Wednesday, March 23, 2005

'Boston Legal" looks at Texas death penalty

I missed this, but this past week's episode of "Boston Legal," which normally airs at 10 p.m. EST on Sunday, examined a fictitious death penalty case. Here's a Dallas Morning News story about the episode:

Viewers of Sunday night's episode of television's Boston Legal got a taste of what some outsiders think about justice in the Lone Star State.

In the show, Massachusetts lawyers Alan Shore and Chelina Hall - played by James Spader and Kerry Washington - traveled to Texas to save a borderline mentally challenged death-row inmate from execution.

There were plenty of stereotypes. Mr. Spader rode a mechanical bull in some unnamed town that looked like Dallas and tried to enter a courtroom with a cowboy hat until Ms. Washington's character stopped him.

The Court of Criminal Appeals was filled with good old judges that cared little if the convicted man was innocent, even in the face of new evidence.

At the end of his passionate argument before the court, Mr. Spader said that football teams in New England could whip football teams in Texas.

He was probably right about that.

And he spouted startling statistics about the number of Texas executions.

The show, titled "Death Be Not Proud," ended with the convicted man being
forcibly stretched on an execution table.

"It was sort of Hollywood vs. the heartland," said Southern Methodist University political scientist Cal Jillson. "It was very predictable but stunning. There were stereotypes of Texas, but even a Texan would look at the numbers they gave and say, What?"

ABC's Boston Legal has become increasingly political over the last few episodes. A recent show featured a high school student suing his principal because the Fox News Channel was banned from the school.

Alison Rou, a spokeswoman for the show, said producer David E. Kelley would continue to tackle tough issues, even on a show that goes from "serious to ridiculous at the drop of a hat."

"You will see more and more of David Kelley taking on political issues,"
she said.

1 comment:

Jessica said...

It was a very good episode of the show. Yes, stereotypes were flung around, but they didn't say anything that isn't true.