Donnie Wahlberg’s police reality show, “Boston’s Finest,” will return this November for its second season. We got all the details about what the show’s six new episodes will offer when the New Kid on the Block was in town to shoot scenes in the North End. Here’s a look back at memorable television shows that prominently featured or have been set in or Boston. —Jon Palmer, Boston.com Correspondent Next
For eleven seasons, viewers tuned in to see Norm, Cliff, Carla, Sam, and the rest of the gang at the neighborhood bar “where everybody knows your name,” which was inspired by Boston’s Bull and Finch Pub. The show ranked in at number 18 on TV Guide’s 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time list, and won many awards during its long run.
From left: Cliff Clavin (played by John Ratzenberger) and Norm Peterson (played by George Wendt)
“St. Elsewhere” (1982-88)
This medical drama was set in a fictional Boston hospital. Well, perhaps putting it on this list is cheating – it was revealed in the now-famous controversial snow globe finale that the hospital only existed in a child’s imagination. The building featured in the show was actually the Franklin Square House Apartments.
“Ally McBeal” (1997-2002)
Calista Flockhart (center) played the titular character in this law-comedy series, where she worked at the fictional Boston law firm Cage and Fish.
Pictured, top from left: Vonda Shepard, Courtney Thorne-Smith, Gil Bellows, Jane Krakowski, Greg Germann, Portia de Rossi, Peter MacNicol, Lucy Liu. Seated, from left: Calista Flockhart, Lisa Nicole Carson.
“The Practice” (1997-2004)
This show created by David E. Kelley (who helmed other notable Boston shows like “Boston Legal” and “Boston Public”) followed defense attorneys at a fictional Boston firm. After James Spader joined in the eighth season, the show ended and Spader went on to star in the spinoff, “Boston Legal.”
Pictured: Attorney Bobby Donnell (played by Dylan McDermott)
“The Real World: Boston” (1997)
There may be a lot of reality TV coming to Boston of late, but it’s nothing new. MTV’s “The Real World” chose Boston for their sixth season. The cast members stayed in a converted firehouse in the city’s Beacon Hill neighborhood.
Fom left: Jim, Kameelah, unidentified.
“Two Guys, a Girl, and a Pizza Place” (1998-2001)
Three twenty-somethings worked and hung out in a pizza joint in this comedy. According to IMDb, the fake “Beacon Street Pizza” was based on the real Theo’s Pizza in Somerville’s Teele Square.
Pictured, from left: Richard Ruccolo, Ryan Reynolds and Traylor Howard
“Boston Public” (2000-04)
Another David E. Kelley show, “Boston Public” followed the lives of faculty at the fictional Winslow High School in Boston.
Clockwise from top: Sharon Leal as Rashida Jones, Thomas McCarthy as Kevin Riley, Nicky Katt as Harry Senate, Chi McBride as Steven Harper, Jessalyn Gilsig as Lauren Davis, Fyvush Finkel as Harvey Lipshultz, Loretta Devine as Marla Hendricks, Anthony Heald as Scott Guber, Rashida Jones as Louisa, and Joey Slotnick as Milton Buttle.
“Boston Legal” (2004-08)
The show was a spinoff of “The Practice,” following James Spader’s character from that show as he practiced civil law at the Boston offices of Crane, Poole, and Schmidt (Bostonians will recognize the building the offices are in as 500 Boylston Street).
From left: Mark Valley as Brad Chase, Lake Bell as Sally Heep, James Spader as Alan Shore, William Shatner as Denny Crane, and Rhona Mitra as Tara Wilson.
This sci-fi series follows the FBI’s “Fringe Division” as they solve mysteries. On the show, the team’s laboratory is supposed to be located in a basement on Harvard’s campus, and their offices are shown to be located in the Hancock Tower (though in reality, the Boston FBI headquarters is at One Center Plaza). Many episodes are set in Greater Boston, but IMDb says that the neighborhoods on the show look very different from the ones they are supposed to represent.
From left: Broyles (Lance Reddick), Olivia (Anna Torv), and Peter (Joshua Jackson).
“Rizzoli & Isles” (2010-present)
Based on Tess Gerritsen’s novels of the same name, the cop drama follows medical examiner Dr. Maura Isles (Sasha Alexander, left) and Detective Jane Rizzoli (Angie Harmon, right) as they solve murders in Boston. However, Entertainment Weekly’s Darren Franich has said that “the Boston of Rizzoli & Isles is perhaps the most inauthentic portrayal of Boston ever.”
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