Boston Legal Wiki

Alan Shore
Allen Shore
Personal Information
Gender/Sex: Male
Born: 1962 in Dedham, Massachusetts, U.S.
Lawyer, Counsel at Crane, Poole, & Schmidt
Associate of Crane, Poole & Schmidt
Formerly at Young, Frutt & Berlutti, Howard & Brock, and Carruthers-Abbott firms
Spouse(s): Unnamed wife (deceased)
Domestic partner(s): Denny Crane
Related to: Unnamed mother (deceased)
Unnamed father (deceased)
Unnamed sister
Unnamed Uncle
Character information
Created by: David E. Kelley
First episode appearance: "Head Cases" (Season 1)
Final episode
"Last Call" (Season 5)
Episodes appeared in: 101 in series (2004-2008)
Character played by: James Spader
Boston Legal Wiki

Alan Shore, during the show Boston Legal, is a lawyer at Crane, Poole, & Schmidt; After he was fired from his friend's Ellenor Frutt's Lawfirm Young, Frutt & Berluti by one of her partners Eugene Young. In the final season of The Practice after Alan was fired he retains the services of Crane, Poole, & Schmidt; to go head-to-head with Young, Frutt & Berluti in the face of his abrupt firing from the firm. This is when he met his soon to be best friend Denny Crane one of the firms' co-founders in the ABC-TV series Boston Legal. The part of Alan Shore is played by actor James Spader.

About Alan[]

Before The Practice and Boston Legal[]

Alan was born in 1962 in Dedham, Massachusetts. he is of Scottish descent; his great-grandfather emigrated to the United States from Scotland in 1903. Alan's childhood included having one of his secretaries Cathrine Piper as his neighbor to which he would play pranks. Alan spoke of two childhood friends he had. One of them was Paul Stewart, whom he first met in kindergarten and Tom Dougan, who would later become a priest. At the age of 14, Alan lost his virginity from one of his mother's friends. Alan slept with Paul's mother when he was 16. According to one of his courtroom closings, Alan claims to have a sister, although it was never truly confirmed as he might have made her up for the purposes of that closing argument. At one point in his life, he had to seek the help of a sexual surrogate named Joanna to help him deal with perhaps his most shocking paraphilia: an attraction of sorts to his mother, and the way she touched him (non-sexually) as a child.

As an adult, he met and befriended fellow lawyer Ellenor Frutt. Alan fell in love and married an unnamed woman but his wife died.

Alan was fired from the law firm he worked for before, Howard & Brock, and Carruthers-Abbott firms, for "allegedly" embezzling from the firm. He defends himself claiming it was a "half Robin Hood thing," meaning he took from the rich and kept it.

The Practice[]

Alan Shore makes his first appearance in The Practice- the Final Season (2003-2004) in the episode "We the People." Going to see Ellenor Frutt and asking for work. Despite "allegedly" embezzling from his previous firm Alan was stated to have been a very successful corporate lawyer.  He promptly volunteers to take the case of a homeless man who is charged with kissing a woman he does not know.

Towards the end of Season 8 in episode War of the Roses, Eugene fires Alan and Tara, who warned Alan. In response, Alan meets and Denny Crane(William Shatner), and soon he along Tara are hired by Crane, Poole and Schmidt. This and the episodes following it are a pre-cursor to Boston Legal.

Boston Legal[]

In Boston Legal, he talks about his deceased wife and how she was able to guess accurately what he would think and do. Alan speaks of his wife in a loving way, however and expresses the otherwise unseen emotion of regret for her passing. It is noted that he was irritated at her uncanny ability to guess his every thought, even when he was trying to be unpredictable. Often many of Alan's behaviors support this claim. Alan states on numerous occasions that he is sure that his final fate will be murder. He voices concern, although only to Denny Crane, that he fears waking up alone as he is sure that, in a previous life, he was murdered in his sleep. Alan considers Denny to be his best friend, and every night he drinks Scotch and smokes cigars with Denny on his office balcony often reflecting on the events of the day and confessing their most intimate fears and desires while displaying their many oddities and eccentricities, and often confessing their platonic love for one another. When Denny's Alzheimer's disease worsened, Alan and Denny decided to get married, so that Alan could have Power of Attorney over Denny's medical care, as well as spousal privilege in any future criminal proceedings. This would also allow Denny to transfer his considerable wealth to Alan tax free. They were married at Nimmo Bay fishing Lodge, in Canada, by Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

Alan's personality[]

Alan is a brilliant lawyer, extremely intelligent and very well-informed, which aids him immeasurably in his job as a lawyer. With a strong moral core, Alan is nevertheless not above obtaining ethical outcomes through unethical means. Illicit computer hacking, lying, concealing evidence, fraud, blackmail, disguise and bribery are all tools he uses without hesitation.

Alan is, however, unwavering in his defense of the underdog (unless he is representing the other party). An indefatigable patron of various left-wing causes and with liberal views, Alan supports pro-choice, gun control, the Democratic Party and ardently opposes the war in Iraq and the death penalty, which on a number of occasions creates sharp political ideology clashes between himself and Denny, who is a staunch pro-war, pro-death penalty, conservative Republican and Bush supporter, but their friendship remains intact despite the political differences. He constantly voices his disappointment and disillusion with how the country has changed in recent years, and routinely confronts these issues in open court.

His usual courtroom strategy involves identifying what he sees as the underlying problems in society that put his clients at odds with the law or another person in the first place, and articulating them to sympathetic juries or judges that frequently grant him and his clients favorable verdicts.

Wherever he works, he treats his coworkers with levity and refuses to take himself too seriously. Alan suffers from night terrors, has a fear of clowns and, in two episodes, suffered from word salad. He has resigned himself to the fact that he will never be made partner at the firm due to his unpredictable behavior and lack of trustworthiness. While the managing partners of Crane, Poole & Schmidt do not fully trust Alan, they do recognize his talent as an attorney and will often give him the latitude to go about his unorthodox means if they feel it will benefit the firm.


He is considered an unethical attorney due to the sometimes questionable methods he uses to help his clients; however, Alan seems to be able to help his clients and fellow lawyers when no one else can, due to his quick wit and apparent lack of fear for the consequences of his illegal actions. He once had an unlicensed doctor remove a bullet from one of Lori Colson's clients after the client refused to have it extracted in a hospital due to the fact it might convict him; Alan helped him out because the bullet might have had a life-threatening impact on the man.

Like Denny, he is a womanizer, with an insatiable sexual appetite. Alan has had relationships with Sally Heep and Tara Wilson, the latter having had a major effect on his psyche. It is hinted that he and Denny suffer from satyriasis. His sexual harassment of Nora Jacobs, his former secretary (which mainly included him giving her a score on a scale of 1 to 5 with regard to what kind of sweater she was wearing), drew a rebuke from Shirley Schmidt. Alan's ex-girlfriend once tried to run him over, and he later served as her lawyer to get her out of the mental hospital she was in as a result.

When Alan represented Joanna in a custody suit involving her ten year old daughter, she suggested that the sexist part of him is actually becoming Alan Shore, and that he is losing the ability to connect with a woman in a non-sexual way, an observation that unnerved Alan. Alan has also shown to be vulnerable to a few women during his life, though he always regains his composure. When Lorraine was first introduced, he suffered from word salad and felt intimidated by her, almost compromising his ability to represent Shirley in a case. This again became evident when another old flame, Pheobe Prentice, came up against Alan in a case which Alan was suing a big tobacco company, which Phoebe was representing. Despite initial discomfort and loss of form, Alan rebounded and won the case with the total damages in the amount of $213 million.

Alan also has some strange quirks. For reasons that have nothing to do with money, he does not have a home; he lives alone in a hotel room and has alluded to a feeling of comfort from knowing that he can check out at any time. He suffers regularly from dangerous sleepwalking associated with night terrors, has an almost paralyzing fear of clowns, and twice spoke in word salad, which was caused by anxiety.

Alan is attracted to mature, older women, although he routinely sleeps with younger women as well. He also gains arousal from being measured for pants, and has claimed to have a foot fetish. He has admitted only to Denny of his sexual encounter with a neighbor woman at the age of fourteen, where he lost his virginity. Alan points to this as why he has trouble with women, claiming he is "missing a love gene."

Alan was once charged with inciting a riot after he and Tara pretended to try and pick each other up at a college fraternity bar. During this chain of events, a rather large man tried to pick up Tara and eventually punched Alan; in response, Alan offered several bar patrons $300 to beat up his assailant. At trial, Alan was acquitted after giving a speech to the jury which (may have) convinced them that his seemingly cold, calculated incitement was simply a coward's way of avoiding the fight.

Alan also aided Shirley in keeping nude photographs taken of her in her youth from circulating by the simple expedient of buying them and keeping them for himself, and discouraged a predatory court conservator who had gotten himself appointed custodian of an old woman who was a friend of Catherine Piper's by having two large men break into the man's home, bind and gag him, and steal records.

Tara Wilson also stated that Alan has three sides: the good side, the bad side, and the naughty side. The good side is Alan's honorable intentions during court defending innocent people, but the bad side of him could not bear that burden of being the good. So, in an attempt to get to Alan, Tara tried appealing to his naughty side by presenting to him her underwear in a folder. The aforementioned bar fight has also seemingly reflected Alan's personality; Tara has stated before that "It's always about Alan Shore", 'always' being the key point. She also claimed that he thought he was the center of the universe.

Alan has a grandiose sense of himself, and believes that the world is just about him. There is a section of dialogue between Alan and Denny where the former states that the best part about Denny is that he doesn't seem to be in the room at all. Alan has an interesting narrative that he remains absolutely alone during a relationship, and serves to more of his self-hating, narcissistic attitude. Shirley later described Alan the exact way he is, albeit in an insulting manner;

Throughout the series, Alan has clashed with almost all of the men he works with. He occasionally butts heads with Paul Lewiston, generally over things that pose a potential threat to the firm. His dissent of the American military drew the ire of Brad Chase, a former Marine. He came to resent Jeffrey Coho after his secretary, Melissa, left Alan to work for him. Even Denny, his best friend, grew angry with him due to their differing ideologies and his concern for Denny's deteriorating mental health.

Life in Danger[]

Alan at gun point in hired guns

Alan since joining the firm has been held at gunpoint at least twice. The first was in the episode Hired Guns (episode) by an angry father who's ex-wife, a cleaner at the firm, went to Alan after her husband kidnapped her children, who repeatedly kidnaps their children every Christmas, to take them to Peru for Christmas. Alan gets the husband arrested and feeling angry the husband shows up at the firm threatening to shoot Alan. Alan tries to talk him down and after the man shoots at the ceiling Alan advises those in the hall to take cover and go into offices and lock themselves in. Asking the man to keep the gun on Alan himself and not to hurt anyone else.

Alan at gun point 02

The second time is in the courtroom by Denny's ex-Therapist in the episode Race Ipsa (episode). Dr. Sydney Fields pulls the gun out as Alan questions him on the witness stand. Sydney tells Denny that he is going to shoot Alan in front of him and the entire court and kill the one person Denny sees as his Best friend, who Denny cares about and tell his secrets to.

Both times Alan tries to calm the gunmen down and both times Denny concerned for Alan's life saves Alan by shooting the gunman not killing them but wounding them.

Position in Crane, Poole, & Schmidt[]


Denny and Alan dressed as flamingos

Alan's position at Crane, Poole, and Schmidt is technically that of an associate, yet for all practical purposes Alan is treated as a Partner in the firm. Alan himself has acknowledged he has no hope of actually ever making Partner, for the very good reason that the partners, by and large, do not trust him, yet he is treated as much more of a peer by the named partners and senior partners than a subordinate. He generally exerts influence with both the Senior and Named partners far above what his actual position would indicate, including his strong friendship with Denny Crane and an often grudging respect from Schmidt, as well as often ignoring the rules and warnings of serious consequences, if he feels strongly about something.

Relationships at Crane, Poole, & Schmidt[]

An old flame of Alan's, Lorraine Weller (played by Saffron Burrows), joined the firm and Alan immediately was attracted to her. He noticed that she gave him word salad every single time she was around. Alan was intimidated by her and the two began a relationship but he was unhappy to learn that she already had a man in her life.

Arguments in the Supreme Court and Other High Courts[]

In the fourth season, Alan reached the high point of his legal career by arguing a death penalty case before the Supreme Court. During this, he criticized many of the sitting justices for politicizing the Supreme Court. One interesting point to note is that he largely (though not solely) attacked Republican-appointed justices, consistent with Alan's liberal stance on many issues. Denny, though he did not actually argue, insisted on attending the proceedings, as he has never argued before the Supreme Court. He considered this occasion as a must for his legacy to be complete.[ In the fifth season, the sixth episode, it is revealed that he won this case.

Other Lawyers[]

Melvin Palmer[]

Starting from the second season, Alan has had a semi-adversarial relationship with Melvin Palmer, a high priced attorney from Texas who relies on a friendly southern attitude to woo clients and other attorneys. Alan and Melvin have been on opposite sides of a case three times, and although Alan won each of them Melvin remains undaunted. Alan once compared him to a blow-up clown doll - "he always bounces back".(Tabloid Nation.) Alan barely hides his contempt for Melvin, whereas Melvin seems amused by Alan's personality. While Alan, Denny, and Melvin were on vacation in Utah, Alan and Denny were arrested when Denny snuck into a woman's tent to visit her, and Melvin convinced the judge to let them off using the pretense that Alan would politicize the trial. Alan was horrified at the idea of being indebted to Melvin, although he seemed grateful.

In season 5 in the episode Thanksgiving, Alan is outraged that Denny had made plans with Melvin for Thanksgiving instead of spending it with Alan himself.

Jerry Espinson

Alan has a close friendship with Jerry Espinson, considering himself a mentor of sorts to Jerry.

Alan storms the Crane, Poole and Schmidt meeting to decide the next partner, passionately arguing that Jerry had been a hardworking and steadfast employee for 15 years, and deserved the position despite his social-skills and earnings falling short of what would qualify an employee as partner. He helped Jerry get diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome (keeping Jerry out of jail after he threatens Shirley during Brad's party, and consulting several psychiatrists to achieve this goal), and has many run-ins with him after Jerry leaves Crane, Poole and Schmidt, normally as opposing council.

After Jerry receives treatment for his social awkwardness, Alan is shocked and dismayed at his arrogant, glib and cavalier attitude when Jerry uses his proprioceptive wooden cigarette persona repeatedly in court; eventually he tells Jerry as much (after unintentionally nearly causing him to have a nervous breakdown during his first case against him), and that he prefers the old Jerry. Shortly after, Alan and Jerry mend fences and become friends again.

Denny Crane is somewhat jealous of the relationship between Alan and Jerry, to the point where he is visibly hurt and angry when he catches Alan and Jerry having cigars on his balcony at the office, and tells Alan - "I don't ever want to see you and... THAT MAN, on my balcony, or any balcony".

Shirley also tells Jerry that in order to rejoin the firm at the end of season 3, that he must re-assure Denny that he isn't trying to steal his 'man' (Alan).