'Boston Legal' shows its spunky side

Johnlarroquette_bostonlegal_240 Tonight, Boston Legal began just like the start of a bad joke -- an attractive woman walks into Crane, Poole, and Schmidt (it's kind of like "a man walks into a bar"). I think in its last season the show should try to do a complete joke episode, an episode that is filled with nothing but stale lines from old jokes. However, that wasn't what tonight's episode was.

As the woman explained to both Carl and Denny, she had a case about a man on Death Row in Virginia whose lethal injection hadn't gone according to plan. The drugs to knock him unconscious didn't work and when the dose was upped the man started to thrash about wildly. One of the officers present, Preston Holt, seeing that things were going badly, went into the room and shot the criminal once, ending his life. Holt was now being tried for murder and had refused to take the lesser sentence the D.A. offered, he was convinced he was innocent.

I'm not quite sure why, but to me it felt like an awfully serious topic, far more serious than what the show usually handles, and the show handles stuff like abortion and murder on a fairly regularly basis. My feeling of levity wasn't even increased when Sack couldn't make it through his first cross-examination in the case without blowing his top. He had been trying to show that the way in which Virginia applies the death penalty is less humane than other states (like Kentucky). After an upheld objection, he began ranting and raving and it took Denny firing a shot into the ceiling to get everyone to quiet down again. Denny was taken into custody which he absolutely didn't understand, what with his only having fired a blank and being in Virginia, but Carl wasn't amused and let Denny stew behind bars for a little while.

Rather than attempting to defend his client, with his next witness, Sack continued to put the lethal injection law on trial. It wasn't Sack's smartest move ever. I get that the man has strong opinions on the issues, but he definitely wasn't putting his client's interests above his own. It seemed out of character for this one-time bastion of sanity at Crane, Poole, and Schmidt.

The D.A. was arguing the case correctly however. Apparently, in the case of a family member, Holt had come down squarely against using morphine to hasten death (kind of like assisted suicide, though technically not the same thing). The D.A. made the argument that Holt's helping the prisoner die was in direct opposition to his opinions on the issue as stated in the case of his family member. He wasn't saying that Holt's opinions on assisted death changed, just that he had committed murder.

It actually took a pep talk from Denny to rein in Carl's crazy and to get him to deliver a fantastic closing. Sack argued that the D.A., in prosecuting Holt for murder, had shown that he, the D.A., was in fact against the death penalty. Sack went on, stating that Holt was carrying out the state's determination that the criminal should be put to death. He then pointed out all the problems with the death penalty and argued that the D.A. clearly knew all those things and that's why he was against it. Genius! Pure genius! But, what did I expect, the plan came from Denny, of course it was genius. Carl won the case.

Alan got to appear in the show too (oh come on, you knew he was going to)! He was visited by a woman he knew way back when (isn't that always the case), Martha Headley. She was recently fired from her job and thought it was because she voted for John McCain. Her boss claimed that he himself had voted for McCain and that Martha was fired for being stupid. He may have been right, she claimed to have voted for McCain because she found Palin "spunky."

With Denny out of town, Shirley was working the case with Alan, and they got to go up against the famed Alan Ruck. That would be the actor, not the character, the character was named Wayne Davidson. Ruck was awesome. With Headley on the stand, he questioned her in a manner carefully calculated to make her seem stupid. Mission accomplished! Headley couldn't answer relatively easy questions about the differing positions of the candidates and even admitted to really liking Palin's spunk and intimated that it was a large reason she voted for McCain. I have to tell you, that's not how we should be electing anyone to any office.

After Headley's boss took the stand, Headley completely lost it. She was incredibly perturbed that her boss dared speak against her intelligence in open court. She felt it was sexism and that Shirley was a part of it. Shirley had to explain Headley that not only was there nothing to object to in the testimony, but that Headley kind of was an idiot. Shirley wasn't wrong, Martha Headley was not the brightest character the show has ever created.

Of course, Alan pointed out in his closing that the Founding Fathers didn't create a meritocracy, they created a democracy (I like to think of us as a republic), so it didn't matter if people were wise with their votes, they still had the right to make them. Alan actually lost. He lost the case. He deserved to. Even so, he had already planned a celebratory dinner at the Ritz with Shirley and tried to cajole her into going with him. She knew that he was looking for some loving, and she actually agreed to the dinner with Alan... if Denny consented.

On the balcony Alan did his best to get Denny's permission. It was a valiant effort, he suggested to Denny that the Mad Cow might take away all of Denny's memories and that he Alan should make love to Shirley once so that he could tell Denny all about it should Denny ever lose his mind. Yeah, Denny didn't buy it. He knew where Alan was heading and then tortured his friend by drawing some verbal images of his times with Shirley.

Thoughts and questions:

  • In the middle of the show, Alan had a great conversation on the balcony with Shirley, it was definitely filmed after the election and discussed the notion of who "real Americans" are (they came to the conclusion that the election proved that the group of "real Americans" is larger than simply the group of white rural people).
  • What do you think, should we actually be a meritocracy? Would we be better off?

The TV and Film Guy's Reviews - we've got merit, yes we do we've got merit, how about you!

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