Boston Legal is an American legal drama-comedy (dramedy) created by David E. Kelley, which originally ran on ABC from October 3, 2004 to December 8, 2008. A spin-off of the long-running series The Practice, Boston Legal followed the personal and professional exploits of a group of attorneys working at the law firm of Crane, Poole & Schmidt. In its five-year run, it was nominated for 25 Emmy Awards, winning seven times.
Before the show's premiere, it had a working title of Fleet Street, an allusion to the real street in Boston where the fictitious Crane, Poole & Schmidt had its offices. The working title was later modified to The Practice: Fleet Street, but this title was dropped in favor of Boston Legal before the show premiered. The real building shown as the law office is located at 500 Boylston Street, 12 minutes away from Fleet Street.
The American producers of the series also hired British writer Sir John Mortimer (creator of the UK legal series Rumpole of the Bailey) as a consultant for Boston Legal.
Premise: The Practice
Most of the final episodes of The Practice were focused on introducing the new characters of Crane, Poole & Schmidt in preparation for Boston Legal's launch. Thus, the story of Boston Legal can be said to begin with the episode of The Practice in which Eugene Young and Jimmy Berluti of Young, Frutt & Berluti decided to fire Alan Shore without consulting Ellenor Frutt, beginning a story arc of several episodes. They give Alan a severance package of only fifteen thousand dollars, even though Alan has brought in over nine million dollars of revenue to the firm. Tara Wilson gets fired for her loyalty to Alan, and Alan goes to Crane, Poole & Schmidt to represent him in the matter, thinking he has a claim under Massachusetts law to take over Young, Frutt & Berluti. Denny Crane, senior and founding partner of Crane, Poole & Schmidt, takes an interest, helping develop the 'case'; even arguing at the resulting trial, cross-examining Young. During this period, Ellenor also has a run-in with Hannah Rose (Rebecca De Mornay), a partner at Crane, Poole & Schmidt, whom Ellenor ends up seriously injuring when they fight over Hannah's condescending remarks to Ellenor. The character of Hannah Rose was dropped prior to the Boston Legal pilot's being filmed.
The jury awards Alan the millions of dollars of revenue he brought in to Young, Frutt & Berluti but does not order the firm to rehire him, so Denny hires Alan at his firm. After Young is appointed a judge, his first case (in the final episode of The Practice) happens to be with Alan for the defense, making Young wonder if Alan judge-shopped (this opened the door for Steve Harris to guest-star on Boston Legal as a judge, although in the end no starring Practice characters made any guest appearances on Boston Legal), though many actors and actresses who guest-starred in The Practice have contributed to Boston Legal, taking on roles of a different character. Examples include Rene Auberjonois, John Larroquette and Christian Clemenson. One interesting fact is that Anthony Heald, who guest-starred in both shows, took on the characters of Judge Harvey Cooper in Boston Legal and of Judge Wallace Cooper in The Practice, although both are considered the same character.