Emmy Award winners James Spader and William Shatner play Alan Shore and Denny Crane, unlikely kindred spirits among the brigade of high-priced litigators at Crane Poole & Schmidt. In addition, Shirley Schmidt (played by five-time Emmy winner Candice Bergen), a founding partner of the firm, continues to help bring order to the chaotic office. She keeps a vigilant eye on all, particularly Denny Crane – with whom she shares a checkered past.
In the premiere episode, "Beauty and the Beast," when a major university accepts a donation for environmental research from an oil company, Shirley Schmidt reneges on her own donation and is sued. Alan Shore defends her and is rattled when he meets his opposition, Lorraine Weller — an old flame. Denny Crane is arrested for soliciting a prostitute and Carl Sack, a senior partner recently transferred to CP&S Boston to run litigation, butts heads with Clarence when he discovers an internet video of Clarice singing in a local competition. Meanwhile, Jerry Espenson assists Katie Lloyd on her first case, a grisly homicide.
"Boston Legal" stars James Spader as Alan Shore, John Larroquette as Carl Sack, Christian Clemenson as Jerry Espenson, Gary Anthony Williams as Clarence/Clarice Bell, Tara Summers as Katie Lloyd, Saffron Burrows as Lorraine Weller, with Candice Bergen as Shirley Schmidt and William Shatner as Denny Crane.
Guest starring are Mark Valley as D.A. Brad Chase, Obba Babatunde as Dr. Victor Rivers, Craig "mums" Grant as Joseph Washington, Gail O'Grady as Judge Gloria Weldon, Shelley Berman as Judge Robert Sanders, Rob Brownstein as Dr. Timothy Wood, Robert Clotworthy as Zachary West and Bellamy Young as Cynthia Nichols.
"Beauty and the Beast" was written by David E. Kelley and directed by Bill D'Elia.