Boston Legal Wiki

Denny Crane with his son, Donny Crane

Donny Crane
Donny Crane
Freddie Prinze, Jr. as Donny Crane
Personal Information
Gender/Sex: Male
Lawyer, Son of Denny Crane
Related to: Denny Crane (suspected father)
Unnamed mother
Character information
Created by: David E. Kelley
Appeared on: Boston Legal
First episode appearance: "Catch and Release" (Season 1)
Final episode
"Squid Pro Quo" (Season 2)
Episodes appeared in: 3 episodes in Season 1 and 2
Character played by: Freddie Prinze, Jr.
Boston Legal Wiki

Donny Crane, Denny's son and also an attorney, was introduced in episode "Catch and Release" as Denny Crane's illegitimate son, the result of a one-night stand. Later, Denny revealed that Donny's mother had admitted long ago that the boy was not really his son although Denny continued to provide financial support from afar because he "liked the boy." Donny discovers the truth of his relationship to with his father after overhearing a private conversation between Denny Crane and Alan Shore. Donny is heart broken and doubts himself but Denny Reassures his son that he still considers him so, even if their relation isn't by blood; and that Donny is a great lawyer in his own right regardless of his paternity. Donny excuses himself to leave- but turns and asks his father if he may keep the last name of Crane- to which Denny replies "Of course," solemnly. Donny makes his next appearance in the episode "Tortured Souls" in which he acts as opposing council in a case against his father. Donny is is now angry and hostile towards Denny for having lied about being his father, and admits to Denny he took the case to oppose him. Throughout the episode Donny is clearly emotionally distraught and only trying to "settle a score" and even has an outburst in court towards his father.Denny tries to be caring towards Donny, calling him son several times and being rebuffed. Despite a strong case and decent job Donny is defeated by Denny and his client is ordered to pay a very large settlement amount. Denny tries to comfort a distraught Donny after the case as well as offer advice and reveal how the case was lost. Donny again asserts they are not father and son, and requests Denny leave him alone. Before he goes Denny admits that he wasn't the best father, or a biological father, but that he has always been there for his son and still loves him. The two part ways until Donny's next appearance.

In Donny's third appearance he returns from a stint with Lawyers without borders to bring a suit against the United States on behalf of a foreign woman. Without knowing who is the plaintiff Denny takes the case to defend the United States. Donny is as adversarial as his last showing, but more in control of his emotions. He and Denny disagree on fundamentals of the case but despite this Donny Agrees to a dinner with Denny and the two are able to get along well despite some gentle rivalry.

Donny once again loses his case to Denny but is resolute he will appeal, to which Denny replies that Donny will only lose again. Donny and Denny Go out for a drink and Donny reveals his mother died not too long ago. He also tells Denny that after his mothers death Donny located his biological father- A cranberry farmer and "good man," but Donny realized his biological father wasn't the man who influenced him to become the man he is. Donny asks Denny if he will once again be his "fake father" to which Denny replies that he never stopped. The two share a drink and part on good terms once more.

The part of Donny, who appears in three episodes of Boston Legal, is played by Freddie Prinze, Jr.


Donny, like his father will often use his own name as an exclamation, even at inappropriate times. When Denny and Donny shake hands they will usually going in a cycle like this, often with varying tone, inflection, etc. as they each reply to the others name with their own.

Donny is shown to be intelligent and passionate.He is an idealist who chooses to champion causes he feels are morally right, and he does not value wealth, patriotism, or power anywhere near as much as Denny Crane. When he believes Denny Crane is his father he is shown to practically idolize Denny, but even after shows clearly mixed feelings- getting in to law to follow him, being excited to continue the Crane legacy, and other acts of mimicry or obvious adoration. He shows signs he very much wants his fathers respect and approval, and that he wishes to live up to his fathers legend.

Donny is generally liked by those he meets and comes off with a hint of naivety and a sweet demeanor. He is deeply hurt by the revelation that he is not Denny Cranes biological child, and feels betrayed and lied to by Denny Crane for being allowed to believe it for so long befoer ultimately forgiving Denny Crane and accepting him as a father again.