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Boston Public
Format Drama
Created by David E. Kelley
Starring Jessalyn Gilsig
Chi McBride
Anthony Heald
Nicky Katt
Thomas McCarthy
Loretta Devine
Joey Slotnick
Rashida Jones
Sharon Leal
Jeri Ryan
Jon Abrahams
China Jesushita Shavers
Joey McIntyre
Natalia Baron
Michael Rapaport
Kathy Baker
Fyvush Finkel
Country of origin United States
Language(s) English
No. of seasons 4
No. of episodes 81 (List of episodes)
Executive producer(s) David E. Kelley (2000-2002)
Jonathan Pontell (2000-2004)
Jason Katims (2001-2004)
Running time 44 minutes
Production company(s) David E. Kelley Productions
20th Century Fox Television
Original channel Fox
Original run October 23, 2000 (2000-10-23) – January 30, 2004 (2004-01-30)
Related shows The Practice
Ally McBeal
Boston Legal

Boston Public is an American television series created by David E. Kelley and broadcast on Fox. It centered on Winslow High School, a fictional public high school located in Boston, Massachusetts. The show was named for the real public school district in which it takes place. It featured a large ensemble cast and focused on the work and private lives of the various teachers, students, and administrators at the school and their various personalities. It aired from October 2000 to January 2004. Its slogan, as it was depicted on the show's website at the time, was "Every day is a fight. For respect. For dignity. For sanity." [1]



At the beginning, Boston Public preceded Ally McBeal on Monday nights and received initial popularity and critical acclaim for its drama and ethnically diverse cast. However, the series had a hard time finding a direction or an audience. It was generally felt that the important 18-to-24 year-old demographic would not be interested in a drama about high school teachers, so attempts were made to focus more on the lives of high school students. However, this only caused critics to accuse it of copycatting. These problems, along with major casting changes and off-beat plot lines, caused its ratings to decline. The final nail in the coffin was when Fox moved it to the Friday night death slot for the 2003-2004 season.[2] The number of viewers plummeted accordingly, and it was cancelled after a truncated fourth season.

The last episode to air on its normal time slot was on January 30, 2004.[3] The final two episodes aired on March 1, 2005 later in syndication on TV One.[4] Neither episode wrapped up any of the character stories as the series was cancelled in the middle of its fourth season.

Social soapbox

The series often served as a soapbox about various contemporary issues. In the tradition of series such as Picket Fences, Boston Public often intertwined a social issue in context of the lives of the characters, and approaching it through discourse between the characters and developments in the storyline that were meant to be reflective of particular sides of the issue.

The title of each episode was a numbered chapter, similar to that in a high school textbook, and each character had a certain story arc, with the professional and personal lives often intersecting with the issue at hand. The particular issues tackled by the show included many modern controversies and problems facing American public high schools today, such as affirmative action, teenage pregnancy, school violence, bullying, obesity, racism, gay-bashing, school prayer, terrorism, political correctness, poverty, rape, drug abuse, state funding for public education, and general teen angst/alienation.

The show typically highlighted the tendency of public schools to serve as the flashpoints for many of the politically volatile controversies in the larger scope of American society. Social commentary also sometimes took the form of using the high school setting to serve as a microcosm of America, enabling the show to act as a forum for public discussion, while other times making more subtle criticisms and statements of contemporary American culture.

Boston Public was the winner of the 2002 Peabody Award ("Chapter Thirty-Seven") from the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia.[5]

Cast and characters

The first season cast of Boston Public
Actor Character Seasons Role
Chi McBride Steven Harper 1–4 Principal
Anthony Heald Scott Guber 1–4 Vice Principal
Jessalyn Gilsig Lauren Davis 1–2 Social Studies teacher; left Winslow to teach at a private school
Nicky Katt Harry Senate 1–3 (episodes 1–49) Teacher of "the Dungeon"; fired in episode 49
Loretta Devine Marla Hendricks 1–4 Social Studies teacher
Sharon Leal Marilyn Sudor 1–4 English teacher and music instructor
Fyvush Finkel Harvey Lipschultz 1–4 History teacher
Rashida Jones Louisa Fenn 1–2 Secretary
Thomas McCarthy Kevin Riley 1 (episodes 1–13; special guest appearance in episode 18) Football coach; fired in episode 13
Joey Slotnick Milton Buttle 1 (episodes 1–13; special guest appearance in episode 15) English teacher; fired in episode 13
Kathy Baker Meredith Peters 1–2; recurring in season 1 Teacher
Jeri Ryan Ronnie Cooke 2–4 Teacher; assistant vice principal (end of season 3); guidance counselor (season 4)
Michael Rapaport Danny Hanson 2–4 Teacher
China Jesushita Shavers Brooke Harper 2–3; recurring in season 2 Student
Jon Abrahams Zach Fischer 3 Physics teacher
Joey McIntyre Colin Flynn 3 Teacher
Michelle Monaghan Kimberly Woods 3 (episodes 45–57; not featured in opening credits but receives "also starring" billing) Teacher; fired in episode 57
Cara DeLizia Marcie Kendall 3 (not featured in opening credits but receives "also starring" billing) Principal's assistant and student
Natalia Baron Carmen Torres 4 Physics teacher


Boston Public ran for four seasons, consisting of 81 episodes. Each season contained 22 episodes, except the fourth season which only had 15 episodes due to its cancellation.[6]

Awards and nominations

Boston Public received a total of 31 nominations from various award ceremonies, and won 8 of them.[7]

Awards won

Emmy Awards

  • Outstanding Art Direction for a Single Camera Series (2001)

Peabody Awards

  • Peabody Award for Episode Chapter Thirty-Seven

NAACP Image Awards

  • Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series – Loretta Devine (2001, 2003-2004)

Young Artist Awards

  • Best Performance in a TV Series - Guest Starring Young Actor – Thomas Dekker (2004)

Awards nominated

Emmy Awards

  • Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series – Kathy Baker (2001)

NAACP Image Awards

  • Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series – Rashida Jones (2002)
  • Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series – Loretta Devine (2002)
  • Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series – Vanessa Bell Calloway (2002)
  • Outstanding Drama Series (2002-2004)

Young Artist Awards

  • Best Performance in a TV Drama Series - Guest Starring Young Actress – Ashley Tisdale (2001)
  • Best Family TV Drama Series (2002)
  • Best Performance in a TV Series - Guest Starring Young Actor – Miko Hughes (2004)

Teen Choice Award

  • Choice TV Breakout Star Female – Tamyra Gray (2003)


External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Boston Public (2000-2004) was a television series, created by David E. Kelley, about the personal and professional lives of teachers working at a public high school in Boston.


Season 1

Chapter One [1.1]

Scott Guber: Where's Ms. Hendricks?
Student: We think she's dead, sir.
Scott Guber: And why do you think that, Ms. Washington?
[Student points to words on a chalkboard: GONE TO KILL MYSELF, HOPE YOU'RE HAPPY!!!]

Steven Harper: We do not help kids one by one here. Too many of them, too few of us. We serve masses, hoping more of them make it than don't. And our best results, like it or not, come with policy.

Student: Jefferson used to sleep with his slaves. The book don't say nothin' about that. They don't even say how he even had slaves. Washington neither. So I don't see why I should bust my black ass reading about a bunch of lies.
Harvey Lipschultz: Well, you see Mr. Jackson, my job is to see that you get your black ass into college. And whether these things in these books be lies or not, your achievement tests that you will be taking are standardized. And you'll have to know all these untruths in order for you to pass them, and how many slaves Jefferson had sex with will not be on the test. And if you fail American History, Mr. Jackson, you'll be sitting here again next year. And you'll have to listen all over again to what my shriveled, white, Jewish ass has to say.

Harry Senate: Anyone I suppose could contribute to a shelter or help the needy, but it takes a true American to dedicate himself to firearms. And you know what? We need people like you. Our country's getting a bad rep just because we kill each other. Well, that's manly... shooting people. United States, this is were men live. Australia — all their stupid bragging about how tough they are in the outback. They get about... 15 gun homicides a year. What the hell is that? We get ten thousand. The Japanese are even more pathetic. In 1999, for kids between 15 and 19, they didn't have one handgun murder, not one! We had over five thousand! Our teenagers are tough, but it can't happen unless we get the guns out there into their hands. And for that we need committed, good people like all of you. Look at these idiots in Washington who think it's wrong for teenagers to have assault rifles. And the stupid Democrats think we should have ten-day waiting periods. What happens if you need to kill somebody today? Next thing the government will try to crack down on incest and we won't be able to breed future NRA members. I mean, we are talking about the toothless illiterates that make this country great. This is America. Get a gun!

Mr. Harrelson: You told my son that giving him the ball is not the answer. Best he learn that now. Best he learn that in eighth grade, or seventh grade, or even sooner, don't you think, Ms. Davis? Now maybe I failed some things as his dad, but this school failed him, too. These teachers here kept promoting him, didn't they? This school never got him the message. And now you're trying to send it? Now when college scouts are coming, now when football is about to deliver him an education at the University, now you people want to rise up and deliver him the message that athletics ain't everything?

Chapter Two [1.2]

Harvey Lipschultz: All through history, when men look at women, they want to have sex. Now, God did this on purpose to ensure the survival of the human species. And he also gave women lumps, known as breasts, to inspire in man the penile urge to procreate. Now, this was very good for mankind, but not for womankind. Now, how could she succeed in this world, and how could she be respected for all her values, when men just want to mount her? Research eventually showed that it was those dangling bouncing breasts that cause special excitement to the man's blood flow. It was determined that the brassiere could stop this dangling, bouncing motion. The man would be less likely to objectify the woman and she would have a fighting chance at equality. You must harness your bosoms in order to squash the discrimination by the male gonads. This country can never maximize its potential until you can achieve equality. That's why I must make a rule, right here, and right now: wear a bra, for the good of the country.

Dana Poole: I'm not getting expelled. Guber decided to give me a three-day suspension... Did you have anything to do with it?
Harry: Listen to me. Whether or not I did, here's how it's gonna be. You come to me ever again, ever, and try to extort me for anything, I don't care if it's even a hall pass, I'm going to Harper and Guber myself and I'm going to tell them everything. You got that?
Dana Poole: Why would you do that?
Harry: Because I made a mistake with you, Dana, and I'm not going to make another one.

Superintendant Marsha Shinn: "Dragon Lady"? Is that what they call me?
Steven Harper: Only when you're in the room.

Harvey Lipschultz: My granddaughter Karen, who I thought was you for a second, is just as mischievous with her computer. You two would probably get along.
Cheryl Holt: Does she go here?
Harvey Lipschultz: No. She lives in Weymouth. Hardly ever leaves the house. Always with her computer. Knows how to make those virus things that make the websites crash. I know very little about those things. But she wouldn't stop at anything.

Lauren Davis: Three siblings. Two are doctors, the other's an investment banker. And to my parents, I'm the one who didn't make anything of herself. I can still hear my father's words: "What a waste, Lauren. You are so smart. You could actually be somebody." Something we battle every day is disrespect. We get it from the kids because it comes from the parents. And look at what we make!
Steven Harper: You know what your problem is, Lauren? You don't have any idea how powerful you are. Things you say in that classroom some of those kids are going to remember fifty years from now, even if you've forgotten by the sound of the next bell. Do you like being a teacher?
Lauren Davis: I love it.
Steven Harper: Then what are you complaining about?

Chapter Three [1.3]

Harvey Lipschultz: [to Marla] The kids are already afraid of you because they think you have mental problems. I mean that as a compliment.

Harry Senate: The assignment was the read the book. Did anybody read the book?
Harry Senate: Jamal, what do you want to be when you grow up?
Jamal: Not a teacher.
Harry Senate: You know, as a teacher, it would be inappropriate for me to tell you that you're a total screw-up. So what I want you to do is go home and ask your father, as a favor to me, to tell you that you're a total screw-up. I bet you can't wait to get out into the real world because you're all going to be rich. Companies are going to pay you a ton of money to sit there like lumps and do nothing all day. I want all my books back. Just leave them right here on my desk on your way out because, well, unlike a mind, a book is a terrible thing to waste.

Kevin Riley: Think before you speak, Harvey.
Marla Hendricks: Then he'd be mute.

Harvey Lipschultz: [to the football players] When I was a young boy, there was this baseball player. And the players didn't want him to play because he was different. But when he finally did make it into the game, they found that he could hit and run and catch better than all of them. His name was Jackie Robinson. And he paved the way for the black man to get into the game of baseball, making it a better game. What if it were to turn out that this homosexual could run faster, hit harder and throw that football straighter? We won't know that. We won't know that unless that first team of courage invites him to join the game. And I would like to think that that team of courage lives right here at Winslow High. Gentlemen, there is nothing more American than football. Be proud. Welcome the gay linebacker into your shower.

Marla Hendricks: [to the school board] Let me tell you something, let me tell all of you something. The reason I've had it is because I have to go into a room day after day after damn day and try to break through to a bunch of damn kids who don't want to listen, don't want to learn, and don't want to give me the decency of being quiet. Mr. Senate shot off a gun? I woulda rolled in a big cannon if I knew where to get one. I'd have tried anything. And you show me a teacher who doesn't almost lose his or her mind sometimes, and I'll show you a teacher who's not trying. I can show you some parents who aren't. You send them off to school thinking: job's done. It's up to the teachers now. Well, it doesn't work that way. You got to get in on this, too. Kids coming in every day singing that jingle: those who can't do, teach. They get that from their parents! Well, let me tell you, we're in there doing every damn day, and a lot of the doing we do is parenting! You want to compare failures? Step right up! Who's first?

Chapter Four [1.4]

Kevin Riley: [discussing Louisa Fenn's inviting Buttle out on a date] But do you want to go out with her?
Milton Buttle: She's female. She's breathing. I'm going through a non-picky phase.

Chapter Five [1.5]

Lauren Davis: [on counseling freshmen on birth control] I started preaching abstinence. I'm telling you I felt the habit growing on my head as the words left my mouth.

Marla Hendricks: I have four cheeks, Harry. Pick one and bite it.

Marla Hendricks: Are you gonna say grace?
Harry Senate: Yep. I'm going to thank God that I'm not you.

Chapter Six [1.6]

Harry Senate: Lauren, you and I are a disaster.
Lauren Davis: I know.
Harry Senate: As disasters go, it'd probably be one of the better ones.
[They kiss.]
Harry Senate: I mean, it's really not a good idea.
Lauren Davis: I know.
[They kiss again.]

Chapter Seven [1.7]

Chapter Eight [1.8]

Chapter Nine [1.9]

Lauren Davis: I wanna go dancing. Women have sex with men to go dancing.
Harry Senate: Men go dancing with women to have sex and we've already done that. So why do we need to go dancing?

Chapter Ten [1.10]

Chapter Eleven [1.11]

Chapter Twelve [1.12]

Chapter Thirteen [1.13]

Chapter Fourteen [1.14]

Chapter Fifteen [1.15]

Chapter Sixteen [1.16]

Chapter Seventeen [1.17]

Chapter Eighteen [1.18]

Chapter Nineteen [1.19]

Chapter Twenty [1.20]

Chapter Twenty-One [1.21]

Chapter Twenty-Two [1.22]

Season 2

Chapter Twenty-Three [2.1]

Chapter Twenty-Four [2.2]

Chapter Twenty-Five [2.3]

Chapter Twenty-Six [2.4]

Chapter Twenty-Seven [2.5]

Chapter Twenty-Eight [2.6]

Chapter Twenty-Nine [2.7]

Chapter Thirty [2.8]

Chapter Thirty-One [2.9]

Chapter Thirty-Two [2.10]

Chapter Thirty-Three [2.11]

Chapter Thirty-Four [2.12]

Chapter Thirty-Five [2.13]

Chapter Thirty-Six [2.14]

Chapter Thirty-Seven [2.15]

Chapter Thirty-Eight [2.16]

Chapter Thirty-Nine [2.17]

Chapter Forty [2.18]

Marla Hendricks: Harvey, Helen is dead. And as for your reputation... it's in worse shape than Helen.

Chapter Forty-One [2.19]

Chapter Forty-Two [2.20]

Chapter Forty-Three [2.21]

Chapter Forty-Four [2.22]

Season 3

Chapter Forty-Five [3.1]

Chapter Forty-Six [3.2]

Chapter Forty-Seven [3.3]

Chapter Forty-Eight [3.4]

Chapter Forty-Nine [3.5]

Mr. Johnson: You wanna know why I got no money? [plays a piano solo] I get music, and I get how seductive it can be. It's like your guts are telling you "This is what I was meant to do." It's almost spiritual. What could be better then that?

Chapter Fifty [3.6]

Chapter Fifty-One [3.7]

Chapter Fifty-Two [3.8]

Chapter Fifty-Three [3.9]

Chapter Fifty-Four [3.10]

Chapter Fifty-Five [3.11]

Chapter Fifty-Six [3.12]

Chapter Fifty-Seven [3.13]

Kimberly Woods: [on the phone with Ronnie] Sheila broke into my apartment.
Ronnie Cooke: You're sure someone was in your apartment?
[Kimberly looks at obscene graffiti on the wall.]
Kimberly Woods: Yes, I'm sure.

Chapter Fifty-Eight [3.14]

Chapter Fifty-Nine [3.15]

Chapter Sixty [3.16]

Chapter Sixty-One [3.17]

Chapter Sixty-Two [3.18]

Scott Guber: The little man has been spotted on school grounds. I've got out an all-points bulletin.
Steven Harper: How'd he get past security?
Scott Guber: Went right under them!

Chapter Sixty-Three [3.19]

Chapter Sixty-Four [3.20]

Chapter Sixty-Five [3.21]

Chapter Sixty-Six [3.22]

Season 4

Chapter Sixty-Seven [4.1]

Chapter Sixty-Eight [4.2]

Chapter Sixty-Nine [4.3]

Harvey Lipschultz: I should have asked him to bless me.
Danny Hanson: You're Jewish, Harvey. You don't believe in Christ.
Harvey Lipschultz: I've been wrong before! Why not hedge my bets?

Marla Hendricks: Just because a white boy can sing doesn’t make him Jesus.

Ronnie Cooke: [referring to Mike]] I need to get his parents in here tomorrow first thing.
Mike: My father is God and my mother is the Virgin Mary. I don’t think they are available.

Chapter Seventy [4.4]

Chapter Seventy-One [4.5]

Chapter Seventy-Two [4.6]

Chapter Seventy-Three [4.7]

Chapter Seventy-Four [4.8]

Chapter Seventy-Five [4.9]

Chapter Seventy-Six [4.10]

Chapter Seventy-Seven [4.11]

Chapter Seventy-Eight [4.12]

Chapter Seventy-Nine [4.13]

Chapter Eighty [4.14]

Chapter Eighty-One [4.15]


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