Created by: Steven Bochco and David E Kelley
OK, so this isn't so much of a review as a kind of personal journey into the ghosts of TV past. Popular culture has always been a huge influence in my life, so I guess it stands to reason that my first moment of realising that there might be something "different" about me (without really having any frame of reference for what that difference might be) came from watching TV. LA Law to be specific. I think it was my first glimpse of Amanda Donohoe that did it.
It took me completely by surprise when Amanda Donohoe and Michelle Green kissed each other. It was the first all-female kiss in the history of American Primetime TV. (Then just to torture me, Amanda went off and starred in the Ken Russell production of DH Lawrence's The Rainbow as a lesbian teacher. I think I borrowed that so many times I wore the video store tape out.)
The character of CJ Lamb was smart, beautiful, androgynous, sassy, sexy, hard to intimidate and she breathed life into a show that in my opinion was beginning to show serious signs of stagnation. In the fifth season I think they used her a lot for pure shock value, but it pushed the primetime envelope further than it had ever been pushed before.
The lesbian storyline focussed around two lawyers in the firm, CJ (Donohoe) and Abby (Michelle Green). The attraction and flirtation grew from almost nothing. I can remember wondering if I was imagining it at times. After a couple of kisses and a rather nervous "will they/won't they" scene, CJ decided finally that she thought Abby wasn't ready for the relationship they were heading into and called off the romance. I think I cried. I can't quite remember, it was a while ago.
But it wasn't just the romance that made this character interesting. That was just icing. In just about every episode she was in she injected energy and passion. She was an openly bisexual woman, a transgressor, someone who refused to stick to the rules of the game. I'm actually quite surprised she didn't die a horrible, nasty death.
If you can possibly catch old re-runs of the Amanda Donohoe LA Law years ('91-'92) I highly recommend it. Despite how dated the show looks now, this original, short-haired, smart-mouthed, shirts-and-blazers gal will steal your heart, just like she stole mine all those years ago. After all, that's what re-runs are for.
I regret to this day that back in my second last year of high school I was not taping television shows, so I don't have a copy of those CJ/Abby episodes to relive those moments. Oh for cable TV! (If anyone has a copy they could dub for me, we need to talk...! I even know the names of the episodes I want - see below.)
Episodes to watch out for:
He's a Crowd (#95, 7 Feb '91)
As God is My Co-Defendant (#101, 4 April '91)
Speak, Lawyers for Me (#102, 25 April '91)
There Goes the Judge (#103, 2 May '91)
Acknowledgement: The images on this page were borrowed from Jon Calderas' Amanda Donohoe fan site. Nice site Jon! As for all those sites out there specialising in nude pics of Ms Donohoe... *rude noise*