Tyne Daly and Sharon Gless have been friends for a long time, and they’ve never been shy about using that off-screen relationship as an on-screen resource. So why does CBS’ “Judging Amy” seem somewhat coy about showcasing their work?
The big news about tonight’s show at 10 is the reunion of Daly and Gless, who teamed through the ‘80s on “Cagney & Lacey” and four TV movies in the ‘90s as cops who fought crime, the system and sometimes each other. Despite a new setting and circumstances, they do much the same here, portraying old friends in a delicate situation.
Daly is a regular on “Judging Amy.” Her character, Maxine, is the mother of the title character as well as a feisty social worker. When Gless’ bureaucrat, Sally, arrives, it’s more than a social call; it’s also an official investigation of Maxine’s unorthodox approach to child protection.
Daly and Gless deliver top-notch performances, as their characters’ personalities and professional agendas harmoniously and acrimoniously blend. It’s enough to make you wonder if they’ll eventually make a fifth “Cagney & Lacey” reunion movie.
What’s a bit strange here, though, is that “Judging Amy” doesn’t feature them more. Sure, they are the centerpiece, but the series’ format of multiple story lines distracts by including a case heard by Judge Amy Gray (Amy Brenneman) -- and an elderly couple’s dispute that seems shoehorned in to provide comic relief and screen time for Richard T. Jones as the adjudicator.
It’s only fair to point out that this is not what the creators originally had in mind for the Daly-Gless reunion. Instead, Gless was supposed to be a guest at the wedding of Maxine to Jared, played by Richard Crenna, who died last month. Crenna’s illness at the time forced the rewrite that we’re presented with tonight.