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Boston Legal

Season 1 Episode 17

Death Be Not Proud

Aired Monday 10:00 PM Mar 20, 2005 on ABC
out of 10
User Rating
196 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

Death Be Not Proud
Chelina asks Alan to assist her in Texas because her former client is getting executed but may be innocent of the crime. An old friend of Denny and Shirley asks them for legal representation when she is charged with having sexual encounters for a fee. Lori files a complaint about Denny with Shirley and Paul and they seriously consider doing something about it; especially when they suspect he performed an unethical act on his recent case.moreless

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  • James Spader deserved every award possible for this episode.

    This episode is my personal favourite, not because of the storyline, but because of the way the actors act. Alan is normally so sarky and quickwitted, and this time he is as sarky as usual but uses it for all fo the right reasons even against odds that everyone knows he can't beat. I spent the whole of that episode hoping that he would win, but as my Mum pointed out to me at the time, you never win everything everytime; there are some mountains nobody can climb.

    I nearly cried during this episode, in fact I think I might have purely because of how hard he tried, and how utterly thickheaded and maniacal the judges were. I didn't even realise until five minutes ago that James Spader won an award for this episode.

    I give him a standing ovation, well-deserved. This show really should receive more awards, because it is so brilliant. Not to mention it has James Spader and William Shatner in it! Enjoy.moreless
  • James Spader's performance proves he deserved the Emmy, and then some!

    It's great to see the Emmy go to someone who truly deserves it as James' performance here was just magnificent.

    This episode shows the many sides of Alan but more than anything, shows what an exceptional lawyer he is. Though he is excellent when he argues from his head, he is exceptional when he argues from his heart. Alan's passion is his greatest strength, it lends him eloquence and conviction, makes people listen even if they don't agree with him. He controls his considerable anger and channels it, resulting in a superb argument that cannot fail to draw you in.

    No less impressive is Chelina. While she doesn't have Alan's considerable control, she is no less passionate. Kerry truly proves her acting talent here and is an excellent companion to James' performance.

    The kiss was beautifully handled. Completely natural given the circumstances and Chelina's vulnerability, Alan handled the situation with the delicacy it deserved, not taking advantage.

    One must admire Zeke, though he has no memory of the murder, he considers himself a bad person and is more than willing to pay for his supposed crime. He finds the strength and courage to stand up for that conviction. Which is why I don't agree with Alan here - given he is about to die, Alan shouldn't have made Zeke do something for the cause, making him afraid at the last moment when Zeke had already prepared himself for his death. Zeke's last moments should have been his own. Zeke had already found peace, Alan should have left it alone.

    Denny's constant sexual comments have finally come to a head. Denny is harmless, even a little pathetic, but his comments are none the less offensive because of it. It is offensive and insulting not only to the female staff, but to female clients as well. Lori was right to bring it to Paul and Shirley's attention, it is a serious issue which could cause damage to the firm in future and is something that should be handled now while it can be done quietly.

    This was an amazing episode, the series at it's best. Can't wait for the next episode!moreless
  • A good end to the first season

    This episode was a good end to the first season of Boston Legal.

    This episode encapsulates what I like most about the show, it can be funny (Alan in Texas wearing that hat; and Denny's manipulation of Judge Brown) but it can also be serious with its subject matter (in this episode with the case of the death-row inmate in Texas).

    The ending was slightly unexpected (although you could probably see it heading to that ending); as it is rare that Alan is unsuccessful in trying cases.

    All in all, it was a good episode, which focused on serious and important issue (with the case in Texas) - and had some good comedic elements to it.moreless
  • Best Episode of the Season

    They saved the best to last- such a shame they cut the Season short, but it was an amazing finale all the same.

    The death case was so tense and harrowing, James Spader deserves every award going for his performance. His passion really draws you into his argument- I was completely mesmorised. I thought the kiss between him and Chelina was beautiful done too, but where does this leave him and Tara? They always seem so good together. Denny's case was funny, and I do wonder how the Season would have panned out if Shirley and Paul decided to "take him out". Lori finally an official complaint was to be expected. It was an amusing case, however, and a good performance from guest start Shelly Long.

    Nevertheless, the death case penalty really stole the show. That end scene was so haunting- it really made me glasp a hand to my mouth.

    Overall, a brilliant way to end a brilliant first Season. First Season review- 9.62. Certainly one of my favourite shows.moreless
  • Comedy, drama, and a mechanical bull.

    I loved the show before I saw this episode, I loved it more after.

    The show finds itself in deeper dramatic territory than it has been before during this episode's major case, but that's okay since it knocks it out of the park. Taking it to an absurd level, the way only Boston Legal seems to be able to acheive, we get to witness a death penalty case from a completely different angel. Most shows are done with them once they've been convicted, it's so rare to get a peak at the last hours, much less what is often the insane and mostly use rush to extend them. Here we are treated to a case that is an easy turnaround...but the road to that overturning is so fraught and hard, it's easy to see why it doesn't happen more often than it does.

    I want to pay special attention to the actor who played Zeke. I wasn't smart enough to mark the name before writing this review. It's in the credits on this site. He does and excellent job. As a matter of fact, I was pretty impressed with the entire supporting cast.

    It was shocking to see the first season cut short, making this the season finale, but it ended with lots of promise.moreless
Shelley Long

Shelley Long

Miriam Watson

Guest Star

Sterling K. Brown

Sterling K. Brown

Zeke Borns

Guest Star

Conor O'Farrell

Conor O'Farrell

A.D.A. Glenn Jackson

Guest Star

Kerry Washington

Kerry Washington

Chelina Hall

Recurring Role

Henry Gibson

Henry Gibson

Judge Clark Brown

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

    • Factual error: Alan gets a hula girl to take a message to the governor of Texas in order to save a death row inmate. The governor was in Hawaii at the time. If the governor is out of state, he has no power to give a stay. Alan should have gone to see the Lt. governor who would have been the acting governor.

    • Factual error: The lawyers tried to get the High Court and the governor to commute the sentence. In Texas it is the Pardon and Parole Commission that commutes the sentence of a death row inmate

  • QUOTES (5)

    • ADA Jackson: No cell phones allowed in here. How'd you get by with that?
      Alan: I told the guard we're waiting for a last minute call from your conscience. Collect.

    • Tara: Nymphomania?
      Shirley: Anything you can find. And we'll need to line up an expert who can testify possibly as soon as tomorrow.
      Brad: It's not a real disease. It's an excuse offered up by sex perv sickos.
      Shirley: Yes Brad. Thank you for that.
      Lori: It's also a sexist diagnosis, as well as bogus. If a man was running around trying to schtup everything he could, we wouldn't say that he had a disease we would just call him…
      Denny: Denny Crane.

    • Alan: I'm not about to go to Texas and not ride the mechanical bull, Chelina. That would be like going to Los Angeles and not sleeping with Paris Hilton.

    • Alan: I promise you. By the time I finish tomorrow, those judges - every last one of them - will rise up and say "Never mind executing Ezekiel Borns. Let's kill Alan Shore instead."

    • Chelina: Hey! Pretty boy. How'd you like to go the Texas?
      Alan: I'd love to. I haven't had my shots.

  • NOTES (9)

    • Original International Air Dates:
      Slovakia: September 22, 2010 on JOJ

    • At the 2005 Emmy Awards James Spader won the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for his performance in "Death Be Not Proud". In addtion William Shatner won the Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for his performances in "It Girls and Beyond" & "Tortured Souls".

    • Re-aired on Tuesday, September 6th @ 10 PM, its 2005-2006 timeslot.

    • Because of ABC's decision to cut Boston Legal early for the 2004-2005 Season, this episode was the Season Finale for Season 1.

    • On April 8, 2005, during the show's hiatus, ABC decided to cut Boston Legal from the rest of the 2004-2005 season and keep running Grey's Anatomy for the remainder of the season because of the good ratings Grey received. The five unseen episodes from this season will become the start of the second season for Boston Legal and the 2005-2006 season for Boston Legal will have 27 episodes.

    • On April 5, 2005, during the show's hiatus, the series had an early renewal for a second season along with Desperate Housewives, Alias and Lost.

    • Shelley Long is probably best known for playing a character romantically involved with another famous, erudite Crane--first name Frasier (Cheers).

    • Shelley Long and Candice Bergen previously worked together on Murphy Brown.

    • Texas does have two separate high courts. We do have a Supreme Court, which hears civic cases, but we also have a Court of Criminal Appeals, which hears criminal cases.


    • Title: "Death Be Not Proud" is the title of a poem by John Donne (1572-1631).
      DEATH be not proud, though some have called thee
      Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not so,
      For, those, whom thou think'st, thou dost overthrow,
      Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
      From rest and sleepe, which but thy pictures bee,
      Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow,
      And soonest our best men with thee doe goe,
      Rest of their bones, and soules deliverie.
      Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men,
      And dost with poyson, warre, and sicknesse dwell,
      And poppie, or charmes can make us sleepe as well,
      And better then thy stroake; why swell'st thou then;
      One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally,
      And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.

    • At the end of his argument before the Texas Court, Alan mentions that the New England Patriots could whip any team from Texas in football. The New England Patriots had won 3 of the 4 Super Bowls preceding this episode's airing. Chelina scolds him for taking a shot at "Texas Football." The State of Texas is known to be obsessed about football at all levels (for each of the past 25 years its high schools have placed more football players in major colleges than any other state) The book and movie "Friday Night Lights" provided a description of such obsession.

    • The music as Alan Shore walks in to the court in the hat he promised not to wear is clearly intended to be reminiscient of Ennio Morricone's music for the classic Sergio Leone westerns (The Good, The Bad and The Ugly).