Boston Legal Best Scene: The Winning Case of Alan Shore Against Big Tobacco Company

0000041980_20070810121723If you ask me what is the most favourite American TV show that I ever watched, I got to say that it is Boston Legal. I got to say that Boston Legal has took strides in their last 5 season and I always watch every episodes with eager.

One of the reasons why Boston Legal is such an amusing show is because of the presence of this intelligent character, Alan Shore. Alan Shore, who played by the Emmy winning actor, James Spader, is one of the main characters in Boston Legal. He has an unpredicted way of thinking and sometime assume risk of doing illegal things to reach his way of justice. Alan Shore is a tricky character and in the film, he is always noted by the Judge to be a man who often make a circus out of a court session by dramatize or twisting around the issue.

However, among those special quality that he has in the film, I have to say that his summation is what I always anticipate to hear (Oh yeah, he has a habit of making his summation to be insanely long. Even Danny Crane, his colleague, said that he speaks too much).

Anyway, among those summation, I nominated the Alan Shore’s summation case of Rodes vs AB Curtis as one of the most moving summation I’ve ever heard in the entire series of Boston Legal. You can find this case in the 5th season of Boston Legal in the 1st episode entitled Smoke Signal.

Okay, so the case went out like this: Bethany asked Alan Shore to co-council her in her case against a big tobacco industry, the Abe Curtis. She said she was exhausted and out of option since the doctor that is initially planned to testify died because the of the pressure given by the tobacco company. Now, she has no weapon to fight for the death of Mr. Michael Rhodes who died because of lung cancer.

In the court room, Alan Shore found a familiar face. Turned out that his defense attorney is her ex-girlfriend, Phoebe, who once fought together with him to take down the tobacco industry. Thus, it began the war against Alan Shore vs Phoebe. I will skip the trial until the Alan Shore summation because it’s a pretty much a dragging story (also a several pointless story).

Som when the summation time has reached, Alan Shore deliver his summation with a blast and raging attitude as always. This is what he said in his summation:

Michael Rhodes smoked cigarettes for fifty years, got lung cancer and died. We all know what happened here. We also all know this death. Everybody in this room knows somebody who has fought the same battle and died this agonizing, brutal, excruci…. But, emotion has no play here.

Michael Rhodes was eleven years old when he started smoking. It was 1948, at that time there was no known risk. And even if there were, at eleven, he certainly lacked the capacity to assume it. And after that he was addicted. They manufacture them to be addictive.

In just the last few years they’ve increased the amount of nicotine in the average cigarette by 11.6% to make them even more addictive. Recently we learned that tobacco companies have been adding an ammonia-based compound to cigarettes for years to increase absorption of nicotine. It’s basically the same principle used in crack cocaine. And let’s look at the obscene strategy they’ve employed here. “Smoking may cause cancer but it didn’t cause this particular cancer.” “It wasn’t our cigarettes!” Or, “It was genetic.” Or, “Asbestos”. Or, “A paper mill.” Never do they take responsibility. Ever! And, God forbid, if you sue them they’ll bury you. And your lawyer.They might even depose your doctor to death for good measure.

All their insidious methods and cunning corporate tactics aren’t just history. It’s what they continue to do now! Today! Because the tobacco industry is like a nest of cockroaches, they will always find a way to survive. They still go after kids with one strategy after another. They put up brightly colored ads at kids’ eye level in convenience stores. They hire gorgeous twenty-somethings to frequent popular venues and seduce young adults into attending lavish corporate-sponsored parties. Cockroaches will always find a way. They can’t advertise on TV but they’ve hired PR agencies to hook them up with the film industry. And it’s working! Researchers estimate that smoking in movies delivers nearly four hundred thousand new adolescent smokers every year. Every time you try to kill the cockroach it finds another way. It has to! Because when you make a product that kills off your 12 consumers you have to find a way to recruit new customers.

They’ve now got a new feminized version of the macho Camel brand using slogans like Lite & Luscious with hot pink packaging. Virginia Slims advertise their thin cigarette. Velour magazine did a whole spread on the cigarette diet. They use social, psychological profiling targeting potential smokers by gender, ethnicity, sexual preferences, socio-economic groups.

Cockroaches don’t discriminate! Their CEO comes into this courtroom gloating over their anti-smoking campaign which is designed to get kids to smoke! In 2005 they spent fifteen billion on advertising and promotion. That’s a 225% increase from 1998 and they have the audacity to declare they’re trying to discourage smoking. This is not how corporations with a conscience behave!

How in God’s name are cigarettes even legal? Can anybody tell me that? They are a deadly concoction of carcinogens that damage every single organ in your body. Why do we not ban them? Because it’s a free country, because freedom of choice is an American ideal worth somebody dying every six seconds? How can any company, especially one with such a conscience, no less, knowingly manufacture a product that poisons its users! And make that product look cool and hip and sexy and fun so they can get children.

How can any attorney defend a company that would do such a thing? How can any society tolerate it? But we do! There is no conscience at Big Tobacco. There is no conscience in Washington which has been bought and paid for by this industry. Conscience has to come from you, the jury. If real regulation is to happen, it has to come from you! People are smoking day after day after day. And dying and dying and dying and the tobacco companies keep getting richer and richer. Last year alone they made twelve billion dollars in profits.

How can that be? How can that be?

Overall, the summation was a staggering impact to Alan Shore winning in the case. The judge decided in favor of the plaintiff and ordered AB curtis to pay compensatory damage of 600 thousand dollars and punitive damage of 213 million dollars. It was a big blow out for the tobacco company and this is an epic win whatsoever delivered elegantly by Alan Shore’s brilliant summation.

So, this case has added to my long list of best cases ever presented in Boston Legal. I wish there is such a brilliant lawyer in this country which will surely bring impact in the change of our country. In the meantime, best wishes for you all and you can find download material such as the episode’s torrent and script by following this link:



5 responses to “Boston Legal Best Scene: The Winning Case of Alan Shore Against Big Tobacco Company

  1. Actially Allan Shore is my best Lawyer in Boston Legal an am also a fan of Monica Potter they really have moving ways of argueing out cases and am really a great fan of Boston Legal

  2. Yes. He is a great lawyer and I love the show!!! I miss the show so much, I had to order the set and listen/watch it @ work…

    I wish we had an Alan Shore in real life. His shows and him as a person make me feel real…A way I have never felt before. I have never heard or been around such a brillant conversations till I started watching the show. I miss the show so much and so sad it had to go…

    His personality and eccentrics spark a new way of life (reality) where it has never hit you but makes you hold on to it. I am really considering law school when I finish my last semester here in college. I love making a difference and so many people tell me I talk to much -:) Thanks for adding this on. This case also touched me as the Supreme Court Cases…..

    You never know…Maybe David Kelly will continue his spark and influence audience such as myself in a new way of era (reality!)

    • Wow, good luck with your law school. The show was very lovely and ended brilliantly. I would love for another season of Boston Legal but I’m afraid it will caught in the 9 season TV Show curse. You know, TV Show should be in average be a 5-6 season. More than that, it will be just a dragging story.

      Alan Shore also appears in the last season of “Private Practice”. You might want to watch that.

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