Beginning its eighth season with three new cast members, the law offices being refurbished and a couple of thought-provoking cases, “L.A. Law” wisely sticks to its traditions: good characters, involving stories and a touch of class. Winner of 15 Emmys, it may be formulaic but still has legs.
New York lawyer Eli Levinson (new cast member Alan Rosenberg) is in Los Angeles to defend an accused killer (Max Perlich) whose parents (Elliott Gould and Carroll Baker) are friends of Levinson.
Levinson, cousin to Markowitz (Michael Tucker), is using an office at the firm and brings in a legal secretary, uninhibited Queens native Denise Iannello (second new regular Debi Mazar).
Alexandra Powers, playing fundamentalist Christian Jane Halliday, is the third new regular. Her joining the staff is frowned upon by some staff lawyers such as Anne Kelsey (Jill Eikenberry) because of her religious convictions, but the attractive blonde does have the strong vote of Arnold Becker (Corbin Bernsen).
All three new characters are intelligent additions, and writer William M. Finkelstein’s scripting boasts smart dialogue and plotting.
Kelsey reps a lawyer (Pippa Pearthree) who’s suing her own firm for sexual discrimination. Involving another woman from the same firm (Millie Slavin) provides a bitter lesson.
Director Mark Tinker gives the polished drama good pacing and sly visual wit. Michael L. Mayer’s design is solid, and tech credits are superior.