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Cage/Fish Attorneys and Associates
Ally McBealTitular character of the show, and a litigator at Cage and Fish. Becomes senior partner in Season 5. Played by Calista Flockheart.
- Action Girl: Rare, but it happens. Assaulted someone at a supermarket, no less.
- Birthday Hater: The closer her birthday was, the bigger her depression. She could never enjoy her day and celebrate, and had even trouble to civilly accept best wishes.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: And an actual lawyer, to boot.
- Character Title
- Cloudcuckoolander: Commented by Jenny (who's kooky herself) that Ally is more bizarre than she is.
- Crossover: Starred in one with The Practice, as herself.
- Fainting: Emotional variety, whenever she sees a girl she likes.
- Fanservice: The short skirts.
- Freudian Slip: Ally just can't get away from these.
- Hallucinations: Frequently does this.
- It's All About Me
- Miss Imagination: Big time.
- She's Got Legs: And the skirts.
- Sweeps Week Lesbian Kiss: Engages in one with Georgia. Later, does another with Ling.
- The Unfair Sex: Richard calls out Ally on believing this trope, as she was okay with a bride having an affair before a marriage, but not the groom.
John CageOne of the two initial senior partners at Cage and Fish. Played by Peter MacNichol
- Adorkable: Even more than Ally. Women who feel attracted to him find him adorably weird.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: One of the best examples in television. His legal defences are brilliant, and he's downright odd.
- Character Tic: He has an absurdly high number of them — his nose whistles, stammering "Poughkeepsie", his face above his lips shakes when he thinks about women's "moustaches", he has to be barefoot when preparing his closing arguments, he smiles intensely (a part of his therapy), has a personal song, he hangs in his office as a bat, he has to have a fresh toilet bowl, he has a secret small room in the office (don't ask where), and so on.
- In-Series Nickname: "Biscuit". It's a very old nickname from school. Elaine would use it from time to time.
- Mistaken for Gay: Nelle suspects this because John had yet to sleep with her.
- Mr. Imagination: He and his Barry White fantasy. Also had an Imagine Spot with Nelle the happy housewife and some kids.
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Sensitive Guy to Richard.
- Pitbull Dates Puppy: With Nelle in Seasons 2 and 3. The puppy.
- Verbal Tic: The nose noises and stammering "P-P-Poughkeepsie".
- Weirdness Magnet: The firm's lawyers and clients themselves are weird, but John always seems to draw in the crazies.
Richard FishThe other initial senior partner at Cage and Fish and Ally's classmate, who offers her a position at his firm. Played by Greg Germann
- Beta Couple: Season 1, with Whipper.
- The Casanova: And really enjoys it.
- Catch Phrase: "Bygones"
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold
- Likes Older Women: Enjoys older women for the wattle, skin around the neck that clumps.
- Nietzsche Wannabe: Often says things like this.
- Noble Bigot: Can be very sexist, but is never outright mean.
- Poor Communication Kills: Richard believes the opposite, that communication itself is the death knell of any marriage.
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: The Manly Man to John
Elaine VassalGossipy and nosy secretary at Cage and Fish. Played by Jane Krakowski.
- Bunny Ears Secretary
- The Cast Showoff: Subverted. Jane Krakowski is a Tony award winning actress and sings many times during the show, but it always works within the show.
- Cool Big Sis: Has this vibe for John, and coaches him about sex and confidence to help him get intimate with Nelle.
- Dumb Blonde
- Fanservice: She once asks John if she oozes sex. His response: "In buckets."
- Gossipy Hens: Enjoys office gossip and sits in the unisex with her legs up so no one thinks she's around.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold
- Really Gets Around: Meets and sleeps with many men.
- Sassy Secretary
- Sexy Secretary
- Urban Legend Love Life: But maybe not as many as she implies.
Billy ThomasAssociate at Cage and Fish, former boyfriend of Ally, and husband of Georgia. Played by Gil Bellows.
- Anyone Can Die: He had a brain tumour and died unexpectedly in season 3. He came back for the finale as a posthumous character.
- Back for the Finale: As a ghost
- Expository Hairstyle Change: Bleaches his hair in Season 3.
- First Girl Wins: Doubly Subverted. Dates Ally, leaves her, marries Georgia, but always loved Ally.
- Testosterone Poisoning: Goes through this in Season 3, hiring several attractive women to be his assistants.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: In Season 3
Georgia ThomasAssociate at Cage and Fish, wife of Billy. Played by Courtney Throne-Smith.
- Back for the Finale: Surprises Ally with a visit.
- Never My Fault: Blames the sexualized office of Cage and Fish for her destroyed marriage.
- Only Sane Woman: Or the closest this series comes to one except maybe for Renee
- Put on a Bus: Leaves after Season 3, after Billy's death.
- Working with the Ex: When Georgia comes to work at the firm, she does this with Ally, who dated Billy. They actually work very well together. At first, then Ally and Billy kiss, they go to therapy, and it goes downhill from there.
Nelle PorterAssociate at Cage and Fish, joined at the beginning of Season 2. Played by Portia de Rossi.
- Beneath the Mask: Can actually be very sweet and loving beneath her cold exterior.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Just as eccentric as everyone else, but she was the firm's most productive associate and was specifically brought in as a "rainmaker", to generate new business.
- Ice Queen: She was called "sub-zero" for this reason. She doesn't even stick her hand all the way out for a handshake. It changes as the series progresses.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: Season 4 really starts this for her, starting when she spends the day with a doctor going to jail for euthanizing a client.
- In-Series Nickname: "Sub-zero" because she's so icy and unapproachable.
- Kick the Dog: Nelle leaves the firm in Season 3, and tries to steal the clients by manipulating Elaine. It doesn't go well for Nelle.
- Pet the Dog: Nelle has a few, but ultimately the largest is when she helps Elaine fulfill her dream to become a Broadway star.
- Pitbull Dates Puppy: With John. She's the pitbull.
- Rich Bitch
- Those Two Girls: Has this vibe with Ling.
- Woman Scorned: Leaves the firm in Season 3, but comes back later.
Ling WooAssociate at Cage and Fish, started as a client of Nelle's before she was hired a few episodes later. Friend of Nelle's. Played by Lucy Liu.
- Alpha Bitch: And HOW!
- Beneath the Mask: Sobs when one of her clients dies of leukemia, but only when she's alone.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: The second she opens her mouth, the bitch comes out.
- Depraved Bisexual
- Dragon Lady: Trope Codifier
- Femme Fatale
- Freudian Excuse: In a show known for these, she is noticeably the only one who doesn't have one.
- Iron Lady: To which both Ally and Nelle admire her for.
- Pet the Dog: Volunteers at an old folk's home, and went out of her way to make Elaine feel better after she lost in a contest.
- Refuge in Audacity: Convinces a dying boy that he can sue God, yells at handicapped people for getting all of the good parking spaces, pretends to be blind and causes car accidents to cross a street, and it goes on.
- Rich Bitch
- Sweeps Week Lesbian Kiss: Engaged in one with Calista Flockheart.
- Those Two Girls: With Nelle.
- Token Evil Teammate
Mark AlbertAssociate at Cage and Fish, hired during the end of Season 3 following the death of Billy. Series regular in Season 4. Played by James LeGros.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Nicknamed "The Closer" due to his skill in closing arguments, and obsessed with hygiene.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Disappeared from the firm in Season 4 with no explanation.
- In-Series Nickname: "The Closer"
- Out of Focus: Thanks to Robert Downey Jr. joining the cast.
- Your Cheating Heart: How he ends his relationship with Elaine. He's the victim.
- Two First Names
Coretta LippAssociate at Cage and Fish. Guest starred in Season 4, became a series regular in Season 5. Played by Regina Hall.
Jenny ShawAssociate hired by Ally at the beginning of Season 5. Glenn's former girlfriend. Played by Julianne Nicholson.
Glenn FoyAssociate hired by Richard at the beginning of Season 5. Jenny's former boyfriend. Played by James Marsden.
- Put on a Bus: Written out in the middle of Season 5.
Raymond MillburyAssociate hired at the beginning of Season 5, played by Josh Hopkins.
Vonda ShepardSinger at the piano bar the lawyers frequent. Played by herself.
Renee RaddickAlly's roommate and D.A. Often sets Ally up with many different men. Played by Lisa Nicole Carson.
- Absentee Actor: Disappeared after Season 4 due to problems with the actress.
- Alliterative Name
- Black Best Friend: To Ally.
- The Cast Showoff: Less so than Elaine, but frequently sings. Still subverted, as her singing is incorporated into the plot.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome
- Friendly Enemy: Being a D.A, she's often speaks against Cage and Fish's clients. Still goes out to the bar with them after work, and lives with Ally.
- Only Sane Woman
- Really Gets Around: She gives Elaine a run for her money.
- Sassy Black Woman
- UST: With John in the first season.
Larry PaulLawyer introduced in Season 4 when Ally mistakes him as her therapist. Ends up dating Ally, played by Robert Downey, Jr..
- Absentee Actor: Written out after Season 4 ended due to Robert Downey Jr. having drug problems
- Official Couple: With Ally.
- Two First Names