The Practice: Volume One

The Practice

On DVD: 
Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Bobby Donnell is the head of a struggling Boston law firm that seems to constantly struggle with ethical themes while defending murderers, rapists, and other criminals.  Much like CSI and other crime investigation shows are the "big thing" on TV now, lawyer shows like The Practice were the big thing in the late '90s and early '00s. While I love lawyer shows, when The Practice first came on television 10 years ago I did not pay attention and never really got hooked on it.

This new DVD set is for the complete season 1, there has been some confusion for people who watched the show because at the time while season 1 had 13 episodes only the first 6 were aired during the spring of '97. That fall the second season started off with brand new episodes and the remaining 7 "lost episodes" were scattered throughout the second season. All the episodes that were written and filmed for season 1 are in the DVD set in the order of how they were written, not how they were aired. There are not really any special features on the DVD, except for a 17 minute overview of the characters and their roles in the show. Because it was made for television before HD really came along the DVD is in full screen.

Having never seen the show while it was running, I thoroughly enjoyed all the episodes in the set and it made me wish I could have seen it while it was on TV. I now have to wait for Fox to put the other seasons on DVD before I can continue my viewing and find out what becomes of all the characters.

The constant struggle of the members of the firm in The Practice to come up with ways to get their clients off of the legal hook is something I really enjoyed. They are mainly defense attorneys and as such they have a constant stream of murderers, thieves, and other law breakers they have to defend to the best of there abilities while at the same time knowing most of the time their client actually did the crime they are trying to prove he/she did not do. Because of this the show quite realistically portrays how defending a criminal can take a lawyer right up to the ethical brink or, in some cases, right over that brink.

Legal maneuvering is the firm's modus operandi, and they have it down to a science, making even the most questionable arguments convincing. The show also reveals the power of those who can convince and persuade in the courtroom by speaking well, and pushing the right buttons for judges and juries - despite the fact that their the legal basis for their case may be shoddy. This is actually Eugene Young's (Steve Harris) specialty and he has some great cross-examination scenes.

One thing that bugged me about the show is the intro/credits, it is a mildly catching tune, but the introduction period is around 40-45 seconds long. I personally like the newer style of listing credits that has become somewhat common, showing them in the right or left bottom of the screen as the show starts rather than the whole intro cut scene with music showing screen clips of the main actors/actresses...I don't mind it if it is short, AKA Prison Break or something, but The Practice's intro is about 20 seconds too long in my opinion. Also the cases are somewhat dated only because the writers were trying to follow real public cases at that time, such as suing a tobacco company. Other than those little nit picks I really liked the show and I recommend it to anyone who likes legal dramas.

Review by William Henderson