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Schadenfreude Season 02 Episode 02

Boston Legal: Schadenfreude / Season 02, ep 02 starring James Spader, Mark Valley, Julie Bowen, William Shatner, Candice Bergen, Rene Auberjonois, Justin Mentell, Sara Michelle Bathe

Episode Credits  |  Dialogue  |  Did You Know... ?  |  Reviews  |  News & Ratings

Episode Summary

Schadenfreude / Season 2, Episode 2
Broadcast: October 4, 2005
Guest star: Rupert Everett (Malcolm Holmes), Heather Locklear (Kelly Nolan)
In the midst of a media circus, the murder trial of Kelly Nolan (Heather Locklear), AKA 'The Black Widow,' gets underway with defense team Alan Shore, Brad Chase and Denny Crane. Can they pull off an acquittal in this seemingly un-winnable case, with the media playing judge and jury and a defendant who is unapologetically cold as ice? Meanwhile Denise Bauer, intent on avoiding alimony payment to her soon-to-be-ex-husband, enlists the help of junior associates Garrett Wells and Sara Holt to challenge the constitutionality of no-fault divorce; Holmes (Rupert Everett) convinces Tara (Rhona Mitra), who's desperately trying to avoid his charming advances, to help represent his client, Johnny Damon (Russell Andrews) -- Damon, singer Edwin Starr's nephew, wants to be allowed to sing his late uncle's trademark song, "War," at a club where the owner has deemed the song un-American -- and a frightened Catherine (Betty White) goes to the police when Bernard (Leslie Jordan) calmly tells her that he fantasizes about committing another murder.

Episode Credits

Directed by .... Arlene Sanford
Written by .... David E. Kelley
Edited by ... Philip Neel, A.C.E.
Russell Andrews .... Johnny Damon
John Berg .... Judge Robert Hober
Jill Brennan .... Gracie Jane
Jason Brooks .... Justin Murray
Michael Brownlee .... Reporter #2
Shawn Christian .... Tim Bauer
Charles Chun .... Dr. Jeffrey Wong
Ellen Crawford .... Frances Stadler
Helen Eigenberg .... Atty. Tompkins
Rupert Everett .... Malcolm Holmes
Kurt Fuller .... Reverend Donald Diddum
Anthony Heald .... Judge Harvey Cooper
Hugh B. Holub .... Jury Foreperson
Gregory Itzin .... A.D.A. Todd Milken
Leslie Jordan .... Bernard Ferrion
Diane Kim .... Reporter
Heather Locklear .... Kelly Nolan
Derrick McMillon .... Security Guard
Paul Perri .... Ronald Emmerich
Vic Polizos .... Detective Frank Richmond
Francesca Roberts .... Judge Jamie Atkinson
John Thaddeus .... Detective John Stephenson
Glen Walker .... Anchorman
Betty White .... Catherine Piper

Schadenfreude Season 02 Episode 02

Episode Dialogue

Alan: You psychotic punk.

Denny: Look at his eyes. Nutcase.

Denny: I like the pathological. Let's get another one like her.

Catherine Piper: I made a mistake.  I thought you were taller.

Catherine Piper: As God is my witness... My only witness.

Johnny Damon: Good God, y'all.

Malcolm Holmes: Bollocks. I never win.

Did You Know... ?

Phil Neel, A.C.E., edited "Schadenfreude" He also edited seaons one's "Hired Guns", "It Girls and Beyond" and "Death Be Not Proud".  He won the ACE Eddie Award for BEST EDITED ONE-HOUR SERIES FOR TELEVISION on February 20, 2005 for his work on Boston Legal.
Read an in-depth discussion with Phil:
An Interview with Boston Legal Editor Phil Neel by Diana Maiocco for Moonlighing21.com

Episode Reviews

Epicaricacy | 2.02 'Schadenfreude' written by Abney

Apparently, the title I have chosen for this review is the closest thing we have in the English language to the German word 'schadenfreude', as you all already know, meaning 'taking pleasure in someone else's misfortune'. I prefer the German as a sort of loan word into the English language; even Denny's butchering of the word (shutterbug?!) is far superior to this unnecessarily long e-word that traces its roots back to Greek and apparently means the same thing as schadenfreude, even though you may not find it in many dictionaries.

Whatever word you want to use to describe it, you can't ignore it, and we've certainly all been guilty of it at one point or another. Alan played on that universality of the feeling - even went as far as to suggest it is a biological, physiological fact of the human brain, not merely an ugly unexplainable facet of the way the human mind works. And he was right in his assertion that the only way anyone could convict Kelly Nolan of the murder of her husband was through a sick happiness they would draw from it. People want murders to be solved, the criminals to be apprehended and punished for their evil deeds. But things don't work out that way, all cut and dry, prepackaged and ready to go. Is it possible that Kelly was in fact guilty? Certainly. That isn't what counts though. It is absolutely possible that she is innocent, and so Alan argued that it would be flat-out wrong to find her guilty.

Throughout Kelly Nolan's appearance on the show, she has been defined not through what she has done, said, or felt, but rather a lack of all three, especially the last. Instead of witty dialog, as is usual between the litigators of Crane, Poole, and Schmidt, it is rather her almost calculated reservedness and reticence, and a detached demeanor that has cast doubt on her innocence from the the moment she walked into the firm's offices. She is a powerful character not because she cries on the stand at the loss of a loved one; but because she seems to feel nothing at all. This sets off the media blitz that dubbed her 'The Black Widow', and subsequently worries her representation, namely Brad, whose straightforward nature leads him to believe that unless she starts to act like a woman who has lost her husband, she's going to start acting like a woman who picks up garbage on the highway in an orange jumpsuit.

While Alan was handling this highly publicized case, the firms newcomers Denise Bauer, Garrett Wells, and Sara Holt focused on a more internal case; that of Denise's divorce, and alimony, with her soon-to-be ex-husband Tim. Upset that Tim got the upper hand early, bringing in the Reverend Donald Diddum to handle the case, and more than irked by the amount of money he was asking for, Denise declares a paper war on him. She reveals her scrappy nature in this way, showing that she won't back down and she isn't afraid to use the resources she is afforded; in this case, the bright young attorneys Garrett and Sara, both inexperienced but capable of good work out of a sheer effort to impress and an eagerness to succeed.

Their answer to the problem at hand is not to try and work their way around and lower the alimony payment by negotiation, but rather by picking at an inherent character flaw in the Reverend that Garrett discovered: more than one sexual harassment instance against him. Sara is (obviously) reluctant to use the 'sex' method, but eventually agrees; interesting that she is willing to sacrifice herself to win her case. What else would she be willing to compromise to bring victory for herself and her firm? Garrett already doesn't seem like the type to care much for morals (he's definitely leaning more Alan than Brad) but Sara keeps the tradition of the women on this show (minus Tara, of course; that little exception her) of being, for the most part, morally upstanding. Even though her feigned interest in the priest is anything but.

Enter Malcolm Holmes, and (exit?) the relationship between Alan and Tara. It sure seems that the reappearance of Tara's old flame spells bad news for the already troubled pair that is Alan and Tara. Of note is Alan's reaction to Tara spending time with Malcolm; while he had no trouble showing the fact that he was unhappy with him stealing her to work on his case, what really put him over the edge was that he walked in on her enjoying herself with him, in a completely non-sexual way. No kissing, nothing. But it hurt nonetheless, more even, because he's supposed to be the one to put that smile on her face and that clichéd twinkle in her eye. The fact that someone else has usurped him in that manner puts him on the balcony with Denny mourning a relationship that, for all intents and purposes, isn't officially dead yet. An unlikely concession from a man who doesn't like to lose, at anything. Not that what little we have seen of Alan's love life has been positive in any way.

The episode closed with two very juicy twists, however; Kelly Nolan's non-reaction to Alan's probing of the truth; was she innocent or guilty? How do you take her little smile? Leaving it deliberately open-ended allows those who want to believe either way to do so. But the true twist was Catherine's decision to bring swift justice to Bernard Ferrion where the law had failed. After all of her attempts to bring him to God...I guess she sent him there herself then...

The Good
-The resolution to the 'Black Widow' storyline was sufficiently different from the Paul Stewart case from S8 of The Practice, even though Kelly remained emotionally flat throughout the episode. Chalk it up to character continuity. The most emotion she's shown though since she walked in the doors at Crane, Poole, and Schmidt has been that Mona Lisa-esque smirk she gave Alan in the elevator when he tried to elicit the truth from her. Did she do it?
-Add 'mad cow' to the running list of Denny Crane-isms. It's now shown up in enough episodes to become a major part of the Boston Legal lexicon.
-"Bollocks. I never win." It was petulant, but in a lovable way somehow. I think that is to Rupert Everett's credit.
-"Huh!" "Good God y'all!" I loved the way Edwin Star's nephew punctuated his speech with lyrics from the song "War"; also worth mentioning is the way they laced in the politically charged lyrics from the popular WWI song "Over There" written by George M. Cohan, one of the most brilliant artists of the American stage of all time. Just a little tid-bit there.
-Alan's closing was great stuff; a long, helluva monologue that was probably no fun to memorize but was delivered perfectly. I especially loved Denny's silent coaching from the sidelines. You have no choice but to trust a man who claims to never have lost a case.

The Bad
-Kurt Fuller's character, Reverend Donald Diddum, has a great name but is way to skeevy a character for my liking. The actor always plays a weasel-like character that you love to hate (or hate, period...), but here he's a total sleezeball.
-Tim is trying for a hell of a lot of money out of Denise - I definitely don't trust his pretext for serving her the divorce papers any more. Suffice to say that I am on Denise's side when it comes to this conflict.

The Ugly
-The rising conflict over Tara - Alan seems to have conceded already, but I doubt he'll give her up without a fight (or at least a brawl in which he pays men to fight for him...) Will she give in to Malcolm's advances?
-Did Catherine just kill Bernie...with a skillet? How's that for irony...

As always, thanks for reading. Sorry for the late review.

Written by: Abney | Send feedback and comments to Abney at aliasabney@hotmail.com

[Listen to Abney and Dana's conversation about Schadenfreude - mp3 download]

Episode News

October 4, 2005 "Schadenfreude" / Fast National ratings
At 10 p.m., "Law & Order: SVU" delivered a 10.8/17 for NBC, while ABC dropped one spot to second with "Boston Legal," 7.9/13. The premiere of "Close to Home" averaged 7.2/11 for CBS, while FOX got a 5.4/9 from its baseball game.

CBS averaged an 8.3 rating/13 share for the night, narrowly beating ABC, 8.0/12, ABC moved into the lead at 9 p.m. with "Commander In Chief" (10.9/16), holding on to virtually all of its premiere audience.

Boston Legal fell off the Top 20 Network Primetime Series for week of 10/03/05 - 10/09/05. The previous week (The Black Widow), Boston Legal came in at #20 for the week.

© 2005 Nielsen Media Research, Inc. c/o Zap2it.com



Schadenfreude: Catherine Piper (Betty White) and Bernard Ferrion (Leslie Jordan)

Episode Video

Boston Legal: Schadenfreude
Airdate: October 4, 2005
Watch "She's gone" clip (6:50)
Kelly Nolan is crossed, Denise Bauer challenges alimony, War in the court, Malcolm meets Alan, Denny on jury wrangling.
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"Schadenfreude" mp3 download [63 min; 22 mb]

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Episode Ratings
October 4, 2005:
Households: 7.9/13, #5; adults 18-49: 3.7, #7

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