Crossing Jordan is an American television crime/drama series that aired on NBC from September 24, 2001, to May 16, 2007. It stars Jill Hennessy as Jordan Cavanaugh, M.D., a crime-solving forensic pathologist employed in the Massachusetts Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. The show used an ensemble cast approach that featured a group of Jordan's co-workers and police detectives assigned to the various cases. Its roster of central characters was created by Tim Kring, who also developed its core format. The title refers to both the name of the main character, who is commonly shown as "crossing" others—especially authority figures—to learn what she wants to know, and the biblical metaphor of the ancient Hebrews crossing the Jordan River, commonly used in spiritual songs to represent death and passage to the afterlife.
During the first two seasons, the series used a gimmick whereby Jordan and her retired police detective father Maximilian "Max" Cavanaugh (Ken Howard) role-play the events leading up to that episode's murder, which were depicted by showing Jordan playing the part of the victim or suspect in a recreation of the scene, the idea being that such role-playing would help Jordan to figure out the circumstances of the crime, like a criminal profiler. This element of the series was mostly dropped when Howard left the series as a regular; however, there were instances of Jordan role-playing with other characters, such as Woody and Macy.
After six seasons and 117 episodes on May 16, 2007, the series was canceled by NBC.
1 Promoted to the position during the first season
2 Introduced during season two and added top-billing in the first episode of season three
3 Promoted to the position during the second season; during the first, was an intake administrator
4 Began appearing in the opening credits beginning with the fourth season
5 Began appearing in the opening credits in the middle of the fifth season; left the cast early in the sixth
6 Became a recurring guest star for the third and fourth seasons
Main charactersDr. Jordan Cavanaugh, M.D.: A forensic pathologist in the Boston Medical Examiner's Office, she solves crimes during the course of investigations. Jordan is emotionally scarred by her mother's murder when she was a child, indicated by significant trust issues that until recently, severely limited her relationships with men. At the end of the sixth and final season, Jordan told Detective Hoyt that she loved him. She attended the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Tufts University School of Medicine.Dr. Garret Macy: The Chief Medical Examiner and Jordan's boss, Macy must deal with Jordan's erratic behavior, as well as his confused family. He has a teenaged daughter, Abby, but is divorced from his wife; he has his own personal demons and is a recovering alcoholic. Garret has an affinity for jazz. He has been known to have had romantic entanglements with grief counselor Lily Lebowski, ADA Renee Walcott, Charlie Davis, and his one-time wife, Maggie Warner. Garret admitted to his drinking problem after finding out his daughter had become addicted to heroin upon dropping out of college and becoming involved with another heroin addict. He is also allergic to strawberries and peanuts.Dr. Mahesh "Bug" Vijayaraghavensatanaryanamurthy: A brilliant but shy forensic entomologist of Indian ancestry from Liverpool, he has feelings for Lily, which until the final episode of season five, were not reciprocated. In the beginning of season six, with the cancellation of Lily's wedding, his relationship with Lily is beginning to move forward. However, things may be complicated by Lily's unexpected pregnancy with her once-to-be husband, Jeffery. Bug has since taken it upon himself to make Lily move in with him and support her and the baby. In an episode called "Post Hoc", near the end of the final season, Bug disappears without a trace, to the great consternation of his colleagues. Dr. Macy makes inquiries and learns that Bug is being held incommunicado by the Department of Homeland Security, on suspicion of being a terrorist. He is finally released after an interrogation (not seen) that apparently included waterboarding, and is left deeply shaken by the experience.Lily Lebowski (season one, episodes two-eight recurring; season one, episode nine-season six regular): Lily begins the series as an intake secretary, with romantic feelings for her boss. She wins Garret over, but he breaks up with her to work things out with his ex-wife. During season two, Bug becomes interested in her. She earns a promotion to become the office's grief counselor, but resigns in season six after accepting her boyfriend's marriage proposal. By the end of the series, she breaks up with the boyfriend and moves in with Bug, after finding out she was pregnant with her ex's baby.Dr. Nigel Townsend (season one, episodes one-nine recurring, season one, episode 10–season six regular): A wise-cracking British criminologist with an ambiguous personal life, he claimed to like girls ("Digger"), and had a girlfriend ("Forget Me Not"), yet some speculation existed that he might be bisexual. Often known for his dry humor and knowledge of everything from coffee to textiles, Nigel had run away from the Royal Navy, in which he had served as a counter-intelligence officer. Nigel is sometimes thought to have feelings for Jordan, because of his willingness to do whatever she asks despite the possibility of his losing his job as a consequence. He was also not on speaking terms with his father, who still lives in England, until some time before the episode "Murder in the Rue Morgue", in which he mentioned to Jordan he was glad his father and he are back in touch and he regrets having had no contact with him for so long. Dr. Townsend's relations with his father continue to be very rocky, however. In one episode early into the series he mentions he had a tattoo of Betty Boop on his left buttock, but this was never later confirmed or denied. He is known for his technical savvy, and his use of the computer often leads to important clues.Detective Woodrow Wilson "Woody" Hoyt (seasons one-three recurring, seasons four-six regular): A police detective, originally from Wisconsin, he typically defers with Jordan when she takes an interest in his cases, unlike his colleagues. She initially resists his romantic overtures, preferring to remain friends, e.g. on her birthday ("Embraceable You", season four); Woody gave her a diamond ring, which she refused. Premiered in the episode "Wrong Place, Wrong Time", he became a regular in season four. On the final episode of the season ("Jump Push Fall"), Woody was shot by a cop killer and nearly died in the hospital, an event that prompted Jordan to confess her love. Many fans considered this a big step in the right direction for their relationship, but a recovering Woody turned her down, believing her declaration of romantic feelings to be motivated by pity. When a case took him to Las Vegas, he started a flirtatious relationship with Sam Marquez (from sibling TV series Las Vegas). Based on events which happened in a season-four episode of Las Vegas, "History of Violins", the relationship seems to be off, although he was apparently invited by Sam to Delinda Deline's wedding. He has a younger brother, Calvin (played by O'Connell's real-life brother Charlie O'Connell), a recovering alcoholic and drug addict who is always getting into trouble.Maximillian "Max" Cavanaugh (seasons one-two, recurring seasons three-four): Jordan's father, an ex-cop-turned-bar-owner, he disappeared in the finale of season three and reappeared in the episode "It Happened One Night". Ken Howard's appearance in the show was changed from regular cast to guest star.Dr. Trey Sanders (season one): A medical examiner working on a grant, he left after the first season.Dr. Elaine Duchamps (season two): A medical examiner, she joined the team in season two, often butting heads with Jordan and Garret. Initially, it appeared she was there to take over management of the Coroner's office from Macy. She dies about halfway through the second season from an Escherichia coli infection during the episode "Perfect Storm".Dr. Peter Winslow (season one, one episode; season two recurring; season three regular): A recovering drug addict medical examiner who appeared in seasons two-three, he simply disappeared without explanation. Nigel makes a reference to Peter covering his shift in "Thin Ice".Detective Tallulah "Lu" Simmons (seasons five-six): She first appeared in season five, when she was assigned to work with Detective Hoyt on some of the psychological issues he endured while serving on the force. Since then, Lu became a frequent collaborator with the ME's office on cases and struck up a relationship with Hoyt; how she dealt with Woody's long-distance relationship with Sam Marquez is not known, but in the episode "33 Bullets", she was killed after being shot during a Boston riot.DA Renee Walcott (Susan Gibney): The district attorney who constantly clashed with Jordan, she also had a romantic relationship with Garret Macy, but it ended when she had an affair with her ex-husband and became pregnant. (This coincided with Gibney's real-life pregnancy.) She returned later in season four.Det. Matt Seely (David Monahan): A somewhat misogynistic detective, he was the son of a newspaper mogul. He had a tendency to be insensitive and not to think before he spoke, subsequently annoying the others. He had shown particular interest in Lily Lebowski, and the relationship was being tentatively explored, but Seely was seen less and less in season five, as Lily's relationship with Brandau grew (coinciding with another project on which Monahan was working).Dr. Howard Stiles (Wallace Shawn): The resident psychiatrist, he checks on everyone's sanity from time to time (usually once every season), especially Jordan's. He flirts with Jordan, but seems to understand her commitment and abandonment issues very well, and is extremely gentle when counseling her.Det. Roz Framus (Sandra Bernhard): She calls Bug "Buggles", which he hates, and often teases him for being a "Trekkie" and about him previously owning "Spock ears".Emmy (Emy Coligado): She works as an assistant in the Medical Examiner's office. Emmy has appeared in over 20 episodes of the show, starting with "Born to Run", the fourth episode of the first season.ADA Jeffrey Brandau (Ethan Sandler): A member of the DA's office who began a romantic relationship with Lily, creating a love triangle of sorts between the two of them and Bug. Lily leaves him at the altar when she finally realizes she has feelings for Bug. He asks her to marry him again after he finds out that she is pregnant with his daughter, Madeleine, but she refuses. In real life, Ethan Sandler is married to Kathryn Hahn, who plays Lily, and the baby with whom she was pregnant was actually their own. He has a cameo role in the episode "As If By Fate" as a train disaster victim.Dr. Kate Switzer (Brooke Smith): A medical examiner, she is the latest in a long line of antagonists to join the rest of the team in the morgue. Though she has learned to work better with her colleagues, her relationships with the staff, especially Jordan and Garret, remain strained at best. Although they tend to annoy each other, she sometimes appears to have feelings for Nigel. She has a Dandie Dinmont terrier named Binky, and often threatens to feed people's kidneys to him.James Horton (Michael T. Weiss), Jordan's illegitimate half-brother, is six years older than her. Their mother had an affair with another police officer, a detective named Thomas Malden (Edward Herrmann), but whether he was actually James's father, as Max believed he was, was never clarified. Max gave up James, who became a criminal; his fingerprint was found at the scene of Jordan's mother's death. He was presumed dead after he jumped into the Charles River, though his body was never recovered.Dr. Devan Maguire (Jennifer Finnigan): A pathology resident, she appeared in 10 episodes, including one in which Jordan did not appear. Though Jordan and she butted heads and often gave the impression they did not like each other, Devan considered Jordan her friend. Devan was just beginning to develop a close relationship with Woody when she apparently died in a plane crash between Washington, DC, and Boston in the episode "Fire From the Sky".Detective Annie Capra (Arija Bareikis): A detective, she was partnered with Woody throughout season three.Abby Macy (Alex McKenna): Dr. Garret Macy's daughter, she became addicted to heroin upon dropping out of college and becoming involved with a heroin dealer.Dr. Sidney Trumaine (Eugene Byrd): A medical examiner, he clashed with Bug over power issues. Sidney also disappeared after season five's opener "There's No Place Like Home II". Like Peter above, his name has been mentioned, leading to the assumption he is still working, albeit unseen, at the morgue.J.D. Pollack (Charles Mesure): A sometimes oily Australian reporter, he dated Jordan early in season five. Their relationship, which had at first been primarily sexual, got serious enough that J.D. considered proposing, but things were off after Jordan slept with Woody in the episode "Loves Me Not". J.D. was found murdered at the end of season five, and Jordan, falsely accused of his murder, sought to clear his name at the start of season six.William Ivers (Jeffrey Donovan): A creepily charming attorney, he was hired in season six by the governor's office to investigate any questionable behavior within the morgue, aiming directly at Macy, although Jordan was a brief potential suspect. He disappointingly finds nothing wrong and later targets the morgue's current spending as an open door to major disaster, enforcing a new, strict budget depriving the morgue of much-needed equipment. This loss causes many problems in two important cases ("Night of The Living Dead" and especially "Isolation"), with the latter resulting in the new budget being revoked and Ivers' exit. He briefly returns in "Dead Again", teaming with Jordan when a woman presumed murdered from a case Ivers had been prosecuting attorney 6 years prior somehow ends up dead in the morgue.Det. Lois Carver (Amy Aquino): A no-nonsense detective seen throughout season one, she does not appear as frequently in season two, is not seen at all in season three, and only appears in two season-four episodes, "Deja Past" and "Necessary Risks".Det. Eddie Winslow (D. W. Moffett): This detective first appeared in early season one, and tension clearly existed between Jordan and him. Gradually, audiences found out why: Winslow was Max Cavanaugh's last partner on the force, who "ratted him out", leading to Max being fired from the Boston Police Department. Eventually, both Max and Jordan made their peace with Eddie, and he was well-situated to become a strong character. Then, his appearances tapered off near the end of season one.D.A. Jay Myers (Brian Stokes Mitchell): A district attorney with whom Jordan briefly becomes involved in season one, he first appeared in "For Harry, With Love and Squalor" in Max's bar, as Jordan questioned her love life and began a (mainly) sexual relationship with him, neither knowing either the other's name or who the other actually was till Jordan appeared as a courtroom witness in, and Myers questioned her during, the trial of a case he was prosecuting. He reappears in "Someone to Count On", as he comes asking for Jordan's help in prosecuting a 14-year-old girl suspected of killing her mother.Herman Redding (Jack Laufer): An institutionalized triple-murderer, he claimed to have knowledge of who killed Emily Cavanaugh, despite the fact that Emily had long since left the hospital by the time he was transferred to it. Redding left clue after clue about Emily for Jordan in "Secrets & Lies, Pt 1" (1x22), while investigating a series of murders staged to look like suicide, including an envelope with the same phantom fingerprint found in the original investigation. He later breaks his silence (after 10 years) to make a deal with Jordan: She is to get him out of there and prove his innocence in exchange for what Jordan wants from him.Det. Luisa Santana (Camille Guaty): A rising detective in the Boston Police Department, she appears in the episode "Blue Moon" and again briefly in "Family Affair". Presumably, she is still with the force.Oliver Titleman (Brian Kimmet): A self-imagined forensics prodigy, he fascinates himself with creating the perfect murder and stages elaborate killings to deceive the investigators. He has an unusual obsession with personally beating Dr. Macy at his own game. Oliver appears in episodes "Devil May Care" and "There's No Place Like Home II".Calvin Coolidge "Cal" Hoyt (Charles "Charlie" O'Connell): Woody's younger brother and a recovering alcoholic and drug addict, he is frequently in trouble. He is first seen in the "Sunset Division" spinoff episode. Cal is reintroduced midway into season four, with a backstory that paints him as a very charming, but equally troubled, young man with a history of drug abuse, among other things, frequently saddling Woody with the responsibility. Cal not-so-coincidentally shows up in "Skin and Bone"), just as a mass grave full of mobsters is uncovered.Arlene Lebowski (Lesley Ann Warren): Lily's aunt and adoptive mother, she first appears in "Don't Look Back", as Lily and she aapparently do not have the best of relationships. Arlene reappears in "Locard's Exchange", visiting Lily yet again, but the visit is short-lived, as Lily orders her out of her life. Moments later, she is mortally wounded in a hit-and-run. As a result, Lily turns over a new leaf, even petitioning the justice system to make sure that the person who hit Arlene, a woman who believed she was her husband's mistress, gets due justice.Det. Elliot Chandler (Boris Kodjoe): A detective, he pops up for two episodes in season six.
Crossing Jordan was created by Tim Kring and was produced by Tailwind Productions in association with NBC Universal. Singer-songwriter duo Wendy and Lisa scored the music for the show. Eric Rigler's pipes and whistles can be heard in most episodes. The scientific aspects of the show are comparable to CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, but Crossing Jordan is more character-driven and less graphic than the CSI franchise.
In the first season, Hennessy was the only cast member visible during the opening credits, which featured Eric Rigler's arrangement of a traditional Irish tune "My Love Is In America" ("Reels Part Two: My Love Is In America" from the Bad Haggis CD Trip). Starting with the second season, the credits showed all the major players and used a more rock-like, less Irish-sounding opening theme.
Crossing Jordan is set in the same fictional universe as fellow NBC series Las Vegas. In the season-four episode "What Happens in Vegas Dies in Boston", a case takes Jordan and Woody to Las Vegas, where Woody became very well-acquainted with the Montecito's casino host, Sam Marquez (Vanessa Marcil). They maintained a long-distance relationship for a while: O'Connell appeared in five episodes of Las Vegas and Vanessa Marcil appeared as Sam in two Crossing Jordan episodes.
USA Today gave the show a two-star review and said, "What truly strains belief — and your viewing patience — are the absurd quirks Jordan adds to its plot and its characters to try to set itself apart." The New York Times called it "engaging and entertaining" and "Hennessy gives Jordan an appealing, loose-cannon attitude."
Crossing Jordan premiered in 2001 on NBC; originally scheduled to debut on September 11, its launch was pushed back due to the terrorist attacks on that date. It has aired on Monday, Friday, and then Sunday, its air date throughout the 2005–2006 season.
The show was put on hiatus for most of the 2003–2004 season to accommodate Hennessy's real-life pregnancy. The series returned on March 9, 2004, with a shortened 13-episode season. Due to the season being broadcast out of order, the cliffhanger plotline from the season-two finale was aired as the last episode of the season instead of the first; instead, the first featured an unrelated story with a humorous subplot that paid homage to Alfred Hitchcock's 1954 film Rear Window.
A crossover episode of Las Vegas in which the Crossing Jordan cast appears was aired on November 17, 2006, though NBC was not airing new episodes of Crossing Jordan in the autumn of 2006.
Originally, the sixth season was to appear on Sunday nights after the football season ended in January, but it was then scheduled to premiere on October 20, 2006, and to be on Friday nights with Medium being put into the after-football Sunday-night slot. It was scheduled to air at 8 pm Eastern/Pacific and 7 pm Central/Mountain, but NBC decided to avoid showing scripted programming at that hour. The season premiere was pre-empted in favor of 1 vs. 100, a game show hosted by Bob Saget. The season premiere ran on January 14, 2007, at 10 pm Eastern/Pacific and 9 pm Central. Beginning March 7, 2007, the show moved to a new time slot, Wednesday 9/8C.
NBC tried syndicating Crossing Jordan during its second season. Reruns are often shown on A&E in the United States and Canada. Currently, it airs in syndication on CIN (Crime and Investigation Network).
Originally, the finale for the sixth season was promoted as a cliff-hanger. A plane crash which left all of the main characters (with the exception of Lily) stranded atop a mountain with little hope of being discovered was reported to end with no resolution, as the story would pick up at the onset of a subsequent season. Once NBC decided against renewing Crossing Jordan for a seventh year, though, fans were treated to a different ending. Medical examiner Jordan ultimately confronted her held-in feelings for Woody and finally professed her love. Furthermore, all of the characters were rescued in the final moments of the series. The ending provided fuel to rumors that producers recorded two endings to the finale: one in case the series would be renewed, and another in case the series would not be.
The show was cancelled on May 14, 2007, two days before the final episode of season six aired.
NBC announced in January 2007 that it was making progress securing music rights to allow the show to be released on DVD. (Crossing Jordan relies heavily on pop music in its soundtrack.) The first season was released on DVD on May 6, 2008 and there is no notice of substitution of music on the DVD packaging. However, as of January 2015, the latter seasons were still not available via DVD in the US. In Germany, the second season was released on DVD and Blu-ray via Koch Media on September 10, 2015. Koch Media already re-released a remastered version of the first season in May 2015.
As of March 2012, all six seasons have been available via Netflix streaming video.