Read the episode, transcribed by Imamess  >> pdf file

Episode Forum

Share your thoughts  >> go

Episode Ratings
September 27, 2005:
Households: 8.6/14, #4; adults 18-49: 3.4, #T8. See more in "News" at end of page.

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