Originally created 03/19/01

Amy aims for motherhood



LOS ANGELES - A bunch of reporters went wandering through Amy and Maxine Gray's house, and found Maxine in the kitchen, knitting a cap.

Tyne Daly, who plays Amy's mother Maxine on "Judging Amy," continued her knitting during a press conference last January in front of the set for the Grays' Connecticut house. Maybe Daly should have been knitting booties.

Amy Brenneman, who stars as Amy Gray, is due to give birth at, well, any time. Quick, is the suitcase packed for the hospital? (Brenneman hadn't given birth when this story was filed.) "Judging Amy," a drama about a family court judge and her family, airs at 10 p.m. Tuesdays on CBS.

The Grays' house, a large, detailed set complete with family photos and notes on the kitchen bulletin board, graces a 20th Century Fox Studios sound stage. In front of the porch, Brenneman, Daly and executive producer Barbara Hall talked about "Judging Amy" and the ways to hide a star's pregnancy. It's a good thing Brenneman plays a judge.

"God bless the robe," Hall said.

"We didn't want to make the pregnancy part of the show," she said. " I always knew we had the robe. And you're seeing a lot of interesting counter scenes."

Brenneman said she and Daly go back and forth as they play mother and daughter. "Both of us can be bratty adolescents; both of us can be mature persons."

"We take turns," added Daly.

Brenneman stressed she likes her character.

"She's smart and funny and really flawed," she said. "I think of her as a really screwed-up character. That's what's great: A screwed-up character can be such a role model."

As played by Brenneman, Amy is a moral person who stays true to the law.

Daly's Maxine is a social worker who won't let bureaucracy or other obstacles stop her from helping children.

Brenneman, whose mother was the third female judge in Connecticut, talked about the family court system, which is depicted on "Judging Amy." Brenneman co-created the series with Hall, Connie Tavel and Joseph Stern. All four are executive producers.

"The underlying philosophy is we as a society are responsible for what children do," Brenneman said. "We try to show what happens to them when the (court) system works and when it doesn't work."

Brenneman's mother has advised her against making the show's portrayal of the court system and all its paperwork too realistic.

"She says, 'Don't make it exactly as it happens. It will be the most boring show,"' Brenneman said.

"Judging Amy" goes beyond the courtroom to show all the joys and tension of three generations living under the same roof. Jessica Tuck plays Amy's young daughter, Gillian.

Dan Futterman portrays Vincent, Amy's brother and an aspiring writer. Marcus Giamatti plays Peter, another brother who's smart about business.

The producers felt the second season was the right time for Amy to start having a sex life, Hall said. "It was very important to do a whole year (the first season) without sexual relationships.

"This is the year Amy is dabbling again," Hall said. Earlier this season, boyfriend Tom Gillette, played by Gregory Harrison, broke up with Amy. She recently went back to Rob Meltzer, another boyfriend, who's much younger than Amy. Meltzer, played by Tom Welling, will return later this season, according to a 20th Century Fox Studios spokesman.

Amy is dealing with her sex life from the perspective of a 35-year-old single mother, Hall said. "Can you have a fling or do you have to be more responsible?" It's a good question for a judge.