January 31, 2008 – The Comedy-Drama Series Eli Stone Premieres on ABC
“See, until recently, my belief in a higher power was limited to worshiping the Holy Trinity of Armani, Accessories, and, my personal favorite, Ambition.”
On January 31, 2008, the comedy-drama series Eli Stone premiered on ABC. The series lasted for 26 episodes through 2 seasons, and received favorable reviews from critics through its run. It was created by Greg Berlanti and Marc Guggenheim, and heavily featured the music of British musician George Michael. It starred Johnny Lee Miller as Eli Stone, Victor Garber as Jordan Wethersby, Natasha Henstridge as Taylor Wethersby, Loretta Devine as Patti Dellacroix, Sam Jaeger as Matt Dowd, James Saito as Dr. Chen, Julie Gonzalo as Maggie Dekker, and Matt Letscher as Nathan Stone.
The pilot episode “Faith” begins in Mundoli Village, India, where Eli Stone sits waiting for his guides, as he is off to the base of the Panch Chuli Peaks. He introduces himself to the audience, revealing that not only is he a lawyer, he might also be a prophet. He used to be a materialistic lawyer with a perfect life, and “the guy who has it all.” Suddenly, one day he hears strange organ music that only he can hear as he prepares for a meeting. He continues to hear the music while in his meeting; his meeting is with Beth Keller, who believes a company’s vaccine caused her son’s autism. He tries to convince the woman to take a $90,000 settlement before leaving, and heads home to his fiancé Taylor. That night, as they’re having sex, he hears the music, and figures out that it’s George Michael’s song “Faith,” but startles Taylor in the process. He traces the song to the living room, where he finds George Michael in his living room and promptly passes out. He then goes to his brother Nathan, who is a doctor, for a CAT scan, but Nathan determines that Eli is fine. Nathan thinks Eli is just stressed and overreacting, and Eli’s secretary Patti recommends that he see her acupuncturist, Dr. Chen. After she leaves, Beth arrives again, as she wants Eli to be her lawyer, although he says that he can’t, as he can’t sue his own client. Beth leaves, upset, and after she goes, he hears George Michael again.
Eli traces the music to the lobby of the firm, where a George Michael concert is seemingly being held. Unfortuantely, the concert is a hallucination, and everyone watches as Eli dances around the lobby. Embarrassed, Eli heads to Dr. Chen’s for help. As Chen helps him, he has a flashback to college, where he loses his virginity to a George Michael album. Afterwards, he heads to Beth’s house, revealing that she was the woman in the flashback. Beth doesn’t seem to want to talk to him, but lets him in anyway to meet her son. Her son has a fascination with blocks, and Eli notices the words “George Michael” written in the blocks, and tells Beth that he is going to ask to take her case. When he asks the board to take the case, he starts hearing bells, but dismisses them. He then is able to convince the board that it would be good for the company to let him represent Beth, although afterwards he keeps hearing the bells. Following them, he seems to find a train in the lobby. Someone seems to call him to the train, but the train leaves without him. He heads back to Dr. Chen’s, and gets another flashback to when he and his father went on a trolley car, although the relationship between the two is strained as Eli’s father is a drunk. His father then heads off the car into a bar, leaving Eli to head home alone.
The trial begins, although it doesn’t seem to be going well for Beth. However, Patti is able to find and internal document from the pharmaceutical company suggesting that there might be a link to the preservative in the vaccine and cognitive dysfunction, including autism. Unfortuantely, Eli can’t use it because of attorney-client privilege, and might get fired. Patti tells him to find a way to use it after all. He gets home to a family meeting between his family and Taylor’s, revealing that his boss is Taylor’s father, Jordan Weathersby. Jordan compliments Eli on his bravery in taking the case, although the two are at odds over the particulars of the case, including the internal report. Eli then has a vision of climbing the Panch Chuli Peaks, but is soon brought back to reality and realizes it looks like he’s planning to commit suicide by jumping from the balcony of his apartment. After this, he goes back to Nathan’s office, and it’s determined that Eli has an inoperable brain aneurism. Taylor, Nathan, and Eli are saddened by this news, with Nathan and Eli realizing that the symptoms are similar to their father’s, which they attributed to his alcoholism. Taylor isn’t sure if she can handle Eli’s diagnosis, and decides to break off their engagement. Hurt, Eli heads to court, and recalls the CEO of the pharmaceutical company. It’s revealed that the CEO’s own daughter did not receive the vaccine created by his own company, and the CEO tries to give Beth a settlement. Beth turns down the settlement, and thinks that they will lose because Eli believes he will lose.
Eli heads to Dr. Chen’s office again, and Chen reveals that his whole thing is an act, except the actual medicine, as no one would want an acupuncturist from New Jersey. Chen becomes a confidant to Eli, and reveals that Eli may actually be a prophet. Finally, Eli gives his summation, using the theme of faith throughout. Patti stops by afterwards bringing his mother with her, bringing his father’s ashes in a coffee can. She says that his father wanted Eli to have his ashes, and Eli understands where to scatter them. The jury comes back quickly, and Beth wins, with the company having to pay her $5.2 million in damages. They agree to a further settlement, and Beth adds that Eli should keep his job, although he wasn’t in danger of being fired. Taylor stops by after the case, and apologizes for thinking about breaking off their engagement, but Eli tells her that he needs to go to India, although they head to lunch together. The audience is then taken to India, where Eli is scattering his father’s ashes at the Panch Chuli Peaks.