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Dr. Jordan Cavanaugh is a forensic pathologist who lost her job with the Boston medical examiner's office because her passion for solving homicides frequently extended beyond the autopsy table. Years later, an old ally rescues Jordan from court-ordered anger management training in Los Angeles and rehires her to her former job in Boston. Jordan is still feisty and mercurial and a pain in the butt, but management tolerates her because she is good at her job. She and her father, a disgraced former Boston police detective, often solve crimes together by using a role-playing game they've played since Jordan's childhood. It goes: "You be the killer, and I'll be the victim, and we'll figure out how this happened." The driving force in Jordan's life and career is the crime she took the longest time to solve -- her mother's murder.Written by
The greatest thing about "Crossing Jordan" is that it never, for even one moment, ceases to make us care about its characters. It seamlessly gives us a mix of tragedy and comedy, as well as humanity and warmth, which is no mean feat, considering the profession all of the main characters have.
With the abundance of shows cropping up in the last few years with a theme of "investigation", the profession of Medical Examiner has been thrust into the limelight of the public's eye that it never has been before. One needs to look no further than the ratings of all of the "CSI" shows to find proof; the minutiae and drudgery of police and forensic work, once thought to be bland, boring and completely without entertainment value, now has viewers glued to their sets.
But "Crossing Jordan" is much more than that. While I applaud shows like "CSI", and to a small extent, "Law & Order" for their ingenious writing and convincing story lines, none of those shows has ever really developed its characters to an extent where we care more about them than about the details of whatever case they happen to be working on at the time. "Crossing Jordan" has developed it's characters very, very well. Consider:
The main character, Jordan Cavanaugh (Jill Hennessy): when the show first started, we knew her to be a mouthy, bitchy, seat-of-the-pants, lives-by-her-own-rules kind of girl, who would always be in trouble but somehow, always gets to the truth. And while the appeal of such a character is undeniable, such a routine would have gotten old really fast, as well as the "haunted-by-her-mother's-as-yet-unsolved-murder" story line. I understand that early on, we knew that this is what drove Jordan to be the person she was, but it felt like that particular story line was used as a crutch to hold the series up. I think her character is now sufficiently developed to get past it now. She's still mouthy, and still lives by her own rules, but not as often as before. She's truly grown up.
Dr. Garret Macy (Miguel Ferrer): Originally played up as the crotchety, curmudgeonly boss, who walked around with the "how-in-hell-did-I-end-up-in-this-line-of-work" look on his face. Despite his somewhat abrasive character, there's no doubt that he possesses a tremendous inner warmth to go with his incredible intelligence. It's those rare occasions when he shows his softer side that make for some of the series' best moments.
Lily Lebowski (Kathryn Hahn): In the beginning, she seemed like a fragile dandelion of a person, nursing a not-too-subtle crush on Dr. Macy. I was afraid that her character would never expand beyond two dimensions, but she has become the moral center of the show.
My two favorite sidekicks, Nigel and Bug (Steve Valentine and Ravi Kapoor): it was these two that kept me coming back, week after week, during this show's growing pains. The tall, lanky Brit and the diminutive entomologist from Bangladesh are without a doubt the best on-screen duo in prime-time. One smiling and ebullient, one moody and sullen, they play off of each other so well... I can't aptly describe it in words.
Det. Woody Hoyt (Jerry O'Connell): Though his character hasn't really developed much, beyond the on-again, off-again relationship he seems to have with Jordan, it's nice to see him get more and more screen time now.
Several other characters have come and gone: Jordan's father (Ken Howard) and M.E.'s Trey Sanders (M. Ali), Peter Winslow (Ivan Sergei), Elaine Duchamps (Lorraine Toussaint), and Dr. Devan Mcguire (Jennifer Finnigan), have all contributed during their brief stints on the show.
Every single character has experienced tragedy and loss, in various degrees, all while helping total strangers deal with their loss, and that has made them all bond together into a very tightly-knit group... almost a family, if you will. It is a family that I wish I could be a part of... and that is the TRUE yardstick of a great show.
Always fresh, never dull. I hope that "Crossing Jordan" will continue to draw the audience it deserves.
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