Of all the shows listed here, this one has shown the most erosion in quality, yet L.A. Law remains consistently, almost defiantly, entertaining. Despite the series’ large cast, the season’s chief generator of drama had to be imported from outside the law firm: Diana Muldaur’s rapaciously ambitious attorney, Rosalind Shays, scared the bejesus out of everyone with whom she made eye contact, and her ousting of gentlemanly old Leland as senior partner was the year’s best-written piece of office politicking.
Then, too, the show found a perfect way to reintegrate Susan Dey into the proceedings. Having moved from prosecutor to judge to law-firm partner in the space of a season, Dey has reestablished her star presence in L.A. Law.
Still, there are a lot of good actors being wasted here. Will Jimmy Smits ever be given something to do besides posture heroically? Will Jill Eikenberry and Michael Tucker ever overcome the joys of parenthood to become fully drawn characters again? Will Benny ever be freed from the mannered whining of Amanda Plummer to become the impetuous wastrel he yearns to be? The series didn’t end with a cliff-hanger, but these unresolved questions make Law’s next season something to look forward to. B+