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Picket Fences is a U.S. television drama that follows the citizens of Rome, Wisconsin. Created, produced and written by Emmy Award winner David E. Kelley, the show is broadcast on the CBS network. The series' exteriors were all shot in Monrovia, California, a suburb of Los Angeles. Also included were actual townspeople in many background scenes.

The series depicts how the residents of the small town deal with all manner of strange things that are known to happen. For example, cows give birth to humans, while a bunch of folks are found dead in freezers. Sheriff Jimmy Brock (played by Tom Skerritt) tries to keep things in line, but that doesn't seem to happen.

Sheriff Brock's second wife is town doctor, Jill (played by Kathy Baker). They are trying to raise their three kids: Kimberly - from his first marriage (played by Holly Marie Combs), Matthew (played by Justin Shenkarow) and Zachary (played by Adam Wylie). Lauren Holly and Costas Mandylor play sheriff's deputies, the immature and impulsive Max and Kenny. Overbearing lawyer Douglas Wambaugh (played by Fyvush Finkel) displays irritation when dealing with the cranky Judge Henry Bone (played by Ray Walston).

One story follows Wambaugh refusing to hear confessions of guilt from his clients. He fears that it will stand in the way of an adequate defense in court. Bone's rulings always seem to concern his own personal moral compass than any actual relevant law. After several prosecutors come and go, Don Cheadle joins the cast, playing John Littleton. In addition, the town's post of mayor was a revolving door, each one meeting rather questionable fates.

Kelly Connell plays the medical examiner, Carter Pike - who desperately desires to become a deputy. Zelda Rubenstein plays Ginny Weedon, the police dispatcher. Other actors in the cast were Oscar winner Marlee Matlin, Dabbs Greer and Richard Masur.

The show covered a number of topics that were usually not covered in a series of this type. For example: abortion, LGBT adoption, homophobia, transsexuality, atheism and God, racism, medical ethics, polyamory, polygamy, adolescent sexuality, date rape, the Holocaust, cryonics, shoe fetishism, spontaneous human combustion, masturbation and constitutional rights.

FOX
4 Seasons, 88 Episodes
September 18, 1992
Drama
7.8/10
Cast: Tom Skerritt, Kathy Baker, Costas Mandylor, Lauren Holly
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Picket Fences Full Episode Guide

  • Brock immerses himself in a murder investigation after Dr. Joey discovers a potentially fatal growth on his liver.

  • An Amish rape victim refuses to press charges against her attacker.

  • Friends grow concerned about Wambaugh's mental state when he becomes obsessed with proving Myriam's love interest is a con artist.

  • Wambaugh is convinced Myriam's new beau has ulterior motives.

  • A legal battle erupts when Mayor Bey grants custody of her new baby to her gay brother and his partner.

  • A radio shock-jock targets Max after she is appointed Rome's temporary Mayor.

  • Jill suffers mysterious, menopause-like symptoms on the eve of Zack's thirteenth birthday.

  • Zach's buddy sends a teacher's photo over the Internet. Max dates a chat-room acquaintance.

  • Carter has an out-of-body experience. Judge Bone runs into an old friend he hasn't seen in over fifty years. Zack develops a crush on a gifted musician.

  • A huge blizzard strikes Rome, and strands Jill and Kimberly at the high school with others during Lydia's singing debut.

  • After a classmate commits suicide, Matthew accompanies Brock on a bear hunt. Carter helps Kimberly overcome her squeamishness towards blood. Kenny replaces Rebecca as Laurie's Lamaze coach.

  • A fifty-year-old murder case is reopened after Carter identifies the remains of a German-American Bund member who was allegedly killed by a Jew.

  • Kimberly lobbies for the elimination of Rome's pig-wrestling competition.

  • Animal-rights activist Kimberly is arrested for a felony. A woman's medical treatment is inhibited by her daughter's religious beliefs.

  • Jill considers tubal ligation. Brock must dance the polka with the Mayor for charity. Haunted by the death of his brother, Littleton returns to Chicago.

  • During the course of one Saturday night, Matthew spends the evening with the gorgeous wife of the coolest guy in town; Brock and Jill's night of passion turns disastrous.

  • Controversy arises when Max shoots a man wearing a bratwurst costume. Jill grows concerned when Kimberly approaches Joey with a medical problem.

  • Littleton's half-brother escapes from prison and seeks refuge in Rome.

  • A famous television physician attempts to buy Jill's practice. A Hmong woman rejects her people's martial traditions, sending a potential husband to jail.

  • The town braces for a tornado. Kenny's prostitute is busted in a sting operation. Wambaugh celebrates his fortieth wedding anniversary.

  • The community of Rome is shaken after a teenager shoots Father Barrett during a robbery.

  • Jimmy's estranged father, Walter, arrives in Rome on his 75th birthday.

  • Clergymen suspect that Zach may be a saint.

  • As Jill awaits sentencing, lawyers debate the law prohibiting physician-assisted suicide. Kenny searches for answers when several swans are discovered beaten to death.

  • Jill is charged with voluntary manslaughter after administering euthanasia to a dying cancer patient.

  • Marcia Lawson admits to Wambaugh that she killed her husband. The townspeople of Rome search for a new mayor.

  • Federal prosecutors choose Rome's court to prosecute Laurie Bey, the Dancing Bandit, on robbery charges.

  • A convicted child molester takes up residence in Rome.

  • Doctors tell Lydia that she needs Brock's sperm if she wishes to conceive more children.

  • A boy sues his father for emancipation after being embarrassed by his obsession with frogs. Matthew accidentally runs Zach over with the family van. Jill suffers from a guilty conscience after she strikes Matthew.

  • Brock and his deputies investigate the murder of a masseuse who performed erotic massages on many of his female clients.

  • Rachel Harris employs the services of a fertility and maternity clinic that uses cattle to carry human babies to term.

  • New evidence surfaces in the Brian Latham case, shifting suspicion to Susan Engrams' parents.

  • Wambaugh and Littleton appear before the Supreme Court to argue the Brian Latham case. A woman has second thoughts about carrying Carter's surrogate child and seeks and abortion.

  • Wambaugh suffers a heart attack and is admitted to Chicago Hope Hospital for further tests. Jill clashes with Dr. Jeffrey Geiger over his diagnosis of Wambaugh's condition. Brock threatens to fire Kenny if he begins dating Kimberly.

  • Jill's candidacy for Mayor is jeopardized after Zach makes inflammatory remarks towards African-Americans during Multicultural Awareness Day. Tensions between white and black students reaches the breaking points.

  • Brock looks in to the home life of a girl who was caught tagging the school with spray paint. He finds that her parents are Wiccans, and her mother is charged with being an unfit parent.

  • Jill goes head-to-head with the Judge, and their meeting results in Jill being imprisoned for interference in busing order.

  • Jill is named temporary co-Mayor and must deal with the judge's ruling to bus black students from Green Bay to Rome's school district.

  • D.A. Littleton and Wambaugh face-off in court in the murder trial of suspect Brian Latham. As the case drags on, Littleton believes that Brock and the sheriff's department is hurting the investigation.

  • Sheriff Brock thinks the worst has happened when a teenager disappears. Due to pressure from the community, Brock has to arrest and convict the lead suspect in the case.

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