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Boston Legal - S05 E01

Crime . Drama . Comedy

Bethany Horowitz asks Alan Shore to help her out with a case against a large tobacco company. But when it turns out that the defense attorney is Phoebe Prentice, an old flame of Alan's, he finds himself distracted and fears that he won't be able to perform in court. Meanwhile, Denny is distraught over his own personal lack of performance in the bedroom.

Episode Title: Smoke Signals
Airs: 2008-09-22 at 10:00 pm
  • Sarah Rodman

    Even if you weren't in the practice of watching ABC's 'The Practice,' you might find its spinoff, 'Boston Legal,' habit-forming. [3 Oct 2004]

    Boston Herald Full Review
  • Adam Buckman

    No pair of actors on any other show, new or old, on any network is as pleasurable to behold as these two. [1 Oct 2004]

    New York Post Full Review
  • Robert P. Laurence

    As was "Ally," "Legal" is rated "Q" for quirky. Wacky characters abound, clients look askance at the goings-on, usually with good reason. One lawyer appears in coat, tie, shirt, and nothing else. [2 Oct 2004]

    San Diego Union-Tribune Full Review
  • David Bianculli

    It's all charming, with the crackle of Kelley at his best. [1 Oct 2004]

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • Mike Duffy

    [James Spader's] raffishly amoral Shore is the most enjoyable thing to happen to courtroom drama in years. [1 Oct 2004]

    Detroit Free Press Full Review
  • Noel Holston

    Shatner has never been funnier - on purpose or inadvertently. [1 Oct 2004]

    Newsday Full Review
  • Hal Boedeker

    Boston Legal represents a vast improvement over the final season of The Practice. [1 Oct 2004]

    Orlando Sentinel Full Review
  • Robert Bianco

    Whatever one thought of Practice last season, Boston Legal is a separate show -- and it should be viewed with a clean slate. Taken on its own purposely outrageous terms, Boston succeeds as a decent legal comedy led by two broadly amusing characters. [1 Oct 2004]

    USA Today Full Review
  • Terry Kelleher

    Shatner has a ball playing a paragon of inappropriate behavior and lends the egocentric character a surprising touch of poignancy in his rare moments of introspection. But it's going to be tricky finding the right balance between Shore and Crane while allowing each to stay in touch with his inner devil.

    People Weekly Full Review
  • Tom Shales

    It may be a case of going too far but in such a crazy-daisy way that it can't help but be entertaining. [2 Oct 2004]

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Rob Owen

    There is no mistaking "Boston Legal" for anything other than a Kelley office drama. The show and its characters have all the trademark tics that have become his calling card: Quirky cases, outrageous characters, legal arguments as sermons on the mount. Everything is just a little bit heightened, at least when it's not completely over the top; caricatures too often sub for characters. [1 Oct 2004]

    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Full Review
  • Dana Stevens

    Provocative, hammy, absurd, and irresistible—so far. ... [But] Boston Legal would do well to limit the narrative hocus-pocus and concentrate on its strength—the chemistry between the two fine main actors.

    Slate Full Review
  • Matthew Gilbert

    The cases on "Boston Legal" will inevitably become ridiculous; that's the trend in Kelley's shows, as he pushes the envelope beyond reason. But the show's regular cast has great promise. [2 Oct 2004]

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Maureen Ryan

    Oddly entertaining. ... If you're a fan of Spader's ability to make creepy characters watchable, if not likable, then this solid hour is worth your time. [2 Oct 2004]

    Chicago Tribune Full Review
  • Robert Lloyd

    The comedy offsets (and benefits from) both Spader's innate creepiness and Shatner's innate hamminess, and it is where producer David E. Kelley's own talents lie.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Gillian Flynn

    If [James Spader's] Shore seems a bit off, the show's tone is even more so. ... Despite these weaknesses, there's hope.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Brian Lowry

    "Boston Legal" suffers from the pervasive feeling of been here, seen this. The show's closer to "Ally McBeal" than "The Practice," which provided the Petri dish to nurture and grow it. Kelley's fertile mind still disgorges occasional gems, but for the most part here, he's delivered more rhinestones than diamonds. [1 Oct 2004]

    Variety Full Review
  • Phil Rosenthal

    It's disappointing because there was genuine promise here. Spader and Shatner each won Emmys for their work on "The Practice" last season. They're great together as soulless soulmates, partners in slime. ... Unfortunately, they take a back seat to over-the-top stories that -- like hearing "Tomorrow" from the musical "Annie" over and over -- begin to grate in short order. [1 Oct 2004]

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • Manuel Mendoza

    Its first cases ... play out cheaply as setups for one-liners, only a few of which land squarely. [3 Oct 2004]

    Dallas Morning News Full Review
  • Matt Zoller Seitz

    Unfortunately, too much of the show is taken up by the usual Kelley stupidity. [1 Oct 2004]

    Newark Star-Ledger Full Review
  • Alessandra Stanley

    This series is a window into Mr. Kelley's soul that is best left closed; the writer who was so nuanced at creating balanced and original women on serious dramas like "The Practice," "Chicago Hope" and "Picket Fences" has far more bizarre, prurient tastes when it comes to women's comedy.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Melanie McFarland

    The most unfortunate victims of Kelley's sad attempt at recapturing the funky fun of his past and mixing in what gravitas he can scrounge up are two otherwise fine characters, Spader's impishly amoral Alan Shore and Shatner's extroverted nut case Denny Crane. [2 Oct 2004]

    Seattle Post-Intelligencer Full Review