"When I was a boy, the dog got hit by a car. My parents rushed right out and got me a new puppy -- best therapy in the world. This is Mark Albert, an excellent litigator, he'll be a major addition to the firm, starts today, let's all give him a warm welcome." Thus Richard introduces the new lawyer at the staff meeting. Crickets chirp as Ally, Ling, and Nelle just stare. Ally's already making ugly faces. Mark is played by James LeGros, who was in about a billion movies, none of which I have seen. I can't tell if he's supposed to be good-looking or not. I can't stop looking at his teeth. "Billy dies, and you run out and get a new puppy?" Ally says with a clenched jaw. Richard says he's putting Mark on the "Mills trial" with Ally and Ling to replace Billy, who is "now unavailable." He and Ally argue back and forth. Ally says she and Ling don't need a new puppy. Mark makes this face like, "Okaaay..." Richard very seriously tells Ally, "He's on the case," and walks off. Ally runs after him, but not before giving Mark another dirty look. Ling stares at Mark. Nelle leans over and deadpans, "First days are always awkward."
Ally chases Richard to the Unisex, asking why he hired Mark. Richard says that Billy carried most of the weight around the firm. "It's not like you do any work," he tells her. Ha! Shout-out to us, finally. He says that Mark has a solid background in criminal law as well as a "stable of high-paying reprehensible people." Ally asks if John's in on this so that Richard can explain to the audience that John's "AWOL" in New Hampshire. He's taking time off to get over Billy's death and being dumped by Nelle. "I don't like the new guy!" Ally whines. "Do you know him?" asks Richard. Ally says no. "How long have you worked here?" he asks her. She wants to know what that has to do with anything. He starts to say that she's been around long enough to know that when you say anything negative about a person in "this room"... and a toilet flushes. Ha! Mark emerges from a stall. Hey! How'd he get there so fast? "He's here. Bygones," says Richard, who then exits the Unisex. Ally asks Mark, "How -- how did you?" "We haven't really met. Mark Albert," he says, holding out his hand. Ally tells him to wash it. (Hey, David E. Kelley, thanks for addressing three of our criticisms in one fell swoop. I hope you've been enjoying the forums!) Mark washes his hand while saying that his co-workers used to call him Ally, short for Albert. Ally grits her teeth and says that no one will be calling him Ally here because she's the only Ally. "In the world, I bet," says Mark. HA! Okay, something must be wrong with me. I can't believe I've almost smiled so many times and it's still the first quarter of the episode. Ally sarcastically remarks that Richard never mentioned Mark's wit. Mark offers her condolences over Billy's death and says he'll try not to step on her toes during the trial. Ally thanks him and then pantomimes a tantrum behind his back as he leaves.