L to R: Jessica (Gillian Gray) Tuck, Tyne (Maxine Gray) Daly, Marcus (Peter Gray) Giamatti, Amy (Amy Gray) Brenneman, Richard T. (Bruce Van Exel) Jones, Dan (Vincent Gray) Futterman, and Karle (Lauren Cassidy) Warren.
Now drawing to the close of its third season, the hit CBS drama "Judging Amy" premiered on the 19th of September, 1999. According to the CBS website, "'Judging Amy' is a drama starring Amy Brenneman ('NYPD Blue') as a single mother who has left New York behind and become a family court judge in Hartford, Connecticut. Recently divorced and raising her young daughter Lauren (Karle Warren), Judge Amy Gray has moved in with her very opinionated mother, Maxine (Tyne Daly); re-established a friendship with her free-spirited brother, Vincent (Dan Futterman); her older brother, Peter (Marcus Giamatti), and his wife, Gillian (Jessica Tuck), and is continuing to make her fresh start work. Assisting Amy in the courtroom are her court services officer, Bruce Van Exel (Richard T. Jones) and her overeager court clerk, Donna Kozlowski-Pant (Jillian Armenante). 'Judging Amy,' based on the real-life story of Brenneman's mother, is about three generations of women living together as they confront the personal and professional dilemmas in their changing challenging lives."
Richard Burgi officially joined the cast of "Judging Amy" as Amy's ex-husband, Michael Cassidy, when "The Justice League of America" aired March 26th, 2002. (The role had been played in previous seasons by actor John Slattery, but commitments to the ABC series "Ed" prevented Slattery from returning). With "Justice League," Michael is reintroduced to the show's viewers when Amy attends her 10-year reunion at Harvard Law School. Amy discovers she has grown along paths considerably different from those of her old "Justice League" group, which includes her ex-best friend, her ex-boyfriend, and her ex-husband. Michael, meanwhile, finds himself suffering from a case of the "what if's," made worse by the realization that Amy is now romantically involved with Judge Barry (Chris Sarandon) Krumble.
Filmed in early April 2002, Richard's next episode of "Judging Amy," titled "Nobody Expects the Spanish Inquisition," aired May 14th. "Inquisition" laid the foundation for Michael's eventual court battle for custody of their daughter Lauren, which would be played out in the Fall 2002-03 season.
Richard next appeared in the premiere episode of the show's fourth season, "Lost in the System," which aired October 1st 2002. The episode served to ramp up the custody storyline by placing Michael and Amy in ill-fated mediation sessions. "Lost" was followed in short order by "People of the Lie" in December and "The Best Interests of the Child" in January '03, with "Best Interests" bringing the custody battle to a climax.
"Judging Amy" is currently airing on Tuesday nights at 10:00pm ET/PT.
To learn more about "Judging Amy," visit the show's homepage at the CBS website: http://www.cbs.com/primetime/judging_amy/
(Thanks to Kat for the info, and to Erin for the screen-grab)
Season Three (2001-2002)
Synopsis: Judge Amy Gray (Amy Brenneman) is ambivalent about attending her 10-year reunion at Harvard. The prospect of facing her well-heeled and successful classmates is not one she finds particularly appealing, and her misgivings grow as the event progresses. The tone is set at the registration line, where the condescending attendant insists she is not on the list of alumni; only the timely appearance of her old classmate and ex-husband, Michael Cassidy (Richard Burgi), saves the day -- Michael asks the attendant to check under Amy's married name, Cassidy.
Amy quickly discovers that time and distance have given her a quite different outlook on life than she had as a Harvard student, when she, Michael, and their friends formed a closely-knit group of elite law students, calling themselves the Justice League of America. She finds herself surrounded by self-centered, arrogant, prideful, and strangely insecure people who bear little resemblance to those she remembers. Her ex-boyfriend, David Humboldt (Robert Mailhouse), and one-time best friend Elise Rolfsten (Gretchen German) are in an uncomfortable relationship, her ex-husband is suddenly quite attentive, and the much put-upon class loser Charles Manners (James Patrick Stuart) is now a well-groomed go-getter.
Michael and Amy are sharing some quite time in one of the lounges, looking through a photo album of their daughter, Lauren (Karle Warren), when Michael tries to hand his ex-wife a line -- a play on words to gain her sympathy and possibly get her into bed with him. More than a little scandalized, Amy turns him down.
The next day finds Amy more than a little disillusioned with the whole affair, and when her ex-boyfriend David -- who immediately preceded Michael -- tries to get her into bed as well, she lets him have it with both barrels. Shortly thereafter, facing the disapproving and spiteful gauntlet of David, Elise, and Michael (who though uncomfortable, stands by his friends rather than Amy), she gives them what-for until a knight in shining armor, in the form of her new boyfriend Judge Barry Krumble (Chris Sarandon), comes to her rescue. Later that evening, Michael goes to her room to seek her out, turning away when he hears Amy and Barry obviously together and holding forth in riotous song. When the reunion ends and Amy takes leave of her erstwhile friends, Michael looks on wistfully as she leaves on the arm of Krumble.
Synopsis: When Michael (Richard Burgi) appears in Amy's (Amy Brenneman) chambers to ask her out to lunch, Amy is a little taken aback but accepts the invitation. They settle on a restaurant within walking distance and their stroll takes them past a travel agency, where Amy spots a poster and is soon lost in the scene it depicts. Michael's grin, followed by outright laughter, brings Amy out of her reverie. She was mentally picturing herself in Spain, in the setting shown in the poster, and Michael immediately recognized what she had been doing -- playing a game of sorts they both used to indulge in. Before they can make it to lunch, Amy's phone rings -- she is late for a court session. She and Michael make plans for dinner instead.
Later that evening, as they sit at a cozy and romantic table for two, Michael steers the topic of conversation to their custody arrangements for their daughter Lauren (Karle Warren), announcing that he wants to change those arrangements. This understandably puts a damper on Amy's mood, especially when Michael tells her he now wants Lauren to live with him.
Lauren's dissatisfaction with her new home -- the rather flea-bitten apartment Amy rented after moving out of the Grey family abode -- is Michael's main argument for his attempts at changing the custody arrangement. While Amy and Lauren were living in the safe and familiar environment of the Grey homestead, he was satisfied to leave Amy with primary custody; however, with their living conditions changing so drastically, Michael feels he can now provide a better home for their daughter.
Later, Amy is saddened by the realization that her current paramour, Judge Barry Krumble (Chris Sarandon), isn't even remotely interested in the flights of daydreaming fancy she and Michael can still recognize in each other and share, despite their differences. Amy realizes this is a profound incompatibility and breaks off her relationship with Krumble.
Season Four (2002-2003)
Synopsis: As Amy (Amy Brenneman) is somewhat less than enthusiastic about the prospect of changing their long-standing custody arrangements, she and Michael (Richard Burgi) agree to a series of mediation sessions to iron out their differences and find a workable custody compromise.
During their first mediation session, Amy apparently tries to slow down the process by leading Michael off down Memory Lane with remembrances of Lauren's (Karle Warren) early childhood and their marriage. "How did we ever get from there to here?" is Amy's general theme, a topic which Michael quietly refuses to get into with her.
Nothing of any consequence comes of their first mediation session, which seems to set the pace for subsequent meetings..
Synopsis: Michael (Richard Burgi) and Amy's (Amy Brenneman) custody battle takes a turn for the worse when Michael decides to stop their mediation sessions. Though -- on the advice of his lawyer -- he will not discuss his rationale for moving on to a more adversarial approach, Michael cites his increasing frustration with Amy's dismissive attitude towards mediation -- she has missed or cancelled several meetings -- as one reason for moving on with the case.
Later, when Michael is dropping Lauren (Karle Warren) home, Amy
confronts him once more and again tries to get him to talk to her about
the move to a full-blown custody case. When Amy angrily questions him about
having her investigated by a "private eye," Michael points out that if
he hadn't, he would never have known about her murderous stalker or the
threat he posed to both Amy and Lauren -- information he should not have
had to get from a private investigator. They part company, both obviously
resigned to the bitter path ahead of them.
Synopsis: Michael (Richard Burgi) and Amy's (Amy Brenneman) increasingly bitter custody battle finally goes to court, with Michael being the first to testify. His self-serving testimony calls Amy's parental choices and judgement into question, and does so effectively enough that even Amy begins to doubt herself. Spotting Michael and his current wife, Leisha, apparently billing and cooing and sharing lunch in the courthouse corridor leaves Amy feeling even more glum, until Maxine (Tyne Daly) points out that vending-machine food hardly constitutes a meal. When Leisha suddenly rebuffs Michael, Amy and Maxine feel considerably better -- the honeymoon is apparently over for the Cassidys.
When the hearing resumes, Michael seems to be pulling ahead, though Amy's heartfelt testimony obviously gives him pause, leaving him in an apparently contemplative mood. The next day, Amy and her lawyer return to court expecting the worst, only to find the court-room empty. When the bailiff announces that Michael has dropped the custody suit, Amy and her lawyer are stunned.
Amy tracks a glum and brooding Michael down in his hotel room and gets
the truth out of him -- he has dropped the custody case because Leisha
has left him. Amy quickly surmises that the sudden desire to gain custody
of Lauren (Karle Warren) was a ploy on Michael's part to preserve
his marriage. Which, counters Michael, was the reason they had Lauren themselves.
When they both cool down , Michael admits that as a single parent, he cannot
provide Lauren with a better home than the one she has with Amy -- that
Amy, despite her parenting mistakes and missteps, is now the best choice
for their daughter... and he loves Lauren enough to recognize that. After
a few more digs at the demoralized Michael, Amy knocks the wind out of
his sails, demonstrating her desire to go back to their original custody
arrangement by telling him she'll drop Lauren at his place on the weekend
-- it is, after all, his weekend to have Lauren.
Synopsis: When Michael (Richard Burgi) comes over to drop off one of Lauren's (Karle Warren) schoolbooks, Amy (Amy Brenneman) invites him in for coffee. Michael is at first surprised and not sure how to take Amy's invitation, but he joins her in the Gray kitchen nonetheless.
Amy has been worrying about her perceived lack of success at long-term relationships, which has been brought to a head by her reluctance to tell Lauren of her current romance with Stu (Reed Diamond). She decides to use Michael as a sounding board and seeks his opinion on her skills -- or lack thereof -- in making relationships work. She makes the suggestion that the problems with their own marriage may have been hers rather than Michael's. He refuses to take the easy and self-serving route by agreeing with her; instead, he gently jokes with her, offering the suggestion that her problems with newer relationships are the result of her still secretly being in love with him, and the new boyfriends suffering in comparison.
Michael lays Amy's doubts to rest by telling her that their marriage ended because of his shortcomings, not because of any inadequacies on her part -- that once, long ago, he had a perfect marriage and wife, and didn't realize what he had until it was too late. Michael's comment surprises Amy and when she expresses that surprise, Michael attributes it to the three weeks of therapy he has had since the breakup of his marriage to second wife Leisha. A hug and a kiss later, Michael is out the door, comfirming he'll pick Lauren up on the weekend as usual.
(Thanks to Erin and Becky for the "Judging Amy" screen-grabs)
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