It could have been a "Star Trek" summit meeting in the unlikely setting of a Beantown law firm in "Boston Legal," but it was not to be.
On Tuesday, Feb. 12, Scott Bakula, who played Capt. Jeffrey Archer on UPN's "Trek" prequel, "Enterprise," guest stars on ABC's "Legal" in an episode called "Glow in the Dark," written by series creator David E. Kelley and Lawrence Broch.
Bakula plays Jack Rice, opposing counsel in a case involving a friend (Alison LaPlaca) of senior law partner Shirley Schmidt (series star Candice Bergen), who's opposing construction of a nuclear power plant.
The episode is a reunion for Bakula, who played Bergen's love interest on her previous series "Murphy Brown." He also got to work with James Spader, who plays Shirley's legal cohort, Alan Shore.
But Bakula didn't get to work with William Shatner, who plays Shirley's law partner and Alan's best friend, the flamboyant Denny Crane -- and who also played Capt. James T. Kirk on the original "Star Trek."
"That was one of the great goals," Bakula says, "and guess what! We didn't have one scene together. Not only that, still have not met the man. Our schedule was totally opposite.
"I walked the [Writers Guild of America] picket line one day at Paramount, they had a 'Star Trek' day, and I get approached by two guys who run Shatner's Web site, I guess. They said, 'Tell us, what's going on?' I said, 'How ridiculous is this, I just did "Boston Legal," I didn't meet Shatner, and now I'm promoting his Web site. Something's wrong here.'
"Listen, what he's doing on that show is phenomenal, and I love it. I had put it out there that I hoped some day there would be something that would be fun for me to do on the show, and I would love to come and do it. This rolled in."
According to Bakula, the episode is one of three penned by Kelley before the apparently resolved WGA strike began last November.
"There were no writers around," Bakula says. "Kelley ripped off three episodes to keep his guys working right up until the break. I thought it was great. But there were no writers around.
"But the part was a phenomenal part, and I couldn't pass it up. It was with Candice, and I got to play piano and sing. Who would have thought that, on 'Boston Legal'?"
Asked if Rice and Shirley had a romantic encounter, Bakula says, "Of course."
Then asked if the scenes were sexy, Bakula says, "Oh, gosh, not enough. Not enough, that's all I can say. We have history, so I show up and, all of a sudden, it throws everything into a tizzy."
In addition to his reunion with Bergen, Bakula got to make a connection from his days on the science fiction show "Quantum Leap." One of the guest stars in "Glow in the Dark" is George Wyner, who was in a "Leap" episode called "Future Boy."
"Ironically," Bakula says, "the guy who I represented was the TV director in an old episode of 'Quantum Leap.' He said, 'I don't know if you'll remember me.' I said, 'Which episode?' He said, 'I directed the TV show within the TV show in "Future Boy."'
"It was great."
While Bakula has no idea if Rice could make another appearance, he does say that he "absolutely could come back."
Perhaps then he could join Shatner and Spader during one of Denny and Alan's tête-à-têtes over Scotch and cigars out on the office balcony.
"I've watched the show since the beginning," Bakula says, "and that relationship evolved into this magic. It's magic, in my opinion. Shatner's perfect. He is just perfect."Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times