Characters: Boston Legal

Alan Shore (James Spader)

  • Amoral Attorney: Inverted. He's more than happy, eager even, to bend or break legal ethics to uphold his own moral ones.
  • Broken Ace: He's gradually revealed to be a broken man filled with sexual repression and self-loathing.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: He provides the page picture.
  • Chewbacca Defense: His primary ability is to turn the courtroom into his personal soapbox so he can manipulate and shape the issue at hand any way he wants.
  • Crusading Lawyer: He takes plenty of cases just because he feels strongly about an issue.
  • Likes Older Women: He has a thing for Shirley Schmidt.
  • Limited Advancement Opportunities: It's pointed out several times that he is permanently stuck in his position as an associate at Crane, Poole & Schmidt due to his complete refusal to play by corporate rules, but he's simply too good and valuable as a trump card to fire him.
  • The Lost Lenore: His wife passed away just as he was deliberating over getting rid of her. Since then, he drowns his loneliness and grief in a parade of comely paralegals.
  • Motor Mouth
  • Nice Hat: Not necessarily always a hat, but Alan is particularly fond of wearing strange things on his head. Ornaments (that light up, no less), mistletoe, wigs, coonskin caps...
  • The Only One: He's the go-to man when it comes to impossible cases, since his originality may be the thing to save the day. Also, a lot of such cases are so fucked that there's nothing he can do to screw it up even more.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: His father was never proud of him, as he admits to Denny.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Often subjected to it, particularly in the early episodes.
  • Why Did It Have To Be Clowns?: Alan is absolutely terrified of clowns.

Denny Crane (William Shatner)

  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Whenever he puts his mind to it, Denny Crane's an absolute beast of an attorney.
  • Dirty Old Man: Constantly makes sexual remarks and puts the moves on just about any woman who crosses his path.
  • Hidden Depths: He can be surprisingly insightful and emotional when caught in a quiet moment.
  • The Not-Love Interest: For Alan, to the degree that, when Denny decides he wants Alan to inherit his estate when he dies, they get married to seal the deal.
  • Showy Invincible Hero: Denny never lost a case and he never does over the course of the show, but his insane behavior in court only makes it more fun.
  • Straw Character: Denny Crane is a strawman political caricature of a conservative gun nut, although this did allow him to save the day a few times. Keeping guns in your office seems so much less crazy when you just used them to shoot the man about to kill your best friend.
  • Third-Person Person: "Denny Crane!"

Shirley Schmidt (Candice Bergen)

  • Berserk Button: As far as Shirley herself is concerned...well, don't make fun of/attempt to fire Denny Crane. Just...don't.
  • The One That Got Away: For Denny. He "falls in love" at least thrice over the course of the series, but he regards her as "the one." She's also pretty much the only woman he may act tenderly towards.

Brad Chase (Mark Valley)

Paul Lewiston (Rene Auberjonois)

  • Face-Heel Turn: He arranges for the merger with the Chinese in the series finale.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: His final scene implies that he's aware that he didn't really save Crane, Poole & Schmidt.
  • Put on a Bus: He's advanced to more administrative duties, no longer simply to keep the atmosphere sane.

Lori Colson (Monica Potter)

  • Foil: To Alan in the first season. She's a woman and she's also deeply morally disturbed—contrary to Alan, who is mostly fine with everything illegal and amoral he does.
  • Put on a Bus: It's implied she's quietly swept out of the firm by Shirley after she refuses to back down on filing a sexual harassment case against Denny.

Tara Wilson (Rhona Mitra)

Sally Heep (Lake Bell)

Garrett Wells (Justin Mentell)

Sara Holt (Ryan Michelle Bathe)

Denise Bauer (Julie Bowen)

Jerry Espenson (Christian Clemenson)

Jeffrey Coho (Craig Bierko)

Claire Simms (Constance Zimmer)

Clarence Bell (Gary Anthony Williams)

Lorraine Weller (Saffron Burrows)

Whitney Rome (Taraji P. Henson)

Carl Sack (John Larroquette)

Katie Lloyd (Tara Summers)