Philly (TV Series 2001–2002) Poster

(2001–2002)

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Gritty legal drama that makes way for Kim Delaney to finally take the spotlight as she so deserves.
Aussie Stud25 September 2001
Yes, this is another Steve Bochco crime drama, but before you can turn your nose up, you should reconsider giving this show a chance. Kim Delaney made the right move to exit NYPD BLUE to take the lead role in this rightfully made star vehicle which allows her to express her talents to the utmost fullest.

She plays Kathleen Maguire, one half of a legal practice, the other played by the wonderful Joanna Cassidy who unfortunately suffers a mental breakdown in the opening episode where her position is quickly filled by an aspiring young hot-shot lawyer played by Tom Everett Scott.

The premiere episode was extremely fast-paced with several interwoven story-lines crossing over each other, but not so confusing as other character-driven vehicles such as THIRD WATCH. Unlike other court dramas such as FAMILY LAW and JUDGING AMY, PHILLY's story-lines continue through further episodes and aren't neatly wrapped before the episode's end credits roll up.

Of what I can make out from the opening episode, Kathleen is a divorced single mother who spends most of her time either at her legal practice or the Courthouse and her ex-husband happens to be a prime candidate for Governor. Kathleen is a sharp-minded woman who is portrayed as a lawyer with morals and heart (yes, also think of Amy Brenneman and Kathleen Quinlan to name a few), but its characters such as hers that we don't get tired of seeing. Who would want to watch a crime drama headed by a sleazy lawyer?

I think Steve Bochco has paved the way for a bonafide hit and something that a lot of us will still be watching once NYPD BLUE hangs up its gloves for good. Perhaps this show can make room for Dennis Franz! I was very impressed with this show and this appears to be one of this season's better offerings.
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10/10
very enjoyable series
ffff-6819129 July 2015
Just finished watching all 22 episodes of Philly. I thoroughly enjoyed every one of them. Engaging plots. Sympatico characters. Convincing solid acting across the board. I suspect that some features of this series survive in the concept of The Good Wife; having watched 5 seasons of The Good Wife, while watching Philly I found myself frequently seeing similarities. I don't know the history of this series, or why it got canceled after just 1 season. But TV bean counters/ execs often display very strange logic in their choices of shows to keep vs shows to kill. Sometimes good stuff gets the ax, while plenty of junk goes on to survive. Philly is definitely one show which easily deserved to go on...
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7/10
Found Philly on Netflix, I wish there were more episodes
Bob Shields18 December 2011
In one way, I'm glad I didn't find Philly until ten years after it was canceled. I knew it wouldn't last from the outset, so was saved from being disappointed when it was taken away.

I think every one of the 22 episodes was a gem; the cast was wonderful and the stories intelligently and realistically presented.

Kim Delaney was perfect as the idealistic but determined and smart defense attorney, making a difference in a seedy system.

Tom Everett Scott played her less idealistic, but equally determined partner beautifully.

Rick Hoffman played prosecutor Terry Loomis very well, but one wonders how he could remain on of the top lawyers in the DAs office when he lost so often to Delaney and Scott.

Kyle Secor as the Asst. DA and ex to Delaney was a great foil.

And Dena Detrich as the judge with a dog she brought into court supplied comic relief, but also realistic counsel to the attorneys. Much more successfully than did Robert Harper as the buffoonish Judge Haws.

I imagine after 911, audiences weren't sympathetic to legal defense. I think this show was a victim of the time it came to air.

I wanted more, that's high praise.
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Why did they cancel this show??
rerickson0127 October 2002
I am still praying that they will bring back this show. I thought it was going to flop right away, but it lasted a whole season. I expected it to be back. Instead my viewing habits have turned more to NBC to watch SUV, Law and Order, etc. The only thing that ABC has to come close is "The Practice" and the plots are getting old. "Philly" seemed "realer" than "Practice", not as canned.
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On the fence
Mustard Seed2 October 2001
Philadelphia's sights, history, architecture, residents, and personality give writers and film-makers plenty to work with, and many have. Unfortunately, it hasn't been utilized as much as it might have (and I think it deserves). From what I understand, this is mostly because it lacks a permanent soundstage. Although Ben Franklin Parkway and other areas were closed off at times over the summer for filming the outdoor shots of 'Philly', most or all of the indoor shooting is being done on the west coast. The recreated interior of City Hall looks pretty good.

'Philly' plays the Hostile City's gritty reputation to the hilt. It has drawn some heat locally for its portrayal of city corruption - but not surprisingly, I haven't heard an official word on the likelihood of a mini-skirted, model-gorgeous, whip-smart, heart of gold attorney.

I have enjoyed Philly's first two episodes, but my reception is cooled by the hero-or-villain take on some of its characters. The show makes it clear that Kathleen McGuire (Kim Delaney) has adopted a tough exterior only to do her job; she's really a gentle, altruistic soul who cries into a teddy bear at the end of a bad day (two of 'em so far). She is, at least, very strong - one wonders how she gets through what she does with her head up. But while I'm biting on that, I'm also wondering how she - as a good judge of character - ever hooked up with her (ex-, or separated) husband, a district attorney so unlikeable only a bad writer could love him.

There are other question marks. From tonight's episode, for example: Would a resident of the city (no matter how well-meaning) leave a near-stranger, possibly guilty of a knife attack, alone in her apartment for the day? Is this the same city I live in?

Still the show has promise. It has an edge, a ready quip, a fast pace. It can amuse and surprise. Everyone in the cast appears to be up to the task of the characters they play, right down to the Judge's Pommie.

And there are some nice shots around the city. Cept, what's up with the burning trash can?

7/10 stars.
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9/10
Really (really) good
ibsanguine19 December 2015
This was a terrific binge-watching experience, with excellent writing meeting outstanding acting and directing. It's one of the best legal dramas that I've seen.

Works within this genre -- books, movies or TV series -- are at their best when they focus on philosophical discussions about the unintended consequences of particular laws and ethical issues; including both the "low-hanging fruit" variety -- defending those who commit heinous acts, Constitutional issues like the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th & 8th amendments, etc -- AND the more exotic like attorney- client privilege, pre-trial discovery, etc.

Philly *clearly* embraced these philosophical discussions and the show felt like the *early* seasons of Law & Order in this regard; before L&O's trite, crappy writing and melodramatic plot lines took hold.

In fact, my one criticism of this show's design was that it crammed far too many of these topics into each episode; leaving a *lot* of unexplored drama on the table as a result. Nevertheless, there is a whole lot to love about this dead-before-its-time series so if you like legal thrillers, give it a go when you find it. You won't be sorry.
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9/10
Must Watch
glukenewson30 August 2018
All I want to know is who in their right mind cancelled this??!!! Intelligent writing, great characters and realistic storylines.
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9/10
A LEGAL SHOW THAT ACTUALLY SHOWS THE CRAZY REALITY OF AMERICAN CRIMINAL JUSTICE-BUT...
baroncoco29 June 2018
...it's Bochco, so there's WAY too much time spent on supposedly engrossing personal lives that are just DULL. Same problem that eventually killed David E. Kelley's equally good and realistic "The Practice", but that at least got a solid two or three seasons; to cancel "Philly" after one season was plain unfair, they were already working out the right balance and character kinks. AND WE NEED SHOWS ABOUT DEFENSE LAWYERS, AMERICA'S LOVE AFFAIR WITH PROSECUTION IS DOING NOTHING BUT FILLING PRISONS.
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9/10
while this comment won't bring back the series....
activemoviefan20 February 2007
Philly was a great show. I was so disappointed ABC did not renew it for Season 3.

Kim Delaney was great, Rick Hoffman was wonderful and he is even on other "legal shows" (like Boston Legal, he was great in that one guest episode there).

There was a great support acting team, and production value was superb.

This show was not dark, or overly dramatic. It was make you feel good show with a bit of spice in there.

I really wish they kept this show, Kim Delaney deserves her own show. I was skeptical she could do it, even though I liked her in NYPD. But in this show, she really shined.

She got a bum rap in CSI Miami.. but that's another story..
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User comments . . .
robert_street_iii6 August 2003
While I enjoyed the show, what bothers me the most is seeing people make comments about it when they've only seen one episodes and five minutes of another. Please, be a little more educated before you start telling other people what was wrong with the show.
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This is no "Ally McBeal." Which is no bad thing, but there's a reason Ally lasted five years and this didn't.
Victor Field20 December 2002
Since "NYPD Blue" premiered, a lot of new shows from Steven Bochco Productions have come and gone (from "Public Morals," Bochco's ill-advised foray into the world of sitcoms, to the medical drama "City of Angels" - one of the few Steven Bochco series not as yet shown in Britain). "Philly" wasn't the one to break his losing streak, but this legal drama still deserves a bit better than it's been getting ;at the time of writing it's airing on Channel 4 in the UK late at night in single or double-bills over the Christmas period. Can you say "filler"? Come on - it's no classic, but it's not "Mortal Kombat: Conquest" either.

A vehicle for Kim Delaney, the late Bobby Simone's equally late girlfriend is reincarnated as Kathleen Maguire, a Philadelphia lawyer and divorced mother of one (her ex happens to be a DA, with all that implies). She has trouble with the circuit judges she argues her cases in front of and is given to wearing suspiciously short skirts (Bochco always did have a weakness for strikingly attractive legal reps on his shows), but fortunately the resemblance to Ally McBeal ends there; her legal life is loaded with difficulty from the first episode onwards, in which her load is doubled when her partner [Joanna Cassidy, last seen as Brenda's mother on "Six Feet Under"] has a breakdown in court and winds up in psychiatric care... like I said, this ain't no Ally.

Kathleen's characterised as dedicated and idealistic, but her rival lawyers aren't set up as the enemy - they're all people trying to do a job. Her new partner (Tom Everett Scott) is set up as looser than she is, but just as set on doing a good job. Plus the series is set in one of America's less exposed cities... so far so competent. And that's the show's problem - there's nothing really WRONG with it; the writing doesn't stink, the acting's decent (especially Rick Hoffman as one of the Commonwealth's lawyers), the stories hold the attention, the different setting is a change, the kid isn't too annoying, and Mike Post rises to the occasion yet again in terms of themes. But like "Brooklyn South," "Philly" lacks that extra something that could put it over the top - although at least the characters here are slightly less anonymous.

If it didn't carry the legend "Executive Producer: Steven Bochco," this show might have gotten a chance to show its legs were as good as Kim Delaney's. But in any event, it's a decent time-passer; more "Equal Justice" than "Murder One," but none the worse for that.
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I love Philly!
mulder8scully518 February 2005
i just want to say that I love the show Philly! it's a great show! i love it!...it's a light drama...they really did a great Job! the last episode that was show here in the Philippines is "lies of Minelli" i really enjoyed that episode! love it! Kim Delaney is great! COOL!!! the next episode is here come the judge...i hope ABC has given it another chance... Steven Bochco's story line is Cool! I also love the episode "Live and Leg Die" ( i hope i got that right) and of course, "Ripley, believe it or not"...that episode is cool... hope i could find the Theme of the show...

am hoping that there would be a DVD...heehaws...wishful thinking!
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10/10
They Always Cancel the Good Ones!
tctiptop19 May 2019
I just finished watching all 22 episodes, and I would have liked to see this one continue. Apart from the ridiculously long 'You should see Philly' intro and musicals for fade ins, the cast was parallel to Law and Order style, with a balance of content and character lineup. The fast paced dialogue was excellent mental therapy. The inclusion of judges as people too, was ingenious.This, even though some moments included throwing a pillow at the TV. So well done, it's hard to believe no one picked this series up for more seasons! Wait a minute, maybe someone (intelligent) will!
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Casting was the problem
JYJ3 February 2003
I did see a few episodes of Philly and you could see it right away what was the problem with the show. In shows like Law And Order S.V.U , you see a perfect cast. This shows lacks it totally. Actors like Tom Everett Scott are unconvincing and uninteresting. All in all its not surprising that this show got cancelled, the writing and the directing seemed ok but this show did not work at all. Want to watch a good Law show. The Practice is it.
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7/10
Lacks personal things
DutchCharmed3 August 2006
What I missed in Philly was the personal life of Kathleen and the others, it was mostly all about how to solve the case and all.. You did see some personal stuff, sometimes, but I didn't think it was enough. I love Tom Everett Scott in ER, and I thought I'd just watch this series to see how he's doing, and I like him very much, his acting is great, but I would've liked to see better story lines. I think that if there was an equal focus on a personal life and on the whole trials and all, it would much better! I have seen the first 10 episodes of Philly, and I like them, I like the way the characters are, especially Tom Everett Scott's character, he brings in a little comedy with some of his comments, Kim Delaney is really great too, and I hope to see some chemistry between Kim and Tom, in the upcoming episodes (Episode 11-22). So, from all that I've seen from this show, I think it is a cool show, but it needed better story lines, I think that if this show would have had like a 2nd season, the writers could've easily improved.
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Offers nothing NEW
Goon-214 December 2001
I saw about the first five minutes of the first episode of "Philly" because I was checking to see if any actors I liked were guest starring. They weren't. Instead, I saw, much to my disgust, Joanna Cassidy flashing her breasts...on network TV. Ugh. What a turn-off.

I forgot all about "Philly" until I discovered Nina Siemaszko was going to be a guest star, so I decided to watch that episode, hideously titled "Fork You Very Much." To give it credit, it was...better than I thought, but still offered nothing new and fresh to watch in the great slew of law-related shows. Basically, I guess Kim Delaney is supposed to be "Kathleen," a busy lawyer who works in a firm with Tom Everett Scott and some other folks. "Fork You Very Much" had Delaney and Scott in court just about the whole time. Delaney was so darned busy she had TWO cases--an evil rapist that she did not really want to defend and a kind, "troubled" alcoholic who neglected her kids, while Scott had to deal with some couple where the women did SOMETHING(to this second, I really don't know what) with a fork to her husband(hence the title, though why, since it was beyond the "B" plot.) He was also against some female prosecutor with a deep voice, whom I think he was supposed to be attracted to, and I guess he must love every women in the world, because he also had some chat with a judge(guest star Veronica Hamel) whom he had (trashily) slept with...Kathleen, on the other hand, basically spent all of her time being busy, but was vaguely set up with some detective.

I did not care about Tom Everett Scott's character or anything involving his plot. Scott was okay in a role that really could have been played by any 30-something(and I would have prefered it to have been played by somebody MUCH more interesting). Delaney was also alright, but her role was also very, very generic and could have been played by any actress. I did not care about Kathleen's social life, and actually "forgot" about her involvment with the stupid detective until he suddenly came back toward the end. Kathleen at work was a LITTLE bit more interesting, but her two cases did not go together in the least. Did they not have some other character that could have represented kind, troubled Teresa the Alcoholic? I could see why a female attorney character would be faced against the evil demon rapist character(the rapist was annoying and had creepy tattoos, but actually had a couple of funny lines), but they really didn't *need* the other case...not that I am complaining, since the guest star who played Teresa(and did a good job) was the reason I watched. At least the conclusions of Delaney's cases turned out sort of interestingly, with the rapist getting a verdict(I will not say of what, because I think it was supposed to be "shocking"). I um, predicted what would become of Teresa(except I didn't know "why" she would do what she did), but at least the final between Delaney and Scott and her was probably the best scene in the show.

Basically my viewing of an episode of "Philly" left me with the impression that it is a rather generic and run-of-the-mill show, that when featuring a good guest star makes a for PASSABLE viewing. I doubt I would watch it without any guest stars I like, however...
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