Crossing Jordan: Season 1 (2001)

Genre(s): Crime / Drama / Mystery
Universal || NR - 1017 minutes - $59.98 || May 6, 2008
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2008-05-11


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: NA
Writer(s): Tim Kring (creator)
Cast: Jill Hennessy, Miguel Ferrer, Steve Valentine, Ravi Kapoor, Kathryn Haan, Jerry O'Connell


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Audio Commentaries
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Cast and Crew Conversations


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 5
  • Widescreen (1.78)
  • English (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Subtitles: English

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.::THE FILM::.

IMAGE

“Crossing Jordan”, the series that ran from 2001 before getting cancelled in 2007, follows the sassy and stubborn Jordan Cavanaugh. Jordan is a medical examiner in Boston but has held the same position in various cities throughout the past 6 years (five all told) but managed to either resign or get fired at each one for butting heads with management. She returns to Boston where Dr. Macy (Ferrer) rehires her, at a lesser salary, and it isn’t long before the good doctor rubs some the wrong way, especially Boston P.D.. You see, this M.E. doesn’t just perform autopsies and determine manner of death, but she goes out and tries to solve the crime, and in many instances, she does which leaves her in not too good standing with the detectives.

The series starts well enough introducing several characters, Jordan especially, with success. Jill Hennessy brings a certain immediate likability to the role even if her character is, at times, abrasive. Then as with other ensemble shows, the others slowly develop with regular appearances, but among the second tier characters, I’d say Nigel (played to perfection by Steve Valentine) grew on me the most. The character wasn’t merely comic relief but as I recall, he had some fond moments throughout the show’s run.

But as I was saying, the first 8 or so episodes were all basically the same. Other than developing a few characters and shedding more light on Jordan’s past, the storylines fell into a pattern. First, Dr. Cavanaugh will take on a case and ignore the detective-of-the-week’s threats to let them handle the investigation. Jordan solves the case with the help of her father, a retired cop himself, by playing a game Jordan as a girl used to do with him. This game would have one be the victim and the other the killer and they’d work out the case where eventually the truth will come to light.

What makes great shows truly great is the entire cast. Look at some of the more popular series over the years: “Friends”, “Cheers”, “Frasier”, “CSI”, “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”... I can go on and on. No matter the genre, it is the ensemble that makes the show. Yes, having the right star is important, but without a supporting cast around him or her makes or breaks a series, and I think that is a big part of the reason why “Crossing Jordan” had the run it did. 6 seasons and 117 episodes is an accomplishment not many shows get.

One potential problem some might have with “Crossing Jordan” is the fact the main character is a crime solver, of course when you have shows like “CSI” where these crime scene analysts also not only sit in on interrogations but sometimes lead them, with or without a detective in the room! So, a show like this isn’t so farfetched by comparison.

Season 1 of “Crossing Jordan” has some very good episodes and even with the contrivances or blueprint storylines, it’s still damn good television. This season also introduces the character of Woody Hoyt played by Jerry O’Connell (Scream 2) who officially joined the cast in the fourth season (with recurring appearances before then). I guess if I had to pick some of my favorites, ‘Digger Parts 1 and 2’, ‘Wrong Place, Wrong Time’, ‘Miracles and Wonders’ and ‘Secrets & Lies, Part II’.

As someone who has caught some of the later episodes, it’s interesting to see the progression of these characters and their relationships with each other. Going from the beginning when everything is new and seeing the latter parts, it’s a fascinating contrast.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Universal has finally released “Crossing Jordan” on DVD after so many years. This five-disc set comes packed with some decent features that will certainly interest long-time fans.

Audio Commentaries – 4 commentary tracks are included all featuring creator/executive producer Tim Kring (“Heroes”), producer/director Allan Arkush and composers Lisa Coleman and Wendy Melvoin. While granted, adding the composers for these tracks is a unique touch and having the creator included, these tracks were fairly dull. It’s not outright boring, but still I wasn’t all that impressed. They do provide the listeners with good trivia so it’s not a total loss or waste of time.

Deleted Scenes (23:21) – Several episodes are accompanied with deleted scenes, 18 scenes all told. Some scenes were actually pretty good but got cut for; I assume time given each episode had to be around 45-minutes. They’re all presented in full screen.

The last special features in this set are basically the same; it’s the participants who change. To save time, I’m lumping them into one paragraph. These are all conversations.

Series Creator Tim Kring, Producer/Director Allan Arkush and Producer Dennis Hammer (18:03) starts things out with a nice chat between these three friends as they explain the origins of “Crossing Jordan” (initially, Jordan was written as a small town Sheriff); Jill Hennessy and Allan Arkush (18:02) sit in what looks like a nice restaurant and share stories of how Jill came to be on the show, her thoughts on Jordan as a character; Steve Valentine, Ravi Kapoor, Kathryn Hahn and Allan Arkush (15:12) finds the supporting members chatting it up with Arkush with more reminiscing and how great it was to work on the show; and finally Allan Arkush, Tim Kring and Miguel Ferrer (17:03) closes things out with another nice conversation this time with Ferrer giving his impressions of the series. It is here we get the answer to why it took so long for the series to come to DVD (it was the music, by the way).



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

IMAGE

“Crossing Jordan” is presented in anamorphic widescreen and overall, it looks alright. I noticed plenty of grainy-like artifacts and the occasional specs of dirt, so it is not a pristine transfer but at least it is in widescreen so that alone earns a good rating.“Crossing Jordan” is presented in anamorphic widescreen and overall, it looks alright. I noticed plenty of grainy-like artifacts and the occasional specs of dirt, so it is not a pristine transfer but at least it is in widescreen so that alone earns a good rating. I should note earlier episodes showed more of this, especially the pilot episode.

The only audio option here is a Dolby Digital 2.0 track that, all things considered, sounds respectable. My whole thing about TV shows and using one’s surround sound: if you don’t need it, use your TV speakers. Here, while the music sounds good, it’s not necessary.



.::OVERALL::.

“Crossing Jordan” is a well produced show where interesting characters come first before the cases. Together, the ensemble seems to work well and with Jill Hennessy at the center, it makes for solid entertainment. Universal has put together a nice first season set and hopefully that will continue for seasons 2 through 6.