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The Promise is the 6th episode of Season One of Ally McBeal.


Ally saves a lawyer's life - only to become the object of his affection.


Fish assigns Ally two cases: a trademark suit involving two ice cream stores, and the defense of a high-priced sex worker with co-senior partner John Cage acting as her co-counsel. During the staff meeting, Ally and Elaine take offense when Fish and Billy ogle at a beautiful young delivery woman. At the courthouse, Harry Pippin, the opposing counsel in the ice cream suit, enters the courtroom already in mid-argument, forcing Ally to jump in and catch up. The judge rules against one of Ally's motions and Harry walks out, still arguing the case. Ally follows Harry out and introduces herself. Just then, Harry is stricken with a heart attack. Ally quickly revives him by performing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

At the sex worker case hearing, the judge denies Ally's request for a continuance, forcing her to start the trial immediately. Unfortunately, the prostitute client, Sandra Winchell, recognizes John Cage as a former client. Afterward, Ally visits Harry in the hospital. He introduces his fiancée, Angela, but, privately, says he remembers Ally's mouth-to-mouth resuscitation as a kiss.

The next day, Sandra's trial continues. Renee, the District Attorney, gets a witness to testify that Sandra accepted money for sex. Ally is surprised when Cage offers no cross-examination. Later on, Harry visits Ally and he confesses that he is not passionate about Angela and asks if Ally could ever be interested in him. Ally turns Harry down, but feels guilty because she knows she is not attracted to him because of his body. Back in court, Cage argues that many women trade sex for money in one way or another, and says Sandra is just more honest about it. Later, Angela tells Ally she knows about her 'kiss' with Harry and she asks Ally not to come to their wedding. Harry visits Ally to offer a settlement in the ice cream case, which she finally accepts. Then he asks for Ally's advice on whether or not he should wait to marry for passion and she votes for passion. Later, Elaine tells Billy that the ogling of the delivery woman is creating a hostile working environment and she asks Billy to talk to Fish about the incident.

During closing arguments in Sandra's case, Renee says Sandra broke the law, plain and simple. However, Cage reiterates his argument that our society supports women who perform sex for money in many ways and his reasoning grates on Ally. Later, Angela tells Ally that Harry has called off the wedding. When Angela says that overweight people do not have any other romantic options, Ally feels she has to get them back together. Ally visits Harry and tells him she has realized marriage is more about compassion than passion and says she knows no one else besides Angela who would ever date him. He slowly begins to see her point. Back in court, the jury acquits Sandra. Later, at the office, Billy tells Fish that if the ogling doesn't end, the firm could face a lawsuit.

Elaine announces that Harry and Angela are back together and that Ally is invited to the wedding after all. Privately, Cage tells Ally to stay a romantic and never give up. Ally attends Harry and Angela's wedding unsure if she did the right thing by bringing them back together.


Full transcript can be found here.



I Only Wanna Be With You (cover) | VONDA SHEPARD
Georgia and ally discuss cage at the bar
Goodnight My Someone (The Music Man) (cover) | VONDA SHEPARD
Ally singe with Renee and Ally walks and thinks about her advice
Ask The Lonely | VONDA SHEPARD
Ally and Georgia talk about love

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

Guest starring

Jay Leggett as Harry Pippen
Rusty Schwimmer as Angela Tharpe
Jamie Rose as Sandra Winchell
Vonda Shepard as Herself
Michael Winters as Judge Herbert Spitt
Michael Bofshever as Judge Allen Stephenson
James Mathers as Dr. Carpenter