|Original air date
|May 14, 1998
"The Finale" is an episode of the American television sitcom Seinfeld. As the two-part series finale, it comprises the 179th and 180th episodes of the show and the 23rd and 24th episodes of the ninth season. It aired on NBC on May 14, 1998, to an audience of 76 million viewers. Its initial running time was 1 hour and 15 minutes.
In this episode, Jerry and George's Jerry pilot is finally picked up as a series by NBC. However, when their private plane is forced to land in a small town in Massachusetts, Jerry, George, and their friends Elaine and Kramer unknowingly violate a local duty to rescue law (referred to as a Good Samaritan law in the episode's dialogue) and are put on trial. Co-creator Larry David, who departed from the series after the seventh season, returned to write the script for this last episode.
Elizabeth Clark calls Jerry and George from the office of NBC President James Kimbrough, offering a deal to produce their pilot Jerry as a series. Jerry and George will be moving to California to begin work. Jerry is given use of NBC's private jet and he, George, Elaine, and Kramer decide to go to Paris for "one last hurrah". Elaine calls her friend Jill. First, she can't get any reception with her cell phone on the street. Then, Jerry calls her with news of the pilot pickup and Elaine hangs up on Jill to take the call.
On the plane, Kramer desperately tries to get the water out of his ears from a trip to the beach by jumping up and down. He stumbles into the cockpit, causing the pilots to lose control. They make an emergency landing in the town of Latham, Massachusetts. While waiting for the airplane to be repaired, they witness an overweight man named Howie getting carjacked at gunpoint. They make fat jokes while Kramer films the theft on his camcorder. Howie tells an officer nearby, who arrests the group on a duty to rescue violation that requires bystanders to help out in such a situation.
Jerry calls on Jackie Chiles to represent them for the upcoming trial. The prosecution has the eyewitness testimonies of Howie and the responding officer and Kramer's camcorder recording as proof of their violation, but because this is the first case implementing this law, District Attorney Hoyt stacks the case against them as much as possible by summoning numerous character witnesses. Nearly everyone the defendants have met over the past nine years is brought in to testify to their unethical behavior, both real and assumed, to the point where the judge calls a halt to the testimonies in the simple interest of time.
The jury finds Jerry, George, Elaine, and Kramer guilty of criminal indifference, and the judge sentences them to a year in prison. While awaiting their prison transport, Kramer finally gets the water out of his ears. Elaine decides to use her one phone call from prison to call Jill, saying that the prison call is the "king of calls". While sitting in their cell, Jerry talks about the placement of buttons on George's shirt (alluding to the first conversation of the first episode). George asks if they had this conversation before and Jerry says he believes so.
Jerry performs standup in the prison cafeteria in front of George, Kramer and the rest of the inmates. Nobody other than Kramer is laughing. As Jerry is being heckled and forceably being taken off the stage he says "Hey, you've been great! See you in the cafeteria!"
"The Finale" featured a massive cast. As usual for Seinfeld, the four regular cast members all appeared:
- Jerry Seinfeld as himself
- Jason Alexander as George Costanza
- Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Elaine Benes
- Michael Richards as Cosmo Kramer
The following actors headed up the Latham cast:
- Stanley Anderson as Judge Arthur Vandelay
- John Pinette as Howie
- Jeff Johnson as Thief
- James Rebhorn as District Attorney Hoyt
- Scott Jaeck as Officer Matt Vogel
The Seinfeld team made an effort to recruit as many guest stars from previous episodes as possible for "The Finale". However, only a handful of them were given significant roles:
- Phil Morris as Jackie Chiles
- Peter Riegert as NBC President James Kimbrough
- Wayne Knight as Newman
- Estelle Harris as Estelle Costanza
- Jerry Stiller as Frank Costanza
The rest were limited to cameo appearances, in many cases simply summarizing the events of the episode they appeared in to the courtroom or watching the trial in silence from the gallery. Geraldo Rivera, Jane Wells, and Keith Hernandez played themselves in the episode.
Category:Seinfeld (season 9) episodes Category:American television series finales Category:1998 American television episodes Category:Television episodes written by Larry David Category:Seinfeld episodes in multiple parts Category:Clip shows