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Pilot is the premiere of Season One of Ally McBeal.

Synopsis

Young lawyer Ally McBeal experiences emotional turmoil when she takes a job at a firm where her childhood sweetheart, first love and ex-boyfriend also works.

Plot

In flashbacks, young lawyer and Ally McBeal recalls how she initially went to law school to follow her childhood sweetheart, Billy Thomas, to Harvard law school. This is despite Ally not wishing to read law. They break up as Billy changes his mind and heads to Michigan law. Ally continues on and becomes a lawyer with a prominent firm. She leaves quickly when a partner, Jack Billings, repeatedly fondles her backside. Ally meets her old classmate, money-loving Richard Fish who invites her to join his newly-formed firm. Fish gives Ally a can't-lose censorship case to break in, then introduces her to her hyper-efficient secretary, Elaine, and another young associate... Billy Thomas. Fish recommends that Billy handle Ally's sexual-harassment case against Billings.

The next morning, Ally acts as if nothing has changed, but her roommate, Renee, knows what Ally won't admit: that working with Billy will be very difficult. At the office, Fish tells Ally about an upcoming meeting with prospective client Air National. Later, Billy informs Ally that he is now married. Ally hides her disappointment, but on her way to her censorship hearing, she snaps inappropriately at a stranger who bumps her on the street. To Ally's disbelief, the judge rules in favor of the censorship, although he does invite her to appeal his decision.

When Ally confesses her loss to Fish, Billy defends her. She snaps back at him. Later, Billy asks for an explanation. Ally tells him it is difficult being around him again. Billy's beautiful wife, Georgia, arrives and Ally greets her warmly, but seethes inside. That night, Georgia visits Ally at her apartment, saying Billy told her he and Ally once "had a few dates." Georgia and Ally then confess their mutual hatred... and feel better. The next morning, Billy and Ally depose Billings, who claims his obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) forces him to grab women's buttocks. Ally however lashes out at him. Billy chastises her and she chastises him for telling Georgia they had "a couple of dates." Billy finally admits he was very much in love with Ally. Later, Ally tells Fish she doesn't want to meet with the National people because conference rooms make her feel small and juvenile but Fish won't take no for an answer.

The next morning, Fish meets with Billings, saying anyone creative enough to come up with the OCD defense deserves a job offer, Ally then threatens to quit. Billings admits he made up the OCD claim and promises never to touch Ally again. Fish reveals the offer was a fake-and that he has recorded the whole conversation as evidence for Ally's case. Georgia waits in Ally's office, angry that Ally told Billy about Georgia's prior visit to Ally's home. Fish then tells them to work out their differences. Later, during the National meeting, Ally is distracted by memories and feelings of inadequacy. However, she comes up with a strategy for National that convinces them to hire the firm for law cases. Fish, Billy and Ally drink a toast to the success. Afterward, Ally admits to Billy that she still loves him. He admits he loves her as well but also loves Georgia. Later, Ally tells Fish the week has been extremely trying for her but then reminds herself that she wouldn't want to be too happy.

Script

Full transcript can be found here.

Quotes

Ally: I'm not sure how it all started. Oh, it was because I smelled his bottom. It wasn't that stupid. Dogs did it. That's how they knew for sure.

Music

Maryland | VONDA SHEPARD
Searchin' My Soul | VONDA SHEPARD
Neighborhood | VONDA SHEPARD
Wildest times of the World | VONDA SHEPARD
Tell Him | THE EXCITERS
Drown In My Own Tears (Cover) | VONDA SHEPARD
Baby don't you break my heart slow | VONDA SHEPARD
Like A Hemisphere | VONDA SHEPARD

See also list of songs in the episode.

Starring

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

Guest starring

Larry Brandenburg as Judge Raynsford Hopkins
Richard Riehle as Jack Billings

Photos

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