Saturday, July 22, 2006

Boston Legal Briefing Notes - Preservation of Life

(Excerpts of dialogues by Denny Crane (casted by William Shatner) and Alan Shore (casted by James Spader) taken from the television series “Boston Legal - Finding Nimmo” (Season 2, Episode 3))

N.B. Reeling over his break-up with Tara Wilson, Alan Shore heads to Nimmo Bay in British Columbia with Denny Crane for some fly fishing and male bonding in an effort to cure his pain. When they learn that the salmon population is being threatened by sea lice produced by fish farms, Shore and Crane feel compelled to act.

(Alan comes out from the cabin with a drink in his hand and joins Denny and a fellow-guest sitting out on the deck.)

Alan Shore: Excuse me. Is it unusual to catch five cohos in one day? I mean…
Guest: I’d say you had a bit of luck
Denny Crane: Beginners luck.
Alan Shore: You’re not competitive over this sort of thing, are you Denny? Could you pass me the ashtray please? Denny passes the ashtray. Ahh. Thank you. I’d have reached for it myself but my shoulders are a bit sore from all that reeling. He looks to the guest. How many did you catch?
Guest: I didn’t fish.
Alan Shore: Ah! That would put you about even with Denny.
Guest: I’m sorry. Are you Denny Crane?
Denny Crane: Yes I am. And I’m not your father.
Guest: I’m Peter Barrett. I’m an attorney actually and I’m a big admirer.
Denny Crane: Fine. I’m still not your father.
Peter Barrett: You’re a salmon catcher, Mr Crane?
Denny Crane: Catch em in my sleep.
Alan Shore: That must be the only place he catches them.
Denny Crane: I see why Tara dumped you. I’m about to.
Alan Shore: There’s no Tara. Don’t be deceived. Denny and I are lovers.
Denny Crane: I’m a heterosexual. And I catch salmon like one.
Peter Barrett: Well, you won’t be catching them for long I’m afraid. Wild Pacific salmon are being wiped out.
Denny Crane: What are you talking about?
Peter Barrett: Sea lice are killing them. The weight of evidence points toward the fish farms.
Denny Crane: Fish farms?
Peter Barrett: The penned fish in the fish farms host the lice, which attach themselves to the baby wild salmon migrating past the pens and it’s destroying them. I’m actually here because I’m going into court in Port McNeal tomorrow to try to enjoin another fish farm from going in. Boy! Would I love to go in with the Denny Crane by my side?
Denny Crane: You one of these environmental lawyers?
Peter Barrett: Is there something wrong with that?
Denny Crane: They’re evildoers. Yesterday it’s a tree, today’s is a salmon, tomorrow it’s ‘Let’s not dig Alaska for oil cause it’s too pretty?” Let me tell you something. I came out here to enjoy nature. Don’t talk to me about the environment.
Alan Shore: All reality. None of it scripted.

(Alan and the guide are coming out of the water. Denny is sitting on chair out of the water.)

Denny Crane: Can I fish yet?
Guide: You still have a timeout. You just sit there.
Alan Shore: Alan sit down next to Denny. As you said yourself, these fish are positively majestic. Sacred even. And you shot one.
Denny Crane: Sometimes I get incompatible.
Alan Shore: Really? You’ve upset the guide. I’ll tell you this Denny. I see it now how this kind of nature can renew you spiritually. I really see it. I’ll tell you something else. In our day jobs we’re lawyers and we’re good ones.
Denny Crane: What’s your point?
Alan Shore: My point is. Given this. Given those salmon. There’s a hearing going on in Port McNeal. We need to go be lawyers now.

(Tara is sitting at a desk talking on the phone.)

Tara Wilson: Your first logistical obstacle is the robes. Canadian lawyers appear in black robes.
Alan Shore: We should be able to borrow them.
(Alan is talking on a cell phone as he and Denny walk up to a helicopter.)
If all else fails we could stop at a costume shop. What else?
Tara Wilson: The judges are called, “My Lord.” It’s not, “Your honor” but, “My Lord”. It’s a lot like in England.
Alan Shore: What time is the motion?
Tara Wilson: According to the docket. Eleven AM. How far away are you?
Alan Shore: Twenty minutes!
Tara Wilson: Well you probably join in progress then. Good luck.
(Alan shuts his phone.)
And Alan? I miss you.

(In Judge Sean O’Bryne’s courtroom.)

George Knott: There’s just no scientific evidence that the sea lice are causing the death of wild salmon.
Peter Barrett: That is ridiculous! Sea lice wiped out the stock in Norway, they wiped out the stock in Scotland.
D.A Valarie Murrow: All we’re saying is let’s wait and do the research. This is a vendetta against the farmed fish.
Peter Barrett: This is no such thing. We have no issue with farm fish all long as they can raise their stock in an environmentally sustainable manor and not host millions of sea lice. Closed containment systems have been shown to work.
Judge Sean O’Byrne: Okay gentlemen. I’ve heard your arguments. I have your briefs. I’ll review the matter as well as the science.

(Alan and Denny march in.)

Denny Crane: Greetings! Oh Canada. Denny Crane.
Alan Shore: Good morning, my Lord. My name is Alan Shore, and Mr Crane and I are attorneys from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. We seek permission to be heard on this issue as friends of the court.
Judge Sean O’Byrne: Mr Shore. We don’t wear wigs in Canada.
Alan Shore: Oh!
(Alan takes off his wig.)
Judge Sean O’Byrne: Nor do we wear waders.
Alan Shore: My Lord. We’ve just spent the last two days in your rivers. In your countryside. It is the most spectacular nature I have ever seen. And the fish! They’re enough to make one believe in a Higher Power.
Judge Sean O’Byrne: Yes. How many of the Higher Power’s creations did you torture?
Alan Shore: Fifteen. Denny didn’t catch any. I get your implication Judge, and I acknowledge the hypocrisy of a fisherman pleading for the survival of a species only so that he’ll be able to continue dragging them to shore by the lip in perpetuity. But causing a fish discomfiture and cause it to become extinct are two very different things. And when talking about Pacific Salmon! This is a species that goes back to the ice-age. One that is born in a river, migrates up to two thousand miles in the sea, then returns to the very place of birth to spawn. Against enormous miraculous odds, bringing nutrients on it’s journey to sustain the bald eagles, the grizzly bears, the wolves, even the Rain Forest’s themselves. An entire ecosystem depends on them. If Charlotte the spider were still alive today she’d be writing in her web, “Some fish”.
Judge Sean O’Byrne: Yes. Well, forgive me, but I find it insulting to be lectured by an American on the environment.
Denny Crane: Watch it Judge. We’re a super power. Don’t make us add you to the access.
Alan Shore: Being from the United States I have an expertise on the issue.
Judge Sean O’Byrne: Do you?
Alan Shore: Yes! Remember! We’re the country that’s practically wiped the grizzly bear off our maps. We got rid of bull trout. To see a Florida panther? You have to go a hockey game. We seek to count hatchery salmon as wild so the numbers go up and we can take the actual wild salmon off the endangered species list. Almost a hundred different bird and animal species have gone extinct in the last thirty years. While our national policy remains, “It’s not a priority.” I know all about economic interests trumping the environment. And truthfully, if we were talking about the Virgin Island screech owl or the Fresno kangaroo, I might not care, but this is the Pacific Salmon! The sea lice are killing them! Once they’re gone Judge, my God! They’re gone! Oh! Yes. Mindful that abroad people tend expect shock and awe when Yankees arrive on the scene, we shall leave you with two small, but lasting words.
Denny Crane: Denny Crane eh?

(Denny and Alan leave.)

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