This popular TV drama depicted life in a large Los Angeles law firm. The plots were strongly character-based and dealt with both the personal lives and professional activities of the partners, associates, and staff. Scenes centered around the courtroom and the law offices. Often, an episode would open with a surprising twist, which would then be played out during the rest of the show. Written by
Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>
As NBC's staple show "ER" enters the rarefied air of a fourteenth season,entirely planted atop the vaunted position of 10 eastern/9 central slot on Thursdays,it embarrasses me a little to have to stop and recall that THIS show occupied that slot with some of that same sticking power. From its second season onward,this show was a stalwart of "Must See Thursday" and,for much of that run,carried the banner ably and even proudly.
The exploits of the Los Angeles law firm of McKenzie,Brackman and(by season three)Becker covered the work and(to greater or lesser degrees)their lives. Even though the show had its ostensible "stars"(at the onset,it was Harry Hamlin and Susan Dey as firm mates Michael Kuzak and Grace VAn Owen,later it was Jimmy Smits as fiery attorney Victor Sifuentes,Corbin Bersen as perpetually sleazy divorce attorney Arnie Becker or Blair Underwood as smooth,black lawyer Jonathan Rollins),this show was as much about supporting players(most notably Horror/Sci-Fi staple Larry Drake as the gentle,high-functioning retarded office worker Benny Stulwicz,Alan Rachins as the upright,uptight head of litigation Douglas Brackman,John Spenser as rumpled,recovering alcoholic lawyer Tommy Mulaney and,of course,veteran actor Richard Dysart as senior partner Leland McKenzie)and the writing,which tackled a whole smörgåsbord of issues of the day as well as a variety of cases ranging from the absurd to the morose(sometimes in the same episode!). The show had some dark turns(most notably around season five,when the show changed producers for the first of two times)and the cast became a revolving door of "main" characters,but all in all,it still evened out to make a good run. I probably haven't laid eyes on an episode of this show in at least five years,but it would feel pretty familiar if I did. Creator Steven Bochco(post-"Hill Street Blues",pre-"NYPD Blue") and co-producer/writer David Kelley(before "Picket Fences","Boston Legal","The Practice","Ally McBeal",etc.)made a fine offering of television that I recall favorably. While I may not run out to buy the eps on DVD,I wouldn't rule out watching an episode if I run across one in the vast landscape that is cable reruns.
1 of 5 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?