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Queens Supreme

One Angry Man
Episode 1.1 - Jan. 10, 2003

Lee Tergesen played Tommy Ryan, a juror and a smoker. He's the "one angry man" of the episode's title. 

"Queens Supreme" was described as courthouse "dramedy" by the show’s producers. It tried to distinguish itself from other courtroom shows with a serio-comic tone and telling the stories from the judges’ perspective. Judge Jack Moran (played by Oliver Platt) was the lead character in the series.

Only three of 13 episodes of "Queens Supreme" aired, but fortunately, Lee was in the debut episode. Even though the show got poor reviews, columnists wrote kindly about Lee and the other performers. For example, the New York Daily News opined that the show was "an egregious misuse of talented thespians" and "wastes Lee Tergesen ... in a major guest role."

Frankly, I found the show to be quite entertaining. Some scenes missed their mark, but Lee's segments were everything the show aimed to be -- a mix of deadly seriousness with a comic touch. 

Lee's character, Tommy Ryan, is the dissenting voice on a deadlocked jury hearing a civil suit of a lifelong smoker who has died of a heart attack. His fellow jurors attribute the vicitm's death to smoking, but Tommy insists (and gives a very persuasive argument) that the victim died as a result of a health camp that made him go cold turkey.

Judge Moran won't let the jury give up without a decision, however, and sends them back for more deliberation. But Tommy Ryan wants to have a smoke first. The judge orders him to stop, there's a scuffle with the courtroom guard, and Tommy winds up with the guard's gun, holding the jurors and others in the courtroom hostage.

I've posted the opening and closing scenes featuring Lee to capture the beginning and end of the drama. The intervening scenes show stages of tension and poor decisions -- and silliness. For example, I love the scene where Tommy is making the jurors barricade the doors, then an aide strolls in bearing coffee. He wonders what's going on, and the judge says, "We're just trying something different today." The aide shrugs and leaves.

There's another scene -- after Tommy rips the phone out of the wall -- and the judge is likening their situation to when Quint destroyed the radio in "Jaws." He means it to illustrate that they're rapidly approaching the point of no return. But the other hostages start chiming in about the scene, trying to figure out who the "hero" was in that scenario. The shark? Quint? It's a hoot.

The closing scene with Lee, of course, is the dramatic peak. Judge Moran and Tommy are talking man to man. The judge reasons that Tommy is a good man who snapped. But he stopped, and there's a way out of this. Tommy is weary, and anguished and makes a leap of trust. 

I disagree that this show was a "waste" of Lee's talents. Rather, it puts them on fine display.

Episode Gallery

Smoking, gun
Muy caliente
Human shield
On the bench

Video Clips

Lee's opening scene
Lee's closing scene

Related Links

TV Tome info

CBS page about 
"Queens Supreme"

IMDb credits

New York Daily News
Review of show