Picks and Pans Review: The Practice

updated 03/03/1997 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/03/1997 01:00AM

ABC (Tuesdays, 10 p.m. ET)

B+

Writer-producer David E. Kelley has created some dedicated professionals for Chicago Hope and Picket Fences. But Bobby Donnell (Dylan McDermott), the central character in Kelley's new lawyer series, is a certifiable workaholic. Every midnight, Bobby's burning that oil. He sleeps in his humble Boston office, surrounded by dirty laundry. Some will say he's like the show—taking on too much, trying too hard.

In the premiere on Mar. 4, it appears that the Donnell firm has a burdensome caseload (including an indecent-exposure matter we could do without). But the main plot lines are immediately involving: Bobby's defense of an innocent woman on a drug charge and a liability suit that pits Lindsay Dole (Kelli Williams), a rookie Donnell associate, against her old Harvard mentor, Anderson Pearson (guest star Edward Herrmann), who represents a tobacco company.

Bobby has a tendency toward self-dramatization and a slightly overconfident courtroom demeanor, but he's blessed with the ability to talk convincingly and at length. In a Kelley series, words count. And that's a compliment, even if we wish someone would take a breath occasionally.

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