1 9 9 8 – 2 0 0 4 (USA)
129 x 30 minute episodes
John Becker (Ted Danson) was a loud, gruff, opinionated and complaining neighbourhood doctor (family practitioner) treating patients in the Bronx, New York.
His nurse Margaret Wyborn (Hattie Winston) was a Baptist who quoted from the Bible and was married to the never-seen Lewis (who despised Becker and vice versa).
The pretty but slightly dense young office assistant Linda (Shawnee Smith) got the job because Becker owed her father a big favour. John didn’t know what Linda actually did around the office, “but she looks good in a skirt” (on her résumé, Linda had “standing around and looking pretty” as her qualifications).
Margaret described Linda’s job as “reading magazines, talking on the phone, and screwing stuff up” and called her “a Hooter’s graduate”.
Becker’s initial love interest was Regina (“Reggie”) Kostas (Terry Farrell), a college dropout who, after failing to become a model, returned to her home in the Bronx to help her father when he became ill and could no longer run his diner. After four years, her on-and-off relationship with Becker ended when Reggie moved to Europe to redirect her life.
Chris Connor (Nancy Travis) was introduced at the end of season four as Becker’s neighbour and the new diner owner. Although Chris was Becker’s complete opposite (cheerful and always nice), it appeared that a marriage would have taken place, but the series ended before anything was finalised.
Jon Cryer played Chris’s ex-husband, Roger. Jaime Pressly was her sister, Gracie.
Becker’s friend Jake Malinak (Alex Désert) ran the newspaper and magazine stand inside the diner. Jake lost his eyesight in a car accident and married Amanda (Lindsay Price) 20 hours after they met (their marriage was annulled when Amanda cheated on Jake with a delivery man named Stan).
Dick Van Dyke appeared in a cameo as Becker’s father, Fred.
Dr John Becker
Reggie (Regina) Kostas
Chris (Christine) Connor