Sunday, July 30, 2006

Behind the Scenes on JAG

You may recall I was reluctant to buy the first season of JAG on DVD. I did anyway, and boy, am I glad. I always wondered why Andrea Parker wasn't retained for the series after appearing in the pilot. I thought she had great chemistry with David James Elliott, and evidently so did Don Bellisario. Parker herself thrilled to be on the show, but NBC wanted someone "flashier," and wouldn't pick up the series unless she were replaced. Bellisario didn't want to do it, but Parker so wanted the show to go on that she willingly stepped aside. Talk about taking one for the team.

Ironically, when NBC cancelled JAG, its replacement programming was The Pretender, with Andrea Parker. What was the network's beef with her on JAG? I don't know.

Shortly after Parker wrapped commitments to The Pretender in 2001, Kate Pike made her fourth guest appearance on JAG (pictured).

Bellisario also wanted to retain Patrick Labyorteaux for the first season and Labyorteaux wanted to stay on, but he was committed to another series. The day that series was cancelled, Bellisario called and said, "So you want to come back to JAG as Bud Roberts?"

Most interesting to me was the first season finale, "Skeleton Crew", which didn't air in the U.S. until the show was syndicated on USA Network. Harm's academy friend Diane Schonk is found murdered after she leaves ship to meet with him. Suspicion falls on several people. Parts of this episode were used in the Season Three episode "Death Watch," but at the end of the original cut, NCIS arrests Harm. Freaky.

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