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Boston Legal: Season 1, Episode 8 - "Loose Lips"

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

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

Episode Summary

Loose Lips / Season 1, Episode 8
First broadcast: November 28, 2004
A story of Santa, psychologists, bets, elves, dirty pool and yet another rabbit - can I say God Almighty!

In defending a man, Gil Furnald, who was fired from his post as Santa at a local department store for being a transvestite, Shore tries his own hand at pulling a rabbit out of a hat. Meanwhile, Lori finds herself in a difficult position when her therapist, Dr. Allen Konigsberg, tells her one of his patients has threatened to kill his wife, and asks Lori for advice on whether he should warn the woman.

Episode Credits

Directed by ... Jeannot Szwarc
Written by ... Jonathan Shapiro and David E. Kelley
Rene Auberjonois ... Paul Lewiston
Jim O'Heir ... Gil Furnald
George Newbern ... Dr. Allen Konigsberg
Neal Matarazzo ... Brian Stevens
Cheryl White ... Mary Stevens
H. Richard Greene ... Judge Harry Hingham
Wayne Wilderson ... Attorney Paul Phillips
Vicki Davis ... Sylvia Donato
Steven M. Gagnon ... Detective Lowe
Debbie Lee Carrington ... Patty
Heidi Heller ... clerk
Donna Cooper ... secretary

Episode Dialogue

Paul Lewiston: This is a staff meeting, Mr. Shore.
Alan Shore: I realize that.
Paul Lewiston: Why are you in a Santa suit?
Alan Shore: It’s after Thanksgiving. Surely you’re not suggesting I still dress as a pilgrim.
Paul Lewiston: And who is this?
Alan Shore: She’s my elf. Sometimes, especially after Santa’s been drinking, he needs a little helper.
Paul Lewiston: Have you been drinking today?
Alan Shore: No. Today I just brought her for amusement. My doctors are concerned these staff meetings could cause me to lapse into a coma.


Tara Wilson: Do you have a thing for little women?
Alan Shore: I have a thing for women. You’ve never fallen for someone shorter than you?
Tara Wilson: Well, I believe I’m involved with one now.


Lori Colson: It’s just very difficult to reconcile being drawn to a person I consider, well, repugnant.


Gil Furnald: I just like wearing women’s clothes sometimes. It’s not a sexual turn-on. It . . well . . . it just feels right sometimes.
Denny Crane: So, basically, you’re a sicko?

Denny Crane: Alan, I have trouble with this sort of subject matter.
Alan Shore: You’re homophobic.
Denny Crane: It’s not that.
Alan Shore: What is it then?
Denny Crane: It’s my father. Sometimes he wore dresses. He called it a kilt and sang all those Scottish songs, but we knew.


Reverend Al Sharpton: The image of Santa Claus has been crafted for hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of years, but we’re supposed to be in a different day. Give the world a black Santa Claus. Let the people have an African-American come down the chimney bearing joy and good will.
Alan Shore: *sotto voce to Al Sharpton* Gay, not black.


Alan Shore: He’s played Santa for eight years without incident. In fact, he’s received glowing praise from both parents and employers.
Judge Harry Hingham: Would you sit in his lap?
Alan Shore: Sure. Why not? *And he does* And he hasn’t gone homo erectus on me, if that was your fear.
Judge Harry Hingham: You’re making entendres. Disgusting, sick, innuendo entendres.

Brad Chase: He’s got a putty ass and a flabby body and I can’t understand why women would rather sleep with him than me.

Did You Know... ?

Lori, Lori, Lori
There are six segments in "Loose Lips". All but one [seg. 5] end with a doe-eyed look from Lori: Lori and Psychiatrist, Lori and Shore, just Lori, Lori and Brad, Lori and Lewiston.

Segment 5 ends with Brad, head in hands, recovering from Sharpton. Can I get a witness to that feeling?

Get Wardrobe on the set - stat
This episode continues BL's hallmark of themed costumes for the cast. The Halloween episdoe ["An Eye for an Eye", 1x5] gave viewers Batman [Alan] and Robin [Tara]. This week, we see Santa [Alan] and his elves [Alan's unnamed elf at staff meeting and Brad]

This is one of the few episodes that does not end with a balcony scene. Instead, Lori Colson and Paul Lewiston visit the house of their client - and stumble upon a dead ending.

Boston, You're My Home
An alternative path for Brad and Lori
""I gotta run. I've got that dinner thing." I set down my beer and stood, ready to leave the conference room Lori called home while lending a hand down here in D.C. on the antiwar demonstrators appeal."  >> more

Episode Reviews

"Oops" by Abney [written for TVTome]

I'd like to start off this review by extending a warm welcome to my co-reviewer, TeaCake911 - I was delighted when he filled in with a review for the Halloween episode which I missed and I'm glad to see that he'll be a regular reviewer of the show. Since I prefer to focus on plot analysis and how the action and the story affect the characters, he'll take on the role of analyzing character development, and I'll keep on going with my normal reviewing. So back to the matter at hand.

In what was easily the best episode of the series thus far, every single character (save for Sally) was at the top of their game. Nobody was boring, and nobody was overused; nobody came off as too one-dimensional and the balance between drama and comedy as well as between characters was just right. Even the fact that this was a themed episode (and traditionally I have a thing against themed episodes) couldn't take away from the fact that by the end of the episode, I was really looking forward to what is going to happen next week - not just to see what Alan Shore will say next.

This episode was just plain enjoyable; so much so that I can look past the opening antics (used in a shameless attempt to retain Desperate Housewives viewers). Alan in a Santa suit and the juicy details about his sexual escapades, and the subtle foreshadowing of how Brad would end this episode would normally be things I would scoff at and dismiss immediately. But with the right touch, I was able to look past it and get into the thick of the plot - gay Santa. That's right - ho mo sexual Santa Clause. (Those three little words, anyone?) It remained unclear whether or not the cross-dressing Santa Clause was actually gay, and while I wanted to assume, we all know what that does (insert witty quip about the three words within assume - ass, u, and me - here). And if you had told me that a gay Santa would come to be represented by Crane, Poole, and Schmidt, I would have instantly told you that he would end up with Denny, because that seems to be the trend. And I would have been right, because after Brad and Lewiston tried to force the case on Alan, Denny picked it up. It was only is obvious homophobia that saw the case relegated to Alan, the champion of all people who practice some sort of "deviant" behavior. Tear down all the bells and whistles, the gratuitous reappearance of Al Sharpton, and at the core of this story you had social commentary that can be found on almost all of David E. Kelley's shows - here, the question of tolerance, specifically homosexuality. Denny, the cardboard conservative of the show, removed himself from the case, and Brad's immature rivalry with Alan had him in the court of the one judge who would rule against Alan, despite how obvious it was that the man's termination was unjust. Do one's personal inclinations really matter when it comes down to your job? He said he did his best to keep his personal and professional lives separate, and succeeded for 8 years, but the connection he made with the children as Santa Clause meant something to him. He liked bringing Santa Clause and the spirit of Christmas alive for the children, and it was out of this desire to be there that ultimately got him fired. Because he reached out, and what he said didn't sit well with the higher ups at Gordon's. Is that right? You make the call.

On the opposite end of things, we have a classic conflict of doing what think you ought to do and what you know you should do. Lori, who I instantly had pegged as the sane, straight-arrow lawyer who would keep the others in check, has really gone through a lot to take her to a place where her actions are almost as immoral as Alan's. Here, she breaks patient/doctor confidentiality, but has such a thing ever truly existed? Sure, it sounds great on paper, but every circumstance requires a different response. Lori had to balance her requirements as a lawyer and her obligations as a human being, and in the end her decision cost not just a lawsuit or a big-name client, but another person's life. That's more than a simple oops - that's a monumental guilt that she will carry around for a long, long time. And as much as she buries her crush on Alan, the fact is that since he has been around, she has been more willing to cross the line. It took Lewiston to notice, and to point it out to her - and perhaps it will take this one man's death to set her on her old path again.

While Lori was busy on an offset adventure with Lewiston, (and you have to know by now that they don't go offset for nothing. They certainly weren't going for a pleasant drive) the rest of the staff had their own problems to deal with - Brad, for example, with his inferiority complex when it comes to measuring up to Alan. Despite all of his best efforts, Alan still won out in the end, because Alan has the ultimate secret weapon - Al Sharpton. Although it seems like Alan won't be able to rely on Al as his rabbit any more, which is good because I want to see Alan winning cases on his own legal skills again. And besides, we had already seen Alan in a Santa Suit this episode - what would we have gained by seeing him in an elf suit, too?

Sally actually seemed happy to see that Alan had won and Brad ended up in the elf suit - but whether this was out of remaining feelings for Alan or sheer disdain for Brad is still up in the air. For now, I'm kneeling towards the latter. One thing that would normally irk me would be the fact that, for some odd reason, every woman ever to appear on this show instantly becomes enamored with Alan. All three of our Boston Legal vixens have or have had feelings for him, and Lori is the only one who hasn't been in a relationship with him (yet). Keep in mind that Lewiston practically forbade Lori from acting on her feelings for Alan (feelings which disgust her, but feelings nonetheless), and people tend to want the thing which they cannot have. That comment from Paul was certainly no mistake by the writers.

The Good
-Woohoo! Crisp legal drama, plenty of witty retorts (mostly involving Alan) and all around, a spectacular episode. The fact that there was a cliffhanger only makes me more excited for next week, since I've learned to deal with end of episode suspense from years of watching Alias.
-Alan, traditionally the amoral one, brought up to Lori and her shrink that a woman's life may have been at stake. It took him to remind him that sometimes, you have to sacrifice yourself or your reputation to save someone else.

-The way the judge pronounced just about everything, from 'entendre' to ho mo sexual. The judges are almost as colorful as the lawyers. operative word 'almost'.

-Lori and Brad's conversation towards the end, starting off on the case and meandering towards Alan. Brad hates him, and Lori hates that she likes him. I love it.

-High ratings now that Crossing Jordan is on temporary hiatus. Hopefully people will stick with Boston Legal when CJ finally does return in January.

The Bad
-Normally I would whine about how Sally wasn't involved, or how one of the cases was (well, more like became) criminal. But I'm not going to. I'm not even going to criticize the fact that we still don't know why Al Sharpton would do favors for a man like Denny, because this episode was just too good.
The Ugly
-Santa in a dress? Unsettling for me, and I consider myself open-minded.
-Brad in an elf-suit takes the cake here. A friend of mine says he should probably stay in a suit and tie for the rest of the series, if at all possible. I'll take her word for it.

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

Review by eaCake911  [written for TVTome]

A Christmas episode airing before the month of December begins? Well I for one hope the show has one killer New Year's episode to keep me going in the coldest month of the year, or else I'll be going through some serious withdrawal.

Well, the opening contained shades of the Halloween episode where Shore dressed up as Batman; this time he was Santa himself, along with (not a hooker as the Catwoman, but) a little-person (or dwarf?) as an elf. Now it made sense back on Halloween, but I can't help but think Shore's game of "dress-up" here is a transparent attempt to intrigue new viewers to make the transition from Desperate Housewives to Boston Legal. Oh well, anytime the kinky sexual past of Alan Shore gets leaked the scene can't be all bad.

Now, if you're thinking I'm about to write a negative review of this episode, you're sorely mistaken. This one happened to be my favorite one so far. Why? Well, for starters, we finally get a full-cast effort this time. Instead of falling through the cracks of the firm as usual, the conspicuously absent Brad Chase at last rivals the on-air time of the "stars" of the show Shore (Spader), Crane (Shatner), and Colson (Potter). Also, did anyone in this episode NOT get their character developed? Forget about Sally Heep for a second when you answer that...

A disclaimer: this episode review ran a little longer than I had expected, but I've gone ahead and sectioned it off by character for you guys. I figure I'll all of my subsequent reviews the same way (with an emphasis on character development), to differentiate myself with the other wonderful reviewer, abney, as he seems to have a nice firm hold on the plot each week.

Denny Crane
This week, Denny is a red herring. At first we the viewers think we'll end up seeing another case where wacky Denny and his oddball client (the cross-dressing Santa) find some common ground in the different beats they both march to. But Denny, the man who just recently learned how to use a computer, is a perfect example of old values dying hard. He, like any person of the older generation, hold a thing such as Christmas in such a virtuous (read: conservative) regard that the notion of a Santa that might ‘corrupt' children with alternative family values quite sickens him. He, like this week's rigid judge, wants no part of the case or the Holiday Drag Queen. Taking Brad's bait from the opening scene in the boardroom, Denny passes the case off to...

Alan Shore
Ahh, back in the saddle again. The series' main character doesn't know what he's getting into at first, as Brad's recommendation that he take the Santa case sets him up for a lopsided bet: either Alan wins the case for the fired "ho-mo-sexual" Santa, or he has to don a skin-tight elf costume and be Brad's laughingstock for a day. If he wins, Brad gets the tights. Oh, but of course, Alan's got his hands in everyone's cookie jar this week, as usual. Before tackling the case, he gives some advice to a rookie rule-breaking Lori, who basically wants his opinion on whether to break doctor-patient confidentiality if it's to save a life. Alan shares his personal philosophy with Lori, that it's better to save someone's life than protect your own ass, yet he neglects to mention that the ‘Shore method of law' is usually a self-destructive method. Oh well, she'll figure it out later (the hard way). Back to the case at hand, Alan finds himself up a creek after Brad ushers in the judge from hell (aka the Evil One), who prejudges the Santa to be a guilty sinner before the client can even open his mouth to defend himself. Shore, always having a weak spot for the little (cross-dressing) guy, goes the extra mile to at least get a hearing from the Evil One. But he quickly realizes he needs to pull another rabbit out of his hat to change the judge's preconceived views on having a gay Christmas. Forget the rabbit, he needs the ultimate hail mary: Al Sharpton! Yes, Al comes back for seconds to bail out Shore one more time, and this time Al not only forces the judge to side with the public opinion to accept gay Santa, but he effectively forces Brad into an embarrassing elf costume! Now that's a happy ending. Well, not if you're a fan of Brad...

Brad Chase
Poor Brad. He finally gets some decent air time and it's only to be completely outclassed by his archrival Alan. But don't feel too bad for him, Brad's character improved about 10 times this episode, in my opinion. He literally throws down the gauntlet with Alan during his conversation with Lori. He hates Alan, but only because he jealous of him. Brad sees Alan's existence in the firm as a direct threat to his success (in the firm and with the ladies). Of course, breaking this down to its basic level shows us that Brad is coming off as a whining child, but it's the kind of childish behavior that pushes a man to become better through rivalry. He doesn't realize it, but by being his worst enemy, Alan is also his most helpful coworker, forcing Brad to improve himself if he wants to take down the ‘it' man and reclaim the spot at the top for himself. And hell, the thought of future Brad vs. Alan epic battles for bragging rights makes me eager to see what scheme Brad's gonna come up with next time. Cheers!

Lori Colson
But-- jeers to the latest development in Lori's character. Not that Monica Potter did a bad acting job, but I somehow don't like the way Lori's progressing as of late. First she gets the murdering son of the mother with a glass eye off scott free, then she tells a bold-face lie to a client (the one who wanted the transplant from who he thought was his real son) that might come back to bite the firm in the ass later on. Now she's trampling all over doctor/patient confidentiality. She doesn't seem to realize the power that lawyers have in today's world, but again she learns the lesson the hard way in the end. I found her talk with her therapist at the beginning to be far more revealing though-- it seems she has a sort of crush on Mr. Shore! Even though it's been alluded to in the previous episodes, this is the first time she's actually acknowledging it, which is huge (sorta puts a new spin on the whole ‘Don't date him, Tara! It's for Sally's sake!' convo she had a few episodes back). She goes to him right off the bat after the therapist tells her that his patient might be thinking of killing his ex-wife, with all his repulsive behavior I believe she's become quite attracted to his ‘for the people' law tactics and Devil-may-care attitude. Hell, I'd go so far as to say that all the shady things she's done so far in the series is a direct result of her attraction to Shore. It's what Lewiston believes after he confronts Lori, and I have yet to really catch Paul Lewiston saying something uninformed. This brings up an interesting triangle between Lori, Lewiston (her former mentor before Alan Shore started influencing her), and the Shore-man. Interesting because Lori and Lewiston both claim to hate Alan, and Alan really gets a charge out of pushes both of their buttons. Well, Lewiston's words prove prophetic at the end, as the wife (whom Lori incredulously showed a tape of her ex-husband threatening to strangle the life out of in a private therapy session) ends up killing the husband out of hysterical fear for her life. Lori's guilty conscience sure is taking a beating these last couple of episodes, I'm wondering if Shore is really the person to save her, or if it's Lewiston that's gonna hafta step up as her role model and lead her back on the right track? Only time will tell.

Sally Heep
"Sadly" (I put that in quotes for a reason), Sally's role this episode was to stand there and look pretty, mostly. She did provide a few extra laughs as Brad walked around in his elven gear, though.

Tara Wilson
She mostly played the Watson to Shore's Sherlock this episode, then stood by his side as the big bad Brad tried to blow down Shore's house in court at the closing statements. She was also there to give Al Sharpton a standing ovation when he finally arrived to save the day. Classic supportive love-interest, but not much depth this week, sadly (notice no quotes this time).

Al Sharpton
Come on, they just hafta make him a regular guest star after this episode. He was HILARIOUS! He starts off on a tirade about Black Rights, then quickly alters his speech to gay/lesbian rights after Shore reminds him what case he's supposed to be saving. Comic gold!

Paul Lewiston
Arguably the man behind the scenes in every episode, I found Paul's presence this week to be a refreshing point of stability amidst all the oddballs running around this episode. Paul's relationship with Lori inevitably leads to Lori being found out by the ex-husband, as she illegally posed as a doctor in front of him to get the info to tell his ex-wife about the threats on her life. Paul knew the dangerous waters Lori was getting herself into, and he knew that Shore was the one behind it all. I just know that sooner or later Lewiston and Shore are gonna go at each others' throats, and if the previous episode is any indication, Paul can definitely step up to Alan with the clout he has at the firm (Alan almost gave in to Lewiston's antagonizing and quit last episode, if you missed it). If anyone is a match for Alan in this firm, it's definitely Paul "Odo" Lewiston. Again, sorry Brad fans, he's just second best compared to PL.

Episode Grade------------------------A

This one gave me that warm fuzzy feeling you only get when you take a dwarf, Mark Valley in an elf costume, Al Sharpton, a cross-dressing figure of ultimate patriarchy, and a woman pushed to murder because of shady legal tactics and serve it with some egg nog. Seasons Greetings!

Written by: TeaCake911

Episode News


For the second time this season, Boston Legal made the Nielson Top Twenty, this time at #14. It ranked #20 for its series premiere October 3, 2004.

For the Week Ending 11/29/04:
Rank / Program Name / Network / Day / Time / Rating / Share / Households
1 DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES ABC 9:00PMSun 16.1 23.0 17,601,000
2 CSI: MIAMI CBS 10:00PMMon 14.3 23.0 15,700,000
3 CSI - THANKSGIVING(S) CBS 9:00PMThu 13.5 24.0 14,753,000
4 TWO AND A HALF MEN CBS 9:31PMMon 12.3 18.0 13,430,000
5 EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND CBS 9:00PMMon 12.2 18.0 13,387,000
6 WITHOUT A TRACE-THNKS(S) CBS 10:01PMThu 11.9 22.0 13,085,000
7 60 MINUTES CBS 7:33PMSun 11.6 17.0 12,724,000
8 COLD CASE CBS 8:33PMSun 11.4 16.0 12,544,000
9 NFL MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL ABC 9:07PMMon 10.6 17.0 11,610,000
10 LAW AND ORDER:SVU NBC 10:00PMTue 10.1 17.0 11,058,000
11 EXTREME MAKEOVER:HM ED-8P ABC 8:00PMSun 9.8 14.0 10,715,000
12 NCIS CBS 8:00PMTue 9.4 15.0 10,277,000
13 CBS SUNDAY MOVIE CBS 9:33PMSun 9.1 14.0 9,956,000
14 BOSTON LEGAL ABC 10:01PMSun   8.8  14.0   9,649,000
15 CSI FRIDAY SPCL(S) CBS 10:00PMFri 8.8 16.0 9,691,000
16 SURVIVOR: VANUATU-THNKS(S) CBS 8:00PMThu 8.8 17.0 9,617,000
17 LAW AND ORDER NBC 10:00PMWed 8.5 14.0 9,291,000
18 CSI: NY CBS 10:00PMWed 8.3 14.0 9,102,000
19 SEINFELD STORY(S) NBC 10:00PMThu 8.2 15.0 8,977,000
20 NFL MONDAY SHOWCASE ABC 9:00PMMon 8.1 12.0 8,927,000

*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 specific program.

Other Stats:

From ABC (uses a different service than Nielson):

Ranking: 17 of 98 programs with 13.7mm viewers (the chart above represents # of households, not viewers) is also the highest number of viewers BL has had so far this season.

Desperate Housewives: #1 with 27.2mm viewers
NBC Sunday Night Movie #44 with 8.9mm viewers

Season to Date:
Boston Legal average rank #26 of 133 programs with 12.0mm viewers


She’s my elf. Sometimes, especially after Santa’s been drinking, he needs a little helper.

Episode Video

Watch 4th segment clip (3:18)
Lori: You can go deeper than that. What do you feel, Brad?
Brad: I hate him. He mocks me.

Watch 5th segment clip (7:40)
Reverend Al Sharpton: God Almighty, God Almighty. Leave out the cookies and the milk this Christmas Eve for a holly, jolly homosexual! God Almighty!

Episode Forum
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Episode Images
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Read the episode, transcribed by Sheri: [pdf]  Transcript

Episode Ratings
Boston Legal: 9.0/14; with 12.0mm viewers; For the second time this season, Boston Legal made the Nielson Top Twenty, this time at #14. It ranked #20 for its series premiere October 3, 2004.

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