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    The Brock Family 

Sheriff James 'Jimmy' Brock (Tom Skerritt)

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Jimmy Brock is the Sheriff of Rome, Wisconsin. Well known and respected by all, he's often in the center of the action.

  • A Father to His Men: Jimmy isn't just a boss or superior to his young deputies Max and Kenny, but almost a father figure too. Constantly worrying about their welfare, he often berates them for their more hare-brained schemes and tries to stop them from getting into dangerous situations. Lampshaded in a season one episode when Jimmy actually refers to Max and Kenny as his 'kids at the station'.
  • Berserk Button / Papa Wolf: Without a doubt, Jimmy's berserk button is harm coming to his children. In fact, the only time we see Jimmy actually become physically violent throughout the entire series is towards his disgraced ex-partner who kidnaps Kimberly in the second season episode "Terms of Estrangement".
  • By-the-Book Cop: Jimmy seems to be completely incorruptible as a Sheriff, almost to a fault. He will follow the law to the most ridiculous extremes, even if in many cases, his moral conscience ultimately disagrees. Often used as a contrast against Max and Kenny's more cowboyesque shenanigans.
  • Can't Take Criticism: Jimmy can be very morally superior and often doesn't like to hear that he's in the wrong, especially from anyone younger than him.
  • Da Chief: As the Sheriff, Jimmy is frequently seen exasperated at the sometimes reckless and immature behaviour of his young deputies. The season one episode "The Autumn of Rome" sees Jimmy suspend Kenny for assaulting a Smug Snake businessman who was violently intimidating witnesses into not giving evidence against him, as well as seriously reprimanding Max for covering up Kenny's behaviour.
    Jimmy (to Max and Kenny after they've been caught kissing on a stakeout in "Changing of the Guard"): Forgive me for not affording you both the respect that you so clearly deserve.
  • Happily Married: Their marriage certainly goes through its bad patches (they both kiss their exes at different points in the series and they very nearly divorce in the last season) but Jimmy and Jill always manage to make it through because the genuine love between them is never in question.
  • Hollywood Midlife Crisis: He suffers one in the third season episode "For Whom the Wind Blows". Hilarity Ensues.
  • Overprotective Dad: After walking in on Kimberly having sex with her boyfriend in "High Tidings", Jimmy tries to have the boyfriend arrested on the spot for statutory rape. He also threatens to cancel Christmas.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: He may be strict and by-the-book, but Jimmy is nothing if not fair and is frequently seen trying to consider the show's many moral quandries from both sides.
  • The Missus and the Ex: Jimmy is often shown having to be the mediator between Jill and his ex-wife Lydia. That is, until they both gang up on him about his Overprotective Dad treatment of Kimberly.
  • To Be Lawful or Good: Jimmy is presented with this dilemma a number of times throughout the series.

Dr. Jill Brock (Kathy Baker)

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Jill is Jimmy's wife and the town physician, as equally as well liked and respected as her husband.

  • Action Mom: She's a mother of three, a doctor with a thriving practice, a surgeon when the plot calls for it, a member of the PTA, a member of the Rome Women's Association and she was also temporarily the Town Mayor. 'Super Mom' indeed.
  • Can't Take Criticism: Much like Jimmy, she finds it difficult to admit when she's wrong, which can often lead to friction and stalemate between them.
  • Dumb Blonde: Averted. Completely. Jill is arguably the most intelligent and well-educated person in the whole town. She's the main breadwinner in the Brock family (much to Jimmy's occasional discomfort) and has even been published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
  • Happily Married: Their marriage certainly goes through its bad patches (they both kiss their exes at different points in the series and they very nearly divorce in the last season) but Jimmy and Jill always manage to make it through because the genuine love between them is never in question.
  • Labcoat of Science and Medicine: Jill is never without her white doctor's coat when she's at the surgery.
  • Let Her Grow Up, Dear: During Jimmy's bouts of Overprotective Dad towards Kimberly, Jill often attempts to play the role of the peacemaker and the 'cool parent', most notably in the first season episode "High Tidings".
  • Old Flame: In the episode "Fetal Attraction" Jill works with her former fiance who, it turns out, still carries a torch for her. At first confused about her feelings, they share a brief kiss which is witnessed by Jimmy. Crisis is averted however when she manages to convince Jimmy that the kiss meant nothing.
  • Super Doc: There doesn't seem to be an illness or medical condition that Jill doesn't have extensive and in-depth knowledge of. As well as being a general practitioner, she also acts as a surgeon whenever the plot calls for it. Averted in one episode, where she misses Wambaugh's Multiple Sclerosis.
  • Team Mom: At times she seems to be not just the mother figure of the Brock family, but of the entire town.
  • Wicked Stepmother: Averted. Her relationship with stepdaughter Kimberly is very close. In fact, Kimberly calls her 'mom' and in contrast, addresses her real mother Lydia by her first name.

Kimberly Brock (Holly Marie Combs)

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Kimberly is the eldest Brock child, the daughter of Jimmy and his first wife Lydia.

  • A-Cup Angst: In the second season episode "Dairy Queen" Kimberly suffers from a bout of low self-esteem whilst wearing bra inserts to film a school project documentary she has entitled 'A Day in the Life of a C-Cup'. She even seriously considers the benefits of surgery but Jill eventually persuades her wait until she's 18 to make a decision.
  • Cool Big Sis: She's definitely one of these, often acting as the wise and protective older sibling to Matthew and Zach. She will give them advice and guidance where Jill and Jimmy fail to, most notably in "My Left Shoe" when Matthew, provoked by the town's reaction to Father Barrett's shoe fetish, is led to believe that masturbation is a sin.
  • Damsel in Distress: In the episode "Terms of Estrangement", Kimberly is kidnapped by Jimmy's disgraced ex-partner and held in a secure bunker. Refreshingly she doesn't act the part of the typical damsel in distress and is courageous and strong throughout. She is located and released by Jimmy and the Sheriff's Department by the episode's end.
  • Dating What Daddy Hates: During the third season and after Kimberly has turned 18, she briefly attempts to date Kenny, much to Jimmy's horror. The budding relationship quickly collapses when they both come to the realization that, despite a mutual attraction, they're both merely trying to rebel against Jimmy and his overbearing expectations.
  • Hollywood Atheist: Played straight at one point, but played more ambiguously at others.
  • Hormone-Addled Teenager: Averted. Kimberly may be sexually active, but she's incredibly mature about it and certainly doesn't seem to be obsessed with boys and sex.
  • Inadequate Inheritor: From the point of view of Kimberly herself, rather than her parents. As the daughter of the town sheriff and the town doctor, she constantly struggles with the massively high expectations of goodness she feels are heaped on her and her feelings of inadequacy because of it.
  • Nice Girl: Pretty self-explanatory. She's not a saint or a Pollyanna but Kimberly is a nice person with a seemingly mature outlook on life and clear moral perspective.
  • Sweeps Week Lesbian Kiss: During a sleepover in the first season episode "Sugar and Spice", Kimberly shares a kiss with her best friend, leaving her confused about her sexual orientation and the adults panicked about the implications. In the end, she decides that she's straight.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: In all honesty, she seems to be a lot wiser than a majority of the adults in the town.

Matthew Brock (Justin Shenkarow)

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Jill and Jimmy's elder son and the most mischievous of the Brock children.

  • Black Sheep: Matthew counts as a mild version of this trope. He doesn't seem to be a bad kid at heart but he certainly seems to court trouble wherever he goes, more so than the other Brock children. He loves pulling pranks and gets suspended from school for fighting, amongst other things throughout the show's run.
  • Brats with Slingshots: Taken to the extreme in the second season episode "Guns 'R' Us". Matthew, in an attempt at revenge on an older bully for toilet dunking him, fires a home made 'potato gun' at the bully's car, merely meaning to damage it but instead causing the teenager to crash and end up seriously injured in hospital.
  • Erotic Dream: When Matthew begins to go through puberty, he experiences these. The episode "Bad Moon Risings" shows him having wet dreams about Max, including her coming to him in nothing but a bikini offering herself, a game boy and chocolate cake! Every boy's fantasy, indeed.
  • I Can't Feel My Legs: In the aftermath of the above mentioned 'potato gun' prank gone horribly wrong, the bully's vengeful younger brother gets hold of his father's gun and shockingly shoots Matthew at school in retaliation, leaving the lower half of his body paralyzed. The later episode "Remote Control" has a tearjearking scene where Matthew feels Jill touching his foot, showing that his nerves are finally recovering. He eventually recovers the use of his legs after much physical therapy.
  • Middle Child Syndrome: Certainly a reason for Matthew's antics as an attention seeking device. Lampshaded in a season three episode where he accidentally injures Zach and Jill goes overboard, slapping him in public.
  • Mouthy Kid: Matthew doesn't have an issue with telling the adults when they're being ridiculous.
  • The Unfavorite: In one episode, he accuses Jill of seeing him as this. He also tended to get less screen time and narrative focuses than his siblings.

Zachary 'Zach' Brock (Adam Wylie)

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Jimmy and Jill's younger son, a precocious and quirky kid with a talent for music.

  • Bad Dreams: Zach is seen suffering from nightmares about death in the first season episode "Sacred Hearts" after he visits an elderly patient with Jill and they find her dead in her hospital bed.
  • Cheerful Child: No it's not an act, he really is that endearing.
  • Children Are Innocent: His childish innocence is an oft-used source of comic relief.
    Zach: Did you shtup him?
    Kimberly: What?
    Zach: Kenny. Matthew says you're shtuping him.
    Kimberly: Well, Matthew is lying again.
    Zach: (beat) What's shtuping? He wouldn't tell me that part. What's it mean?
    Kimberly: Uh... (longer beat) Well, it's when two people... (even longer beat) share the same library card.
    Zach: (Confused) What's the big deal about that?
  • Constantly Curious: Much to Jimmy and Jill's chagrin, Zach's innocent and curious nature means that he asks a lot of uncomfortable questions. Primarily about sex and religion. At one point in season two, he is so curious about Judaism that he decides he wants to convert, particularly because he likes the idea of there being no hell to worry about.
  • Growing Up Sucks: Inevitably, the audience starts to see Zach's endearing innocence chipping away throughout the timespan of the show. Not really surprising considering his sister gets kidnapped, his brother gets shot, his mother gets thrown in jail for assisting with medical suicide and more.

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    The Sheriff's Department 

Deputy Kenny Lacos (Costas Mandylor)

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The first of Sheriff Jimmy Brock's deputies (and honorary kids), Kenny is a guy's guy with hidden depths.

  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: With Max. They may be (at their own admission) best friends, but they bicker Like an Old Married Couple, mainly to cover the fact that they're completely crazy about each other but aren't capable of admitting it due to their own respective intimacy issues and fear of rejection.
  • Cowboy Cop: He shows shades of this at times, most notably in the first season episode "The Autumn of Rome" when he assaults a Smug Snake businessman who violently intimidated an elderly witness into not testifying against him. At other points during the series Jimmy is seen warning him not to 'hit anyone'.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Kenny, as something of a self-imposed tough guy doesn't like to appear weak in any way. In fact, he'd rather lash out at those closest to him, usually Max, than admit his own failings as a man and a cop, most notably in the first season episode "Frog Man".
  • Fair Cop / Tall, Dark, and Handsome: Pretty obviously, he's very easy on the eyes. At various points throughout the series we see women flirting with him at the station, usually with Max rolling her eyes in the background.
  • Heroic Build: Aside from his obvious (albeit on rare occasion misguided) heroism, he's built like a linebacker. Justified as his actor, Costas Mandylor, is a boxer and a former soccer player.
  • Idiot Hero: He's not the sharpest knife in the drawer, bless him. He's not completely dumb however, he seems to be pretty effective at his job and he's self-aware enough to admit that he's not the smartest guy in the world.
    Kenny: Is is unhealthy for a guy to be attracted to an older woman?
    Kimberly: How much older?
    Kenny: I don't know, ten years maybe? Does it mean the guy's got an esophagus complex?
    Kimberly: (smiles) Oedipus.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Kenny has these, he's the star marksman of the Rome Sheriff's Department. Need to wound a perp on the shoulder without killing him from fifty feet away through a second floor window? Kenny can do it.
  • Lantern Jaw of Justice: Adding to his chiseled good looks is a nice square manly jawline.
  • Likes Older Women: In all fairness, Kenny seems to be a pretty 'equal opportunities' guy when it comes to women but we see him dating an older woman twice, firstly in the pilot episode when he falls for an older lounge singer. Then more notably when he secretly dates the Mayor Rachel Harris who is over 20 years his senior in the second season.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Kenny has numerous shirtless scenes and workout scenes throughout the series.
  • Number Two: To Jimmy, both officially and unofficially. While Jimmy often refers to him as his next in command, his occasional screw-ups on cases coupled with his own awareness that he's not the smartest man on the force has him believe that he hasn't done anything to earn this position.
  • Raised Catholic: Mentioned a few times, it becomes particularly important in the episode "Survival of the Fittest" when Kenny manages to convince a religious homicide suspect to reveal the whereabouts of a young woman's body 'Catholic to Catholic'.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: Kenny and Max act out this trope to a tee in the season three episode "Close Encounters". Coitus Ensues.
  • The Patient Has Left the Building: In the episode "Frog Man" Kenny is shot by the mysterious titular character and, despite nearly dying on the operating table, self-discharges himself from hospital the next day and insists on immediately going back to work despite clearly being in a great deal of pain. Amusingly, in the next episode, he seems pretty much fine.
  • The Pornomancer: The women always seem to flock to Kenny, not the other way around. He's never seen actively pursuing a love interest. At one stage he even dates a pair of Separated at Birth identical twins at their request.
  • Wacky Marriage Proposal: In "Three Weddings and a Meltdown". Well, not so much wacky as incredibly spur of the moment.
    Kenny: So, Max?
    Max: Kenny.
    Kenny: You want to give it a shot?
    Max: What?
    Kenny: You think we could make it work?
    Max: Kenny, are you asking me to marry you?
    Kenny: Yeah... I guess I am!
  • Will They or Won't They?: The whole basis of his relationship with Max. They Do. And then they break up. And get back together. And get married.

Deputy Maxine 'Max' Stewart (Lauren Holly)

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Max is Kenny's partner and the more driven and ambitious of the two.

  • Archnemesis Dad / I Have No Daughter: Max has a lot of daddy issues, a thread that is introduced when she is shown having therapy in the second season and then expanded on in season three's "Upbringings" when it is revealed that she comes from a wealthy family and her emotionally unavailable father disowned her after she refused to become a typical 'Society Wife' and decided to enroll in the Police Academy. It also causes friction between her and Jimmy who she sometimes resents for treating her like a daughter.
  • Armor-Piercing Slap: Gives Kenny a couple of these in "Close Encounters" after their sexual tryst caused their relationship to go south. When wearing a beautiful red dress, she rhetorically asks "What are you looking at?"; he replies "Leftovers", prompting her to slap him. Then after angrily confronting her not to do it again, she slaps him a second time.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: With Kenny. Boy, when she gets angry at him she really gets angry, notably in the first season's "The Snake Lady" where there's actual screaming and pushing involved when he dares to question her objectivity in a case they're investigating.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Well, until she finally does in the episode "Close Encounters".
    Max (to Kenny): I've been in love with you for three years.
  • Challenge Seeker: A character, usually Jimmy, may attempt to say no to Max but it usually won't work in the long run. If she wants to investigate something, she will. She's highly ambitious and always looking for her next big challenge to prove to herself that she's capable of anything she puts her mind to. Kenny affectionately calls her 'Super Cop'.
  • Combat Stilettos: Averted. Refreshingly, Max is always wears seen wearing appropriate footwear when in uniform, unlike many of her TV counterparts.
  • Fair Cop: Like Kenny, she's a cop and she's clearly gorgeous. As an extension of the above however, she's refreshingly always dressed professionally and appropriately whilst at work. No tight, short skirts and unbuttoned cleavage-revealing shirts for Max.
  • Fiery Redhead: Well, she's a redhead and she's certainly fiery.
  • Gut Feeling: Seemingly one of Max's preferred methods of crime solving. She had a gut feeling that the impounded car belonged to the Green Bay Chopper with no real reason to believe it. She also had a gut feeling that the Cupid Killer had come to Rome with no more evidence than Jimmy being shot in the butt with an arrow. She was right both times.
  • Ms. Fanservice: She may always be dressed conservatively at work but out of uniform she's frequently seen wearing short skirts, low cut dresses and midriff revealing tops. The episode "Bad Moon Risings" even has Matthew fantasizing about her in a bikini in a wet dream he's having.
  • Tsundere (Type B): Max's default setting is to be smiley, friendly, hard working and optimistic but she certainly has a temper and is prone to angry, outspoken outbursts and episodes of insubordination. Kenny seems to bear a lot of the brunt of her anger, as her Love Interest.
  • Quickly-Demoted Woman: A variation of this trope occurs in the episode "Sugar and Spice" when Max is denied the position of 'Under Sheriff' solely because she's a woman and Jimmy and the Mayor are concerned that the men in the department won't take her seriously as their superior, despite being qualified for the position. Max doesn't take it lying down and takes them to court for sexual discrimination.
  • Violently Protective Girlfriend: Max shows shades of this in the episode "Frog Man" when she violently pushes the man who is suspected to have shot Kenny into the wall, as well as conducting a search of his property without a warrant and arresting him for no other reason than she sees a frog on his mantlepiece.
  • Will They or Won't They?: The basis of her whole relationship with Kenny.

Carter Pike (Kelly Connell)

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As the County Medical Examiner, Carter works with the Sheriff's Department to help them solve the town's most violent crimes.

  • Accidental Proposal: This happens to Carter in the series finale "Three Weddings and a Meltdown" when he tells his girlfriend Sue that he doesn't want to sleep with her until they're married. She takes that to mean that he's proposing to her.
  • Butt-Monkey: Carter is often the butt of the joke in Rome, the townsfolk just don't seem to take him seriously about anything, despite his expertise, maybe because he's well... a little odd. He's also frequently unlucky in love and pretty much everything else. In the episode "Blue Christmas" he deals with the death of his mother, at Christmas.
  • Cannot Talk to Women: Like most socially inept losers on television, Carter struggles to talk to women. Most notably in the season two episode "Supreme Courting" when he's so terrified of not being able to make appropriate conversation with a woman who has asked him to dinner that he manages to persuade Max to feed him dialogue through an earpiece.
    Max: Compliment her dress, is she wearing a dress?
    Carter: That is a beautiful dress. Beautiful... And your home is... beautiful.
    Max: Enough with the beautifuls, Carter! Use another word!
  • Catchphrase: He has two - "Let me exhume the body!" and "I should be deputized!"
  • Conspiracy Theorist: In the season one episode, "Sightings" Carter reveals that he believes in the existence of aliens and UFO's and also that there is a government conspiracy to cover up their existence.
  • Misunderstood Loner with a Heart of Gold: Carter may be a bit of an oddball but the show proves time and time again that he's ultimately a genuine Nice Guy who is desperate to find love. Luckily, he eventually gets his Happy Ending.
  • The Coroner: Well, because he is.

Ginny Weedon (Zelda Rubinstein)

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Ginny is the police dispatcher for the Sheriff's Department and is one of Rome's more quirky residents.

  • Demoted to Extra: Began appearing less and less during the last half of season two.
  • Fortune Teller: Ginny can read palms and is seen doing this numerous times, perhaps most notably in the episode "The Green Bay Chopper" when she reads the palm of a victim of the titular serial kidnapper (from a severed hand no less) and claims to the FBI that the (then unknown) victim is a Dentist. She turned out to be right.
  • Height Angst: Due to her diminutive size, Ginny has this in spades. In the episode "Rights of Passage" she lambastes Jill for administering a growth hormone to a local boy, claiming that it does nothing but reinforce the prejudice against people of below average height.
  • Little People Are Surreal: Zelda Rubinstein is pretty much playing the exact same character as she does in Poltergeist which pretty much says it all.
  • Psychic Powers / Precognition: As well as reading palms, Ginny also believes that she has psychic powers and is often seen telling other characters about her visions and dreams. In the episode "Be My Valentine" she warns Max not to proceed with her plans to go undercover to catch the 'Cupid Killer' due to a dream she had.
  • Stuffed Intothe Fridge: Accidentally. She was reaching to get something in the deep-freezer, fell in, wasn't able to get out, and froze to death. It was a few weeks before anyone found her.

    The Courthouse 

Douglas Wambaugh (Fyvush Finkel)

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Wambaugh is an audacious local lawyer who will represent anyone for a fee, much to Judge Bone's eternal frustration.

  • Alter Kocker: He is an Ashkenazi Jew.
  • Ambulance Chaser: Wambaugh will represent pretty much anyone and will take on any case, no matter how reprehensible the crime or if it should represent a moral quandary for him, much to the disgust of the rest of the townsfolk.
  • Amoral Attorney: Subverted. He may take any case for a fee, and isn't above using highly dubious tactics to win, but it eventually becomes clear that he's just playing a character and is secretly ashamed of his own moral failings. In "Under the Influence" he warns Kimberly against her thinking that he's someone to look up to or emulate, despite his success as a lawyer.
  • Awful Wedded Life: Much comic relief is provided in Wambaugh's vitriolic relationship with his wife Miriam, mainly because she seems as sick of his antics as everyone else in town. In "Thanksgiving" he insists on pressing charges against her (adultery was still against the law in Wisconsin despite it being a mainly ignored and archaic law) after he finds her in bed with another man. They eventually patch things up and decide to renew their vows in the series finale.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Wambaugh's courtroom antics are legendary, his whole ethos being that if you can make the jury laugh then they'll side with you. He usually wins his cases because, despite the antics, he is damn good at his job.
  • Catchphrase: "Douglas Wambaugh for the ... (midgets! potato man! steam roller!)"
  • Jerk Ass Has A Point: He isn't really a Jerkass, but he is viewed with contempt by a lot of the town. However, several times he is able to point out that his clients have been mistreated by the police or the community, and he often calls people out when they're wrong, such as when he pays Frank the Potato Man's bail because he views his imprisonment as being motivated by prejudice, or tells Jimmy he's being stupid when he tries to prosecute Kimberly's boyfriend for statutory rape.
  • Jews Love to Argue: Well, it is his profession, after all.
  • Refuge in Audacity: In "Under the Influence", a drunk driver is allowed to drive home with the police following her. After she causes a wreck that injures a young man, she calls Wambaugh, who tells her to drink some brandy in order to discredit the breathalyzer. When Judge Bone calls him on this, and gives him a very harsh dressing-down, Wambaugh decides to plead the case out for a suspended sentence. He then represents the victim of the wreck in a lawsuit against the town, using the driver's testimony that she was too drunk to drive. Legally, they couldn't do anything to Wambaugh for this, but Judge Bone gets so mad that he throws him in jail for contempt.
  • Stop Being Stereotypical: The Jews of the county at one point try to excommunicate him (in effect) because they don't want to be associated with a glib Ambulance Chaser. It's the testimony of Zach Brock, who comes from a Catholic family but wants to be Jewish, that saves Wambaugh.
  • Third-Person Person: Wambaugh often refers to himself in the third person.
    Wambaugh: Douglas Wambaugh does not lie!
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: With Judge Bone, they're pretty much Heterosexual Life-Partners.

Judge Henry Bone (Ray Walston)

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Judge Bone is the town's endlessly sour-faced and curmudgeonly but fair Judge.

  • Catchphrase: "Now get out!"' Usually said to Wambaugh, or occasionally various other characters in pretty much every single episode.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: In the episode "When in Rome" a convicted (and in his estimation rehabilitated) child molester moves to Rome after being released from prison and is eventually Driven to Suicide by the town people's reception towards him. It turns out, in a heartbreaking twist, that the man is Judge Bone's son who he hasn't seen or spoken to in over 25 years.
  • Deadpan Snarker: His snark knows no bounds, especially when it comes to Wambaugh. Usually there's a Face Palm thrown in there somewhere too.
    Wambaugh: Your Honour, I have an ex-parte motion I would like to bring before the court.
    Judge Bone: Oh, I'm so pleased.
  • Hidden Heart of Gold: He may not like to show it, but under the gruff exterior lies a soft center which is revealed throughout various points in the show's run.
  • Only Sane Man: It often seems like Judge Bone is a small island of sanity surrounded by the sea of crazy that is the town of Rome and the bizarre cases that he's often confronted with. In the episode "Mr. Seed Goes to Town" he is asked to make a decision on whether Jimmy's ex-wife Lydia can use his (frozen) sperm to get pregnant despite Jimmy's objections and instead of making a ruling, he instead orders that Jimmy, Jill and Lydia be placed under house arrest until the following morning so that they can sort the whole mess out themselves.
  • The Judge: He meets the trope so well that he could be the Trope Codifier.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: With Wambaugh.

District Attorney John Littleton (Don Cheadle)

Introduced in the second season, John Littleton is the sane and normal outsider brought in as the new District Attorney.

  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Subverted. His brother wasn't just foolish, but also an escaped convict who he had previously sent away.
  • Hello, Attorney!: Young Don Cheadle definitely added to the amount of male eye candy on the show.
  • Only Sane Man: Much like Judge Bone, D.A. Littleton seems remarkably sane compared to other residents of the town. The two characters actually seem to bond because of this reason. Littleton is often seen incredulous at the sometimes seemingly ridiculous actions of the Sheriff's Department and the sheer craziness of the cases that he is confronted with.
  • Put on a Bus: Somewhat abruptly returned to Chicago early in season four.

    The Townsfolk 

Father Gary Barrett (Roy Dotrice)

The priest at the local Catholic parish.

  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Judge Bone, and Rev. Novotny.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: His relationship with Rev. Novotny tends towards this, although they're usually on the same side on the issues in town and they clearly have a deep respect for each other.


Laurie Bey (Marlee Matlin)

A public spirited bankrobber who turned herself in and took the position of mayor as part of her public service, more successful in the job than anyone else.

  • Ascended Extra: Did a one-off guest-spot in season two; returned at the end of season three and stayed as a regular for the rest of the series.
  • Disability Superpower: Her deafness cuts down on distractions during tense situations.
  • Just Like Robin Hood: How she saw herself during her life of crime. Chose targets carefully and made sure not to hurt any bystanders.
  • Reformed Criminal: When she became mayor.


Lydia Brock (Cristine Rose)

Jimmy's first wife, Kimberly's biological mom. Doesn't actually live in town, but drops in a good bit, usually at the worst possible moment.

  • Hidden Depths: Lives a rather colorful life, and most people see her as rather shallow. She's not.
  • Life of the Party: Things are always more interesting when Lydia's around.
  • The One That Got Away: Sees Jimmy as this. At one point Lydia laments that Kimberly growing up will mean that she can't just storm into Jimmy's life whenever she wants.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: With Jill, on their good days. On their bad days, it's just vitriolic.


Howard Buss (Robert Cornthwaite)

A recurring character through the first two seasons, Howard was an old man with Alzheimer's who ended up becoming mayor after Rachel Harris was forced out.

  • Like a Duck Takes to Water: No one expected him to do well, but he turns out to be a very good mayor, who does some good work in the town, although his Alzheimer's ultimately gets worse.
  • Scatterbrained Senior: Due to his Alzheimer's.
  • Undignified Death: After his Alzheimer's takes a turn for the worse, he's shot by his son while riding a rocking-horse naked. Also qualifies as a Mercy Kill.


Dr. Joanna 'Joey' Diamond (Amy Aquino)


Rachel Harris (Leigh Taylor-Young)

Replaced Bill Pugen as mayor, rocking the boat and making lots of people generally uncomfortable, until revelations from her past got her booted from office.

  • Demoted to Extra: A huge part of the show for the first three-quarters of season two. Only appears a couple of times after she's kicked out of office.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: To Sherriff Brock. She was expected to be a place-holder until they could hold a special election. She turned out to be more ambitious than that.
  • Mayor Pain: Sherriff Brock sees her as this. Although she's shown to be (in many ways) pretty good at her job.
  • Old Shame: In-universe: Rachel considered the porn films she made to be this.


Ed Lawson (Richard Masur)

Loud, argumentative postal worker who is elected mayor in season three. It doesn't end well.

  • Ascended Extra: Temporarily. Starts as an antagonistic juror in season two, comes back as a major character for part of season three.
  • Humiliation Conga: His wife knocks him out with a frying pan, puts the body in the freezer, and then when they find they body his head gets knocked off as they're taking him out of his house. He was already dead for most of it, at least.
  • Stuffed in the Fridge: In the freezer, by his wife.

Reverend Henry Novotny (Dabbs Greer)

Episcopalian clergyman who frequently takes an active role in public affairs.

  • Those Two Guys: With Father Barrett.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: His relationship with Father Barrett tends towards this, although they're usually on the same side on the issues in town and they clearly have a deep respect for each other.


Principal Michael Oslo (Roy Brocksmith)


Bill Pugen (Michael Keenan)

The show's first mayor. He was overweight, grumpy, and generally unpopular, although his popularity spiked when he shot and killed a carjacker. He went on trial for murder, was convicted, and died right as he was granted a new trial.


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