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Series / Judging Amy

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Judging Amy is an American legal drama television series that was broadcast from September 19, 1999, to May 3, 2005, on CBS.

After her divorce, attorney Amy Gray and her young daughter move back into her mother's house in Hartford, Connecticut, and Amy becomes a family court judge. Amy's mother Maxine is a social worker who holds herself, as well as everyone else — especially Amy — to her perfectionist standards. Since Amy is a family court judge and Maxine is a social worker, they occasionally cross paths professionally, sometimes creating discord that spills over into their personal relationship. Amy and Maxine are both single and interested in romance. Amy's introspective, younger brother is a writer, while her older brother, an insurance salesman, and his neurotic wife frequently drop by. This show is about as complex as it gets without being a Mind Screw...


This show has examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: A huge part of Maxine's job, and these pop up in Amy's courtroom.
  • Adorkable: Maxine and Amy when they're flustered by the attention of the opposite sex... which leads Amy once to declare that she is done with men. doesn't stick.
  • Asshole Victim: The creep stalking Amy that ended up being killed by Sean's foster kid in defense of the Grays.
  • Birthday Hater: Maxine.
  • Black Best Friend: Bruce.
  • Byronic Hero: David MacClaren carries shades of this at first, with the tragedy of his wife's death and the whole Tall, Dark, and Handsome thing.
  • Courtroom Drama
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Dr. Lily Redekker.
  • Disappeared Dad: The patriarch of the Gray family died several years previous to the pilot, and Lauren's father sometimes ventures into this territory.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: In one episode, a boy was brought in to Amy's court after calling in a bomb threat at school. However, his father was a soldier and he was born in Afghanistan. Since citizenship is passed through the mother, he is officially an illegal Afghani immigrant and could be deported if convicted of a felony. Later, in a Loophole Abuse-filled conversation about a theoretical boy from "Sweden," she is told that if he is deported back to "Sweden" with no family or support system, he'll likely be placed in the military. All because he wanted to get out of a test. Amy takes a third option by sentencing to probation for 364 days, since only sentences of over a year are required to be reported.
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  • Double Standard: Averted in the season 4 episode "Roses & Truth", where Amy has a case of a high school student who slept with his teacher and got her pregnant. At first the boy was charged with rape, as the teacher alleged he forced himself on her. The boy's defense, however, showed that the teacher was the sexual predator by bringing in another victim to discuss his relationship with the teacher. It was treated with the seriousness it deserved and even the teacher's husband looked at her with disgust when he heard the second victim's claims.
  • Emotional Torque: The whole darn series. It doesn't screw so much with your brain as it does your emotions.
  • Epunymous Title
  • Everyone Can See It: Lily and Kyle.
  • Exact Words: In "Roses & Truth" the prosecution is objecting to a surprise witness the defense showed up with feeling they deliberately withheld the name to prevent possible discrediting. Amy gets the prosecution to agree that it was the act of possibly hiding the witness he didn't like rather than hearing from the witness that angers him, giving her no objection to hearing the witness on the stand.
  • Genius Ditz: Donna
  • Good Is Not Nice: Maxine, at times.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick (Donna, then Holbrook in season 6)
  • Important Haircut: Maxine has one of these.
  • It Runs in the Family: That perfectionist streak.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Maxine really comes across as this, at times, as do her boss, Sean, and her nephew, Kyle.
  • The Joy of X: Several episodes have titles with this ever so popular and fun naming pattern:
    • "Sex and the Single Mother" (Sex and the Single X)
    • "Romeo and Juliet Must Die—Well, Maybe Just Juliet" (X Must Die)
    • "The Unbearable Lightness of Being Family" (The Un-X-able Y-ness of Z-ing)
    • "Sex, Lies and" (Sex, Lies and X)
    • "Last Tango in Hartford" (Last Tango in X)
  • Kids Are Cruel: Invoked often with Lauren's classmates.
  • Long Runner
  • Love Makes You Crazy: Oh, Kyle...
  • Not So Different: Amy and Maxine seem often to be at war with each other, but...
  • Old Friend, New Gender: In the "Slade's Chophouse" episode, Bruce looks forward to a visit from his old friend, Father Ted. Bruce is rather surprised that he goes by Teresa now and is in town for the final surgery.
    Amy: Thought you'd be shorter...and a guy.
  • Power Trio: Amy as The Kirk, Bruce as The Spock, and Donna as The McCoy.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Amy as a judge. Maxine once encourages a lawyer to stick with Amy rather than seek out another judge as she will be sure to rule a fair verdict.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Amy employs these regularly in putting down unruly lawyers and the like in court.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Vincent explains to Kyle that he's made him that for the Gray women.
  • Parents as People: Maxine and Amy, full stop.
  • Passive-Aggressive Kombat: Wow... take your pick. Maxine vs. Kimberly, however, probably takes the cake.
  • Screaming Birth: Donna.
  • Ship Tease: The kiss Amy and Bruce share in the interim of not being coworkers.
  • Shout-Out:
    • When Vincent is at home sick one day, he watches Soylent Green.
    • Amy rents The Sound of Music for Lauren's sleepover and ends up discussing one scene and watching it with Maxine.
  • Snark-to-Snark Combat: The Gray family is good at this.
  • Socially Awkward Heroine: Amy, as lampshaded jokingly by David: "No, it's because you're crazy."
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute (Vincent, then Kyle, then Vincent again).
  • Tall, Dark, and Snarky: Bruce.
  • The Resenter: Gillian gets definite shades of this.
  • Threat Backfire: A slimy lawyer helps his abusive foster client parents get off on charges by threatening judges with past rulings that make them appear to be racist, sexist, etc. He tries it on an elderly female judge by making it sound like she's racist on Latinos for past rulings and she holds him in contempt. As he's handcuffed, he presses on how this could damage her career...only for her to fire back there's no career to damage as this is her last day and "who cares about the opinion of a retired judge?"
  • Traumatic C-Section: Gillian undergoes this.
  • The Unfavorite: Several cases of Amy's deal with this. In the Gray family, however, Peter seems to fill the role.
  • Wedding Day: Amy and Stu's wedding episode... which ends heart-wrenchingly.


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