Rene Auberjonois as attorney Paul Lewiston
|Lawyer, Counsel and Senior Partner at Crane, Poole, & Schmidt|
|Related to:||Rachel Lewiston (daughter) |
Fiona Lewiston (granddaughter)
|Created by||David E. Kelley|
|"Head Cases" in Season 1|
|"Last Call" in Season 5|
|Episodes appeared in:||71 in series (2004-2008)|
|Character played by:||René Auberjonois|
Paul Lewiston is a Senior Partner at the law firm of Crane, Poole, & Schmidt. The part of Paul is played by actor René Auberjonois, well known to TV audiences for his roles as Clayton Endicott on the ABC-TV sitcom series Benson and as "Odo" on the long-running Star Trek:Deep Space Nine series.
Paul is the example of a "lawyer's lawyer", watching out for the firm's business and reputation; his main focus in his professional life is having the firm save face in the ligitation world, particularly when dealing with the increasingly erratic Denny Crane.
He and Denny go back a long ways and are seen as long-standing, albeit slightly estranged, friends who've worked the law beat for many years. He is seen as being in a third-in-command sort of role after Denny and Shirley Schmidt, vicariously filling the role vacated by Edwin Poole after his breakdown, and has the authority to make executive decisions (such as firings, hirings, and bringing in the deep pockets of Chang).
Paul is also skilled in client relations and is an expert in Far Eastern markets and legal problems of corporations doing business in that part of the world. Unlike Denny and Alan, Paul generally does things strictly "by the book."
Paul is a very serious, intelligent, no-nonsense, trustworthy, dependable, disciplined, veteran "by-the-book" lawyer, who is most of the time devoid of any sense of humor; his main concern in both personal and professional life is to look after the firm's reputation and best interests and having to deal with the consequences of the increasingly senile Denny Crane's erratic actions over the course of the series.
At times, he can be overbearing, confrontational and sarcastic, particularly towards Alan and Denny. He is not insensitive, however, as his wife passed away from cancer and for this reason, he tends to avoid the sensitive subject and cases that involve cancer patients.
Paul has had a long-standing friendship with Shirley, Edwin and Denny. Although they have been friends since becoming lawyers, Denny and Paul's friendship is slightly estranged by the beginning of the series and at times their relationship is seriously tested when Denny's actions run contrary to the best interests of the firm.
When he re-enters his daughter Rachel's life and finds out he has a granddaughter he never knew about, Paul initially harbors resentment, which was mutual at the time, feeling he has been deprived of being present at Fiona's birth and because Rachel took money from him so as to feed her addiction, which was a reason they broke off contact seven years prior to the series.
After they reconcile, Paul is kinder, especially in the presence of his granddaughter. After forcibly having Rachel committed to a drug rehab clinic because she is using meth again, Paul is saddled with becoming both a father and grandfather to Fiona until Rachel gets out of the clinic clean. From this point on, Fiona becomes his priority and he becomes less interested in the firm. When Denny offers Paul to become a named partner to dissuade him, Paul is still not interested as he never craved for the position in the first place; he is seldom seen in the firm after that.
In the final season, Paul and the other partners decide to sell the firm to a Chinese firm, despite the protests of Denny, Shirley and Carl. Shirley, in particular, makes it clear she now dislikes Paul because of his betrayal; Paul justifies his actions as saving the company, which was already broke. After Paul is made head of litigation, he enthusiastically tells Shirley, but her tone suggests their friendship is over. After the Chinese threaten Paul to rein Alan in and threaten to fire Denny, the look on Paul's silent face suggests he now regrets selling the firm to the Chinese and has realized he made an irreversible mistake, which not only destroyed the whatsoever good opinion and trust in him, but has also permanently destroyed his friendships with Shirley and Denny.
Paul was married to his wife Olivia until she passed away from cancer. His relationship with his daughter, Rachel, was strained by his 'by the book' parenting and, finally, the two became estranged when Rachel escaped into the world of meth addiction. He closed off all contact with her years earlier when her addiction became out of control (he accused her of stealing money from him to support her habit). She disappeared for seven years and gave birth to a daughter of her own, Fiona, now three, making Paul a grandfather, unbeknownst to him. In "Live Big", Paul explains to Shirley Schmidt where things went wrong:
Paul: "I did her homework with her, I drove her to the prom, all the nights I waited up." Shirley Schmidt: "What happened?" Paul: "She basically stole from me. You name it. She’d feign problems with rent. Her health. Credit card debt. She’d invent all kinds of crisis to impel me to write a check, the proceeds of which would always go to feed her drug habit. The last straw, I got her in a program, an exclusive one, I told her if she left she was cut off. We had a fight. I haven’t spoken to her since. That was seven years ago."
In the first season, Paul is managing senior partner and legal advisor of Crane, Poole and Schmidt. He becomes third-in-command of the firm after Edwin Poole's mental breakdown and has several antagonistic run-ins with Denny and Alan over their apparent lack of respect for the law.
In Season 2, Paul sought out Rachel and attempted to reconcile, but there were resentments on both sides, both feeling a need of an apology. In a dramatic confrontation, Rachel told her father why she resented him:
"Rachel Lewiston: Well you know what, dad? In my darkest day… through it all… I had one little thing, one tiny semblance of a foundation. And it was knowing that no matter what, my father would be there for me. And he wasn’t. He wasn’t. How dare you take that from me?"
In "Shock and Oww!", Paul and Rachel reconcile, but he remains skeptical as to her sobriety, sending Brad Chase undercover to ascertain is she was still using meth. Upon finding a meth kit in her home, he forces her to enter rehab and assumes the role of Fiona's guardian until she is clean.
In the Season 3 episode "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang", Paul considers a new path, telling Shirley and Denny, "It’s that my priorities are different now and suddenly this firm doesn’t seem so important." He even hypothetically asks Denise if she would consider starting a practice with him. Denny, who thinks he can run the firm without Paul, gives in to Shirley's more realistic assessment and gives Paul a symbolic sheet of paper, blank except for the letterhead which reads "Crane, Poole, Schmidt and Lewiston":
Paul Lewiston: I can’t accept this. Denny Crane: I thought it was what you always wanted? Paul Lewiston: I’m sure it’s what you thought I always I wanted. Denny Crane: You trying to play hardball with me, Paul? Don’t tell me this whole thing is simply a matter of respect? (Paul gives him a look.) Good God, it is. Paul Lewiston: My mind and my priorities are exactly where they should be right now. When Rachel gets out I will be back here full time. Or maybe I won’t. In the meantime it will give you the opportunity to actually think about things for a change.
So as to be around his grandchild, Paul vacates his position and is seldom seen in the Boston office. His position is filled by Carl Sack. Rachel eventually leaves rehab and although Paul's action nearly destroyed their renewed relationship, they reconcile for good.
He reappears in the Season 4 episode Oral Contracts where Denny is wrongfully charged with solicitation. He and Carl chastise Alan for taking the court, making the charges public and possibly tarnishing Denny's reputation. He was in the court, observing Denny's trial and was there when he was acquitted.
He reappears in the series' final episodes Mad Cows, Made in China and Last Call in Season 5, where he and the firm's managing partners negotiated the acquisition of Crane, Poole & Schmidt by a Communist Chinese law firm, led by Zhu Chang, due to the firm's near bankruptcy, much to Denny and Shirley's outrage. Shirley, Denny and Carl sue the partners in an attempt to stop the merger but to no avail.
In the series finale episode, the merger is successful.
Upon becoming the owners of Crane, Poole and Schmidt, the Chinese fire Shirley and the entire litigation department. Alan Shore, along with the rest of the litigation department threaten Chang and his associates with so many wrongful termination lawsuits, that they have no choice but to rehire all of them.
Chang assigns Paul Lewiston to be in-charge of the litigation department, partly because Paul was the driving force behind the merger and in part because they felt they could trust him. Whilst they do not fire Denny from the firm, they do remove his name from the firm's header, changing it to Chang, Poole & Schmidt. Chang also threatens Paul Lewiston with the firing of Alan Shore if Paul cannot "rein him in" because whilst he's an excellent attorney, they consider him too dangerous and with too many loyalties to the firm's founders.
In his final appearance, Paul is visibly shown to regret the decision to sell the firm.