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Played by Christian Clemenson
Jerry Espenson was an attorney in the corporate division at Crane, Poole & Schmidt for fifteen years. According to Denny Crane, he was known as a "banking and finance genius". Denny also warns Allan that Jerry hates being called "Hands" and Alan wonders why anyone would call him that. Alan Shore made Jerry's acquaintance when he contacted him for help in resolving Melissa Hughes's credit card difficulties in 2x10 [Legal Deficits] . It was immediately evident to Alan that Jerry was socially awkward, but had encyclopedic knowledge of the law. It was not determined until 2x12 [Helping Hands] that he has a condition called Asperger's Syndrome, a form of autism. While Jerry has difficulty interacting with some people in stressful situations, he has formed a comfortable bond with his two companions: Linda, the gecko, and Patty, his life-sized companion doll.
Jerry's Partnership Dream
Jerry was up for partner in 2x11 [The Cancer Man Can], and - not knowing what his chances were - he asked his new friend Alan to help find out. Alan learned from Denny Crane that Jerry had no chance, mainly because he didn't fit the standard mold expected of partners (or, as Denny impolitely said, "He's a wierdo"). Furious with this line of reasoning, Alan confronted Shirley Schmidt, who explained that Jerry had also had "a few blowups", including one time in front of a client. Jerry also admitted having pushed another attorney once when he felt he was being ridiculed. Not willing to give up, Alan interrupted the partnership vote and launched a tirade on behalf of Jerry's candidacy. Despite Alan's efforts, however, Shirley informed Jerry that he would not be making partner.
Jerry's anger over the news came to a head when he interrupted Brad's partnership celebration and held the cake knife to Shirley's throat in front of the gathering. Alan was able to talk him into surrendering the knife, under the condition that he would defend him in any possible trial and Shirley pressed charges of attempted murder as well as a long list of other charges against Jerry. In 2x12 [Helping Hands], Alan defended Jerry in trial, pointing out that the firm led Jerry to believe he had a chance to make partner when he never did. His reports all claimed his work was brilliant but he was socially awkward. It was while researching his defense that Alan learned that Jerry had Asperger's. Based on the diagnosis, Alan convinced Shirley to drop the charges as long as Jerry received treatment. Given what had happened, however, Jerry could no longer remain employed at Crane, Poole & Schmidt.
Jerry As A Trial Lawyer
After leaving the firm, Jerry began receiving behavior modification therapy, and, by the time he appeared again in 2x22 [Ivan The Incorrigible], he carried himself with much more confidence. He was now a "solo practitioner" working in his specialty, financial law. However, he had taken on a court-assigned attempted murder case because his therapist had suggested putting himself in "more and varied social situations". When discussing the case, Jerry's confident front disappeared, and his old mannerisms returned, so Alan offered to be second chair. During the trial, the defendant gave a different answer than expected, causing Jerry to panic and make a crucial gaffe, probably damaging their case beyond saving, when up to that point he was doing excellent. After the trial, Alan said that, while Jerry "could develop into a first-rate criminal defender", he hoped he wouldn't, Jerry agreed that he should focus on finance.
Jerry continued to make great strides on his own. By 3x05 [Whose God Is It Anyway?], he had his own practice, and in 3x07 [Trick Or Treat], he mentioned that he had been featured in a magazine interview. In 3x08 [Lincoln] and 3x09 [On The Ledge], Jerry handled another criminal case, this time defending an acquaintance, Erica Dolenz, against murder charges. He again requested Alan's help in the case, but this time, he was able to stay mostly relaxed and maintain his focus (partly with the aid of medication) and brought the trial to a successful conclusion.
Besides his attempted murder trial, Jerry required legal assistance on three other occasions - and was represented by Alan in each case. In 3x01 [Can't We All Get A Lung], he was arrested for assaulting a police officer after they impounded his doll Patty during a traffic stop. The case was not resolved on-screen although Jerry received no evident punishment. In the same episode, he was brought up on charges of soliciting a prostitute after the police broke in on his therapy session with sexual surrogate Joanna Miller. The judge dismissed the charges.
In 3x05 [Whose God Is It Anyway?], Jerry was sued by a former lawyer at his firm for wrongful termination. The lawyer was an outspoken scientologist, and Jerry felt he was hurting the credibility of his firm. The jury ruled in his favor. Finally, in 3x07 [Trick Or Treat], Alan again defended Jerry against criminal charges, this time in a federal perjury case. Jerry had lied on a jury screening questionnaire about whether he supported the death penalty - he said he did when he actually opposed it in all situations. Alan won the sympathy of the jury, and he was found not guilty.
Jerry and Alan
Alan is apparently the closest friend Jerry has ever had (besides Patty). Alan demonstrated respect for Jerry from the first time they met, and Jerry was clearly impressed by Alan's tirade against credit card attorney Melvin Palmer in 2x10 [Legal Deficits]. Jerry tried to thank Alan for his help in 2x12 [Helping Hands], but he could only manage to say "Good-bye" as he left the firm. Later, Jerry apologized profusely after Alan's arrest in 2x24 [Deep End Of The Poole] because he felt responsible, having made the crucial mistake which led to Alan advising Ande Mkeba to flee the country.
Besides going to Alan for legal help, Jerry also revealed some of his closest personal issues to Alan. In 3x01 [Why Can't We All Get A Lung?], Jerry confessed to Alan that he had never been with a woman sexually. Alan recruited sex therapist Joanna Miller to help Jerry with his intimacy issues. One of the things she told him was that he would someday meet a "real, live Patty". Jerry thought he may have found her in Sally Heep in 3x05 [Whose God Is It Anyway?], but when he mustered the courage to visit her at her apartment, he found Alan already there. This incident did not seem to hurt Alan and Jerry's friendship in any way. In 3x09 [On The Ledge], Jerry told Alan that one of his dreams during law school had been to experience the "socialization of lawyering", but he said he'd never found that until meeting Alan. He also mentions to a co-worker that the first real hug he got was from Alan.
Jerry back at CP&S
In episode 3x22 [Guantanamo by the Bay] we find Jerry back in Shirley's office. He asks her for his old job, claiming that even though he had his own practice and clients, he had never had as much fun anywhere as he had at CP&S. In the end he persuades her (one of the arguments being that he is so happy with the idea that he hums a song to himself - the song being the theme song to Boston Legal - which was a fourth wall lowering) but she tells him that Denny Crane needs to approve and warns him that Denny feels threatened by his friendship with Alan. After some negotiating Denny approves but Jerry has to give him the inflatible Patty doll. As consolation Denny lends him his own inflatable doll - Shirley Schmidthoe.
Veteran actor Christian Clemenson won his first major award in 2006, taking home the Emmy for best guest actor in a drama for his portrayal of Jerry Espenson. One of his first television roles was in a 1985 episode of Golden Girls, with Betty White. In 1990, he was on the cast of short-lived drama Capital News (with Daniel Roebuck). His guest roles have included parts on LA Law (1986), The Practice (1998), and Ally McBeal (2002). Clemenson and James Spader have known each other since their early acting days, and the two appeared together in the film Bad Influence (1990). Clemenson's other film credits include supporting roles in Apollo 13 (1995) and The Big Lebowski (1998). Besides his work on Boston Legal in 2006, he received acclaim for his portrayal of a doomed passenger in the intense 9/11 film United 93.
Christian Clemenson at the Internet Movie Database.
Episode appearances -
2x10 [Legal Deficits]
2x11 [The Cancer Man Can]
2x12 [Helping Hands]
2x22 [Ivan the Incorrigible]
2x24 [Deep End of the Poole]
3x01 [Can't We All Get A Lung?]
3x05 [Whose God Is It Anyway?]
3x07 [Trick Or Treat]
3x09 [On The Ledge]
3x10 [The Nutcrackers]
3x16 The Good Lawyer
3x20 Guise n Dolls
3x21 Tea and Sympathy
3x22 Guantanamo by the Bay
3x23 Duck and Cover
3x24 Trial of the Century
4x01 Beauty and the Beast
4x02 The Innocent Man
4x03 The Chicken and the Leg
Latest page update: made by Sashan
, May 11 2009, 8:08 PM EDT
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|Started By||Thread Subject||Replies||Last Post|
|Sue_B||Asperger's Syndrome||5||Feb 11 2010, 11:31 PM EST by eyarita|
Thread started: Dec 1 2006, 4:33 AM EST Watch
Jerry's Asperger's is a good example of the show being an educational vehicle. I know I had never heard of AS before seeing it on the show.
When I was writing up Jerry's bio, I debated mentioning something that I had read about how folks knowledgeable about the condition were a bit upset about Jerry's violent behavior in "The Cancer Man Can" (though he hadn't been diagnosed yet). It sort of gave the impression that perhaps people with AS are prone to violent outbursts, which isn't necessarily the case.
Since I am NOT an expert on AS, I decided to stick with the details of the story. However, although I always strive to be conscientious in my writing, I was advised anonymously that saying that Jerry "suffers from" a condition was not accurate. It is sufficient to say he "has" (or "has been diagnosed") with the condition. He only "suffers" from it because of the reactions and misunderstanding of others.
Of course, I apologize for the inadvertent slight, and thanks to the person who made the correction.
I'd ask people who know more than I do to please post any thoughts or information about Asperger's here in this comment thread.
|Anonymous||You misse one||1||Nov 8 2006, 8:12 AM EST by Sue_B|
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