Synopsis: After most of Donnell, Young, Dole, & Frutt has quit, Alan Shore (James Spader) joins Young, Frutt & Berluti to try and help the practice succeed again. The final seven episodes of the season also lead into the spin-off series, Boston Legal.
Review: Many shows get more expensive as they go on, with The Practice being one of them. ABC gave show creator David E. Kelley an ultimatum: trim the budget down or be canceled. So he fired his lead in Dylan McDermott as well as Lisa Gay Hamilton, Kelli Williams, and Lara Flynn Boyle while bringing in film star Spader and Rhona Mitra in as fresh blood.
The show, which was the darkest that Kelley had done up to that point, was peppered with some more humor that Spader’s Alan Shore character brought. The show also introduced other characters that would feed off into the show’s spin-off, Boston Legal.
Throughout the season we see more of Alan Shore’s deceptive traits, and how good he actually is as a lawyer. However, we also saw he always did what was in the best interest of his clients. He doesn’t believe in ethics and will sometimes “bend” the law to an extent that you are never really sure if he’s breaking it.
A small departure for the eighth season was also the 3-episode arcs. While older seasons did a lot of two parters, the final season of The Practice had 3 of these 3-episode arcs. You would see this a lot more in Boston Legal, and was a nice touch giving a lot of time to each case.
Many fans were wondering when the rest of The Practice was going to be released after Volume 1 hit shelves back in 2007 that contained all 6 episodes of the short first season and the first 7 of the second. However, sales for the first volume weren’t the greatest and fans were worried they wouldn’t get the rest of the series on DVD.
Flash forward to 2013 and Spader is hotter than ever on his hit NBC series, The Blacklist, which is the #1 new series on television. This has given some new interest in Spader’s previous roles, including Boston Legal and his short stint on The Practice.
Shout! Factory was amazing in releasing the series, and to keep it at a low cost there are no bonus features for the set. However, the show still looks crisp and sharp on DVD, especially for it being in 2003/2004 at the beginning of the hi-def era.
Look for guest stars including Viola Davis, Chris O’Donnell, as well as future Boston Legal regulars/guest stars William Shatner, Betty White, and Lake Bell.
Season 8: 8.5/10