Donnelly Rhodes claimed in an interview that his character, ruthless lawyer R.J. Williams, was was loosely based on the character of J.R. Ewing of Dallas (1978). Rhodes claimed that his character's initials, R.J., were in fact an anagram of J.R.. See more »
Although I grew up in California, among the places I've lived was a suburb of Detroit from '89 to '92. I lived on the top floor of a seven-story apartment building. I was too cheap to get cable so I just used a rabbit-ears antenna. With it angled properly, I got good reception of the CBC television station across the river in Windsor, Ontario. I am not a fan of lawyer or doctor shows, and this was the era of "L.A. Law," which I did my best to ignore. But I became a Friday night addict of "Street Legal," the adventures and misadventures of a Toronto law firm.
At the time I didn't realize what a big deal "Street Legal" was: A big-budget weekly drama series that was 100% Canadian, 100% CBC-produced. I didn't really care. I loved the Toronto street scenes. I didn't care that it was really a flashy soap opera. I didn't care that Waspish Eric Peterson was ridiculously miscast as the Jewish lawyer Leon Robinovitch. I didn't care that Cynthia Dale, Anthony Sherwood and C. David Johnson all suffered from severe cases of terminal overacting. Maria del Mar was gorgeous in those days. So was Pamela Sinha (Wanda). Albert Schultz played a sort of heavy on the show, but this was the same actor who is so hilarious as Arnie Dogan on the Red Green Show. Ditto for Gordon Pinsent (Hap Shaughnessy on the Red Green Show). Then there were the guests: Eric McCormack (Will), David Elliott as Nick Del Gado, Maury Chaykin, Joseph Bottoms as an American actor (big stretch there), Mimi Kuzyk, who appeared in a number of episodes of Hill Street Blues, Wendy Crewson, Tantoo Cardinal, Donnelly Rhodes, the stunning Sharry Flett, Kim Coates (who is frequently hired by Kevin Costner in supporting roles in his movies), Al Waxman, and various others. I was always amazed at how the writers always got Chuck Tchobanian out of whatever predicament he'd gotten himself into at the last minute. I loved it when Leon ran for mayor of Toronto. In 1992 I moved to Houston and that was the last I ever saw of "Street Legal" except for a few tapes I made. As far as I can tell, it's not available on DVD. (Sigh)
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