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Alan Shore (James Spader)

For tropes pertaining to Alan Shore's characterization in the eighth season of The Practice, click here.

  • 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 because he really does wear bunny ears in court. It's a small quirk to overlook for his ability as a lawyer.
  • 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.
  • Deadpan Snarker
  • Handsome Lech
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold
  • 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.
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  • 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...Bunny ears...
  • 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 other characters criticizing him, particularly in the early episodes.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Alan is absolutely terrified of clowns.

Denny Crane (William Shatner)

  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer
  • Cloud Cuckoolander
  • Cool Old Guy
  • 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.
  • Fourth-Wall Observer
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?
  • Hidden Depths: He can be surprisingly insightful and emotional when caught in a quiet moment.
  • Hypocritical Humor: He claims to have never lost a case, and frequently proclaims "Still undefeated!" after a win. However, he has been shown to lose several cases, though he purposefully takes second chair on cases that he thinks might be losses so that he can claim that it was the first chair attorney, not himself, who earned the loss. Despite that, he still claims the victory on cases won with himself as second chair.
  • Insufferable Genius
  • Jaded Washout
  • Large Ham: It's William Shatner.
  • 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.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Depending on the writer if he was either completely out of his mind or just pretending out of both a sense of whimsy and a genuine belief that if he does, then when he really is past the point of no return, neither he nor anyone else will notice.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: If you're a scumbag with AIDS who raped and murdered a little girl, Denny doesn't give a fuck about attorney/client privilege or any of that other crap. He'll proceed straight to shooting you in your kneecaps and suggest you get another attorney while you're lying on the floor writhing in pain.
  • Showy Invincible Hero: "Still undefeated!" Denny has an enormous ego and isn't afraid to show it, 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 less crazy when you just used them to shoot the man about to kill your best friend.
  • Third-Person Person: "Denny Crane!"
  • Ultimate Job Security: You can't get rid of a named Partner.
  • Unusual Euphemism: Played for drama. He's in early stage Alzheimer, but refers to it as "Mad Cow" to take some of the edge of it. Alan is well aware and goes along as a show of kindness towards his friend.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: He became a lawyer because of his father, only to be disowned for pulling a Courtroom Antic his dad disapproved of to save a client.
  • The Wonka: He's named Partner, so he can't be fired regardless of how strange he acts.

Shirley Schmidt (Candice Bergen)

Brad Chase (Mark Valley)

Paul Lewiston (René Auberjonois)
  • Benevolent Boss: He can be, but he can also be a Bait-and-Switch Tyrant.
  • The Bus Came Back: It never really left. He just moved to a position in the firm where he dealt less with the named partners when Carl transferred to Boston to act as Denny's handler. Paul seems to be happy about this when we see him next, and it's implied that he was burnt out from having to put out all the fires Denny started.
  • The Comically Serious
  • Deadpan Snarker
  • Face–Heel Turn: He arranges for the merger with the Chinese in the series finale.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: When first introduced, he was clearly an antagonistic character, a foil for Alan and Denny both. He was not in any way sympathetic, and seemed to hate Denny so much that he was willing to hurt the firm to bring Denny down. Later he softened, became more sympathetic and took the role of Only Sane Man as well as a bit of Butt-Monkey.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: His final scene implies that he's aware that he didn't really save Crane, Poole & Schmidt.
  • Only Sane Man
  • Put on a Bus: He's advanced to more administrative duties, no longer simply to keep the atmosphere sane.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Mostly. Unless Denny or Alan push too many buttons.

Lori Colson (Monica Potter)
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome
  • 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.
  • Hello, Attorney!
  • 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)
  • Hello, Attorney!: Described by Lori in the first episode as "nasty hot."
  • Put on a Bus: She leaves for England when she decides Alan will never commit to her.

Sally Heep (Lake Bell)

Garrett Wells (Justin Mentell)
  • Brother Chuck: One of the truest examples on the show. His absence is never explained.

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)