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Drawing the Lines is the 8th episode of Season One of Ally McBeal.


The firm helps the wife of a rich man negate a prenuptial agreement. Elaine's sexual harassment complaint comes to a head and Ally and Billy negotiate personal boundaries in their still-tenuous friendship.


Fish asks everyone to assist Marci Hatfield, who is divorcing a rich husband and needs to negate a prenuptial agreement. Ally, Fish, Cage, Billy and Georgia meet with Marci. During the meeting, Cage blatantly picks his nose. Fish scolds Cage, hoping the embarrassing incident doesn't alienate their client. But Marci does decide to work with Ally and Georgia. She tells them she doesn't want a bitter war, but they convince her to get all she can in the divorce. Marci husband's attorney offers a cash settlement, but Ally and Georgia refuse it, saying they are going to look into the husband. Marci next gets cold feet, but Fish urges her to let them continue. Fish soon obtains photos of Marci's husband with another woman. Georgia and Ally are uncomfortable with the blackmail, but Fish implores them to use it. Georgia and Ally show the pictures to Mr. Hatfield. Within minutes, serious financial negotiations begin.

Fish and Billy ogle the delivery girl again. Elaine then presents a complaint about the 'sexually charged' workplace, which Ally thinks is a bit extreme. Elaine's attorney named Caroline Poop, shows the men security camera tapes of their ogling, and says even if Elaine didn't win a lawsuit, the publicity would be bad for the firm. Cage vows to discover what Elaine really wants. He follows her into the bathroom, but she refuses to talk. Elaine polls the firm's female employees to see who amongst them will stage a walkout along with her at noon the following day. Incredibly, all of them raise their hands. Ally asks Elaine what she is really looking for, believing it is simply inclusion and the conversation hits home. When it is time for Elaine's walkout, Fish calls her bluff, saying he desires this to be a fun place to work. Caroline tells Elaine they would never win a lawsuit, so the firm's women refuse to walkout. Elaine finally gives in gracefully, saying it was important just to be heard. Later, Ally reassures a depressed Fish that the employees really do like the firm. When Georgia gulps her morning cappuccino, Ally shows her how to savor the process, like sexual foreplay. Billy and Fish watch their orgasmic ecstasy.

Later, in the bathroom, Ally sees Billy looking in a mirror, which she interprets as a sign that something is wrong. That 'something' used to be her and could it now be Georgia? Georgia overhears the conversation and asks Billy if Ally was correct. Billy says the only problem is Elaine's complaint. Later on, Ally sees Billy looking in the mirror again. This time, he confesses that her coffee 'orgasm' reminded him of making love to her and that he misses her. Ally in return doesn't know what to say. At home, she douses her confusion with ice cream and the next day, Billy apologizes to Ally. She says that if they are going to be friends, they will have to have some boundaries and he agrees. Later, Billy brings more cappuccino, but Ally tells Georgia she doesn't do the savoring ritual any more. That night, Ally leaves her friends at the bar, goes back to the office and tells Billy she has changed her mind: friends shouldn't have boundaries, even if it's hard not to. Billy agrees. They shake on it and Ally goes home alone.


  • Full transcript can be found here.


Ally: I mean, with all due respect, you sort of walk around with uppity breasts, and the hair flips aren't the most subtle. And your perfume - you could be flammable. Now what if somebody shut you down as a safety hazard, how would you feel then?
Renée: People think you're strange, you know. Just, just sit there and don't talk.
John: I am an enigma.
Renée: You're a cute little enigma.


The Only Love I Had (cover) | VONDA SHEPARD
The Boy From New York City (cover) | VONDA SHEPARD
It's My Party (cover) | VONDA SHEPARD
at the bar

See also list of songs in the episode.



Calista Flockhart as Ally McBeal
Courtney Thorne-Smith as Georgia Thomas
Greg Germann as Richard Fish
Lisa Nicole Carson as Renée Raddick
Jane Krakowski as Elaine Vassal
and Gil Bellows as Billy Thomas

Special Appearance By

Peter MacNicol as John Cage
Sandra Bernhard as Caroline Poop

Guest starring

Cristine Rose as Marci Hatfield
Stan Ivar as Jason Hatfield
Vonda Shepard as Herself
Mark Metcalf as Attorney Walden


Notes and References