It took some time for this show to find its footing and decide exactly what it wanted to be. Many expecting it to be very dark like "Profiler" or intricately technical like "C.S.I." gave up on it too soon. The pilot episode offered a lot of background and insight into Jordan Cavanaugh (Jill Hennessey). She was smart and pretty, and terribly messed up, haunted by demons from her childhood. She was also relentless in her pursuit of justice.
Once she left L.A. for Boston, joining the M.E.'s office, she gradually found a home. By the middle of season one, the show knew what it was and many were glad they'd hung around. It became this wonderfully cool show about a small group of people in the medical examiner's office, Jill Hennessy at its center, who had formed a kind of familial bond as they dealt with crimes and their personal problems. In Jordan's case, who was searching for her mother's killer, the two often intertwined.
There was a lot of quirky humor and fun mixed in with the darker elements, making for a great show. There was also a fine ensemble cast. Miguel Ferrer as Jordan's boss, Katherine Hahn as the always "glass half full" Lily, and Jerry O'Connell as Woody, the cop often at odds with Jordan, but sort of loving every minute of it, all brought something to the show's dynamic. Ken Howard was also good as Jordan's estranged father. But it was really Steve Valentine's Nigel and Ravi Kapoor's "Bug" and their interactions with Jordan which made the show special.
They bickered, got in trouble, covered for each other, and generally had a life and a family thanks to each other. Crossing Jordan really hit its stride with the two-part "Digger" story arc. It cemented the show to its core audience, who stayed from then on. Followed by the very good "Blue Christmas" episode, it had finally discovered the perfect mix of crime and quirky humor and personal woes. It was both the dark and the light.
One of the great things about the show was the music. An eclectic mix of songs was often used for atmosphere, which could run from noir to hilarity in less time than it took to make a fun reference to Elvis. From the middle of season one to the end of season two, this was great television. You could never put it in in a nice little box, pegging it as this kind of show or that. It was simply Crossing Jordan.
Here are the episodes for season one: Pilot, The Dawn of a New Day, The Ties That Bind, Born to Run, You Can't Go Home Again, Believers, Digger, Part I, Digger, Part II, Blue Christmas, Wrong Place, Wrong Time, Blood Relatives, Miracles & Wonders, Four Fathers, Acts of Mercy, Lost and Found, Crime & Punishment, With Honor, For Harry, with Love and Squalor, The Gift of Life, Someone to Count On, Secrets & Lies, Secrets & Lies, Part II
With everything on television seeming the same, Crossing Jordan was different. Many episodes and story lines were interconnected. You never got the full story from just occasionally tuning in for a peak. It required some attention and time. It was what made the show work, and its downfall in later seasons when it tried to fit in more. Seasons one and two were terrific, however, and something a bit different for TV fans to own.