Boston Legal

Season 4 Episode 12

Roe v. Wade, The Musical

Aired Monday 10:00 PM Jan 22, 2008 on ABC
out of 10
User Rating
106 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Roe v. Wade, The Musical
Alan takes on one of his most controversial cases to date when he represents a man suing Missy Tiggs for stealing his sperm and impregnating herself to have a black baby. Meanwhile, Jerry has mixed feelings when Leigh asks him to help her get her job back after she's fired for hugging a student.moreless

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  • Best episode to date

    This was one of the finest episode I have ever seen on TV, including all other show - not just this. I love the fact that this show tackles tough social issues. Roe v. Wade is perhaps the most controversial decision by the US supreme court, and unlike other decisions that seem to loose the controversy surrounding them over the years, this decisions seems to feed on time passed. I rarely say this, but no other show, no other cast could have tackled such an issue with such brilliance as this episode did. Kudos to everyone! Keep it up. I did want Alan to win, but understand why that would have been way too counter sensitive.moreless
  • Alan ruffles some judicial feathers when he defends a man who's sperm was used to create a child without his consent and Leigh seeks Jerry's help when she is fired from her teaching job for hugging a student.moreless

    This show has never been shy about tackling controversial subject matter and this episode is a shining example as it takes on the debate about whether a woman can be forced to have an abortion. Shirley finds herself in the middle of this battle when Ivan's ex-wife, Melissa, seeks her counsel when she is sued by the father of her unborn child for using his sperm without consent. Alan defends the father and seeks to have Melissa's pregnancy terminated, which puts him in a very unpopular corner with the judge but also Shirley and Lorraine, who refuses to take part in his defense. The case did raise some important questions about the rights of men who are forced to be fathers against their will. When it comes to reproduction, men and woman are not treated equally in the eyes of the law. Leigh's objectaphilia is the focus of the School Boards case regarding her dismissal over her failure to comply with the school's no hugging policy. Jerry made some wonderful arguements concerning the lack of physical human connction in the digital age and why humans cannot live without physical contact. Jerry took a bold step when he used himself as an example of someone who lacked human connection for most of his life and how his life changed when he finally was able to physically connent with the human race. The show did a good job of balancing the two cases and they were great showcases for Alan and Jerry to use their skill as lawyers. I liked the ending with Leigh and Jerry hugging in agreement to give their relationship another chance. Human connection is a great thing.moreless
  • Alan represents a man whose sperm was used to make a baby he didn't want and Jerry's ex beckons his help as she sues the school that fired her for hugging a student.moreless

    After a somewhat lackluster and uninspiring run of episodes lately, BL got its groove back with this offering co-written by series creator David E. Kelley. Alan Shore defends a man attempting to terminate the pregnancy of a woman who acquired his sperm on their second date during oral sex and had the seed implanted after a test tube conception. Every man was cheering Alan on in his crusade on behalf of their half of the species. Of course the law is on the side of the woman but this is Boston Legal so anything could happen. Adding to this particular drama was the identity and weirdness of the mother - Missy from earlier episodes (the flake married to and divorced from Ivan) she was undergoing music therapy and would annoy Shirley and the judge with moments from Xanadu at every turn. Add to this her complete disregard for the father, her agenda seemed to be that she was going to give birth to a black baby and that's all she truly cared about. Not wishing to be an absentee father, he had no plans to be with Missy at all and thus the court case.

    The other case was an avenue to character development. Jerry's ex gets fired for hugging one of her students - a violation of school policy. Leigh was only comforting her pupil for a bad test score but her employer caved to pressure from the insurance company and so they canned her. Reluctant to even take the case for fears that old wounds were not yet healed, he agrees anyway and gave one of the most personal and poignant closings this show has seen in quite awhile. "The human touch cannot be quantified. It cannot be analyzed with statistics. We cannot place a number on it. It is much more than a doorway to sexual molestation. It's the best, most direct, the most lasting way of affirming another person's humanity."

    Of course Christian Clemenson's performance brings warmth and depth to these words but then the scene gets even better when a pause is followed by the confession that amidst the despair of his own social isolationism, Jerry almost took his own life six years ago but due to the support and physical contact of others, he survived and has grown emotionally. Jerry loses the battle (the case) but may have won the war. After the judge rules, a grateful Leigh convinces Jerry to risk an expression of intimacy - they hug.

    The balcony scene, a proven staple and trademark of the show, returned to its heightened expectancy for excellence with a prolonged dialogue between Alan and Denny on fatherhood, women and family. They close by counting their blessings on how rare - and precious their friendship really is.moreless
  • Easily the most provocative case ever tried on Boston Legal is done so and Jerry defends Leigh.

    Wow, this one was pretty tough. A decent episode, but you really had to get through the thought provoking, yet extremely (and that is an understatement) controversial subject matter. Let's start slowly.

    Leigh, Jerry's ex-girlfriend and objectophile has been fired for hugging a student. Jerry defends her arguing that human contact is slowly being removed from society, and it really helps people. Opposing counsel states the legal liability issues. Jerry fights the good fight, but ultimately loses as Leigh had already been admonished for hugging other students. This was scripted decently, decent acting, semi thought provoking, but otherwise a pretty tame storyline. Kudos for respectable acting, but it was just OK.

    Shirley VS Alan-this should be good. Shirley represents Ivan Tiegs' ex-the oh so annoying Missy-as she self-impregnated herself by defrauding a man out of his sperm. The father of her unborn child hires Alan to get her to abort the child.

    Before I start, on a personal note-I always have hated the movie and soundtrack for Xanadu, which was quoted ad-naseum in this episode. I didn't think it possible, but I hate it even more now.

    Alan and Shirley (with help from co-chair Katie) each put up compelling arguments, but the judge cannot relent and force Missy to abort her child. Katie with advice from Jerry completely rattles Alan and soundly defeats him in court.

    This was some blistering social commentary on both sides of a tricky issue. There were are only wrongs and no rights...that applies to both sides. It was interesting to see how they show portrayed it. It didn't get preachy at all, no side was overly represented in terms of the argument at hand, which was a nice touch. It's just that the social commentary overwhelmed the show this time and took it slightly out of character. This was good to make you think-but ineffective as it was through the lens of a courtroom drama. It was a great topic to analyze through the show, but it could've been done much better by providing more of a balance between courtroom drama and social commentary.

    Direction, acting, scripting, cinematography, and dialogue were all what you would expect from Boston Legal. This episode was good, but not great, honestly a bit dissappointing from a technical standpoint. I would've rated this episode higher on the grounds that it was extremely thought provoking, but Missy was WAY TOO ANNOYING! Kudos to the actress that portrays her, the character is meant to be hideously annoying, but they just went overboard with it.

    I am a little dissappointed with this one, they can do much better technically. Though I do give them credit for going where few dare to tread-this world is way too uptight, we need to get uncomfortable issues like this out into the public.moreless
Roma Maffia

Roma Maffia

Judge Victoria Peyton

Guest Star

Jere Burns

Jere Burns

Attorney Joe Isaacs

Guest Star

Aaron D. Spears

Aaron D. Spears

Terrence Maxwell

Guest Star

Mary Gross

Mary Gross

Leigh Swift

Recurring Role

Meredith Patterson

Meredith Patterson

Missy Tiggs

Recurring Role

Ron Canada

Ron Canada

Judge Willard Reese

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • During his courtroom speech Jerry mentions an experiment where monkeys were assigned to either a soft, plush mother substitute or one made of hard, cold wire. Psychologist Harry Harlow conducted this research, colloquially know as the Surrogate Mother Experiment, during the 1960s.

  • QUOTES (1)

    • Jerry: The human touch cannot be quantified. It cannot be analyzed with statistics. We cannot place a number on it. It is much more than a doorway to sexual molestation. It's the best, most direct, the most lasting way of affirming another person's humanity.

  • NOTES (1)


  • 10:00 pm