"Boston Legal" The Black Widow (TV Episode 2005) Poster

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Boston Legal - Black Widow
Scarecrow-8822 January 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Fans of TJ Hooker get a wink and a nod in the first episode of the second season of Boston Legal, as Heather Locklear is introduced as a "Black Widow" (also name of the opening episode), hiring Alan Shore (James Spader, with this character and the later Blacklist, sealing his status as a television icon) to hopefully get her off of the murder of a 70-year-old husband who suffered a coronary as a result (supposedly) of a laced drink. Locklear's Kelly Nolan appeals to Shore in believing in her innocence. He's up against a tough road thanks in part to his high profile case's presiding judge, Judge Harvey Cooper (Anthony Heald, one of the all-time great character actors in terms of portraying snobbish assholes). The stink of contempt that seethes off Cooper towards Shore certainly indicates bias against him. Shore sees a difficult case ahead of him, as not only is the judge a hurdle he may not be able to overcome, the maid who worked for Kelly's dead husband (a *very* wealthy man) has a "dramatic flair" that could benefit the prosecution (her way of depicting Kelly as a loathsome caricature of the lovely adulteress who rubs her infidelities in the aging relic husband's face does carry a weight Alan can't deny) and pictures (taken by a lusting teenage neighbor!) posted online featuring Kelly's sexual exploits with the lover certainly don't help. Also Denny Crane (William Shatner, who never fails to tickle my funnybone with his lustful, openly blunt-force sexism; he's a creature who points to his head, claiming "mad cow" as a means to get away with his geriatric flirting and groping) can't keep away from Kelly, insisting he join the case as Alan's "second" chair (the handsome Marine attorney, Brad Chase (Mark Valley), is third chair).

The second and third cases deal with a company owner proclaiming his innocence when a mute claims he popped out of the shadows on a street and molested her (she communicates on the witness stand through the use of a musical instrument (the cello!), and her strokes on the string, providing pieces that dictate her feelings towards opposing counsel is clever and brilliant!), and a Christian investment firm CEO faces litigation for supposedly "forcing out" (through oppression!) a Jewish employee!

The second has Shore's girlfriend, fellow attorney Tara (Rhona Mitra), opposing her old mentor, prosecutor Malcolm Holmes (Rupert Everett). Malcolm is Tara's former lover as well! Shirley Schmidt (Candice Bergen; I think this part actually rivaled her Murphy Brown!) notices the heat and chemistry between the two and shows the obvious discomfort (she'd love to be anywhere but around them when they get all "chummy"). The sexual tension highlights this case. The third deals with Denise (Julie Bowen, her Modern Family mom character now overshadowing this particularly good part) representing the Christian CEO, hit with a divorce she was unprepared for, and her rising young lawyer, Garrett (Justin Mentell) who takes advantage of her distracted state of mind to convincingly represent their client (the prosecuting attorney tries to earn a settlement for his Jewish client, but Garrett uses a rather genius video collection of political powerhouses avowing their Christian faith to land an impact).

Alan's uphill battle with the judge who sees fit to make his case as difficult at possible (if you don't want to punch him in the mouth, then color me shocked), and his potential relationship woes (his lady decides to go on a date with her mentor!) sure bookend this episode not particularly in his favor (that and worrying that his secretary played by Betty White might be in danger considering her involvement with a possible diminutive serial killer!)!
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