) weaves the story of two best friends (Annie Potts and Lorraine Toussaint) who grew up on opposite sides of the racial divide in Civil Rights era Birmingham, Alabama. Two decades later, they reunite as adults when one moves home.
S1/EP 1 - Unfinished Symphony (Pilot)
Present: Mary Elizabeth Sims, a Birmingham wife, mother, and aspiring writer, reaches out to her estranged childhood friend Rene Jackson, a prominent Washington attorney, when she returns home upon the death of her father. The friends reconcile, and Rene decides to remain in Birmingtham and take over her father's law practice. Past: It's 1962, and Mary Elizabeth and Rene strike up a friendship over a shoplifted pack of cigarettes. Rene, a recent transplant from Detroit, has difficulty adjusting to the segregated South.
S1/EP 2 - Huh?
Present: Rene represents a woman whose rapist is suing her for shared custody and visitation rights to the child conceived during the rape; M.E. confronts Kelly about her failing grades at school. Past: After M.E. learns something about black families from Rene, she begins to confront the bigoted attitudes voiced by her parents and their opposition to her friendship with Rene.
S1/EP 3 - Eve of Destruction (aka Duck & Cover)
Present: Rene falls for the reporter assigned to do a story on her for the "Birmingham Daily"" while turning down both Garrett and Graham; Colliar gets a job as a car salesman after he discovers that his back injury means that he can't do manual labor any longer; M.E. and Colliar sue their litigious and cantankerous neighbor after she has Scout impounded for knocking her down while trying to protect Davis and Kelly when she attacked them with a rake. Past: During the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis
S1/EP 4 - It's Called Depression
Present: Approaching their 26th wedding anniversary, M.E. and Colliar are at odds and they each seek out Rene for answers about the other; Rene struggles to interject a note of friendship into a relationship with a new man who doesn't seem to want anything but sex; Colliar's plans for a romantic anniversary celebration turn out well, if not out quite the way he expected. Past: After M.E. gets into a scrap with Tully, Catherine insists that she attend charm school; Colliar and M.E. share their first kiss.
S1/EP 5 - Making Music With The Wrong Man (AKA "Freedom Land"")"
Rene helps plan a ceremony honoring her father. She asks M.E. to write a biography of her father to present at the event. In doing her research, M.E. discovers information about Rene's father's past that could be emotionally scarring for Rene. Past: "Project C"" is going on in Birmingham (the week leading up to the march on Birmingham) and Rene and M.E. help the Jackson family prepare. Also
S1/EP 6 - No Comment
Present: When an old family friend who is now a city councilman asks Rene to defend him against corruption charges, Rene agrees after being convinced by some members of the black community that the charges are baseless and rooted in racism; M.E. is appalled that her friend would represent someone so lacking in ethics, and is further dismayed when Colliar excuses the man's dishonesty as "the way of the world""; after being lied to by her client and realizing that he is guilty of the charges
S1/EP 7 - Please Don't Tell My Mother
Present: After M.E. finds an empty beer bottle in the living room the morning after Kelly's party, she grounds her daughter for three weeks, even though Kelly tells her she didn't see anyone drinking; Rene pleads Kelly's case to M.E. by reminding M.E. how wild her own teenage years were and M.E. tells her to mind her own business, so she remains silent when she sees Kelly sneaking out of the house; Kelly is arrested for underage drinking when the driver of the car she's riding in is pulled over for driving under the influence, and she calls Rene from jail instead of her parents, which causes another argument between M.E. and Rene; Rene represents a woman whose son was threatened by a fellow student with a gun and who tragically takes matters into his own hands when the school administration fails to move quickly enough to help him; M.E. patches up her differences with Kelly and Rene. Past: Teresa takes her revenge after she discovers M.E. and Rene spying on her makeout session with her boyfriend; M.E. feels left behind when Rene gets her period and decides that she's only interested in ladylike activities.
S1/EP 8 - Courage... It Means Heart
Present: Mary Elizabeth solicits the help of her family and Rene in caring for her aging Grandma Otis. Meanwhile, Rene is asked to represent a boy whose family refuses to give him his inheritance because he belongs to a spiritual group they believe is a cult. Past: With Rene's help, Grandma Otis teaches M.E. how to have a loving heart.
S1/EP 9 - You Shoulda Seen My Daddy, Mama
Rene is representing the parents of a child who has died of AIDS. M.E. tries bringing her friends and Rene's friends together. Past: Rene decides she wants to be a lawyer after watching her father in court. M.E. feels threatened by Rene's new black friend.
S1/EP 10 - Call Him Johnny
Present: Rene represents a white couple prevented from adopting their black foster daughter; M.E. has an ectopic pregnancy which leaves her feeling a mixture of sadness, guilt, and relief; Rene tells M.E. about getting an abortion while she was in law school; M.E. starts an internship at a local paper. Past: Johnny gets grounded for taking M.E. and Rene to a drive-in for a soda and then protesting when the manager refuses to serve Rene; M.E. feels responsible for her father's migraine after she wishes he would get a new brain that wasn't hateful; after Johnny becomes ashamed when he concurs with his girlfriend's bigotry toward Rene, he stands up to Uncle Jimmy's racism and asks M.E. to tell Rene that he's sorry; Uncle Jimmy threatens the O'Briens with Klan retaliation over M.E.'s friendship with Rene.
S1/EP 11 - It's Who You Sleep With
Rene represents a lesbian couple who are forbidden to marry on public property. M.E. suspects that Colliar is having an affair. Past: Rene and M.E. learn about sex.
S1/EP 12 - Salamanders
Present: When Rene defends a black family that has been kicked off their property, she must confront the Alabama law that states that interracial marriages are illegal. M.E. rediscovers her writing. Past: Rene is left to care for her father and brother for the weekend. M.E.'s parents discourage her from writing and encourage her to focus on meeting a man.
S1/EP 13 - I Feel Awful
Present: Rene gets fixed up with a man who turns out to be a stalker; Teresa visits Mary Elizabeth and Colliar, and things go awry. Past: M.E. bosses Colliar and Rene around; M.E. and Rene try to pull a prank on Teresa and Rene gets hurt; Catherine is horrified and outraged when she takes Rene to an all-white hospital and they refuse treatment because Rene is black.
S1/EP 14 - Quit Bein' Such a Scaredy Cat
Present: Rene's stalker is still around and she has to get a restraining order. M.E. and Colliar are beginning their own construction business. Past: Rene and M.E. sneak out to a carnival and stumble upon a Klan rally.
S1/EP 15 - Blue
Present: Rene is reunited with her cousin who has spent the past 20 years passing for a white man. M.E. and Colliar bid on a construction company. Past: Rene worships her aunt who encourages her to sing in the church choir, while M.E. gets pushed aside.
S1/EP 16 - This Is Your Problem, Not Mine
Present: Rene represents a white man who was beaten by the police. When Kelly brings home her black boyfriend, M.E. and Colliar react. Past: Rene has her first boyfriend.
S1/EP 17 - Trust Me
Present: After Rene agrees to hire a youth whom her boyfriend Bill mentors, she discovers that Bill is not divorced - only separated. M.E. feels guilty when she develops a crush on another man, but Colliar is confident that their marriage is safe. Past: M.E. and Rene witness Martin Luther King's march on Washington.
S1/EP 18 - I Wish You Could Understand
Present: Tully, a childhood friend of Rene and M.E.'s, offends Rene when he takes part in a bigoted, tasteless prank during a parade. M.E. and Colliar try to keep Tully from being fired from his job, only to find that they have alienated Rene in the process. Past: Rene experiences her first crush. M.E. accidentally breaks Colliar's leg when competition gets the better of her in a soapbox race. She makes it up to him by writing a love letter on his cast.
S1/EP 19 - Chapter One
Present: Rene sends some of M.E.'s stories to a publisher friend in New York. When the publisher visits M.E. on a trip to a Southern women's writing conference, M.E.'s writing career gets a jump start. To fight off her writer's block and help her finish the first chapter of her novel, M.E. returns to Port Dixie to revisit her childhood. Meanwhile, Rene and Detective Moody find themselves falling in love, and Rene is forced to deal with Bill's ex-wife and two children. Past: Rene and M.E. learn how difficult it is to be apart when M.E. visits her relatives in Texas. While there, M.E. must confront the horse that threw her during her last visit.
S1/EP 20 - I'm Not Emotional
Present: Mary Elizabeth and Colliar deal with Davis's suspension from school for "sexual misconduct
S1/EP 21 - Music From My Life
Present: Mary Elizabeth and Rene go to Los Angeles to visit Mary Elizabeth's sister Teresa, whom they must help come to terms with her fiancé's less-than-honorable motives. When lovesick Teresa returns to Birmingham with Mary Elizabeth, she confronts the chilling memory of being molested by her piano teacher - the same man who now gives Kelly piano lessons. Past: M.E. and Rene run away from home, forcing Matt and James to work together to find them.
S1/EP 22 - It's About the Heart
Present: Mary Elizabeth helps Rene prepare to meet Bill's kids. Each year Mary Elizabeth debates whether or not to plan a birthday party for Colliar. She always does, despite his protests and arguing, and he always has a great time. This year, again, Mary Elizabeth and Colliar get into an argument about his party. When he doesn't show up the next afternoon after work - or for the party - Mary Elizabeth is furious. Her anger soon turns to fear, as there seems to be no trace of him. Bill begins to search as Rene tries to calm her friend. Finally, Colliar turns up at a hospital far away, apparently having been through a dramatic and violent ordeal. Mary Elizabeth is thrilled and relieved to have her husband back. Rene and Bill cannot hold back any longer, and end up making love, and then getting engaged. Past: M.E. and Rene desperately want to buy "sea monkeys
S2/EP 1 - You Promise?
Present: In court, Rene defends a developmentally disabled man who wants the right to be a father someday. Her case to save him from a vasectomy falls apart, however, when the man kidnaps a baby for Rene after she mentions wanting to have kids. Meanwhile, Mary Elizabeth starts her magazine internship and has a tough time fitting in with all the younger employees. Past: Rene and M.E. sneak off to a rock concert attended by both blacks and whites; but the girls find themselves in danger when the police get involved.
S2/EP 2 - You Really Believe...?
Present: Rene is sued for malpractice by a former client and his wife; so she hires Joe Lozano, an attractive attorney to whom she rents office space, to defend her. However, Rene learns that the way Joe wins cases isn't all that ethical....M.E.'s daughter, Kelly, dyes her hair black and hangs goth paraphernalia in her room. While M.E. struggles to accept Kelly's new lifestyle, Kelly insists that being into goth has nothing to do with contemplating suicide. M.E. also worries that Kelly doesn't want to go to college. Past: After attending a service at a Baptist church with Rene, M.E. decides to convert from Catholicism, which makes her mother furious.
S2/EP 3 - It's a Man's World
Present: Rene and Bill argue over how much they should spend on a house. After learning how much money Rene actually has, Bill begins to feel threatened. He decides to let Rene choose whichever house she wants, but Rene is left uncertain as to whether she and Bill are really right for each other. M.E. believes that her male boss at the magazine is ignoring her suggestions and favoring a young male intern, so she pulls a bold stunt to get his attention. M.E. is also angry because Rene has become so focused on Bill. Colliar convinces M.E. to give Rene some space. Past: M.E. is forced to fight, literally, for Colliar, when a new girl tries to win his affections.
S2/EP 4 - Don't Say Anything
Present: Rene and Bill discover that they have very different points of view about parenting; Rene wonders if she's cut out to be a mother when she can't get Bill's daughter to warm up to her; Bill is unsettled when Rene decides to keep her birth name after they marry; M.E. tells a white lie for a colleague which results in a story they worked on about child safety seats being inadequately researched before it is printed, and Glenn's firing an innocent employee, and ultimately both of them, when he discovers the deception. Past: M.E. wears Rene's "Blue Belle"" uniform to help her sell candy in white neighborhoods; the girls can't understand why Colliar is acting so strangely until they see him being abused by his drunken father."
S2/EP 5 - Heads or Tails
Present: M.E. is distressed when Davis joins the football team; Rene is conflicted when she represents a client who confesses to a murder he committed in self defense 34 years earlier; M.E. helps Davis's parentless friend find a new home. Past: M.E. and Rene discover that they share ownership of Port Dixie with a homeless woman who claims to be a Hungarian princess, and argue; Rene is skeptical about her stories, but M.E. is enthralled by every word.
S2/EP 6 - So This Is Intimacy
Present: M.E. and Sarah think Rene is avoiding making wedding plans and confront her on it. Rene reacts by suggesting to Bill that they run off to Paris to elope. He reluctantly agrees. M.E. and Colliar invite Rene and Bill over for dinner and the foursome play "I Never"" - a game in which you confess things you've done or never done. M.E. is heartbroken to learn she has not been Colliar's only lover. During the game
S2/EP 7 - It's Not You, It's Me
Present: Rene defends a young man charged with vehicular manslaughter: He hit a pregnant woman and she lost her baby. The case becomes more complicated when Rene discovers that the woman was on her way to get an abortion when the accident occurred. This issue stirs an emotional and personal debate between Rene and M.E. M.E. must decide whether to attend a school play starring her daughter, Kelly, or an important writing seminar that she has already paid for. Rene moves into her new house without Bill and must tell her mother that the wedding has been postponed. Past: A popular friend of M.E.'s sister takes M.E. under her wing. However, the girl insists that M.E. give up her friendship with Rene.
S2/EP 8 - Family Is Family
Present: Rene and Sara prepare for the Jackson family reunion while Bill is away camping with his kids. On their way to the reunion, Sara collapses and is rushed to the hospital. When Elston arrives at the hospital, he introduces Rene to Mark, his partner of 12 years, and their son, Victor. Elston reveals that Victor is his biological son, conceived with the help of a surrogate mother who later sued for custody. Rene is upset that Elston didn't tell her about Victor and that he didn't consult her about his legal problems. The tension between the siblings escalates when Mark, who's a doctor, disagrees with the way Sara's doctor is treating her diabetes. Rene and Elston finally have a heart-to-heart talk, which leads to Elston opening up about his life to his mother. Sara is resistant at first, but relents when she meets her grandson for the first time. Over Colliar's objections, M.E. decides to look for a job to help make ends meet. After she lands a job as a security guard, he ends up giving her his support when he realizes that it's a low-key assignment, and one that allows her to work on her writing while working the night shift. Past: M.E. and Rene buy firecrackers despite their parents' objections. They accidentally start a fire, but don't confess to their mistake, even after the townspeople mistakenly assume that the incident was racially motivated.
S2/EP 9 - It's Not About the Butter (Part 1)
Present: While dining at a restaurant with Rene, Mary Elizabeth (M.E.) mistakenly assumes a black woman walking by is a waitress. The incident ignites a heated debate between Rene and M.E. about modern day racism and leads M.E. to examine the topic in a freelance article for the magazine she was recently fired from. As part of her investigation, M.E. interviews her Uncle Jimmy, who is in the Ku Klux Klan, and learns that racism still exists in its harshest forms. After the article is published, M.E. finds a cross burning in her front yard. Meanwhile, Rene searches for a new office assistant and is upset that Bill, who is away at a seminar, has not called her. Past: Rene's father, James, prosecutes a legal case against the city for preventing black men from taking the exam to become police officers. Rene pleads with her father to drop the case after M.E.'s Uncle Jimmy threatens that something bad will happen to their family if he does not.
S2/EP 10 - It's Not About the Butter (Part 2)
Present: M.E. and Colliar are proven correct in blaming Uncle Jimmy for coordinating the cross burning when his name is discovered on the membership list of an online hate group that has targeted Rene and Sara on their "hit list""; Rene files a civil suit against Uncle Jimmy; Bill and Rene discuss the future of their relationship. Past: As James proceeds with his civil rights suit against the police department
S2/EP 11 - Elephants in the Room
Present: M.E. and Colliar face increasing financial problems because a client of Colliar's has gone bankrupt. M.E. is humiliated at the grocery store when she finds out she's on their bad check list. Meanwhile, Kelly tries to buy a car from her boyfriend against M.E.'s wishes. Bill's first homicide case involves trying to get a murder witness to testify. Bill asks Rene to talk to the woman, but his plan backfires when Rene advises the woman that she doesn't have to testify if she fears for her life. The situation puts a freeze on Rene and Bill's already rocky relationship. During the case, Rene becomes jealous of Bill's new female partner. Matters worsen when Bill comes to Rene's house drunk and she asks him to leave. Past: A seamstress working on M.E.'s sister's gown tests the girls' faith in God when they learn about the horrors of the Holocaust the woman has suffered through. The girls set up their own test for God.
S2/EP 12 - That's Our Son, Bobby
Present: M.E. realizes that she forgot Bobby's birthday for the first time in the 22 years since his death. When she goes to the cemetery to visit his grave, she is horrified to discover that the cemetery has made an error and dug up his grave. In her grief and anger, she seeks Rene's legal assistance and ends up confronting her about not attending Bobby's funeral. These painful memories also put a strain on M.E. and Colliar's relationship because of the difference in how they each express grief and guilt over Bobby's death. Rene, frustrated by her relationship with Bill, begins a quest to figure out what men want and Joe tries to convince her to pick his brain as a part of her research. Past: Teresa loses her virginity and tells Rene and M.E. that they should never trust boys. Colliar manages to convince M.E. that he'll never hurt her, and they share their first real kiss.
S2/EP 13 - Say Something
Present: Rene deals with her feelings for Bill following their breakup. She throws a housewarming party to help herself overcome the loneliness, but the plan backfires when all the guests are couples. To gain a sense of closure, Rene writes Bill a letter articulating her complaints about the relationship, but she doesn't intend to mail it. M.E. takes on a security guard assignment at an office complex and investigates some of the strange activities of the tenants. She finds that her curiosity gets her nowhere...except into trouble. Past: Rene learns the power of words when she encourages an elderly black man to sit in the front of a public bus. When the man is severely beaten by two white boys, Rene feels guilty about her words and vows never to speak again.
S2/EP 14 - Eyes Wide Open
Present: M.E. is frustrated when her daughter, Kelly, won't talk to her about her relationship with her boyfriend. Rene is caught in a bind when Kelly confides in her instead of M.E. When M.E. and Colliar's sex life hits a low point, M.E. suggests they go out on a date. She's disappointed when Colliar turns it into a double date with a potential business client and his wife. The situation becomes more awkward when the couple approaches M.E. and Colliar about partner-swapping. Meanwhile, Rene pursues a famous singer (and longtime crush) when he comes to town. Past: M.E.'s Aunt Harriet dies and leaves her a scary doll. M.E.'s sister, Teresa, catches M.E. and Rene trying to bury the doll; she then uses this information to try to blackmail M.E. and get her own bedroom.
S2/EP 15 - Parent's Job, a
Present: M.E. disagrees with Colliar's teaching Davis about guns and taking him on a hunting trip; Rene represents a teacher removed from teaching for practicing Wicca outside the classroom. Past: Rene wants to change her look for her first day in middle school and faces opposition from Sara; M.E. is less than thrilled when Catherine buys her a bra.
S2/EP 16 - Homegirl
Present: When a friend from college spends the weekend, Rene finds out some unpleasant truths about herself and her relationships; Rene is unhappy when Sara rents out a room to fellow church member. Past: M.E. becomes attached to her family's new maid, leaving Rene feeling abandoned.
S2/EP 17 - From This Day on
Present: M.E. decides to change her will after she is sent to the hospital for having a life-threatening allergic reaction. Meanwhile, Rene takes a step in getting over Bill by pursuing a relationship with M.E.'s Norwegian doctor. Past: Young M.E. and Rene open a secret box and discover some shocking news.
S2/EP 18 - Hey Ugly!
Present: Rene becomes the guardian ad litem for a young teenager whose mother is being investigated for abuse after allowing her daughter to undergo multiple cosmetic surgeries; M.E. and Colliar confront Kelly after a condom drops out of her boyfriend's jacket; realizing she's not over Bill yet, Rene decides to break up with Clay. Past: M.E. and Rene give Tully's cousin Agnes a makeover to help her fit in with the other kids.
S2/EP 19 - Pay Your Dues
Present: Lakeisha misrepresents herself as an attorney in Rene's office to help out the non-profit Girls at Risk program, and Rene fires her. Nevertheless, Rene agrees to serve as her character witness when Lakeisha is brought up before the Bar Association. After Lakeisha expresses remorse for what she's done, the Bar Association puts her on probation, and Rene agrees to rehire her. While Colliar is away on a job, M.E. is mugged at gunpoint at work and suffers from post traumatic stress. After getting back together with Bill, Rene realizes that she no longer has any feelings for him, and ends the relationship for good. Past: Lured by lots of easy cash, Rene and M.E. agree to act as lookouts for a small time crook, and learn to play poker in the process. Flush with money and their new-found skill, they challenge Colliar and Tully to a friendly game of cards. When they lose everything to Tully and he threatens to squeal on them if they don't pay up, they are forced to scramble for ways to earn some money quickly.
S2/EP 20 - You Think I'm Lying to You
Present: Rene represents Bill after he is involved in a controversial shooting. Joe starts an aggressive campaign to market M.E.'s book. Past: M.E. suspects that Colliar is cheating on her with Rene.
S2/EP 21 - Tool Shed Behind the Church, the
Present: M.E. and Colliar are torn when they discover that their friend and neighbor is a convicted pedophile, and they struggle to contain the hysteria that envelops the community; Rene meets opposition from her mother and the historical society when she begins to renovate her office. She's finally convinced to change her plans when her mother lets in her on some momentous events that occurred there. Past: Rene accidentally hits Johnny's prized baseball into the yard of a mysterious neighbor whom M.E. is convinced is a murderer living in a haunted house. When Rene gathers up the courage to retrieve the ball, both girls are in for a surprise, and a valuable lesson.
S2/EP 22 - Who Abandonned Who?
Present: M.E. goes on a campaign to convince a very reluctant Rene to go to their high school reunion, and enlists Joe to escort Rene and pose as her husband after Rene cites her single status as the reason she's not attending; Lakeisha learns the perils of getting a tattoo under the influence; M.E.'s elation over having her book accepted by a publisher turns to despair when she realizes that it's a vanity press; Colliar gets his old band together to play at the reunion; M.E. doesn't react well to the combination of too many Harvey Wallbangers and too many catty comments from Colliar's ex-flame Della Mae; Rene reconnects with her high school prom date and is astonished when she finds out how much has changed over the years, and how she was an inspiration in ways she never imagined. Past: Rene is apprehensive about attending a predominately white high school; M.E. goes on a hunger strike to convince her father to let her attend South Birmingham High School; wanting to see the world, Johnny joins the army.
S3/EP 1 - Nope
Present: Rene takes the case of a 14-year-old boy who is on trial for murder. The prosecutor wants to try him as an adult. M.E. is frustrated with her lack of control when Colliar quits her job for her and gives her an allowance. Past: M.E. and Rene experiment with alcohol; disaster ensues.
S3/EP 2 - It's a Good Thing I'm Not Black
Present: When Rene is pulled over on a mistaken warrant and humiliated by the police officers, she sweeps it under the rug despite the urgings of Lakeisha and M.E. that she file a complaint. When she witnesses a college student going through the same ordeal shortly thereafter, she offers to represent him pro bono in a lawsuit against the police department for racial profiling. When he challenges her to stand up for her own rights, she finally files her own complaint against the police. Davis dates an older woman and seeks Colliar's advice for putting the brakes on the relationship. Glenn assigns M.E. to a story about road construction in a neighboring town and Kelly offers to help her research it. Past: Elston clashes with his father over Malcolm X and his becoming a Black Muslim; M.E. wants to support the civil rights movement by forming a group of White Muslims consisting of Colliar, Tully and Bobby; the Jackson family grieves together when Malcolm X is assassinated.
S3/EP 3 - Three Hours a Week
Present: M.E. is elated when her book sells out at the local bookstore and she's invited to appear on a local tv show; Rene is accepted as a mentor in the Girls at Risk program, but things don't go smoothly with her mentee April. Past: After losing the captaincy of the cheerleading squad, Teresa decides to become a nun and makes Rene the unwilling recipient of her acts of charity.
S3/EP 4 - Dust of Life, the
Present: M.E. is shocked when a Vietnamese man named Tuan appears in Birmingham and claims that her brother Johnny is his father. Rene represents a man who is trying to gain full custody of his children by enforcing a prenatal contract he made with his ex-wife. Past: When Johnny finishes boot camp, he comes home for a short leave before heading off to Vietnam. When Colliar and M.E. get into an argument, Colliar turns to Johnny for advice on women, so Johnny agrees to double-date with Colliar and M.E. Before he leaves for the war, Johnny makes M.E. and Colliar promise they will stay together forever.
S3/EP 5 - Three Lucky Ladies on the Line
Present: Tillie Sims arrives for a visit and once again puts her son in jeopardy when a loan shark follows her from Florida looking for the money she owes him, prompting M.E. to give Tillie an ultimatum; worried that April's incoherent behavior means that she has a substance abuse problem, Rene forces her to take a drug test, which turns out negative; when April begins to exhibit delusional behavior, Rene gets Mrs. Samuels' permission to take her to a doctor. Past: After James is attacked by the police during the march on Selma, Elston and James disagree about the effectiveness of non-violent protest; after federal troops are sent in to protect the marchers, the entire Jackson family joins the march; Rene is forced to reconsider the practice of non-violence when she is tormented by Tully's constant bullying; Colliar's mother doesn't intervene when he is abused by his father.
S3/EP 6 - Nothing Personal
Present: M.E. is upset when Rene hires a black contractor instead of Colliar to do some renovations on her house; M.E. is put in the middle when Colliar sues one of Rene's clients for reverse discrimination when he loses out on a job to a black contractor who submitted a higher bid; April is diagnosed as bipolar, but resists taking her medicine; Kelly and Ajoni start dating again. Past: Inspired by their favorite mystery books, Rene and M.E. decide to play detective and follow James, and accidentally help him to discover that the F.B.I. is tapping his phones.
S3/EP 7 - Life
Present: M.E. decides to write a book about the unsung heroes of the civil rights movement after learning about Mrs. Samuels' experience as a cleaning lady for Dr. Martin Luther King. Rene is reunited with a friend who was once an active student leader at Morehouse but is now serving a life sentence. Past: M.E. and Rene learn how involved Sara is in the civil rights involvement after James is arrested during a protest and Sara steps in to take his place as a leader. Rene is surprised when she sees her mother step back into the background upon her father's return.
S3/EP 8 - Love Is Love, Right
Present: The fur flies at the Sims and Williams households when M.E discovers Ajoni asleep in Kelly's room one morning, even though both teenagers insist that nothing is going on between them; Ajoni's parents are upset about the interracial relationship and concerned that Kelly will keep Ajoni from attending college; after Ajoni's father throws him out of the house when he persists in dating Kelly, M.E. and Colliar allow him to stay with them; Rene and Joe explore the possibility of expanding their relationship. Past: Rene incurs the wrath of her beloved Cookie Grandma when M.E. reveals that Rene has a crush on a white boy.
S3/EP 9 - There Are No Rules
Present: Rene and M.E. take a road trip that turns sour when they are car-jacked and Rene is arrested for car theft. When Rene calls Lakeisha for help, she discovers that she has been asked to run for district attorney. At home, Colliar struggles to hold things together when Kelly loses Rene's dog and Davis announces he wants to be a priest. Past: M.E. and Rene explore the possible existence of aliens.
S3/EP 10 - Outsiders, The
Present: When interviewing a Baptist minister for an article, M.E. discovers he doesn't practice what he preaches. Now a candidate for district attorney, Rene faces her first critics when she refuses to drop a client who is an illegal alien. Past: M.E. threatens to break up with Colliar if he doesn't let her join his band. She's surprised when he dumps her.
S3/EP 11 - It's a Mother Daughter Thing
Present: When Kelly follows in her mother's footsteps, M.E. and Colliar are thrilled by her being elected to the homecoming court and have a complete meltdown after she reveals that she's pregnant; Rene is appalled when she discovers that rapes are being deliberately underreported by the police and underprosecuted by her opponent. Past: M.E. and Colliar go through a difficult patch; Rene gets a new boyfriend named Henry.
S3/EP 12 - Lighten Up Rene
Present: Nick hires an election strategist who rubs Rene the wrong way when she attempts to "lighten up"" Rene's image by setting her up for an endorsement by a politically influential group whose color-struck policies and members she abhors; although the Sims and Williams families agree to support Kelly and Ajoni in keeping their baby
S3/EP 13 - Where's the Justice in That
Present: Rene creates a firestorm a few days before the election when she admits during a call-in radio show that she experimented with drugs during the seventies; M.E. struggles for creative control when Kelly's sixth grade teacher asks her to sanitize the adaptation of "Port Dixie"" that M.E. has been asked to create and direct for the Fall Drama Festival; Rene catches April smoking a joint and April admits that her mother is incarcerated on a drug-related charge; after visiting April's mother in prison and hearing her story
S3/EP 14 - Five Golden Rings
Present: Rene embraces the holiday season, but things turn sour when her attempts at planning a holiday party for the lawyers association fall flat. Luckily, she is still able to have a great Christmas with Elston, his partner and their son, Victor. M.E. is determined to have one more old-fashioned family Christmas, but things go awry when Ajoni proposes to Kelly on Christmas Day. Past: The girls begin a tradition of donating gifts to those who are less fortunate.
S3/EP 15 - Life Isn't Fair
Present: M.E. is outraged and decides to fight the school board when Kelly is asked to switch to another school because of her pregnancy. Rene meets an interesting man while representing Kelly. Past: Rene and M.E. get to "first base"" with their boyfriends
S3/EP 16 - Ten Days? Are You Crazy?
Present: Kelly and Ajoni announce that they are getting married in 10 days, but M.E. and Colliar refuse to sign the parental consent forms. Rene's identity gets stolen. Past: Rene and M.E. learn more about the Vietnam War when Elston runs away to Canada to avoid the draft.
S3/EP 17 - Tick, Tick, Tick
Present: Tension runs high as M.E. helps Kelly get ready for the wedding. Rene tries to convince one of her clients to leave her abusive husband. Ajoni and a very pregnant Kelly get married and spend their wedding night at the Sims house. Past: M.E. smokes Theresa's marijuana, mistaking it for a cigarette. Rene and M.E. argue about courage as Rene prepares a care package for Elston in Canada.
S3/EP 18 - Don't Tell Me This Is About Franky?
Present: Colliar tells M.E. that he's moving out. When he returns after a few days with an idea to give Kelly and Ajoni $5,000 so they can get their own place, everyone is furious with him and accuse him of being a racist. M.E. and Colliar have a huge fight which ends with M.E. moving into Rene's house; Meanwhile, Rene represents the a woman who accuses the new district attorney's nephew of rape. Past: A bewildered M.E. and Rene watch Colliar and Henry become supercompetitive at the Spring Fair.
S3/EP 19 - What if?
Present: The road not taken intrigues M.E. and Rene as they wonder what would have happened had they switched houses and destinies many years ago. Rene sees herself in a loving marriage with two children as she struggles to maintain her own priorities in her father's law firm and pleads with her parents to accept Elston. M.E. is single and an extremely wealthy, successful, and prolific writer who owns a newspaper. After she is reunited with Colliar at his father's funeral, she realizes how much she regrets missing the opportunity to make a life with him. Past: M.E. fears that she will never see Colliar again after he and his mother leave Birmingham to escape being beaten by his father; Rene realizes that Henry is not the boy for her.
S3/EP 20 - Children Are the Most Important Thing
Present: Rene represents a woman who was fired when she protested against her employer's preferential treatment of workers with children; M.E. helps Kelly and Ajoni move into their new apartment; Matthew's dementia worsens; Rene realizes why she lives alone as M.E. begins to wear out her welcome; Colliar seeks out Rene's help when M.E. seriously begins to contemplate a divorce; inspired by how Catherine cares for Matthew during difficult times, M.E. moves back home, but into Kelly's old room. Past: The O'Briens are devastated when Johnny is killed in Vietnam; when the Jacksons come to pay their respects, Matthew asks Rene to come into the house and visit with M.E.
S3/EP 21 - It's Not Just a Word (Part 1)
Present: Uncle Jimmy dies and M.E. ensures that he's not buried with any Klan insignia; Rene refuses to assist Joe with the case of a wheelchair-bound man who feels discriminated against when a strip club won't allow him to get a lap dance; Rene represents Ajoni's teammate Richie when he is arrested for manslaughter in the death of a teenager he hit during a post-game fight, and mounts a self-defense trial strategy based on Richie's fearing his life was in danger after the other teen hurled a highly charged racial epithet at him. Past: The O'Brien family continues to mourn the loss of Johnny; Teresa devises a highly effective plan to keep the O'Brien girls out of having to go to an all-girls Catholic high school; M.E. is outraged and disgusted when the veterans parade to which Uncle Jimmy invites the O'Briens turns out to be a Klan rally; Rene is excited at the prospect of being named valedictorian.
S3/EP 22 - It's Not Just a Word (Part 2)
Present: Rene's defense of Richie has everyone in town talking; after Richie is acquitted of manslaughter and sentenced to one year's probation for criminally negligent homicide, Rene decides to expand her practice and specialize in civil rights law; Colliar apologizes to M.E. and Kelly for his recent bad behavior and reconciles with both of them; Kelly is hospitalized for pre-eclampsia and has an emergency C-section; Kelly and Ajoni's premature baby boy goes into respiratory distress soon after his birth. Past: Rene's school cancels graduation rather than name her as the valedictorian, so Sara and James have a private ceremony at home; when Colliar schedules his graduation party on the same night as Rene's and his father refuses to allow her to attend, Rene becomes angry when M.E. chooses her boyfriend over her best friend and attends Colliar's party instead of Rene's.
S4/EP 1 - Don't Forget to Take Out Your Teeth
Present: Events put a damper on Rene's plans to move into a new office suite; Kelly brings a new dimension to nervous new motherhood and exhausts her parents with her constant, frantic calls; Rene loses an employment discrimination suit for her deaf client, but manages to gain a new case clerk and a new associate from the experience; inspired by Colliar's pillow talk and unwilling to sit down and take the absence of romance in their relationship quietly, M.E. devises an innovative way to spark up their marriage; Joe and one of his Harvard classmates become new associates in Rene's firm; at the first Jackson & Associates staff meeting, Rene discovers that her skills in researching and interviewing prospective employees could use some work. Past: Colliar, Tully and the girls endure the torture that is freshman hazing on their first days of high school; Rene joins Black Students Unite, and M.E. joins the pep squad.
S4/EP 2 - No More, Forever
Present: Stacy introduces Rene to a handsome and opinionated judge, who ends up hearing the case of a Native American artist Rene represents when a controversy arises over a Holocaust mural he painted for a museum; M.E.'s back goes out, and she wiles away her recuperation by making friends with her new neighbor's little boy. Past: Rene tries to keep her father from discovering that she's dating a senior.
S4/EP 3 - Everybody Deserves to Be Loved
Present: A mentally disabled man seeks Rene's help when the state threatens to separate him from his aunt and place him in an institution. M.E. faces the severity of Alzheimer's disease when her father arrives for a visit. Past: Port Dixie is invaded by Rene and M.E.'s new high school friends.
S4/EP 4 - Don't Give Up
Present: Rene takes on big business when she represents a group of children diagnosed with lead poisoning. M.E. and Davis share some quality mother-son time together. Past: the girls perform in the school play.
S4/EP 5 - One Hour of Drama
Present: A tornado ravages the Sims house while M.E. and Rene are trapped inside Rene's law office with a parolee. Past: Sara discovers that young Rene is dating an "older man
S4/EP 6 - No Place in the World
Present: Rene fights for the rights of a homeless woman, while the newly homeless M.E. and Colliar search for shelter and comfort. Past: Unwelcome guests crash the girls' pajama party.
S4/EP 7 - Peace of Mind
Present: While the future hangs over M.E.'s head like a storm cloud, Colliar looks ahead to growing old with his wife in their dream house. Meanwhile, Rene defends Joe in court. Past: Colliar and the girls take aptitude tests with less than desirable results.
S4/EP 8 - Contest, the
Present: Rene and Turk have a spirited disagreement over potential candidates for a Girls At Risk scholarship before Turk finally gives in to Rene's choice; Sara busily plays matchmaker even though Rene vehemently tries to discourage her; Rene's ex-husband comes into town on a three day business trip and tries unsuccessfully to woo her until her resistance finally fails, and they fall into each other's arms; the next morning over breakfast, they agree that although they are great lovers they are not in love with each other, and Rene somewhat reluctantly sends him back home to Houston; M.E. and Colliar struggle to adjust to living in an apartment building with noisy, incense-burning, chanting neighbors as well as airplanes flying closely overhead, a smelly carpet, and plumbing problems. Past: "Bob Goodie's Dance Machine""
S4/EP 9 - This Is Not Foreplay This Is War
M.E. and Colliar practice tough love with Kelly when she and Ajoni are unable to find a babysitter; and Rene defends the civil rights of the dead. In the past, the girls experience the hippie movement.
S4/EP 10 - Blinded by the White
Present: As M.E. visits Fillmore to speak with Davis's teachers about his slipping grades in the aftermath of the tornado, she is caught in the middle of a school shooting; shocked and devastated by having to watch a student die in the gunfire, M.E. turns to food for comfort; after Rene suffers an arrhythmia while they're on a date, Turk insists that she see a cardiologist; on the strength of the article M.E. writes about the shooting, Glenn offers her a weekly column; Rene inspires her neighbor Muriel to take the positive step of creating an animal rescue organization after Muriel's beloved dog is accidentally put to death at the pound. Past: Colliar is bullied and beaten when he supports Rene's running for Freshman Class Representative; after trying to help Colliar during the beating and getting a black eye herself, M.E. is angry when he succumbs to pressure and votes against Rene.
S4/EP 11 - Rebel With a Cause
Present: Rene represents an elderly couple facing eviction from their retirement community for publicly displaying their affection. Rene and Turk take the big plunge and make their relationship public. M.E. writes a spirited column defending Dixie, which brings an offer from the Cross-Bearers of the Confederacy to make a speech at their Confederate Flag Memorial Rally. Unsure of whether to accept the offer, she ponders the symbolism and meaning of the Confederate flag and discusses it with her family and Rene. She finally agrees to attend the rally as long as Rene comes with her. During her speech, she questions the wisdom of the South's defining itself by the Civil War, and urges the audience to adopt a new symbol for the South -- "one that unites and points to a future healed by peace and tolerance instead of a past wounded by war and racism"". The speech proves wildly unpopular
S4/EP 12 - Stay of Execution
Present: M.E. discovers that Kelly and Ajoni have racked up quite a bit of debt. Meanwhile, stress finally catches up with Rene and she collapses. Past: M.E. and Rene try to raise money for Robert Kennedy's presidential campaign.
S4/EP 13 - Still My Little Soldier
Present: Rene starts down the long slow road to recovery at breakneck speed. Although she is weak and in pain, she is determined to tough it out on her own without any help from anyone, both at home and the office. While she is in the hospital, she dreams that her father is at her bedside telling her, "My little soldier can take care of herself""
S4/EP 14 - It's Not Karma, It's Life
Present: Rene returns to work and finds that her illness has shaken her self-confidence. Several clients, concerned about how much her health may impact her ability to represent them, have left the firm, and she is scrambling to retain the ones which remain. She is particularly troubled by an obnoxious client who is suing his employer for wrongful termination and is being countersued for sexual harassment by his supervisor. After a pre-trial deposition, she realizes that her client is lying and that his lawsuit is frivolous. With the help of a little pep talk from Joe, Rene rediscovers her spunk, tells her client just what she thinks of him, and fires him. At home, her self-consciousness about her scar initially creates a barrier to intimacy with Turk before she finally regains her sense of herself and her trust in his love. M.E.'s whining and self-pity about her weight reaches a fever pitch, and she starts to drive everyone crazy. While she acknowledges that she's "sad
S4/EP 15 - Real Thing, The
Present: After M.E. is selected for jury duty, she mounts a one-woman jury nullification campaign when she refuses to convict an elderly woman who was charged with drug trafficking for growing and distributing marijuana to cancer patients; Rene represents Charley Majors when the U.S. Attorney's Office goes after him for painting pictures of U.S. currency; M.E. continues to meet with a therapist to uncover the reasons for her eating disorder; Rene wonders exactly what she and Turk are to each other, and begins to pull away when he introduces her to his former flame as a "friend and colleague""; Turk tells her he loves her and is determined not to let her go
S4/EP 16 - In Too Deep
Present: M.E. is forced to reexamine her views on capital punishment when Glenn arranges for her to witness the execution of a man convicted of a rape-murder and to write a column on her emotional reaction to the event. When Davis comes home to Birmingham to protest the execution, he clashes with Collar and M.E. on the topic and tensions run high in the family. After visiting the prison and speaking with the mother of the victim and the mother of the man on death row, M.E. writes a column which reveals that she has completely changed her point of view on capital punishment. She reconciles with Davis before he returns to Wisconsin. Rene represents a student who was kicked off a university women's volleyball team because she violated the athletic code of conduct by working as a stripper to pay her tuition. When she proves in court that male athletes who had also violated the code of conduct were not punished in the same manner, Rene is successful in obtaining a reinstatement to the team and monetary damages for her client based on a finding of gender discrimination. Past: Feeling totally taken for granted, Catherine O'Brien leaves home for a few days to stay with a friend. After a few days of doing all of her chores, M.E. and Teresa mount a successful campaign for her return by enlisting Matthew's cooperation in showing their appreciation and helping out around the house. Sara and Catherine make beautiful dresses for their daughters for the Freshman Prom.
S4/EP 17 - Call Him Macaroni
Present: M.E. and Gail politely jostle over planning Emmett's first birthday party, but get into a really serious disagreement over his racial heritage. Gail insists that Emmett is a black child with a white mother and that everyone who looks at him will consider him black as well. M.E. maintains that he is biracial -- both Irish-American and African-American. When Kelly and M.E. find out that Emmett's birth certificate lists him only as black, they enlist Rene's help in getting it changed, so that Emmett will always know that he is part of two families that both love and fully accept him for all that he is. At the birthday party, the two grandmothers come to an understanding and agree to start new traditions for their families, blended and bonded by their love of Emmett. Rene takes on a sexual discrimination case on behalf of a woman whose group health insurance carrier will cover the cost of Viagra, but not the cost of contraceptives. Joe is reluctant to take on the case at first, but quickly becomes enthusiastic at the prospect of turning it into a large class-action suit. Both Rene and Joe are disappointed when their client agrees to settle with the insurance company before the case can go to trial. Rene and Turk fall into each other's arms when he returns from his trip. Not wanting to spend any more time apart, they agree to start living together at Rene's house. After a few rocky days of conflicting sleeping habits, morning routines and pets, they both agree that they are too old to be playing house. Turk moves out, and they agree to embark on the uncharted territory of their next steps together. Past: Colliar borrows his father's car without permission, a driver's license or insurance and gets into an accident. To make matters worse, he is insufferably rude to Mr. Nolman, the gentleman whose truck he hit. Rene asks her father to help Colliar without notifying his parents, which he is unwilling to do until she tells him about the beatings that Colliar and his mother suffer at the hands of his father. Mr. Jackson works out an arrangement whereby Colliar will compensate Mr. Nolman for the damages to his truck by working on his farm every day after school. Rene also makes sure that Colliar apologizes to Mr. Nolman for his rudeness, and that he thanks him for the opportunity to work off his debt.
S4/EP 18 - Truth Hurts
Present: Rene represents a 14-year-old boy in a custody dispute; M.E., Colliar, Rene, and Turk go to a night club where the "comedian"" targets M.E. and another woman with offensive comments about their size; when the other woman asks M.E. to join her in a class-action lawsuit to protest this harassment
S4/EP 19 - Boys Will Be Boys
Present: Stacy and two other women are groped by a crowd of men during a convention. When the police don't arrest the men, Rene files a civil suit on behalf of the women. Rene meets Turk's sister, Rita Gail, who gives Turk an ugly family heirloom to use as Rene's engagement ring. After Turk and Rene agree that the ring has to go, he presents her with the ring of her dreams. When Ajoni is offered a promotion, but quits his job instead because he is angry about missing college, M.E. urges them to talk things out. Ajoni decides to move out temporarily, but his angry wife tells him not to come back. Past: Rene wears a revealing go-go dress to a party against her mother's wishes, and she and some other girls get groped by the boys in attendance. Rene's parents find out when one of the girls goes home in tears, and the adults blame what happened on Rene for wearing the dress. Rene and M.E. unsuccessfully attempt to organize the other girls against being victimized.
S4/EP 20 - Let the Games Begin
Present: Rene represents Lakeisha's boyfriend when his employer fires him for adhering to the tenets of his Rastafarian religion by wearing dreadlocks; Kelly quickly gets burned out working double shifts to support herself and Emmett, so M.E. and Colliar bring her back home to live with them; Ajoni is living with his parents and still not working, so he tells Kelly that they should give up their apartment to save money; She agrees, heartbroken that their marriage seems to be coming to an end; M.E. and Sara disagree with Rene's decision to hire a wedding planner, and join forces to convince her that M.E. is the woman for the job; Colliar has difficulties getting M.E. to schedule some time to make decisions about the interior of their new house. Past: When M.E. is turned down for a job just because she is a girl, she becomes galvanized by the women's liberation movement and enlists Grandma Otis's help in organizing a protest. M.E.'s excitement that there is now a cause that she can share with Rene in the same way that Rene shared her involvement in civil rights turns to disappointment when Rene makes her civil rights work a priority over M.E.'s protest for women's rights.
S4/EP 21 - Just the Beginning (Part 1)
Present: M.E.'s and Rene's attempt to have Catherine and Sara resolve their issues only results in creating conflict between M.E. and Rene; an angry M.E. decides not to participate in the wedding in any fashion; Rene's in the middle of a controversy over a slave burial ground and the hearing on the case is set for her wedding day; Kelly and Ajoni add to M.E.'s misery when they announced that they're moving to Atlanta; Colliar presents M.E. with her dream home; M.E. and Rene patch up their differences. Past: Rene enters a pageant, despite M.E.'s disapproval; Elston comes home for a visit.
S4/EP 22 - Just the Beginning (Part 2)
Present: M.E. takes over the wedding plans when Rene is forced to attend a hearing; Rene returns home to a perfectly planned wedding, and marries Turk; Catherine and Sara make peace; Kelly and Ajoni announce that they're staying in Birmingham; M.E. and Rene reminisce about their friendship. Past: Teresa wants to move to Hollywood in hopes of becoming a movie star; M.E. plans to run away to Atlantic City to attend a march; Rene is barred from a pageant because she's black.