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Boston Legal: Season 1, Episode 3 - "Catch and Release"

Boston Legal: James Spader, William Shatner, Mark Valley, Monica Potter, Rhona Mitra

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

Episode Summary

Catch and Release / Season 1, Episode 3
First broadcast: October 17, 2004
Denny Crane's long-lost son, Donny Crane (Freddie Prinze, Jr.) — himself an attorney — represents environmental interests against the development of a shopping mall by one of Crane, Poole & Schmidt's major clients. Meanwhile Shore, with Lori serving as second chair, tries a sexual harassment case, with his ex-lover, Christine — whom he recently helped get released from a mental institution and who, he now fears, is stalking him — serving as opposing counsel. And Sally tries her first case, defending a man who was caught stealing red-handed.

Episode Credits

Directed by ... Daniel Attias
Written by ... David E. Kelley, Peter Ocko
Steven Anderson... Walter Seymore
Patricia Belcher... Judge Bishop
Lombardo Boyar... Ramone Valasquez
Christopher Carroll... Judge Bickell
Michael Ensign... Judge Paul Resnick
Susan Floyd... Wendy Moore
Mary Kathleen Gordon... Sylvie While
Elizabeth Mitchell... Christine Pauley
Dean Norris... Byron Kaneb
Freddie Prinze Jr.... Donny Crane
Sam Temeles... Dr. Lott
Christine Tucci... D.A. Huff
Todd Waring... Daniel Ralston
Diana Yanez... Foreperson #1

Episode Dialogue

Donny Crane: Dad, he's mocking me.
Denny: You're a Crane. Get used to it.

Sally: What could I possibly say in my closing? I've got nothing.
Alan: Rabbit.
Sally: I'm sorry?
Alan: Pull a rabbit out from under your dress.

Shore to Sally: Do you trust me?
Sally: I do.
Shore: And because you trust me, you'll believe what I'm about to tell you.
Sally: I will.
Shore: That's all it is.
Sally: All what is?
Shore: Trial law. Getting the jury to trust you, so they'll believe what you tell them.
Sally: Really?
Shore: Sincerity, Sally. Once you learn to fake that - there wil be no stopping you.

Shore, with co-counsel Lori,walking to their courtroom: "Do you plan to contribute or are you simply assigned to mop up the ooze?"

Christine: How are you?
Shore, taken aback, but laughs: Fine. Thank you.
*hesitates* Excuse me. We're due in court.
Christine: Yes, I know. I'm opposing counsel.
Shore, incredulous: I beg your pardon?

Denny, impressed: It's true. You're a lawyer now.
Donny: Hi...*pause, a little shaky* - Dad. Uh...You've got a needle in your head.
Denny: Small accident. Not to worry.

Denny, after an awkward hug: You're a lawyer now. That's how you greet people?
Donny, clears throat, with dignity: "Donny Crane"
"Denny Crane"
"Donny Crane"
(repeat six times)

Did You Know... ?

Red Sox Nation
October 17 was not only the broadcast date for this Boston-based show, it was a HUGE day for Boston Red Sox fans. It was Game 4 of the League Championship series between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. Things were looking bleak for the Sox in this post-season series. The Yankees won games 1-3. If they won game 4, the sox were out. Thing is... this miracle happened. The Sox won game 4 (Yankees 4, Boston 6). They went on to win the next three - game 5, 6 and 7, winning the Division and entering the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals. They won all four games in the World Series, an unheard of streak. To put it another way, October 17 was the start of an eight game winning blitzkreig. And... there is a new, better, brighter history in Boston now.  [reference: MLB.com / Red Sox]

Beyond the script
Brad Chase fiction: "The Red Sox, Game 3 at Fenway and the 21st Amendment"
[excerpt] "I stand at the office window high above the Commons and watch the dark clouds. The intense sports chatter from WEEI Sox radio is frequently interrupted for Severe Weather Alerts from the National Weather Service. Sometime tonight – say, right before the first pitch – they’re predicting thunderstorms and wind gusts to 40 mph."
>> read more

Boston Legal fiction [role play]: "Game 7 American League Championship Series"
[excerpt] "Crane, Poole & Schmidt is a ghost town. Go wherever you need to be to witness history, but I recommend Det. Woodrow "Woody" Hoyt's bar Pogue Mahone tonight for the showdown."
>> read more

Episode Reviews

A False Sense of Sincerity by Abney [written for TV Tome]

It's a longstanding, preconceived notion that lawyers, as well as politicians, are the scum of the earth. A necessary evil. Deceptive, duplicitous, dishonest and every other 'd' word that means the same thing. Well, I'm not even going to try and rebut that, because the lawyers at Crane, Poole, & Schmidt seem content to perpetuate the stereotype. And that works for them...somehow.

When your main character's personal relationship with a co-worker is your main plotline, you have a problem, especially if the dynamic of the couple is just plain off. Sally is making Alan look, well, bad, and her only saving grace was pulling a rabbit out of her skirt (instead of her hat) with a technique Alan suggested. Even if the rabbit wasn't of the hooker variety this week. I was glad to see Alan drop the patronizing attitude he had developed towards Christine and finally draw the line somewhere, both in his initial defiance of her being opposing counsel and then later making much of his litigation applicable both to the case at hand and his current situation with his ex-lover/ex-attempted murderer.

Denny took the spotlight in this episode, which wouldn't have been a problem whatsoever if everything he did wasn't entirely involved with the superfluous appearance of his supposed son, whose actual link to Denny was actually proven wrong at the end of the episode, conveniently ending the story and allowing them to move on without further development of the 'father' layer for Denny. All he did in a courtroom was sit in the back and root for both sides, while Brad's drivel continued and "Donny Crane" made the obligatory self announcement even more trivial than it was before. Sorry, but Bill Shatner is the only one who can pull that off, and even then, I'd enjoy it more if it was used sparingly. Hell, even Sally got in on the action by the end of the episode, and what was once a character-specific quirk is now a firm-wide joke. Unfortunately, it's lost it's meaning.

Sally is quickly becoming my least favorite character, taking Alan's time out of the court and in to the bar, something that at first I thought would be a positive improvement for the show but now is just irritating me. She's become dead weight; although I suppose she's better off than Tara, who has had no independent storylines and has barely been seen in this episode or the previous one. In her first case, she relies on the defendant to all but defend himself, then uses Alan's advice to win the jury over and eventually the case. Hopefully she was just under a lot of pressure or I would see no reason to keep her at the firm any more. Give more screen time to characters that need development, like Lori, instead of forcing Alan and Sally as a couple down my throat.

Brad had an angle that they hinted at but did not explore that could have been the best way to handle Denny's potential son - Brad's jealousy at no longer being the son figure of Denny, something that he might have later fought over with Alan but could have experienced with Donny. Instead, he talks faster than he thinks some more, makes some unapologetic claim about a 'synthetic America', and whines about farm salmon being included as wild salmon; the only positive aspect of his existence this episode was an environmental issue grounded in reality, especially since Alan's sexual harassment case was anything but unique. But his case could have just as easily been handed to Tara, who has been hideously underused so far in the series, pushed to the backburner in favor of the one-dimensional Sally. But I'm repeating myself.

It seemed forced to have Lori working the sexual harassment case alongside Alan, even if it mirrored the Senior Partners' decision to keep Brad in Boston to at least attempt to keep Denny in line. Despite a lack of much to do, she's still one of the most interesting to watch for me, questioning the profession itself and providing a foil for the other characters that not even supposedly level-headed Brad could accomplish.

As far as guest stars are concerned, I'm still enjoying Christine Pauley, especially now that she's dialed back a bit and less obsessive. Her attraction to Alan is still evident, but at least she isn't actually stalking him any more. She's just getting herself assigned to cases where she's up against him; limited stalking, a step down from the full-blown thing she had going on last week. I've already said everything I'm going to say about Donny Crane; he came, he was pointless, he left. End of story, as long as he doesn't become recurring.

At the end of the day, Lori remains the most morally upstanding, Alan and Denny plunge even further into insanity, with Sally threatening to join then and Tara disappearing into obscurity. Brad needs to take a soporific before speaking so that I can comprehend what he says on the first viewing, and the entire firm basically ended the same way they started. Which is a good thing...I guess.

The Good
-I'd like to put one of the main cast here, but I simply can't. Lori was the closest it came, but Christine stole the show again, and she really didn't have much to do. Which means there was a problem with this episode.
-A link to the first episode (rabbits anyone?), some semblance of a story arc instead of standalone episodes! (I can dream, can't I?)

The Bad
-The repartee between Donny and Denny. After hearing each name 5 times I got a little sick of it. Even the resolution of the story was predictable and unsatisfactory.

The Ugly
-Denny's needle stuck in his forehead for the majority of the beginning of the episode. Hehe.

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

Episode News

"Desperate Housewives" is only getting stronger for ABC / Hollywood Reporter
[October 19, 2005]

In its third outing Sunday, the network's hot-shot suburban drama posted its highest adults 18-49 demo ratings yet, dominating even Fox's live coverage of American League Championship Series. "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" also delivered impressive numbers at 8 p.m. but ABC's other new Sunday drama, "The Practice" spinoff "Boston Legal," continues to have trouble holding on to its "Housewives" coattails at 10 p.m. But at 10 p.m., NBC's "Crossing Jordan" (12.5 million, 4.5/11) topped ABC's "Boston Legal" (11.6 million, 4.6/11) in viewers and came within a hair of a tie in the key demo. [source: Hollywood Reporter]


Boston Legal "Catch and Release": Donny and Denny Crane (Freddie Prinze Jr., William Shatner)

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Read the episode, transcribed by olucy: [pdf]  Transcript

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Episode Ratings
Boston Legal ranked #28 of 101 shows for the week ending 10/17/04 with 11.1mm viewers. Crossing Jordan ranked #21.

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