Reasonable Doubts

Reasonable Doubts is an American police drama television series created by Robert Singer, which broadcast in the United States by NBC that ran from August 26, 1991 to April 27, 1993.

Reasonable Doubts
GenrePolice procedural
Created byRobert Singer
StarringMark Harmon
Marlee Matlin
Theme music composerBrad Fiedel
Composer(s)Ross Levinson
Country of originUSA
Original language(s)
  • English
  • American Sign Language
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes44
Producer(s)Jim Michaels
Running time60 minutes
Production company(s)December 3rd Productions
Lorimar Television
Original networkNBC
Picture format480i (SDTV)
Original releaseSeptember 26, 1991 (1991-09-26) 
April 27, 1993 (1993-04-27)


Reasonable Doubts is primarily about the working relationship between Assistant District Attorney Tess Kaufman (Marlee Matlin), a prosecutor very sensitive to the rights of the accused, and hard-charging, gruff Detective Dicky Cobb (Mark Harmon), an old-fashioned cop with a "bust-the-perps" attitude. The reason that these two had been assigned to work together was that Cobb was one of the few available police officers who knew sign language, and Tess, like the actress who portrayed her, was deaf. Dicky was usually more frustrated by Tess' attitudes than by her deafness; he also repeated what Tess said back to her to make sure that he understood it (Tess also read lips) and this allowed the audience to understand her part of the dialogue. Dicky also spoke as he signed to Tess.

Both characters were involved with other people when the series started; Tess was estranged from, but still in contact with, her husband Bruce (Tim Grimm); Dicky had a manipulative girlfriend named Kay Lockman (Nancy Everhard). Kay was, unsurprisingly, quite jealous of Tess, and not without reason, as a considerable mutual attraction, despite their differences, developed between Tess and Dicky. The situation became more complicated with the death of Kay early in the second season, freeing the characters to pursue the relationship at least somewhat more, although its resolution was still up in the air when the program was not renewed for a third season. Cobb was also involved with flinty lawyer Maggie Zombro (Kay Lenz), an early continuing character who became a regular in later seasons.[1]

Executive producer Bob Singer gained some interest from the network in spinning off the show into a straight cop drama starring Harmon and Jim Beaver, who had played Dicky's friend and partner Detective Earl Gaddis from the beginning of the show, but ultimately NBC demurred.



Season 1 (1991–92)

No. in
Title Directed by Written by Original air date
11"Pilot"Robert SingerRobert SingerSeptember 26, 1991 (1991-09-26)
22"Hard Bargains"James QuinnSteven Phillip SmithSeptember 27, 1991 (1991-09-27)
33"Making Dirt Stick"Joe NapolitanoKathy McCormickOctober 4, 1991 (1991-10-04)
44"Daddy's Little Girl"Armand MastroianniTeleplay by: Steven Phillip Smith & Kathy McCormick
Story by: Michael Marks & John Schulian
October 18, 1991 (1991-10-18)
55"...and Sleep Won't Come"Bill D'EliaJohn SchulianOctober 25, 1991 (1991-10-25)
66"The Silent Treatment"Charles Robert CarnerTeleplay by: John Schulian & Kathy McCormick
Story by: Robert Singer & Steven Phillip Smith
November 1, 1991 (1991-11-01)
77"Tangled Up in Blue"Randy ZiskRobert Singer & John SchulianNovember 8, 1991 (1991-11-08)
88"Aftermath"James A. ConterSteven Phillip SmithNovember 15, 1991 (1991-11-15)
99"One Woman's World"Eric LaneuvilleKathy McCormickNovember 29, 1991 (1991-11-29)
1010"Graduation Day"Robert SingerMichael MarksDecember 5, 1991 (1991-12-05)
1111"Pure Gold"Peter LevinJohn SchulianDecember 13, 1991 (1991-12-13)
1212"Dicky's Got the Blues"James QuinnSteven Phillip SmithDecember 20, 1991 (1991-12-20)
1313"The Shadow of Death"TBATBAJanuary 17, 1992 (1992-01-17)
1414"The Discomfort Zone"TBATBAFebruary 4, 1992 (1992-02-04)
1515"Fish Out of Water"TBATBAFebruary 11, 1992 (1992-02-11)
1616"Burning Desire"TBATBAMarch 3, 1992 (1992-03-03)
1717"Love is Strange"TBATBAMarch 17, 1992 (1992-03-17)
1818"Home is Where the Heart is"TBATBAMarch 17, 1992 (1992-03-17)
1919"Maggie Finds Her Soul"TBATBAMarch 24, 1992 (1992-03-24)
2020"Home to Roost"TBATBASeptember 8, 1992 (1992-09-08)
2121"Change of Plans"TBATBASeptember 15, 1992 (1992-09-15)

Season 2 (1992–93)

No. in
Title Directed by Written by Original air date
"Lifelines"Randy ZiskSteven Phillip Smith & Kathy McCormickSeptember 29, 1992 (1992-09-29)
243"FAP"TBATBAOctober 6, 1992 (1992-10-06)
254"Moment of Doubt"TBATBAOctober 27, 1992 (1992-10-27)
265"Mercury in Retrograde"TBATBANovember 10, 1992 (1992-11-10)
276"Try to Be Nice, What Does It Get You?"TBATBANovember 17, 1992 (1992-11-17)
287"Brother's Keeper"TBATBADecember 1, 1992 (1992-12-01)
298"Self Defense"TBATBADecember 8, 1992 (1992-12-08)
309"A Rose is a Rose"TBATBADecember 15, 1992 (1992-12-15)
3110"Silence"TBATBADecember 22, 1992 (1992-12-22)
3211"Legacy"Robert SingerMelinda M. SnodgrassJanuary 5, 1993 (1993-01-05)
3312"Two Women"TBATBAJanuary 12, 1993 (1993-01-12)
3413"The Iceman"TBATBAJanuary 19, 1993 (1993-01-19)
3514"Run Through the Jungle"TBATBAJanuary 26, 1993 (1993-01-26)
3615"Thank God, It's Friday"TBATBAJanuary 26, 1993 (1993-01-26)
3716"Sister, Can You Spare a Dime?"TBATBAMarch 13, 1993 (1993-03-13)
3817"Crumbling Systems"TBATBAMarch 20, 1993 (1993-03-20)
3918"Diminished Capacity"TBATBAMarch 27, 1993 (1993-03-27)
4019"Wish You Were Here"TBAEd ZuckermanApril 3, 1993 (1993-04-03)
"The Ties That Bind"TBATBAApril 13, 1993 (1993-04-13)
"Trust Me on This"TBAKathy McCormick & Ed ZuckermanApril 27, 1993 (1993-04-27)

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Recipient Result
1992American Cinema Editors' Eddie AwardOutstanding Achievement in Cinematography in Movies of the Week/PilotsRobert PrimesNominated
Golden Globe AwardBest Actor – Television Series DramaMark HarmonNominated
Best Actress – Television Series DramaMarlee MatlinNominated
1993Best Actor – Television Series DramaMark HarmonNominated
Best Actress – Television Series DramaMarlee MatlinNominated
1992Primetime Emmy AwardOutstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama SeriesKay LenzNominated
Outstanding Cinematography for a SeriesRichard M. Rawlings Jr. (For episode "Lifelines")Nominated
1992Viewers for Quality Television AwardBest Actor in a Quality Drama SeriesMark HarmonNominated
Best Actress in a Quality Drama SeriesMarlee MatlinNominated
1993Best Actor in a Quality Drama SeriesMark HarmonNominated
Best Actress in a Quality Drama SeriesMarlee MatlinNominated
Best Supporting Actress in a Quality Drama SeriesKay LenzWon
Best Specialty PlayerLeslie JordanNominated
1994Writers Guild of America AwardEpisodic DramaEd Zuckerman (For episode "Thank God, It's Friday")Nominated


  1. Everett, Todd (November 16, 1992). "Reasonable Doubts Try to Be Nice– What Does It Get You?". Variety. Retrieved November 22, 2017.
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