Ling Woo

Ling Woo

Ally Mcbeal Character

name=Ling Woo
occupation=Judge, State of Massachusetts
Of Counsel, Cage & Fish
portrayer=Lucy Liu

Ling Woo is a fictional character in the popular US comedy-drama "Ally McBeal", portrayed by Chinese American actress Lucy Liu, and is widely considered to be her breakthrough role. Woo was viewed as one of the strongest comedic characters on the show. Liu portrayed the role on recurring basis during episodes 25-32, and then joined the regular cast in episode 33. She remained in the regular cast until episode 96, after which she signed in the opening credits only for one more episode, 103.



Ling Woo was initially a character written by David E. Kelley for the actress Lucy Liu after she failed to secure the role of Nelle Porter (which went to Portia de Rossi) in "Ally McBeal". Appearing in Season 2 for the first time as a client suing a cosmetic surgery firm, Woo became a firm favorite of fans, noted for her outrageously politically incorrect comments, acerbic put-downs and bitchy nature and mannerisms that audiences were clearly supposed to grasp from the beginning, since music from the Wicked Witch of the West was played whenever she came into the room. Kelley was quick to invite Liu to perform another guest slot and within a few episodes she was added as a permanent cast member, revealing that she had a Law Degree in the process.

Woo quickly made enemies with the workers in the law firm, particularly Elaine Vassal (Jane Krakowski) and Georgia Thomas (Courtney Thorne-Smith). She did, however, form a romantic relationship with Richard Fish (Greg Germann) which lasted until Season Four and was best friends with Nelle Porter (Portia de Rossi).

Season Two and Three

As with other cast members of "Ally McBeal" in Seasons Two and Three of the show, Ling Woo did not play a major supporting role, storylines focusing on the Ally-Billy-Georgia love triangle. Unlike John Cage (Peter MacNicol) she took few trial cases, and was used mainly for comic relief purposes along with Elaine, Renee Radick (Lisa Nicole Carson) and Nelle. This was one of the criticisms as the show as a whole, as it moved from being a series with a strong ensemble cast to one with primary and secondary characters.

Season Four

Season Four saw a general change in the show, with higher ratings, which involved more usage of the "secondary" characters. Ling's old love interest Jackson was employed in the firm for a time, providing some character conflict, although he later left. In this series, she also taught Ally how to kiss (Season 2), pretended to be blind, helped at an old folks home (Season 3) and danced with Elaine in a competition (Season 2).

Season Five

Lucy Liu expressed wishes to leave "Ally McBeal" in Season Five; and so Ling was written out, becoming a judge, an event which had high comic value and which Elaine declared to be "a joke on mankind." After a few first episodes as a star, Liu was dropped from the main cast and the opening credits. She did return to Cage & Fish to help her friend Nelle and to see Richard (whom she no longer dated). The popularity of the show declined afterwards. Some contributed this to the loss of such a hugely popular character. It's more likely, however, that the show had simply run out of steam, with a burden of several new characters, most of whom were dropped halfway through the season, and slightly ridiculous storylines.

The character of Ling Woo did not return after that guest star spot. The last show was twelve episodes afterwards, and although Liu said afterwards that she wished to appear along with other written out characters like Georgia, Renee and Billy, she was not allowed. Producers said her appearance was likely to jeopardise Richard's happy ending with Liza.

Character Quotes

*"I know I'm better than everybody else, Richard, but some times it's nice to hear it."

*"I like being the defendant. It gives me a martyr glow."

*"Would you be quiet? Some of us have eardrums." - to a person with Tourette syndrome.

*"Oh, I so prefer the deaf to the blind."

*To Richard, on pretending to be a blind woman: "What? It's not like they can see me."

*"Back when you were attractive you didn't mind being judged on beauty alone. It's amazing how principle pops up with wrinkles."

*"I'm rich. I only go into work to wear my outfits."

*To a boy who believes in Santa Claus: "Are you retarded, Jacob?"

*"Randy, there's nothing I enjoy more than seeing a happy couple and coming between them but Lisa's a friend of mine."

*" I don't want this firm representing that woman. ... I don't know why not yet I just know there's a reason."

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