Originally formed as Donnell & Associates by Bobby Donnell, Donnell, Young, Dole and Frutt is Boston's most popular criminal defense firm. DYDF is made up of passionate attorneys to whom every case is important and every client worth a fight to the end. Legal maneuvering is our modus operandi, and we have it down to a science, making even the most questionable arguments convincing. And while we can't — and don't — win every trial, the pursuit of justice remains our priority until the final verdict is announced … and sometimes long afterwards.
The Practice was a long-running (March 4 1997 - May 16 2004, eight seasons) ABC legal drama TV series created by David E. Kelley about a Boston, Massachusetts law firm. It also led to the spin-off legal drama, Boston Legal, which began in fall 2004.
The Practice originally focused on the law firm Donnell, Young, Dole and Frutt, featuring the firm's involvement in a number of high-profile criminal and civil cases that often mirrored events occurring in real life. There were a number of crossovers with other David E. Kelley shows, including Boston Public, Ally McBeal and the short-lived medical drama Gideon's Crossing , but The Practice is overall one of David E. Kelley's most serious shows.
The main theme of the series as a whole is the uneasy balance between moral ethics and legal ethics. The problem in several episodes involved a dilemma between the two. One classic example is the episode in which Jimmy Berlutti learned that a young boy had an aneurism in his brain that could pop at any moment. But he was in the employ of the insurance company, and the client did not want to disclose the aneurism. Berlutti decided to let the parents know about the aneurism. The boy was operated on before the aneurism could cause any damage, but Berlutti was nearly disbarred.
Very often the lawyers needed to remind themselves and others that they defended murderers and rapists for the common good of all people.
Another important theme of the series was lawyers being fooled by their clients. Joey Heric (played by guest star John Larroquette ) literally got away with murder in every episode in which he hired Donnell, Young, Dole & Frutt. Another example is the psychotic William Hinks, who convinced his therapist and later Lindsay Dole that he was a serial murder wannabe rather than the real thing.
By the end of the seventh season, faced with sagging ratings, ABC conditioned the show's renewal on a drastic budget reduction. As a result, several cast members left. The addition of James Spader and Rhona Mitra to the cast for the eighth season helped to revive the ratings somewhat; however, on March 11, 2004, ABC announced that it would not renew the series for a ninth season, but that Kelley would instead create the new spin-off series starring Spader, Mitra and William Shatner, who began appearing as Denny Crane during the final months.