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Leg Work was a clever program that ran on CBS for a few months in 1987. The
writing was good and it had an excellent cast that did a great job. Among
the actors who would go on to do other things: Complete credited cast:
Margaret Colin (Independence Day) and Francis McDormand(Fargo). What stinks is that this show had enormous potential. However, it was thrown on Saturdays where it died quick. It has shown up on FoxNet and Lifetime once in a while. Hopefully some other network will get smart and pick it up again.
The series aired (briefly) on ITV in the UK before disappearing without
trace. I remember it as being fresh, different (not one but two female
leads in Margaret Colin and Frances McDormand) and brave (I distinctly
remember one episode showcased AIDS at a time when it was still a taboo
subject, especially on US prime-time TV).
The show didn't have the crash-bang-wallop of high octane cop shows like Hunter. It didn't have the flashy car and stunts of Knight Rider. (Claire McCarron did own a Porsche which she had received as payment from one of her clients, but it was forever in the repair shop.) And it didn't rely on the hackneyed cliché of buddies-who-aren't-really-buddies from different sides of the track, as employed most tenuously in Hardcastle & McCormick. What it did have was a solid premise, engaging characters, good, straightforward stories and was very much rooted in the real world. (Would Magnum PI or Simon & Simon have done an AIDS storyline? I don't think so.)
Would it have been the greatest TV show ever if it hadn't been prematurely cancelled? No. But did it have the potential to be a strong, strikingly different addition to the genre alongside the almost exclusively male-led PI/cop shows of the era? Absolutely.
Very few people missed Leg Work when it vanished from the US & UK schedules. I was one of them.
When this show premiered in 1987, CBS hardly promoted it and let it die an unnecessary death when it became a ratings cellar-dweller; to its credit, that summer, CBS did re-run it, albeit briefly and without a shred of publicity, so it died again. If it ever becomes available on DVD, it's worth checking out if only for its star, Margaret Colin, an enormously appealing actress who's almost never disappointed in whatever she's appeared; she's the very heart & soul of this series. The writing, too, must be commended: for instance, this was one of the first network dramas to have an AIDS-driven plot line that dealt with its subject plainly, honestly and without exploitation, but most importantly sensitively. What a disservice that CBS really never gave this a chance to build an audience. Keep an eye out for it!
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