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