Eli Stone and L.A. Law

Eli Stone (2008-    )
L.A. Law (1986-1994)
Type: Non-Crossover

   Oh you Eli Stone you bastard. You’re just a big tease. You take me to the edge and then ya leave me hanging. Why? WHY??? And here I thought the point was that Eli Stone had become a more honorable guy. For shaaaaame!

   Here’s the deal. Eli Stone is a funky goofy law firm sort of in the Ally McBeal mode. Eli Stone is a young hotshot lawyer. He started off an honorable young attorney but soon went to the dark side, helping to defend high powered big money clients. He did whatever he could to win for the big shots while often trampling on the little guys. The series starts as all that is about to change.

   This gets weird. Eli discovers he has a brain aneurysm which causes him to see things. At first Eli figures they’re just delusions. But oddly enough his visions seem to visions into the future, predicting what is to come and pointing him to people in need of his help. The positive is believing there is something to his “visions” Eli begins to reform and do good work. On the bad side… he has full 3D hallucinations. Often these visions involve elaborate musical numbers. And the visions aren’t just daydreams. In the real world Eli moves and reacts to what he is seeing. If in his vision Eli is dancing and singing, he is usually dancing and singing in the real world. He might imagine himself in some entirely different location running around. Then he comes out of it standing on a table. Not exactly helping him look sane.

   Knowing how his condition would be viewed by his law firm, Eli hides his condition. They know something is wrong but they don’t know what it is. The situation comes to a head in the episode that is so almost a crossover. In the previous episode Eli finally had the misfortune to have an elaborate vision in court. He comes to only to discover he is doing a song and dance in the middle of his closing arguments. He also pisses off his own client by forcing them to settle an expensive lawsuit he could have won for them if he simply continued to be his old unethical self. The end result is the client pushes for Eli to be disbarred. The non-crossover episode opens with the almost nearly crossover moment.

   Eli needs someone to represent him in his case. The first scene finds him discussing his case with a lawyer identified in all the promo releases as “familiar looking lawyer”. The character is played by Alan Rachins. That would explain why he looks familiar. For eight seasons he played lawyer Douglas Brackman Jr. on L.A. Law. He was clearly brought on the show to invoke his Brackman character. But is he actually playing Brackman? The “familiar looking lawyer” role hints that maybe he’s supposed to be. But it’s almost a perfect and intentional line call. Like… right on the line. Not in, not out, just so right on the line it’s almost impossible to say if it is or isn’t a full fledged crossover. Alan Rachin is playing a lawyer who seems to be Douglas Brackman. On L.A. his character was based in L.A. (duh) and on Eli Stone his character is working in San Francisco. Not a stretch to imagine Douglas moved to Frisco. Luckily for me the folks at Eli Stone added another clue that definitively marks this scene as a reference joke and not a real crossover. Ironically the extra clue is another tip of that hat to L.A. Law. In Alan Rachin’s scene, on the windows behind Alan Rachin we can see the name of his law firm. On L.A. Law he worked for the firm of McKenzie Brackman. While every last letter can’t be seen, enough can be seen so that it’s clear the familiar looking lawyer works for the law firm of McKinley Breckman. Not the same firm from L.A. Law but clearly a jokey play on that firm’s name. Reference joke but not a true connection to the show.

   Dahhh!!! Come on people! I’m talking to you folks making Eli Stone. Why tease me like that??? . If you’re talking the talk then walk the walk. I mean… you’re doing a show about Eli Stone having the courage to step up and go all the way doing the right thing. So do the same. Don’t pussy out and just almost do a crossover. Step up and DO it for God’s sake. And if you start using the fantasy sequence to do more almost crossovers… you’re just gonna make me cry. Is that really what you want? For me to cry?

   Just to give closure to those reading this… in the end Eli wins and loses his case. He finally confesses to his medical problem. The courts find he is still fit to practice law. His boss is shocked and hurt to learn that Eli lied to him about his condition. But since his boss just stood up in court and helped win Eli’s case, because he made a big public proclamation of support for Eli he can’t really fire him. However he feels so hurt and betrayed that he done with Eli. Eli is allowed to keep working at the firm but his office and assistant are stripped from him. He also won’t be assigned any major case. But don’t worry. The show is named for him. I think he’ll survive.

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Buy these shows on Amazon.com and support this site at the same time! Sure, it's not a "real" crossover, but buy Eli Stone on DVD and enjoy the near crossover on the first season DVD set in the episode "Something To Save"!

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