The Practice

1997, TV Show


Cheers & Jeers: What's It All About, Alfre?

Alfre Woodard, Memphis Beat

Jeers to Memphis Beat for saddling Alfre Woodard with another one-note role.

The 14-time Emmy nominee (she's won four — for Hill Street Blues, L.A. Law, The Practice and the HBO film Miss Evers' Boys) has lately been wasted in throwaway authority-figure parts on subpar shows like Three Rivers and My Own Worst Enemy. TNT's new cop dramedy is no exception, as Woodard's by-the-book boss mostly stands around scowling at Jason Lee's maverick Tennessee detective... read more

Lie to Me's 8 O'Clock Debut Packs an Emotional Punch

Kelli Williams with Tim Roth, Lie to Me

Following weeks of cruising comfortably on American Idol's coattails, Lie to Me now must face a hard truth: It has the burden of kicking off Fox's Wednesday line-up. Kelli Williams (who with Tim Roth plays a top-notch deception detector) previews the show's 8 o'clock debut. As nice as it was to have the Idol lead-in, are you now nervous about having to kick off the night at 8 o'clock?
Kelli Williams:
There's always a little concern when they start moving your show around, but it's good that we're at least on the same night. But yeah, I have one little concern. We were worried that maybe we'd lose some of the more adult themes, but so far so good! Speaking of Idol, I have noticed that Simon Cowell often uses his middle finger to scratch his nose. Discuss.
Oh, he's consciously flipping people off! That's interesting... For a couple of months ... read more

Pilot News: Kelli Williams Helps Tim Roth Tell a Lie

Kelli Williams by Jesse Grant/

Kelli Williams, best known as The Practice's feisty Lindsey Dole, will join Tim Roth in the human lie detector business, in the Fox pilot Lie to Me.The drama series centers on Cal Lightman (Roth), a cutting-edge researcher in the field of "deception detection," says the Reporter. Williams will play his colleague, Dr. Gillian Foster.Roth joins a long list of movie vets segueing into the world of television: Christian Slater on My Own Worst Enemy, Glenn Close on Damages, Holly Hunter on Saving Grace, Kyra Sedwick on The Closer, Patricia Arquette on Medium. Do you think Roth and Williams will make a believable duo? — Erin FoxRelated:• Pilot News: Tim Roth Tells a Lie read more

Remember back at the 1999 ...

Question: Remember back at the 1999 Emmy awards, when the year's most critically acclaimed cable series lost the Outstanding Drama Series trophy to a David E. Kelley legal series? Well, brace yourself, because nine years later, it's going to happen again. The only difference: This year's critically-acclaimed gem is not The Sopranos (it's Mad Men), and the Kelley series is not The Practice (it's Boston Legal). Anybody who thinks that Boston Legal doesn't have a serious shot at winning TV's biggest award is about to get a big surprise come September when the awards are handed out. Mark my words — it's going to happen. Best to start preparing yourselves now. Answer: Thanks, pal, for ruining my Monday. But maybe your dredging up one of the more embarrassing moments in Emmy history will remind everyone how awful it would be should they repeat it. (Not that The Practice didn't deserve its earlier wins; just not in the year that introduced The Sopranos to TV. ... read more

The New Season: Busy Enough for You?

Masi Oka and David Anders in Heroes by Paul Drinkwater/NBC Photo

Already playing catch-up on only the second day of the official TV season. Geez, how will we ever survive Wednesdays and Thursdays? (Pause here for a silent prayer to the powers that protect my DVRs.)Anyway, the biggest news on Monday was how Heroes would bounce back from a first-season finale that disappointed many (I was not among them, but then, my expectations for this uneven show haven’t always been all that high). I was mostly enthralled, once I got over yet another tedious Mohinder speech to kick off the season with more blah-blah about destiny and the plague that threatens to eradicate these evolutionary wonder-heroes as “the fate of humanity itself hangs in the balance.” Seriously, they talk that way all the time on Heroes, and don’t I wish Mohinder would just put a sock in it.But then the story kicks in, and by the end, I’m even in awe of Mohinder, who’s in league with Noah Bennet (formerly HRG) to infiltrate The Company and bring them down. O... read more

I'm probably one of many ...

Question: I'm probably one of many writing in about this, but you'll have to suffer through one more. I've seen only a few episodes of Boston Legal, enough to know that I didn't really enjoy the show but can see how people would like the characters. I even respect James Spader's work. He was excellent on The Practice way back when, and I'm assuming he's carried at least some of that over to the spin-off. But really, Emmy-worthy? This is even his second win, isn't it? I just don't understand it. Never mind the fantastic competition (Kyle Chandler and Matthew Fox off the top of my head) that weren't even nominated, but what could the voters have possibly seen to give him the award instead of their last chance to honor James Gandolfini for what will certainly go down as one of the more legendary roles in television history? Is it because the show is on HBO? Is it because it's a fundamentally flawed voting process and most of the voters never even watched Tony Soprano's work the final ... read more

Love your column, but at ...

Question: Love your column, but at times your bias shows itself: Someone needs to come to the defense of Boston Legal after the drubbing it has earned over the past week. It's unduly harsh, and everyone (including you) needs to understand that people have different tastes. It seems that this show is being attacked because it took a spot over Friday Night Lights and Lost. But over the last three seasons, Boston Legal has been appointment television for me. Sure, it's not on par with Picket Fences or The Practice or even Boston Public (which got a bum deal from Fox), but the writing is always sharp, and it has an energy to it that I find very appealing. James Spader is terrific and the supporting and guest cast are at the top of their games. Is it at times preachy? Yes. Snooty? Sure. It's also true that this season has been inconsistent, and I am peeved that four great characters are gone in lieu of a cross-dresser and an annoying guest character who has been promoted to regular status ... read more

Thanks so much for keeping up ...

Question: Thanks so much for keeping up with everything going on this summer — from the new shows to the TCAs, you're helping me impress my friends with my TV knowledge! As for the Emmys, you may have addressed this previously, but how is a show submitted in the best-drama or the best-comedy category? I assume the voters don't watch entire seasons. Is it a representative episode or a synopsis of some kind? I ask because Boston Legal, which is nominated in the drama category, seems to be more of a comedy. ABC tends to promote the humorous angle, but still. Tony Shalhoub is consistently nominated in the Best Actor in a Comedy Series category, but what I've seen of Monk isn't all that funny. In fact, sometimes it makes me sad for him. Any insights? Answer: Matt Roush: It's up to the show (and/or the actors) to submit itself in whatever category the producers, the studio, the network or whoever deems fit. Boston Legal has muddied the waters, because it has submitted itself as a comedy to ... read more

DVD Pick of the Week: June 12, 2007

Deadwood Season 3 courtesy of HBO Home Video

June is shaping up to be a great month for TV-on-DVD releases. June 5th was packed with releases, and June 12th, while offering less than on the 5th, has some great sets as well.Comedy fans have lots to choose from; Welcome Back, Kotter season 1, What's Happening Now! season 1, Doc Martin series 1, Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List season 1, Mile High season 2 (available in two volumes), and Trapped in TV Guide season 1 are being released on the 12th.Fox is releasing The Practice volume 1, which contains 13 episodes on 4 discs, plus a featurette, "Setting up The Practice." MGM has The Rat Patrol season 2, and CBS Home Video is releasing Walker, Texas Ranger Season 3, and the second season of Diagnosis Murder.My pick of the week comes from HBO - Deadwood season 3, the final season of David Milch's wild west series. This is definitely mature viewing, but it's a great series. The DVD set includes 4 commentary tracks with David Milch, Executive Producer Gregg Fienberg, Writer Mark Ti... read more

First Look at Glenn Close's New FX Drama

Glenn Close by Larry Riley/FX

One of the boldest forces in TV drama, the FX network, is at it again. At a press upfront lunch gathering Wednesday afternoon, the risk-taking cable network screened the pilot episode of its much-anticipated new legal thriller Damages, starring Glenn Close. Premiering this July, it looks like a winner, reminiscent of the early days of David E. Kelley’s masterwork The Practice, before it descended into grotesque silliness and evolved into the ridiculous, sophomoric cartoon that is Boston Legal.Damages is a dark melodrama to be sure: tough and gritty, not even pretending to be earnest on the surface, with wild plot twists that make you wonder if there are any heroes in this picture. The closest thing to a truly sympathetic figure is Ellen Parsons (Australian ingenue Rose Byrne), the new not-as-naive-as-she-looks protégé of cunning high-stakes litigator Patty Hewes, played by Close as an elegant tigress who devours rather than suffers any fools in her path. Does Patty se... read more

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Premiered: March 04, 1997, on ABC
Rating: None
User Rating: (75 ratings)
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Premise: A provocative legal drama from David E. Kelley about young associates at a bare-bones Boston firm and their scrappy boss, Bobby Donnell. The show's forte is its storylines about `people who walk a moral tightrope.' `The Practice' won numerous Emmys during its run, as well as a Peabody and Humanitas Prize in 2002 and 2003. In its eighth and final season, six regulars were cast off and James Spader came aboard as a brash lawyer, breathing new life---at least temporarily---into the sagging series.



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