TV REVIEW - PICKET FENCES
A HOLLYWOOD REPORTER REVIEW
April 26, 1996
Due to lack of interest, Rome, Wis., has passed on. It's no more. Dead and buried, along with all those nice folks, too -- although the good news is that they all lived happily ever after.
As of a double-dipped run Wednesday night, David E. Kelley's Emmy-celebrated Picket Fences slipped into memory (and eternal reruns) after a four-year stint on CBS. For such a sad occasion for its too-few fans for Nielsen ratings appeal but still some millions who were devoted to Picket's bold scripting and whimsical characters, it was a robust finish, with lots of loose ends to tie up.
The first hour episode rotated around Mayor Laurie's (Marlee Matlin) announcement at the baptism that the father of Baby Michael was gay brother Jerry's longtime lover Gordon -- and that the men will raise the lad. The "scandal" ends up in court, with Laurie and Jerry's disaffected mother Christine (Louise Fletcher) suing for custody. Lots of ugly recriminations.
The wrap-up hour is a whirlwind of resolutions. Carter and the virginal Sue, whose loins cry out for him (direct quote), decide on marriage. Likewise the romantic Kenny pops the question to Max -- "Want to give it a shot?" Further, Wambaugh and Miriam want to reaffirm their vows.
It's a big wedding day, with the triple-dip ceremonies conducted by the dour Judge Henry (Ray Walston), who is even seen on this austere occasion to smile! Things don't go as well vow-wise for the Brocks (our stars Tom Skerritt and Kathy Baker) and they split up, although by episode's end, and series' end, they're back in each other's arms.
Creator Kelley set difficult standards with Picket. Here were some deeply likable and often painfully honest characters with sometimes eccentric bents. Then he often added ripping issues to the mix. And his people and plots could not be easily predicted, a rarity in TV.
Well, about the only thing you could figure was that his people would somehow find a happy ending. Of course, now the final-and-last happy ending has arrived -- and it wasn't all that happy.
Copyright April 1996 The Hollywood Reporter. IMDB.