Boomer TV Trivia: L.A. Law
Q1. In season 1 of L.A. Law, how did partner Michael Kuzak (Harry Hamlin) get Grace Van Owen (Susan Dey) to stop her wedding to fiance Kevin Crenshaw?
Q2. Who does Roxanne Melman (Susan Ruttan) harbour an unrequited love for at the law firm of McKenzie, Brackman, Chaney and Kuzak?
Corbin Bernson as Arnie Becker and Michael Tucker as Stuart Markowitz. (Photo: YouTube | L.A. Law 1988)
Funny, sexy, and dramatic L.A. Law was a favourite with baby boomer audiences and won 15 Emmy Awards during it’s 8 years on NBC (1986-1994), including 4 for for Outstanding Drama Series (1987, 1989, 1990 and 1991), Creator, executive producer and writer Steven Bochko won an Emmy for for the popular 1987 episode The Venus Butterfly, and his replacement, executive producer and writer David E. Kelley won two Emmy Awards for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series, for the episodes Blood, Sweat & Fears (1990) and On The Toad Again (1991).
Although the series ended in 1994, L.A. Law The Movie (2002) was a reunion show that included most of the main cast members. Cast members that appeared on the show during all 8 seasons included Richard Dysart (Senior Partner Leland McKenzie), Alan Rachins (Managing Partner Douglas Brackman, Jr.), Corbin Bernson (Partner Arnie Becker), Jill Eikenberry (Partner Ann Kelsey), Michael Tucker (Partner Stuart Markowitz), and Susan Ruttan (Secretary Roxanne Melman).
Dignified, fatherly Leland McKenzie (Richard Dysart) shocked viewers when he became lovers with abrasive attorney Rosalind Shays (Diana Muldaur). Muldaur’s character Rosalind Shays was killed off L. A. Law when she stepped into the elevator and plummeted down an empty elevator shaft (below, Season 5, Episode 16 – Good to the Last Drop).
Both of these scenes have been ranked as among the greatest TV episodes of all time. Dysart and Muldaur were old friends, having acted together in the 1960’s in New York. Experienced film actor Richard Dysart was in his 55+ years when L.A. Law debuted; by the time the series ended, he had appeared in every episode, won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (1992), and was now a senior citizen. Richard Dysart was an octogenarian senior citizen when he died in April 2015, after a long illness.
Perhaps the most famous episode on L.A. Law was The Venus Butterfly (Season 1, Episode 9), during which a polygamist client offers Stuart Markowitz (Michael Tucker), a tip about a sexual technique he calls The Venus Butterfly. Stuart promptly tries the move out on partner Ann Kelsey (Jill Eikenberry), apparently with great success. Details about the technique (which was entirely fictional at the time) were never revealed. Actors Michael Tucker and Jill Eikenberry initially played dating law firm partners who secretly get married by an Elvis impersonator in Las Vegas at the end of Season 1 (Left, L.A. Law, Season 1, Episode 23 – Pigmalion | YouTube).
Actors Jill Eikenberry and Michael Tucker were already a married couple in real life (they married in 1973). Now senior citizens, Eikenberry and Tucker are still married today and will celebrate their 43rd wedding anniversary in 2016.
A1. In Season 1, episode 6, of L.A. Law, titled Simian Chanted Evening, Michael (Harry Hamlin) wears a gorilla suit and interrupts the wedding ceremony in the courthouse, and tells Grace (Susan Dey) he’s in love with her. Previously, Grace had told him he’d have to be a monkey before she’d be interested in him. Grace later dumps Michel for Victor (Jimmy Smits). (Harry Hamlin Photo: YouTube | L.A. Law 1986)