1 9 8 4 (USA)
7 x 60 minute episodes
Dr Jessica ‘Jessie’ Hayden (Lindsay Wagner) is a beautiful psychiatrist who has rejected a lucrative career at a hospital or in private practice to work with the Behavioral Science Department of the Metro Division of the San Francisco Police Department and help solve crimes through her psychological profiles and work with suspects.
Lieutenant Alex Ascoli (Tony Lo Bianco) is Jessie’s liaison with the Department, ‘Mac’ McClellan (William Lucking) is the Captain and Ellie (Renée Jones) is Mac’s secretary.
Jessie refuses to carry a gun (“A doctor’s duty is to preserve human life, not destroy it”), doesn’t drink coffee, likes Mexican food and lives in “a little shack in the hills.” She grew up on Winterhaven Street, where her widowed mother, Molly Hayden (Celeste Holm), still lives.
Jessie debuted on 18 September 1984 as the 10th-ranked show of the week and subsequently slipped to the 65th of 72 primetime shows. Storylines were slow-moving and not at all action-oriented, and not even the talents and beauty of Lindsay Wagner (looking much as she did as Jaime Sommers in The Bionic Woman) could save the ABC series.
There had been difficulties from the start with Wagner – who had significant creative control in the show – adamant that she didn’t want to do an action show, and ABC insisting on at least one action sequence every 15 minutes. The network even specifically defined ‘action’ as “breaking glass, a gun going off, cars crashing”.
Meanwhile, Wagner told the press that Jessie would give her the chance to do a show about holistic medicine – with ABC adamant that would not be the case. Executive Producer Eric Bercovici wouldn’t even say the word around the office, referring to it instead as “the H-word”.
Production was shut down on 12 November, with the show’s final broadcast the following evening.
Dr Jessie Hayden
Lieutenant Alexander ‘Alex’ Ascoli
Tony Lo Bianco
Ellie (Mac’s Secretary)
Captain Mac McClellan