I really enjoy Boston Legal. Last night, their season finale (and, just like with HIMYM, the show hadn't been renewed for next year when the episode was filmed) was just one of those episodes that shows you just how good the show is.
Denny went head to head with Alan in court over the request of Concord, Massachusetts to secede from the Union. It was an emotional idea for Denny, and something that could have nearly ruined the two men's wonderful friendship
Sure, the notion of the case was a little silly, so many of Boston Legal's cases are, but the Denny-Alan relationship is the show's heart and soul. The possibility of its loss, however unlikely, was distressing for both men.
Of course, Concord didn't secede from the Union and Denny and Alan remained the best of friends, but the show's balancing act between foolish cases and people and very serious matters of life was handled perfectly. The writers of the show seem more often than not to hit on the exact right mix of somberness and levity. Plus, the final scene last night, with Alan and Denny going fishing and the offices at Crane, Poole, & Schmidt dark and empty was the perfect note to end the season or series on. They'll be back next fall for 13 final episodes, but had they gone out forever with those final shots it would have been very appropriate.
The other show (that I watch) that ended its season last night also did it in fine fashion. Jack McCoy is slowly getting drawn into the politics of his new position and it's happening so slowly, it's creeping into his character in such a wonderful way that it makes the show fantastic to watch.
Jack McCoy is one of those great television characters. Law & Order, a show which doesn't focus on its characters as much as its stories, has managed to, over a very large number of years (he's been on the show since 1994) give us huge insight into who Jack McCoy is, both in private and public.
Out of all the characters that have come and gone on the series, losing Sam Waterston's McCoy would change things dramatically. No, he wasn't there in the beginning, but I imagine he'll be there at the end (whenever that may be).
It's really interesting to see how the series has altered its standard formula now that McCoy is the D.A. and not just an A.D.A. The D.A. position used to just be a few minutes every episode, something short and sweet. With McCoy in that job now, the role has been expanded, and it's been expanded without the feeling that the show has sacrificed anything to do it.
Unlike Jerry Orbach or Jesse L. Martin or any of the other long term characters (and I did miss them all after their departures), losing Sam Waterston might be a blow that the series would not be able to recover from. Hopefully, McCoy never puts out that “gone fishing” sign.