Boston Public

Boston Public is an American drama television series created by David E. Kelley and broadcast on Fox. Set in Boston, the series centers on Winslow High School, a fictional public high school in the Boston Public Schools district. It features a large ensemble cast and focuses on the work and private lives of the various teachers, students, and administrators at the school. It aired from October 2000 to January 2004. Its slogan was "Every day is a fight. For respect. For dignity. For sanity."[1]

Boston Public
Created byDavid E. Kelley
StarringJessalyn 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
Composer(s)Danny Lux
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons4
No. of episodes81 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)David E. Kelley
Jonathan Pontell
Jason Katims
Running time44 minutes
Production company(s)David E. Kelley Productions
20th Century Fox Television
Distributor20th Television
Original networkFox
Picture format720p (HDTV)
Original releaseOctober 23, 2000 (2000-10-23) 
January 30, 2004 (2004-01-30)
Related showsThe Practice
Boston Legal


Boston Public initially preceded Ally McBeal on Monday nights, became revered and received critical acclaim for its drama and ethnically diverse cast. However, Fox moved it to the Friday night death slot for its fourth season.[2] Viewership declined as a result and it was canceled after the 13th episode aired on January 30, 2004. Production halted after the 15th episode was completed. The final two episodes aired on March 1 and 2, 2005, later in syndication on TV One.[3] Neither episode wrapped up any character stories.

The title of each episode was a numbered chapter, similar to that in a high school textbook, and each character appeared in a given story arc, with the professional and personal lives often intersecting.

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.[4]

Cast and characters

Chi McBrideSteven Harper1–4Principal
Anthony HealdScott Guber1–4Vice Principal
Jessalyn GilsigLauren Davis1–2Social Studies teacher; left Winslow to teach at a private school
Nicky KattHarry Senate1–3 (episodes 1–49)Teacher of "the Dungeon"; quit in episode 49
Loretta DevineMarla Hendricks1–4Social Studies teacher
Sharon LealMarilyn Sudor1–4English teacher and music instructor
Fyvush FinkelHarvey Lipschultz1–4History teacher
Rashida JonesLouisa Fenn1–2Secretary
Thomas McCarthyKevin Riley1 (episodes 1–13; special guest appearance in episode 18)Football coach; fired in episode 13
Joey SlotnickMilton Buttle1 (episodes 1–13; special guest appearance in episode 15)English teacher; fired in episode 13
Kathy BakerMeredith Peters1–2; recurring in season 1Teacher
Jeri RyanRonnie Cooke2–4Teacher; assistant vice principal (end of season 3); guidance counselor (season 4)
Michael RapaportDanny Hanson2–4Teacher
China Jesushita ShaversBrooke Harper2–3; recurring in season 2Student
Jon AbrahamsZach Fischer3Physics teacher
Joey McIntyreColin Flynn3English Teacher
Michelle MonaghanKimberly Woods3 (episodes 49–57; not featured in opening credits but receives "also starring" billing)Teacher; transferred to a school in another state to avoid a dangerous, obsessed student in episode 57
Cara DeLiziaMarcy Kendall2–3 (not featured in opening credits but receives "also starring" billing); guest during season 2Principal's assistant and student
Natalia BaronCarmen Torres4Physics teacher


Boston Public ran for four seasons, consisting of 81 episodes. Each season contained 22 episodes, except the fourth season which had 15 episodes due to cancellation.[5]

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
122October 23, 2000 (2000-10-23)May 21, 2001 (2001-05-21)
222October 29, 2001 (2001-10-29)May 20, 2002 (2002-05-20)
322October 21, 2002 (2002-10-21)May 12, 2003 (2003-05-12)
415September 19, 2003 (2003-09-19)January 30, 2004 (2004-01-30)

Crossover with The Practice

In The Practice episode, "The Day After" (season 5, episode 14), Kevin Riley asks Ellenor Frutt to represent him in a school board meeting when he's fired from Boston Public, which takes place in the Boston Public episode "Chapter Thirteen" (season 1, episode 13). After Boston Public was canceled, Chi McBride reprised the role of Steven Harper on an episode of The Practice spin-off series Boston Legal in the episode "Let Sales Ring" (season 1, episode 16).

Awards and nominations

Boston Public received a total of 31 nominations from various award ceremonies, and won 8 of them.[6]

Awards won

Emmy Awards

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

Peabody Awards

  • Peabody Award for Episode "Chapter Thirty-Seven"[7]

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)

Television Critics Association Awards

  • Individual Achievement in Drama Chi McBride (2001)

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 Awards


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