The Paper Chase (1978–1986)
2 user

It's Only a Show 

Bell directs a law school themed show put on by the law students. Kingsfield attends a law convention in Los Angeles.


Lynn Roth


John Jay Osborn Jr. (based on the novel by), James Bridges (developed for television by) | 1 more credit »


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Episode credited cast:
John Houseman ... Professor Charles W. Kingsfield Jr.
James Stephens ... James T. Hart
Tom Fitzsimmons ... Franklin Ford III
James Keane ... Willis Bell
Andra Millian ... Laura Kiernan
Michael Tucci ... Gerald Golden
Diana Douglas ... Professor Tyler
Clare Kirkconnell ... Rita Harriman
Peter Nelson ... Tom Ford
Penny Johnson Jerald ... Vivian Conway (as Penny Johnson)
Lainie Kazan ... Rose Samuels
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
William Bogert
Stuart Charno
David Dangler David Dangler
Ted Demers Ted Demers


Bell directs a law school themed show put on by the law students. Kingsfield attends a law convention in Los Angeles.

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Release Date:

20 August 1985 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

Could it be they were starting to run out of ideas?
27 March 2018 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

Several episodes of season two of "The Paper Chase" were let-downs but up until this one, the episodes of season three were consistently better. What's the problem here with "It's Only a Show"? Well, the plot seems to have 'jumped the shark' written all over it, as the episode doesn't fit the show's style at they were out of ideas.

The plot is all about a review that Bell is putting on for the law students. However, he's a bit dictatorial and it's hard working for him...yet, oddly, all the busy law students suddenly have time to either attend or participate! However, it appears that Professor Kingsfield won't be he's going to a convention in Los Angeles. So, Bell takes advantage of this to do a skit criticizing the guy....but he doesn't realize that Kingsfield IS in the audience!!

About the only positive thing I saw in this one was the Kingsfield was very clever and funny. But, as I mentioned above, this sort of thing really didn't fit in with the show's style. A weird misstep for the series.

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