Boston Legal

Season 5 Episode 11


Aired Monday 10:00 PM Dec 01, 2008 on ABC
out of 10
User Rating
76 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Denny learns some disturbing news about the progression of his Alzheimer's disease and that an experimental drug which could slow his deterioration is available but not FDA approved, Alan tries to convince the Massachusetts Superior Court to let his best friend have access to it and be responsible for his own actions. Meanwhile, Catherine Piper appears in the lobby, bored and frustrated and enlists Carl's help to help her sue TV networks for not programming for senior citizens. Jerry and Katie take on the case of a student fighting to reacquire her admission to Harvard after being disqualified for endorsing a brain-enhancing drug to help her focus and pass.moreless

Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • Denny's Alzheimer's has indeed progressed to stage four which means he is now actually being affected by the disease. Catherine Piper shows up at the firm while Shirley is away and before she is done gets Carl to sue the networks for age discrimination.moreless

    Denny's disease is obviously getting worse as he is fuzzy sometimes and forgets things, but his short term memory seems fine for the most part. When he and Alan find out there is an experimental drug available in Russia that the FDA has not approved of course you know they are going to sue to get it. Alan in his zeal to help his friend will take this to the Supreme Court which is what happens and we will get to see in the finale episode two parter.

    Catherine shows up while Shirley is gone and tells Carl that she is Shirley's younger sister. Carl sees through this, but she is a headache and he finally suggests if there is something worthwhile she could find to do he would help her.

    She is going thru a range of subjects when she drops the networks system for rating shows and what is kept on TV. Obviously a shot at the networks for not having vibrant 50+ characters on TV except for shows like Boston Legal. They get Henry Gibson as the judge for the adjudication hearing and in the end he sides with them that the networks should stand trial. I wonder if we'll actually get to see that during the finale episodes.

    In the final piece to the show Jerry and Tara represent a girl who took some enhancers to help her get better SAT scores despite the fact she was in the top 99 percentile to begin with. It becomes public when she does an interview about getting accepted into Harvard and then Harvard rescinds her acceptance on moral grounds. This is a no win situation as she did take the drugs and she did not have a prescription. They don't win but Jerry tries to explain to her that it is not the end of the world but just her beginning.

    Tara asks Jerry out for a drink but this time not as colleagues. We'll see where this goes. This episode was a little weak as have been the last few in general. I am really hoping for a great two part finale of the final season. Thanks for reading...moreless
  • Breaking The Fourth Wall With A Vengeance ...

    I didn't know Boston Legal had been cancelled, and because I've been involved in this election business, I've missed most of the season. I intended to catch up on what I missed in reruns. Now, who knows, I may have to wait for the DVD. The cancellation of a TV show can never be compared to actual tragedies such as war, disease or the death of a loved one. But when you share your life with a show, when it becomes part of your routine, cancellation can seem a bit like a death in the family, especially for those of us without bountiful personal lives : the elderly, the ill, the shut-ins, the lonely souls. Boston Legal, with its feisty argumentativeness and fierce optimistic passion, has been such a show. And now, it will be discarded, well before its time.

    I have never seen a show argue its own case for continuation before, certainly not in such a direct a manner. The courtroom setting offered a perfect arena for an argument against the prejudice and ignorance of the television networks. There was Betty White as Catherine (the Plaintiff), John Larroquette as Carl (her attorney) and Henry Gibson presiding over the case as Judge Brown. Together, those three share a total of about 137 years of television experience, and they raged eloquently against the blind lunacy which has destroyed their brilliant show and dumbed down television in general. Larroquette, in particular, crashed through the supposedly inviolate fourth wall, looking directly (if fleetingly) into the camera while clearly talking about his own show : "All the networks want to do is skew younger. Kids shows for kids. You know, the only show unafraid to have its stars over 50 is B … Gee, I can't say it. It would, um, break the wall".

    And, lest I fixate on the main course, the show (as it does perhaps better than any show on television) seamlessly incorporated 3 or 4 other touching storylines without missing a beat. There was Katie, the young student battling Harvard after she was refused admission because she admitted using drugs to enhance her performance on the S.A.T.'s; the Asperger sufferer, Jerry, who battles every day (with the help of his medication) to simply leave his apartment in order to go to work; the aging barrister, Denny, seeking an experimental drug for his Alzheimer's. There was also Denny's pain at losing Shirley to marriage and the love and support of his best friend, Alan. There was the constant theme of raging against the dying of the light by all concerned, the positive affirmation of life and a passionate argument against the ugly prejudice of ageism and the fool politicians who fail us so miserably - always delivered with a deft and wonderful sense of humor (Carl : "Come on, do these idiots a favor, Judge. Send these network bozos a clue. Be a leader. And we can't wait for Congress after all, because … well, they're bozos too".

    So many great shows have been cancelled this year, paving over so many fertile, imaginative fields to build more shopping malls and parking lots (with apologies to Joni Mitchell). It is enough to bring one to tears. For something precious is being lost and something very sad is happening : television is suffering from a crippling brain drain and truly becoming a vast wasteland right before our tired eyes. If television is indeed the last vestige of literacy in a society that has neither the time, the ability nor the inclination to read, what will we become when the mindlessness permeates everyone and everything? Don't ask for whom the bell tolls, my friend, because it tolls for you and your show next.

    * * * * * * *

    "What they're doing intentionally excludes a class of society. That's bigotry. You know, we should be able to turn on our damn televisions and see something other than … reality shows aimed at fourth graders, game shows aimed at those slightly smarter than fifth graders, and scripted shows with dim-witted, sex-crazed 20-somethings running around in suits or doctor scrubs. Old people, the ones with intelligence, don't want to watch that crap. We're fed up! You know, the networks might think we're dead, but we're not. We're very much alive with working brains. Give us something to watch, damn it!"moreless
Tom Amandes

Tom Amandes

Attorney Jeremy Hollis

Guest Star

Andy Umberger

Andy Umberger

Attorney Morrison

Guest Star

Anne-Marie Johnson

Anne-Marie Johnson

Vivian Stewart

Guest Star

Betty White

Betty White

Catherine Piper

Recurring Role

Henry Gibson

Henry Gibson

Judge Clark Brown

Recurring Role

Roma Maffia

Roma Maffia

Judge Victoria Peyton

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

  • QUOTES (9)

    • Denny: (Discussing their upcoming case and the series finale) Hey, maybe I'll retire after this.
      Alan: Don't be ridiculous...
      Denny: Well, what better way to go out? My last case, in front of the Supreme Court. Now there's a finale, Alan.
      Alan: They should put it on TV.
      Denny: We'd get ratings.
      Alan: If they promoted us. Of course, I think there's a law against promoting us.
      Denny: Seems to be.
      Alan: (Later in scene) Oh, won't they be so happy to see us again?
      Denny: The rematch.
      Alan: (laughs) The rematch.
      Denny: Grand finale.
      Alan: Special 9:00 start time.

    • Jerry: I take pills that affect my brain to help me perform better.
      Alan: Jerry, I'm the first one to say we have an overmedicated society. We've got 3-year-olds on antipsychotics. People who don't even have high cholesterol take statins. People take sleep aids when maybe they should just read a book or masturbate. It-it's out of control. But that's not to say that many drugs don't do a lot of good. They save lives. People need drugs like insulin or blood pressure medicine to simply maintain their health. And drugs help some people to live normal, productive lives who might otherwise not. You fall into that category. Popping pills to … (scoffs) get better S.A.T. scores that's … something different.

    • Hollis: Certainly you're aware that Harvard has extremely high standards?
      Margie: Of course.
      Hollis: John F. Kennedy was a graduate.
      Margie: As was the Unabomber.
      Hollis: F.D.R
      Margie: Hitler's foreign press secretary.
      Hollis: Numerous literary figures - Emerson, Thoreau …
      Margie: And the Cardinal Archbishop who shielded child molesters from prosecution. For faculty, you had Timothy Leary and his L.S.D. experiments …
      Hollis: Ms. Coggins, do you want to go to Harvard or not?

    • Catherine: Th-this is exactly the problem. We're just shoved aside as a nuisance. I can't even watch television shows, for God's sake, because the networks consider me irrelevant. You'd think they don't program for anybody over 50. Is it any wonder I'm out knocking over convenience stores?
      Carl: You actually may have something there. The networks … they're supposed to serve the public. Okay, Catherine … we'll take that case.
      Margie: Really?
      Carl: I'm over 50 myself … and I want something to watch.

    • Denny: Shirley's at the fat farm, you hear?
      Alan: Why? She's not fat.
      Denny: You know, brides like to get all … skinny before the wedding. It's all about how they look in the dress.
      Alan: Um-m-m.
      Denny: You know, the best part of having, uh … mad cow? Sometimes … not often … I think we're still together. As delusions go, it's one of the better ones.
      (Alan looks away and pauses)
      Alan: You gonna be okay, Denny, attending her wedding?
      Denny: Yeah, well … what I'm not okay with is sitting on my ass while my brain rots.

    • Jerry: I'm just saying … life isn't an even playing field. And for those who are … weaker than …
      Katie: Meaning you? Jerry, you're not "weaker than", you have Asperger's.
      Jerry: You have no idea how afraid I am to leave my apartment every day … every morning, I actually wonder, will I get out of the door or not?
      Katie: It seems you win that battle every day.
      Jerry: Yeah … on drugs.

    • Carl: All the networks want to do is skew younger. Kids shows for kids. You know, the only show unafraid to have its stars over 50 is B........gee I can'y say it. (pointing to the cameras)It would break the wall.

    • Carl: You know, Come on, do these idiots a favor, Judge. Send these network bozos a clue. Be a leader. And we can't wait for Congress after all, because … well, they're bozos too. (Judge Brown nods his head in agreement)

    • Dr. Wessmer: Who's the President of the United States?
      Denny: Barack Obama. He's half Hawaiian, half Kenyan, half black and half, uh, Halle Berry.

  • NOTES (2)


    • Are you Smarter than a Fifth Grader?

      Carl was making an allusion to this show when he mentioned 'game shows aimed at those slightly smarter than fifth graders'.