The first season featured episodes that were shot in conjunction with David E. Kelley's other hit lawyer show Ally McBeal (1997). The show portrayed each practice as opposing counsel on the same case. Both shows reflected the point of view of the court from different sides.
For the sixth season's finale, David E. Kelley filmed two different endings. One in which Lindsay Dole (Kelli Williams) was found not guilty, and one in which she was found guilty. Even the cast didn't know which ending it would be, until it was aired.
The cast filmed the season seven finale thinking it would be the series finale, because ratings had taken a dive during season seven after its new time slot. However, at the last minute, ABC renewed the show.
For the third season, Lara Flynn Boyle, Camryn Manheim, and Holland Taylor received Emmy nominations as Supporting Actresses. Flynn Boyle and Manheim did the whole season, but one episode, always credited as regular cast members. Taylor, who eventually won, did six episodes as a Special Guest Star.
Lara Flynn Boyle had this to say after getting fired from the Practice (along with most of the cast) in Season 7: "We gave our heart and soul to The Practice and we were dispensed of for whatever reason there is. We didn't make any decision. We had a decision that was translated to us. ... I always think honesty and being upfront with people is the best way to be correct. In this situation, that did not happen."
Though the show is famous for featuring strong female characters, Rebecca, Helen, Eleanor, Lucy, etc.; the Lindsay character morphed into a damsel-in-distress during the last couple seasons, being constantly targeted and victimized by serial killers the firm was defending; from George Vogelman, to William Hinks, to Omalley the Cannibal.
The old courthouse at Pemberton Square, seen in most of the exterior shots of the cases the firm tries, is the courthouse for the Boston Municipal Court, and would not be the actual courthouse used for the most part in the cases seen in the series. Federal cases are now tried at the modern facility at Fan Pier in South Boston, and superior court cases at the McCormack courthouse in the financial district.
The first season had thirteen episodes, but the network only aired six, and merged the remaining seven with those on season two, which is why the second season is so long. This mistake was corrected on the DVD box of the first season, and when the show aired in other countries, like Spain.
David E Kelley had this to say after firing most of the cast due to network budget cuts in season 7 : "It hurts, professionally and personally. This is perhaps the finest group of actors and people one could ever have worked with."
It's interesting that the first time Eleanor Frutt rejects George Vogelman (who turns out to be a serial killer in later seasons) he sues her (as opposed to trying to kill her). It's also interesting that over the years and seasons that the character appears on the show they have numerous meetings together alone when he does not attack her. Odd behavior for a supposedly compulsive serial killer.
After the big cast layoff in season 7, when most of the cast was fired, (Dylan McDermott, Kelly Williams, Marla Sokoloff, and Lisa Gay Hamilton), the only two characters/actors of that deposed group to come back were Marla Sokoloff, who's Lucy character would then re-emerge several times in Seasons 7 and 8; and Dylan Mcdermott, who's Bobby Donnell character showed up for the finale episode where he was featured again; after sitting out for two seasons.
There were several Practice/Ally McBeal crossover episodes; including "Axe Murderer" on the Practice. David E Kelley hoped the ratings magic of Ally would spillover onto his other struggling show, the Practice. The ploy worked; Practice shot up in the ratings after this episode and soon became a big hit for ABC; outlasting it's sister show Ally on Fox even.
David E Kelley had the option to continue The Practice at the end of the 2004 Season, or to start a spinoff show centering around the Alan Shore character in a new law firm. Since Alan/James Spader dominated The Practice for the last two seasons anyway; he opted to focus on the Alan Shore character in a new environment; hence Boston Legal was born. David E Kelley's purpose and modus operandi with Boston Legal, according to his own words, was to "create a show with the high stakes of The Practice but without the severity"; i.e. lighter in tone, more like Ally Mcbeal.
The Practice is one of the most critically acclaimed shows ever, winning more Emmy's than any other legal drama (with the exception of Law and Order.) Conversely it's sister shows Boston Legal and Ally McBeal have only won a few Emmy's.
This show had multiple plot lines where one of serial killers on the show stalks one of the partners in the firm; and then one of the characters over-reacts to this and then has to deal with the repercussions. In a story arc starting with "Mr Hinks Goes to Town" a serial killer named William Hinks stalks Linsday; and Bobby winds up using an underworld figure/hitman he has defended to scare him. This results in the hitman killing Hinks; and Bobby getting in trouble for conspiracy to commit a homicide. A similar story arc occurs with "Eat and Run" where the serial killer Lawrence Omalley stalks and threatens Lindsay, and then she gets in trouble for shooting him when he violates his restraining order. Similarly in "Choir Boys" Helen is stalked and threatened by a serial killer and rapist she is prosecuting; only to have Lindsay tip off another serial killer the firm is defending about the situation, who then kills the first serial killer.
David E Kelley wrote this concurrently as he was writing Ally Mcbeal, and he won emmies for both shows in the same year; one for best comedy and one for best drama. This has never been done before or since.
Ron Livingston played Allen Lowe who was added to the credits in Season 7 and became one of the regulars that season. He was being groomed to be one of the villains or antagonists in the series after Jason Kravits' Richard Bay character was killed off. Allen Lowe only lasted a few episodes though and was eventually written off the show. He was replaced by Bill Smitrovitch who played Assistant District Attorney Kenneth Walsh; Shore's supervisor. Smitrovitch was never part of the "regular cast" and was never in the opening credit like Livingston was; put he clicked with audiences more and became a bigger and more important character that Livingston was; eventually becoming the main antagonist on the series. He was eventually replaced by James Spader who became the main antagonist in the series.
Silent Partners duplicates the plot of Boston Confidential almost completely. In Silent Partners, one of Lindsay's clients, Mr Deeks, a serial killer, is let off because the search and seizure of his car by law enforcement resulted in them finding his murder victim; is illegal and violates his 4th amendment rights. The same exact thing happens in Boston Confidential, where Bobby and Lindsay's client is again released because the murder victim he hid away in his car was found by the police during an illegal search and seizure procedure.