Ally McBeal Wiki

Love's Illusions is the 22nd episode of Season Two of Ally McBeal.


Ally’s fantasies interfere with her lawyering, prompting fears that she may be losing her mind; a man who believes his wife never loved him sues for fraud; Fish experiences impotency as he and Ling are about to make love.


One morning, as Ally prepares for work, she experiences several fantasies/memories, all of them involving her youth. In one of the fantasies, an eight-year-old Ally sits on her bed as her mother calls her for breakfast. In another, she and her teenaged girlfriends sing the Robert Palmer song, Addicted To Love. When the fantasies end, Ally lowers herself to the floor and puts her head in her hands.

In court, Ally and Cage represent their client, Kelly Philbrick. Kelly’s husband, Barry, testifies that he had always believed his marriage was wonderful. But one day, Barry came upon his wife’s diary. The entries, which consist of a series of love letters, go back some eleven years. Barry and his wife have been married for two years. Barry claims that Kelly married him for his money, and never really loved him. As a result, he is suing for fraud. During Ally’s cross-examination, Barry explains that the letters were addressed to a Michael Redmond, a fictitious person. Suddenly, Ally experiences a fantasy in which Judge Walsh rises and sings… in the form of Al Green. Ally just as suddenly snaps out of the dream, wondering if she is losing her mind. She later tells Cage about the experience.

Ling approaches Fish and demands that he employ the erotic maneuver on her knee pit. Fish refuses to do so… unless they have sexual intercourse. Ling agrees to the proposal, and sets up a rendezvous for that evening.

Cage tells Ally that what she is seeking in a man doesn’t exist. He believes her Al Green fantasy is part of her make believe world—the only place that won’t end up disappointing her. Ally denies this is true, and insists she loves the world in which she lives.

When Kelly takes the witness stand, she describes for the jury the disappointment she felt on her wedding day. She had romanticized the event her entire life, yet when the moment came, it was bitterly disappointing, for she had no passion for the man she was about to marry. As she could not share her feelings with Barry, she sought an alternate means of expression.

Inside the unisex bathroom, Georgia and Billy reminisce about what it was like to be single. The conversation shifts to having sex inside the stall. With that, Georgia pushes Billy inside a stall, and they begin to undress.

During cross-examination, Kelly admits that, perhaps, she married Barry because she realized she would never meet anyone who measured up to her romanticized version of the ideal mate. When Kelly states that love is "probably all an illusion," it triggers objections from Ally… and yet another fantasy with Al Green.

Ally and Cage enter the unisex bathroom as Billy and Georgia have sex inside the stall. Billy and Georgia stop their activity, but unfortunately, their weight is pressed against the stall door. As Ally tells Cage that every marriage must have passion, the door gives way, and Billy and Georgia tumble onto the floor.

Ally experiences a dream in which her parents argue bitterly. A young Ally attempts to block out the noise by placing her hands over her ears.

As Fish climbs into bed, ready for sex, Ling presents him with a waiver and confidentiality agreement. Ling explains that she has "trade secrets." Ling tosses the clip board aside and climbs atop Fish. Unfortunately, Fish is unable to perform.

Ally and Cage turn to counselor/sociologist Margaret Camero—whom Fish once called a "vicious lesbian" on the stand—for help with their case. At first, Camero understandably rejects their offer. But Ally promises she will not be vilified on the stand.

Fish tells Cage about his sexual dysfunction. Cage suggests he look to Bob Dole for help. Fish consults a doctor. He receives a prescription for a medication that will alleviate his impotence.

In court, Camaro labels the notion of a soul mate as a myth. She also dismisses wedding vows as "archaic ceremony jargon." Afterward, Ally angrily confronts Camero about her views.

Renee grows concerned about Ally’s well being. Ally tells Renee that her mother never loved her father. She recounts how, as a young girl, she caught her mother having sex with another man. It was on that day that she started pretending.

Fish asks Ling for a second chance at lovemaking. But if she refuses, he promises there will be no more "knee pit action." Later, thanks to the medication, he and Ling have sex.

During her final statement, Ally argues that, in the real world, we must sometimes settle for a mate who comes close to our expectations. She tells the jury that what Kelly did was perfectly reasonable. The jury rules in Kelly’s favor. As Ally walks home that night, alone, she tries very hard not to cry.


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
Portia de Rossi as Nelle Porter
Lucy Liu as Ling Woo
with Peter MacNicol as John Cage
and Gil Bellows as Billy Thomas

Special Appearance By

Al Green as Himself

Guest starring

Barbara Alyn Woods as Kelly Philbrick
Albert Hall as Judge Seymore Walsh
Anne-Marie Johnson as District Attorney Foster
Paul Bartel as Doctor
Wendy Worthington as Margaret Camaro
Robert Picardo as Barry Philbrick