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They Eat Horses, Don't They? is the 2nd episode of Season Two of Ally McBeal.

Synopsis

A client sues a radio shock jock for contributing to sexual harassment at her workplace while Cage defends a restaurateur who fed a customer horse meat.

Plot

Nelle tells John Cage that she is aware of his attraction towards her due to Fish reveal it to her. Upset, Cage confronts Fish in his office and Fish apologizes for leaking the information. Shortly thereafter, the pair attends a staff meeting. It is announced that one of Nelle’s clients, Ling Woo, is suing radio shock jock Harold Wick. Woo alleges that Wick’s sexually-charged program spills over into working environments, thereby contributing to sexual harassment at the steel plant where she works.

In court, Attorney John Harkness examines Stephen Daley, a man suing a French restaurant. Daley explains that he and his wife dined at the establishment to celebrate their wedding anniversary. He ordered the chef’s table menu, which features many exotic dishes. When he pressed the waiter to reveal the name of a particularity tasty cut of meat, he was informed that is was horse meat and both Daley and his wife grew nauseous. When Cage cross-examines, he attempts to chip away at Daley’s testimony, pointing out that he consumes cow, pig and even Cornish game hen without suffering any guilty conscience. But Daley maintains that a horse is a noble animal. Later, Cage shows Ally an old stuffed horse, one he’s had since he was a child. He admits that he’s always had a special affection for horses, and especially for the television show Ed.

During the deposition, Harold Wick directs sexist, racist comments towards those in attendance, particularly the females. Afterwards, Ally wonders aloud if the firm is giving Wick exactly what he wants: publicity. Later on, the issue goes before Judge Andrew Peters. Attorney Walden argues that the lawsuit is preposterous, as Wick’s speech is protected by the First Amendment. But Nelle argues that, much like second-hand smoke, Wick’s words have poisoned people’s minds and contributed to an atmosphere of gender bias, and therefore, should be held responsible. Afterwards, a stupefied and jealous Ally tells Elaine that Nelle’s argument was brilliant.

When the owner of the French restaurant, Joseph Handy, takes the witness stand, he insists that horsemeat is low in fat and high in protein. He believes customers should have a choice as to whether or not they consume the meat. But he feels it is unjust for him to be dragged into court for serving it. Later, as Cage works on his closing argument, Nelle steps off the elevator. When Cage inquires if she has ever consumed horse meat, Nelle believes she is being asked out on a date. Surprisingly, she agrees to meet Cage for dinner on Thursday night.

Judge Peters is swayed by Nelle’s argument and he denies the motion to dismiss the case. Ally is completely dumbstruck. The ruling sends shock waves through the media. Shortly thereafter, in a surprising move, Nelle tells Fish and Ling that they should file a motion to dismiss. She believes they don’t stand a chance at winning any sort of settlement and she opts instead to draft a statement. At a press conference, Ling reads the statement aloud. It implies that Wick suffers from a sexual dysfunction. But Ally is taken aback by the move, as there is no proof that Wick is impotent. She tells the others that what they did was dishonest to the extreme. Later, Wicks invites Ally to appear on his program and Ally accepts the offer, much to the surprise of her colleagues and even to herself.

Cage delivers a strong closing argument, speaking from his heart. But Georgia tells him that, in spirit, it may not have been in their client’s best interests. She states that the summation may give Handy grounds for a new trial. But the issue becomes moot when the jury sides with Handy.

As the broadcast gets underway, Ally turns out to be surprisingly adept at handling Wick’s barbed, sexist comments. She maintains that the lawsuit was formulated to prevent more shock jocks like Wick from launching their own programs. But she also states that the reason the case was dismissed was to keep people like Wicks from disappearing. After the taping, Ally tells Wicks that what the firm did to him during the press conference was underhanded. Wick, who is humble when not on the air, tells Ally that she is "a good lady." Later, Ally informs Nelle that she was disgusted by the press statement.

Script

Full transcript can be found here.

Music

List of music in the episode can be found here.

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
Vonda Shepard as Herself
with Peter MacNicol as John Cage
and Gil Bellows as Billy Thomas

Special Appearances By

Wayne Newton as Harold Wicks
David Ogden Stiers as Judge Andrew Peters

Recurring cast

Portia de Rossi as Nelle Porter
Lucy Liu as Ling Woo[1]

Guest starring

James Sutorius as Daley's Attorney
Albert Hall as Judge Seymore Walsh
Mark Metcalf as Attorney Walden
Tim Thomerson as Mr. Daley
Stuart Pankin as Mr. Handy
J. Karen Thomas as Karen Martin-Gray
Marty Levy as TV Announcer

Notes and references

  1. First appearance of Ling Woo
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