The Trials of Rosie O'Neill
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The Trials of Rosie O'Neill
The Trials of Rosie O'Neill
The Trials of Rosie O'Neill.jpg
Sharon Gless (left) as Rosie O'Neill
Tyne Daly (right) appeared in one episode.
Created byBeth Sullivan & Joe Cacaci
Written byBeth Sullivan
Joe Cacaci
Josef Anderson
Nicole Yorkin & Dawn Prestwich
Directed bySharron Miller
Reza Badiyi
Nancy Malone
James Frawley
Joel Rosenzweig
David Carson
Victoria Hochberg
Ron Lagomarsino
Gwen Arner
David Hugh Jones
StarringSharon Gless
Dorian Harewood
Ron Rifkin
Georgann Johnson
Lisa Rieffel
Robert Wagner
Ed Asner
David Rasche
Theme music composerRon Ramin
Opening theme"I Wish I Knew" performed by Melissa Manchester
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes34
Executive producerBarney Rosenzweig
Running time60 minutes
Production companiesMTM Enterprises
The Rosenzweig Company
DistributorMTM Television Distribution Group
Original networkCBS
Original releaseSeptember 17, 1990 (1990-09-17) -
May 30, 1992 (1992-05-30)

The Trials of Rosie O'Neill is an American drama television series which aired on CBS from September 17, 1990 to May 30, 1992. The show stars Sharon Gless as Fiona Rose "Rosie" O'Neill, a lawyer working in the public defender's office for the City of Los Angeles.[1][2] The show marked the return of Gless to series television after her run on Cagney & Lacey.[3]

"Rosie" was created by Beth Sullivan and Joe Cacaci, and produced by Cagney & Lacey producer Barney Rosenzweig, whom Gless married in 1991.[4] The writing staff included Beth Sullivan, Joe Cacaci, Josef Anderson, Nicole Yorkin and Dawn Prestwich. The show was cancelled by CBS in 1992.[5]


Each episode opens 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 and Robert Wagner.[6] Season 2 saw two new cast additions: Ed Asner joined the cast as the cantankerous Kovac, a retired cop hired by Rosie's law firm as one of their investigators. David Rasche was cast in a recurring dramatic role as Patrick Ginty, Rosie's ex-husband who was often referred to but never seen in the first season. Adding Asner to the regular cast squeezed out Dorian Harewood, who was billed as "Special Guest Star" in all season 2 episodes.


Season 1: 1990-91

No. in
Title Directed by Written by Original air date
11"Starting Over"Ron LagomarsinoBeth Sullivan & Joe CacaciSeptember 17, 1990 (1990-09-17)
22"The Rapist"Sharron MillerBeth Sullivan & Dawn Prestwich & Joe Cacaci & Nicole YorkinSeptember 24, 1990 (1990-09-24)
33"So Long Patrick"David CarsonJosef AndersonOctober 1, 1990 (1990-10-01)
44"Late Night Callers"Reza BadiyiDawn Prestwich & Nicole YorkinOctober 15, 1990 (1990-10-15)
55"Shalom"Reza BadiyiStory by : Kip Orgullo & Beth Sullivan & Joe Cacaci and Nicole Yorkin & Dawn Prestwich
Teleplay by : Nicole Yorkin & Joe Cacaci & Dawn Prestwich
October 22, 1990 (1990-10-22)
66"An Act of Love"Joel RosenzweigJudy Merl & Paul Eric MyersOctober 29, 1990 (1990-10-29)
77"When I'm 44"Sharron MillerBeth Sullivan & Josef Anderson & Joe Cacaci & Dawn Prestwich & Nicole YorkinNovember 5, 1990 (1990-11-05)
88"Rosie Gets the Blues"James FrawleyTerry AbrahamsonNovember 19, 1990 (1990-11-19)
99"The Gang's All Here"Nancy MaloneJosef AndersonNovember 26, 1990 (1990-11-26)
1010"Mr. Right"Reza BadiyiJoe CacaciDecember 3, 1990 (1990-12-03)
1111"The Man from E.L.F."Reza BadiyiJosef AndersonDecember 17, 1990 (1990-12-17)
1212"Mother Love"Victoria HochbergNicole Yorkin & Dawn PrestwichDecember 31, 1990 (1990-12-31)
1313"State of Mind"Sharron MillerStory by : Beth Sullivan & Barbara Schiffman
Teleplay by : Beth Sullivan
January 7, 1991 (1991-01-07)
1414"Time Will Tell"Gwen ArnerDebbie Smith & Danna DoyleJanuary 14, 1991 (1991-01-14)
1515"Reunion"Nancy MaloneStory by : Michael Corey
Teleplay by : Dawn Prestwich & Nicole Yorkin & Josef Anderson
January 28, 1991 (1991-01-28)
1616"A Conflict of Interest"Joel RosenzweigJoe CacaciJune 9, 1991 (1991-06-09)
1717"Environmental Robin Hood"Reza BadiyiBarry SchkolnickJune 16, 1991 (1991-06-16)
1818"Special Circumstances"Sharron MillerDawn Prestwich & Nicole YorkinJune 23, 1991 (1991-06-23)

Season 2: 1991-92

No. in
Title Directed by Written by Original air date
191"Real Mothers"TBACarol MendelsohnSeptember 12, 1991 (1991-09-12)
202"Knock Knock"TBADawn Prestwich & Nicole YorkinSeptember 19, 1991 (1991-09-19)
213"Domestic Silence"TBASusan MilerSeptember 26, 1991 (1991-09-26)
224"Wolf Pack"TBAKathy McCormickOctober 3, 1991 (1991-10-03)
235"This Can't Be Love"TBAEric OvermyerOctober 31, 1991 (1991-10-31)
246"Life Support"TBACai Emmons & Richard HoworthNovember 7, 1991 (1991-11-07)
257"Happy Birthday or Else"TBANicole Yorkin & Dawn PrestwichNovember 14, 1991 (1991-11-14)
268"Dr. Psychedelic"TBACarol MendelsohnNovember 15, 1991 (1991-11-15)
279"Cultural Differences"TBAJoe CacaciNovember 22, 1991 (1991-11-22)
2810"Battle Fatigue"TBABabs GreyhoskyDecember 12, 1991 (1991-12-12)
2911"Lady Luck"TBAJames KramerDecember 19, 1991 (1991-12-19)
3012"The Other Woman"TBACarol MendelsohnApril 11, 1992 (1992-04-11)
3113"Heartbreak Hotel"Nancy MaloneSusan MillerApril 18, 1992 (1992-04-18)
3214"Sweet Sixteen"TBADawn Prestwich & Nicole YorkinApril 25, 1992 (1992-04-25)
3315"Double Bind"TBATim Raphael & Sally Nemeth & James KramerMay 9, 1992 (1992-05-09)
3416"Role Reversal"TBAStory by : Sherri Ziff
Teleplay by : Cai Emmons & Richard Howorth and Nicole Yorkin & Dawn Prestwich
May 30, 1992 (1992-05-30)


The series received some notoriety for its debut episode in which O'Neill jokes about 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.

Theme song

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.


The show gained a modest reception from critics.[7][8][9][10]


  1. ^ "Trials of Rosie O'Neill, The". Television Academy Interviews. October 23, 2017.
  2. ^ "TELEVISION; Edward Asner's New Cause: 'The Trials of Rosie O'Neill' (Published 1991)".
  4. ^ "A year of trials for "Rosie O'Neill'". Tampa Bay Times.
  5. ^ "CBS GIVES 'ROSIE O'NEILL' A LAST SHOT AT ROMANCE ...". Baltimore Sun. April 11, 1992. p. D.
  6. ^ EST, Newsweek Staff On 11/4/90 at 7:00 PM (November 4, 1990). "Monday Night's New Game". Newsweek.
  7. ^ "The Trials of Rosie O'Neill".
  8. ^ "TV REVIEW : 'Trials of Rosie O'Neill' Wins on Appeal". Los Angeles Times. September 17, 1990.
  9. ^ O'Connor, John J. (September 19, 1991). "Review/Television; 2 New Faces Join Crime Dramas (Published 1991)" – via
  10. ^ O'Connor, John J. (September 24, 1990). "Reviews/Television; Sharon Gless, Helping The Underdogs of Life (Published 1990)" – via

External links

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