open/close all folders
The Gray Family
Portrayed by: Amy BrennemanAmy Gray, the heroine of the show. Divorced with a daughter, she becomes a judge and moves in back home with her mom.
- Brainy Brunette: She has long brown wavy hair and she's a top-notch lawyer who becomes a respected judge.I'm smart — I went to freaking Harvard!
- Reasonable Authority Figure: To the kids and parents whose fates she decides in court. Amy's mom Maxine is a social worker who once encourages a lawyer to stick with Amy rather than seek out another judge as Amy will be sure to rule a fair verdict. Another case that stands out is a desperate single mother who stole food to feed her three children. Her kids are supposed to be put to foster care. The mother argues that it's unfair because foster parents receive generous financial benefits which would help her to care for them, too. Amy commits the kids to the kid's aunt's care (she's a sister of the desperate woman) and advises them to move in together. That way the kids' aunt will receive the benefits and they can share expenses and help each other.
Portrayed by: Tyne DalyAmy's no-nonsense mother. She's a social worker.
- Cool Old Lady: She's a cool grandma to Lauren and she's fond of the kids from foster care. She's fun to be around.
- Good is Not Nice: She's good, competent social worker but she's often very tough on most people. It includes her boss and co-workers, her foster parents, the kids she's in charge of in foster care, her own kids and family (Amy, Paul and his wife Gillian, Vincent, her nephew Kyle), her love interests and random people. She's so exasperated with her hard work that she develops anger issues.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Maxine is a very competent social worker with deep understanding of her clients, including abused kids and troubled teens, struggling parents or foster parents.
Portrayed by: Marcus GiamattiAmy's older brother. Married to Gillian.
- Law of Inverse Fertility: He and his wife want to have kids. They can't. They decide to adopt. After couple of seasons, Gillian becomes unexpectedly pregnant once they stopped trying.
Portrayed by: Jessica TuckPaul's rather neurotic wife.
- Law of Inverse Fertility: She longs to have kids. She can't get pregnant and with her husband, they decide to adopt. After couple of seasons, Gillian becomes unexpectedly pregnant once they stopped trying.
Portrayed by: Dan FuttermanVincent is Maxine's youngest child and Amy's "baby brother". He was a gifted child.
- Pursue the Dream Job: He wants to be a writer. He's writing but struggling in the first episodes, but lands a publishing deal for his book of short stories. He also teaches a creative writing class.
Portrayed by: Karle WarrenLauren Cassidy is Amy's daughter and Maxine's granddaughter. She's six years old at the start of the series.
- Cheerful Child: She's a happy kid from a loving family. She's satisfied with her mom moving back home to her grandmother's house. Her father regularly takes her for weekends and holidays. She's a well-adjusted girl, she is going through the pains of childhood and preadolescence with divorced parents who are both reasonable.
- Little Miss Snarker: She's about six when the series start likes to make fun of things and she's often sarcastic — about school, homework, her mom, her father, her stepmother. She's not overly cynical though.
Kyle Mc Carty
Portrayed by: Kevin RahmAmy's cousin. They're fairly close.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Kyle is Put on a Bus to Minnesota to help take care of his son while his ex-girlfriend, Heather is in rehab and we never hear from him again.
Bruce van Exel
Portrayed by: Richard T. JonesAmy's court services officer who becomes her close friend. Very professional and competent.
- The Confidant: For Amy, to the point where he sometimes gets more information than he wants (particularly regarding her boyfriends).
Portrayed by: Jillian ArmenanteAmy's court clerk. She's an eccentric woman from a wealthy family, but estranged from them. Marries a convicted murderer and divorces him once he admits he's guilty.
- Genius Ditz: She's very eccentric and clumsy. Some of her ideas are downright weird. Donna is a genius (for example, she finishes her law degree in one and a half years) and socially awkward. She gives birth in a plastic pool in Amy's (her boss!) living room.
Portrayed by: Timothy OmundsonMaxine's boss
Portrayed by: Kristin Lehman
Portrayed by: Reed Diamond
- Put on a Bus: After Amy leaves him at the altar in the 5th season, it is later revealed that Stu married a 22-year-old Polynesian woman that he met on the trip that was would've been their honeymoon.
Portrayed by: Cheech MarinMaxine's love interest from later seasons.
- Insistent Terminology: He's a landscape designer. As opposed to a gardener.
Played By: Blake Bashoff
- Put on a Bus: After Eric is found not guilty of stabbing Amy's stalker, Jason Lobdel in the 4th season, he decides to move to Canada with his boyfriend, Mark.
Played By: Tara Correa Mc Mullen
- Parental Abandonment: Graciela's mother took herself and Graciela's younger brothers to Guatemala, leaving Graciela in Connecticut with her aunt and cousins.