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The Practice is an ABC network legal comedy-drama series created by David E. Kelley that premiered on March 4, 1997.
Throughout the show's run, the cast consisted of Dylan McDermott, Camryn Manheim, Lara Flynn Boyle, Steve Harris, Michael Badalucco, Lisa Gay Hamilton, Jason Kravits, Ron Livingston, Marla Sokoloff, Bill Smitrovich, Rhona Mitra, Jessica Capshaw & James Spader.
The show has won the Emmy for "Best Drama Series" in 1998 and 1999 along with winning & being nominated for other awards as well.
It has also spawned a spin-off series called "Boston Legal" (which starred James Spader & Rhona Mitra) and lasted from 2004 to 2008.
By the end of the show's seventh season & facing low ratings, ABC conditioned the show's renewal on a drastic budget reduction and as a result, six cast members were fired: Dylan McDermott, Kelli Williams, Lara Flynn Boyle, Chyler Leigh, Marla Sokoloff, & Lisa Gay Hamilton.
The addition of James Spader and Rhona Mitra to the cast for the eighth season somewhat revived the ratings, but on March 11, 2004, ABC announced that the show would not return for a ninth season.
On May 16, 2004, "The Practice" ended after 8 seasons and 168 episodes.
The series focused on the law firm of Robert Donnell and Associates (later becoming Donnell, Young, Dole, & Frutt, and ultimately Young, Frutt, & Berluti).
The episodes typically featured the firm's involvement in various high-profile criminal and civil cases that often mirror current events. Recurring themes such as conflict between legal ethics and personal morality & light comedy appeared on the show as well.
- Dylan McDermott as Bobby Donnell (1997–2004)
- Lisa Gay Hamilton as Rebecca Washington (1997–2003
- Steve Harris as Eugene Young (1997–2004)
- Camryn Manheim as Ellenor Frutt (1997–2004)
- Kelli Williams as Lindsay Dole (1997–2003)
- Michael Badalucco as Jimmy Berluti (1997–2004)
- Lara Flynn Boyle as Helen Gamble (1997–2003)
- Marla Sokoloff as Lucy Hatcher (1998–2003, 2004)
- Jason Kravits as Richard Bay (1999–2001)
- Ron Livingston as Alan Lowe (2001–2002)
- Jessica Capshaw as Jamie Stringer (2002–2004)
- Chyler Leigh as Claire Wyatt (2003)
- Rhona Mitra as Tara Wilson (2003–2004)
- James Spader as Alan Shore (2003–2004)
- Bill Smitrovich as A.D.A. Kenneth Walsh
- Holland Taylor as Judge Roberta Kittleson
- Linda Hunt as Judge Zoey Hiller
- Herb Mitchell as Judge Rodney White.
- Kate Burton as A.D.A. Susan Alexander
- Anna Gunn as A.D.A. Jean Ward
- Ray Abruzzo as Detective Mike McGuire
- James Pickens, Jr. as Detective Mike McKrew
- Lynn Hamilton as Judge P. Fulton
Budget Reduction/Major Cast Revamp
By the end of the seventh season (faced with sagging ratings), ABC conditioned the show's renewal on a drastic budget reduction and as a result, six cast members were fired: Dylan McDermott, Kelli Williams, Lara Flynn Boyle, Chyler Leigh, Marla Sokoloff & Lisa Gay Hamilton.
The addition of James Spader and Rhona Mitra to the cast for the eighth season somewhat revived the ratings and Spader went on to win an Emmy for his appearance, but on March 11, 2004, ABC announced that The Practice would not return for a ninth season; rather, Kelley would create a new spin-off series "Boston Legal" starring James Spader, Rhona Mitra, Lake Bell & William Shatner.