Trials of Rosie O'Neill, The

The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents




From Wikipedia:

The Trials of Rosie O'Neill was an American television drama series, which aired on CBS from 1990 to 1992. The show starred Sharon Gless as Fiona Rose "Rosie" O'Neill, a lawyer working in the public defender's office for the City of Los Angeles. The show marked the return of Gless to series television after her Emmy-winning run on Cagney & Lacey.

"Rosie" was produced by Cagney & Lacey producer Barney Rosenzweig, whom Gless married in 1991. Despite the show's brilliant writing and production, it did not sustain a sizable audience, and was canceled by CBS in 1992.

Each episode opened with Rosie talking with her therapist (Rosenzweig), whose face was never seen on camera. Rosie had been at the receiving end of an unwanted divorce, after her attorney husband had an affair. The advertisement for the series which appeared in TV Guide the night the series debuted told the story as follows: "I'm 43 and divorced. He got our law practice, the Mercedes, and the dog. It's only fair that I should be angry. I really liked that dog."


The show's cast also included Dorian Harewood, Ron Rifkin, Georgann Johnson, Lisa Rieffel, Ed Asner and Robert Wagner.


The series received some notoriety for its debut episode in which O'Neill talks about possibly getting breast augmentation surgery. She does so by asking if she "should get my tits done". The use of the word "tits" (famously cited by George Carlin as one of the seven dirty words that could not be said on television or radio) led to some controversy.

On a different note, the series was notable for being one of the few television shows to include an observant Jew -- Ben Meyer, Rosie's boss, played by Ron Rifkin—as a regular character. Equally notable is that, although the Meyer character wore a kippah (skullcap), his religious identity was, with the exception of occasional instances when it figured directly in the plot, usually treated casually and without overt mention, without either melodrama or condescension.

The theme song, entitled "I Wish I Knew", was written by Carole King and performed over the first season's credits by Melissa Manchester. Carole King made a guest appearance in a first season episode, performing an extended version of the song herself along with Gless and a few other series regulars. The second season's intro (changed to the dismay of many fans) dropped the Manchester vocals, instead using an instrumental version of the theme. The series would revert to Manchester's vocal later on in the second season, prior to the cancellation by CBS.

Who talked about this show

Edward Asner

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Ed Asner on various projects he acted in post-Lou Grant

Reza Badiyi

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Reza Badiyi on directing The Trials of Rosie O'Neill
Reza Badiyi on network interference while directing The Trials of Rosie O'Neill

Sharon Gless

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Sharon Gless on working with her husband, Cagney & Lacey producer Barney Rosenzweig again for The Trials of Rosie O'Neill, and audience response to the show

Nancy Malone

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Nancy Malone on directing Sharon Gless in The Trials of Rosie O'Neill  which garnered her an Emmy nomination and which Gless actually sang for

Barney Rosenzweig

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Barney Rosenzweig on his goal for The Trials of Rosie O'Neill
Barney Rosenzweig on marrying Sharon Gless and how their relationship affected The Trials of Rosie O'Neill

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