Now out on DVD, I have to say so far so good. David E. Kelly has managed to sustain the delicate balancing act that is Boston Legal. Re-visiting the show after a few seasons, it has been interesting to observe its evolution. Candice Bergen, playing Shirley Schmidt, continues to prove herself to be a genius hire, holding her own in the boys club of Crane, Poole & Schmidt. And she is the third person—the Holy Spirit, if you will—in the trinity that forms the heart of the show: Alan Shore (James Spader), the Son; and Denny Crane (William Shatner), the Father.

“If there were new guys, they’d have shown up in the season premiere. Cue the music.” –Denny Crane

The rest of the cast constantly revolves. In this season: Jeffrey Coho (Craig Bierko) , Claire Simms (Constance Zimmer), and Clarence (Gary Anthony Williams). An assortment of romantic entanglements also come and go, but the pretty people have a disposable quality to them, existing to give the illusion of appealing to a younger demographic as well as illustrating the transitory nature of most of the show’s relationships. (Although, there has been a bit of a Star Trek reunion: with Shatner from the original series; Rene Auberjonois (as series regular, Paul Lewiston) and Armin Shimerman (as Judge Brian Hooper) from Deep Space Nine; and Ethan Phillips (Michael Schiller) from Voyager).

“Why do I get all the issues cases?” –Alan

We live in an increasingly litigious society and the show satirizes this very fact as people turn to lawsuits as the answer to their problems: from being insulted, showing up on youtube, loneliness, issues with God, to how they choose to raise their children.

“That’s your niche. Making the most unacceptable of taboos sound … (exotic).” –Shirley

The sheer ridiculousness of cases serves as a platform for preaching tolerance, stridently intolerant of views that might judge. Lifestyle choices some might consider disturbing, disgusting, or even vulgar (anorexia, cannibalism, transvestitism, racism) are defended. Those that are shocked by the antics are portrayed as close-minded, hypocritical buffoons. Religion, obviously, is a frequent target. However, as Denny points out, “Alan Shore believes man has a soul.” He seeks that essential bit of humanity, that eikon, reflection of God’s image in us all. And he also believes in leading a reflecting life as he asks himself will our lives have counted for something?

“Your disability with intimacy is profound here. You need to get help.” –Alan

All of this said, the central theme of the show is about social isolation and the inability, or at least extreme difficulty, many people have in forming relationships. When Alan asks Denny “Do you ever get lonely?” they both know just how lonely they really are, despite (or because of) their constant womanizing. People are suspect of revealing their “true, unadulterated self” for fear of rejection which leads to them being starved for a little tenderness and distorts how they view relationships. They may find it easier to have a relationship with blow up dolls (or in the current season, appliances) rather than with real people. And yet, each episodes ends with Denny and Alan enjoying cigars and drinks, an old boys club sacrament, realizing that they enjoy what few people have: true acceptance, true friendship, true love.

“These past few years I’ve felt this inexplicable compulsion to be redeeming as if I were some series regular on a television show.” –Alan

The show enjoys its running commentary on a meta level, deconstructing itself as it goes along. It pokes fun at its own rhythms, such as its politically biased but compelling closings. Characters question their motivations or sometimes read their lines from cue cards. The script revels in talking about the characters as well as the actors, such as pointing out how some may be has beens, but at least they’re rich and famous (though they desperately strive to remain relevant). When Alan attacks religion, he admits he’ll get letters. The level of Intra-office romances should be a series of sexual harassment lawsuits. But the show, buoyed by fine performances and finding the humanity within even the most eccentric of characters, continues to delight.