|“||You know you're standing under the mistletoe?||„|
|~ George Vogelman|
George Vogelman is an antagonist in the 1997 live action television series The Practice. Vogelman is introduced in the fifth episode of the first season as a 43-year-old podiatrist blind date for one of the protagonists, Ellenor Frutt.
He was portrayed by Michael Monks.
After Ellenor and Vogelman email and talk over the phone for weeks they finally decide to meet in person. Vogelman greets Ellenor with much enthusiasm but Frutt doesn't feel the same. After the date Ellenor never calls or emails him again and Vogelman is hurt.
Vogelman shows up at Ellenor's office to serve her with papers explaining that he is suing her for emotional distress after she dumps him because she doesn't like his looks. During a deposition Ellenor reveals the reason that she dumped him was because she didn't want to be the fat girl who ends up with the nerd with glasses. In response to this Vogelman reveals the reason he was so hurt by Ellenor's rejection was because she was fat and explains that he was the nerd who couldn't even get the fat girl. After this they both come to an understanding and Vogelman drops the suit and Ellenor wishes him well in life.
Vogelman shows up at Ellenor's office again asking for her and states that it is an emergency. Ellenor takes him into her partner, Eugene Young's office and Vogelman starts to explain what happened. He went out drinking and picked up a woman took her to a motel and they had sex. He tells her after they had sex he left and went home and when he woke up the morning and went to work to open his medical bag he saw something that freaked him out. He is about to tell Ellenor what it is but before he can he faints. When he regains consciousness he tells them to open the bag but tell Eugene to do it as he doesn't want Ellenor to look. When he opens the bag he finds the girl's head in the bag and tells them he has been framed for murder.
After discussing their legal obligations and weighing George's potential guilt Ellenor and her colleagues decide to report this to the police. They call Assistant District Attorney Helen Gamble and he tells her his story and they show her the head. She freaks out for a few minutes and calls the police to collect the head and gets the name of the motel and asks him to take a polygraph, which he agrees to. After the police find her body she is identified as Susan Robin, a rich college kid with no record and process the scene. The police however fail to see Vogelman's side of the story and after he fails the polygraph move in for an arrest at which time Vogelman surrenders himself in the police station on advise of consul and is arrested for murder.
Vogelman is held in prison where the case against him takes a turn for the worse when his collection of masochist porn is discovered and the prosecution tries to enter it in as evidence. Ellenor fights to have it excluded while Vogelman struggles to shore up money to pay his legal fees. At the suppression hearing Ellenor denounces the judge and prosecution and berates them for accusing Vogelman of having sex after the victim was dead and wanting to see the tapes, which eventually gets Ellenor sent to jail for a short while. Eventually the porn is disallowed as evidence and Vogelman thanks Ellenor for her passionate speech earlier but quickly becomes depressed when she asks him directly if he committed the crime to which he says no.
During the course of investigating, Vogelman's lawyers find out that Susan's boyfriend, Jay Finch cheated on her and Susan had a habit of going on internet chat rooms from her brother Steve. Using this information they try to get the police to reopen the investigation but they refuse to do so. In a private conversation Helen tells Ellenor that they won't reopen the investigation because if they find out he's not the killer he represents reasonable doubt for the next guy they charge her murder with and they get ready to go to trial.
At the trial, the prosecution makes their case by first calling Helen and Susan Robin's family and friends to disprove Vogelman's side of the story. After the prosecution rests even Vogelman begins to think he's guilty. His lawyers then suggest pointing the finger at the boyfriend and brother for Susan's murder. Vogelman reluctantly allows them to use this strategy, but when they are about to do it to the boyfriend they find out he had an alibi and rest on him telling the jury he had an affair. As a result his lawyers attack the brother after they are done questioning him about Susan's habit on the internet and as a result the father attacks Eugene. George is then put on the stand and is really convincing but the prosecution tears him apart and desperate for a hail-mary, Ellenor recalls Helen Gamble to the stand and gets her to tell the jury about the police not investigating another suspect for the purpose of not believing they could build a case. This act enrages not only Helen but her fellow colleagues as this was meant to be a private conversation. At the end of the trial while they are waiting for a verdict, Vogelman tells Ellenor that he is innocent and she can believe in herself. The jury comes back with a verdict of not guilty which fills Vogelman with great joy and thanks Ellenor repeatedly.
After Vogelman is acquitted his lawyers are sued by Steve Robin for accusing him of killing his own sister. When Vogelman hears about how the trial is going he offers to testify on their behalf but Jimmy Berlutti explains that he would be more of a liability then an asset and Vogelman agrees but wishes there was something he could do. He leaves but forgets his medical bag and Jimmy and Lucy Hatcher, the receptionist, peak in the medical bag to see if theres a human head and George surprises them and he takes his bag and leaves. When the lawyers are acquitted of all charges he celebrates with them at a Christmas party where he tries to kiss Helen under the mistletoe but she rejects him.
Later he is arrested for concealing evidence, perjury and obstruction of justice and Ellenor is arrested for murder after the knife used to decapitate Susan Robin is found in Ellenor's office. The police try to blackmail Ellenor into testifying that Vogelman gave her the knife during the trial and they would drop the charges against her. It is later revealed that five police officers forced one of Ellenor's clients to plant the knife so they could get another shot at Vogelman after finding the knife in an abandoned car.
When Lindsey Dole, one of his lawyers, is stabbed by a nun it reopens Susan Robin's murder case when a man named Joey Heric, another client of Ellenor's firm, suggests that he stabbed Lindsey and killed Susan. Ellenor questions Vogelman to see if he ever saw him following him and he says Joey looks familiar but that it was probably from when Ellenor was defending him. Later the knife used to stab Lindsey is found outside another client's apartment and the case is supposedly closed. But as the episode is ending a nun is seen walking down the sidewalk and after turning his head it is revealed to be Vogelman, confirming conclusively that he killed Susan Robin and stabbed Lindsey Dole.
Vogelman shows up at the offices of Donnell, Young, Dole & Frutt to ask for Ellenor's help again when his co-op has forced him to the leave the premises and move. Ellenor pulls some strings to have judge Roberta Kittleson as the presiding judge so she will be sympathetic to their case. As Ellenor argues that Vogelman was proven innocent of the murder of Susan Robin the other attorney and Kittleson argue that "not guilty" only means the People couldn't meet their burden and Frutt's petition for a TRO is denied. After Vogelman moves into his new place he and Ellenor share dinner and later share a kiss. Ellenor then shows up at Vogelman's apartment and tells him that she just wants them to remain friends, devastating George, which he says he understands and closes the door, his nun outfit shown in the background.
When Lucy enters the office she sees an envelope near her desk and opens it. In it contains a picture of a nun from the neckline up holding yesterday's newspaper and shows it to Bobby revealing Lindsey's attacker is still out there. Bobby then notices that the photo was taken inside the office meaning the nun had keys. After this Vogelman follows Lindsey and Ellenor where he spots them buying guns from a street vendor. He then "coincidently" bumps into Ellenor and offers to help her carry her packages into Helen's condo as she moves in. During this time he overhears Helen bashing him to Ellenor while they assume Vogelman is out of the way. Vogelman sneaks into their condo ethers Helen and cuts the phone lines and waits for Ellenor to come back. Ellenor opens the door and finds Helen in the bathtub and assumes she's dead and tries to call for help but to no avail. George comes out of hiding and confesses that stabbing Lindsey was not his original plan. He tells her that she was his original target but Lindsey got in the way. She is horrified when she assumes he killed Helen too but he reveals that Helen is still alive and that he sometimes likes to simulate death. He then goats her to kill him with her gun and she grants him his wish and rushes over to Helen to wake her up, only to find that Vogelman is still alive. As he dances around he explains that he switched out the bullets in the gun with blanks. Ellenor tries to reason with him but he just rebuffs her and lunges at her but is shot from behind by Helen and dies while Helen and Ellenor watch in silence.
Ellenor later attends his funeral and is never seen again, although he is often mentioned by the characters in future seasons.
- Judge Roberta Kittleson once mistakenly called him a serial killer when he has only ever killed one person.