Episode 222: “Birthmarks”

Michael Russell is dying of cancer, a fact his father finds hard to accept. A potter by trade, Whit is skeptical of technology and persuaded his son to leave city life for the family farm once his illness was diagnosed. Unbeknownst to Whit, Michael and Penny have undergone gamete fertilization, a process enabling Jolene to be the surrogate mother for their baby. Believing the pregnancy to be unnatural, Whit vows to have no part in raising his grandchild.

Subsequent to one of his tirades, Jolene disappears. As Michael’s health deteriorates, the situation looks increasingly grim, especially when Andrew, the Angel of Death, arrives. Using a clever metaphor, Monica gently convinces Whit to accept the non-traditional pregnancy. Michael dies just as his son is born, and as his bereaved family visits the grave, Tess arrives in the Cadillac with Jolene and the baby in tow. The surrogate gives the infant to his mother, who laments that Michael never got a chance to hold his son. Tess comforts Penny by pointing out that he has a birthmark–a kiss from his father.

Episode 221: “Flesh And Blood”

Monica befriends Kate Prescott, whose son has been accused of a brutal murder. Angered by Thomas’ acquittal, Leonard Page–the victim’s father–tries to force the Prescotts to leave town. Tess advises the man to let God avenge his daughter’s death, but he refuses to listen, even when Kate herself begs him to stop the vendetta. When she discovers some of the victim’s belongings in Thomas’s room, however, she doubts his innocence and issues a statement to the press. He responds by leaving town. But once the police apprehend the real murderer, Kate despairs because of her betrayal.

Revealing herself, Monica tells the distraught mother her mistake was trusting evidence rather than faith. Tess meanwhile returns to Page’s house, urging him to let the healing process begin. Afterwards, Monica wonders what will become of Kate’s son. Tess reveals that Mrs. Angeli, the kindly bus driver who gave Kate moral support during the trial is herself an “advance angel” who will watch over Thomas as he starts his new life in Los Angeles.




Episode 220: “Statute Of Limitations”

The angels are assigned to The Morgan Bell Show, a tabloid talk show, with Monica having the plum job of assisting Claudia Bell, the program’s embittered producer and Morgan’s sister. A dark secret from the Bells’ past forged their unhealthy symbiotic relationship; the glamorous Morgan is the on-air talent while the obese Claudia calls the shots from seclusion.

Morgan’s attempt to focus on uplifting topics backfires when an “all-American” mother is confronted by an illegitimate daughter raised in foster homes. The woman has a heart attack, and Morgan is irate that Claudia engineered the situation. Working together, the angels uncover the mystery of the Bells’ own past, but inform the sisters God can forgive any sin, no matter how long ago it was committed. Morgan and Claudia publicly confess their misdeeds, asking their victims and the television audience for forgiveness.

Episode 219: “The Quality Of Mercy”

Joel Redding is a former soap-opera star who is coming to terms with middle age and life after television.  He, his wife, Sally and son, Marshall have moved to a small town trying to regain a semblance of normal family life.  While helping with a college theatre’s fund raiser, Monica, Tess, and Andrew witness tension between Joel, the play’s director and Marshall, the play’s star.  Matters are further complicated when the aging actor initiates an affair with one of his teenage ingenues.

During one of Joel’s extracurricular trysts, Sally slips while hanging a picture and seriously injures herself.  Marshall finds his mother, calls for help, and gets her to the hospital.  After authorizing the doctor to perform a risky surgical procedure, the teen rails at Joel when he finally returns from his rendezvous.  Tess reveals herself to the guilt-ridden husband, admonishing him to be faithful to his wife and son.  Back at the theatre, Joel tries to apologize to his son and admits he didn’t quit the soap opera but was fired because of his age.  Marshall is still reluctant to forgive until Monica’s revelation that he must see his father as a man, rather than as a hero to be worshipped.  Sally’s surgery is successful, the production is a triumph, and the family is reunited.

Episode 218: “Portrait of Mrs. Campbell”

The women in Naval officer, Neil Campbell’s life do not get along. His mother Marian (Linda Grey) and his pregnant wife April (Gabrielle Carteris) seem to be competing for his love. After he goes out to sea, Monica enters their life as an artist commissioned to paint a “portrait of Mrs. Campbell”. We soon learn that Marian is desperately in need of a bone marrow transplant and Neil cannot return home from sea. As the situation worsens, April volunteers to donate marrow despite her pregnancy.

At this point we come to know the secret that Marian has been hiding for her entire life, that she has a mentally challenged son, Tommy, who has been raised in facilities all of his life. Although Marian has always loved and cared for her son, she was encouraged by her parents to give him up as punishment for the sinful behavior that conceived him. As Marian’s health worsens, Tommy emerges as the only viable bone marrow donor and, with the help of Andrew, the Angel of Death, the operation is arranged and is successful. April gives birth to a healthy baby girl and the entire family is united with the return of Neil. Monica’s painting is then revealed to be a portrait of the whole family.

Episode 217: “Dear God”

Note: John Dye became a series lead starting with this episode.

While working at the post office, Monica meets Max, who is responsible for handling “dead” letters addressed to Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and God. A Holocaust survivor, Max answers children’s letters to God by telling them there is no God and not to place their faith in a fantasy. One little girl, Tanya Brenner, continues sending God letters, even though Max only answered the first one and ignored the rest. Andrew, who has met the child, and Monica entice Tess to ask God if they can read the letters. After receiving permission, they learn that Tanya’s father is very ill and that his girlfriend, Sandy has been abusing the girl. Monica is outraged and wants to help, but Tess reminds her that Max, not Tanya is her assignment.

Taking matters into her own hands, Monica arranges for Max to see a drunken Sandy hit the girl. Following this encounter, Max follows her home, where her dying father beseeches the postal worker to find Tanya a new home. Shaken, Max runs away. When he doesn’t show up for work the next day, Monica goes to visit him. Tanya has disappeared and Max is wracked with guilt. The angel reveals herself and gently persuades him to do something. He decides to look for the girl, finding her at her late father’s apartment. While treating Tanya to a meal at the diner, Max is spotted by policemen and arrested for suspicion of kidnapping. Monica visits a despondent Max in jail, informing him that men, not God were responsible for the Holocaust

When Andrew emerges on the scene, Max remembers seeing him at the Auschwitz barracks in 1944. The Angel of Death reminds Max of his father’s faith, revealing that he died on his feet praising God and asking Him to walk with his son. Overcome by memories, the postal worker weeps. Meanwhile, Tess persuades the diner owner to tell the police Max did not abduct Tanya but was trying to help her. Once that matter is cleared up, Max applies to be her foster father, so the two of them can become a family. As Monica, Tess, and Andrew watch unseen, Max opens a mysterious package that contains a pair of children’s shoes–his own–with the carved inscription “Lieber Gott,” German for “Dear God.”

Episode 216: “Lost And Found”

Monica and Tess are assigned to Detective BOB CHAMPNESS (Bill Nunn) at the Center for Missing Children. Champness is very good at this job, but is haunted by his failures: the children who have died or have simply never been found. Andrew, the Angel-of-Death, is also taking his shift at the center. Andrew is intrigued by computers, and shows Monica how computer simulated age progression works.
Monica discovers that KATHLEEN (Jasmine Guy), a Dark Angel, is Bob’s new girl friend, and is pushing Bob to the breaking point. She distracts him from his cases and undermines all the good he has done for missing children, pushing him close to quitting his job. In a dueling revelation scene, Monica defeats Kathleen and brings Bob back from the influence of evil. Then, with the help of Andrew’s age progression expertise, Monica helps Bob solve a 15 year old missing child case.

Episode 215: “Out Of The Darkness”

What happens if you go into a coma, wake up five years later and discover you’ve lost everything that mattered to you? When we open STEVE (Brad Whitford) is celebrating the opening of he and his partner MATTHEW’s (David Morin) architectural firm. Then his son falls off the roof, but is miraculously unhurt. Monica caught him, and unseen to the family, she also examines an angel key chain. This causes Steve to take his second car, a dumpy little model, and he’s thrown out in an accident.
When Steve wakes up, five years have passed, and we learn that his wife BONNIE (Jane Kaczmarek) has fallen in love with Matthew. Thinking he was a permanent vegetable, she’s divorced Steve. Steve’s house looks completely different, even his dog doesn’t remember him. Steve reacts in rage, he breaks up Bonnie and Matthew’s impending nuptials. Monica meanwhile feels so badly about causing all this trouble that she steps away from her assignment. AL (Brenda Vaccaro) is dispatched to talk sense into her. What is revealed is that Steve had carried on a legacy of abuse: there was a wooden spoon that he had been beaten with and he had been beating his son with. When he finally confronts this secret, he’s able to forgive himself, let go of his rage and let Bonnie get on with her life.

Episode 214: “Jacob’s Ladder”

As Monica studies a sleeping man in a run-down apartment, Tess appears and informs her she’s in the wrong place–801 Cedar in Jacksonville, Florida rather than Jacksonville, Illinois.  After using her angelic powers to tidy the apartment, Monica stoops to pick up a bag under the bed when the police burst in.  The bag she’s holding is full of cocaine, and the police arrest her.  During interrogation, her claim that she’s an angel makes her a candidate for a mental hospital.  At her arraignment, Monica alone can see Sam, the angel from special services.  He tells her the simple mistake of going to the wrong address has set events in motion that have to play out, but no matter what happens God will never leave nor forsake her.

Monica is assigned a court-appointed attorney, Jake Stone, a Vietnam veteran and hardened cynic.  He tries to convince her to plead guilty but mentally ill.  She refuses, however, and insists on a competency hearing.  In the meantime, Monica is remanded to a psychiatric hospital where she shares a room with Claire, who also claims to be an angel but keeps repeating the phrase, “May Day.”  At the hearing, Jake produces Terry Hayman, the woman from Jacksonville, Illinois that Monica was supposed to help.  Terry describes her encounter with Tess, which corroborates Monica’s story.  The judge declares her competent to stand trial, but anxious to avoid placing angels on trial is ready to dismiss charges based on a legal technicality.

A skeptical Jake tells her a real angel would resemble Claire, whom he met in Vietnam.  During the fall of Saigon, Jake attempted to rescue a little girl, May Ling, nicknamed “May Day.”  As he helicoptered away, the girl fell from his grasp but was rescued by Claire.  Realizing that Claire is indeed an angel, Monica asks to return to the mental hospital.  There, Monica helps Claire remember who she is.  In turn, the newly restored angel helps Jake resolve his anger toward God.  Returning to 801 Cedar Street, Monica and Tess learn that the building is going to become a home for orphans and child survivors of trauma and run by Executive Director May Ling Gustafson.

Episode 213: “Indigo Angel”

Club Indigo, once St. Louis’ premier blues and jazz club, has fallen hard times. Its owner, SAM (Hal Linden), is getting on and his grandson ZACH (Geoffrey Nauffts) arrives to convince his grandfather to sell the club and move into a nursing home. Sam resists. He’s always told Zach that “The Countess” told him “do nothing, ’til you hear from me” and he’s sticking to those words. Zach assumes that Sam has embroidered the past greatness of the club, and that he’s made up stories of all the jazz greats who played there and were friends. Especially that story about “The Countess”–the mysterious singer who arrived in the sixties and put the club back on the map.

Whether these stories are true or not, it’s apparent that Sam should really be in a nursing home–he’s losing his memory as well as his physical well-being. But Sam has always had an open-mic night on Mondays, and despite his grandson’s protests, proceeds to hire Monica to M.C. Monday’s open-mic performance. When we see that Andrew, the Angel-of-Death, is a border in Sam’s basement, we sense that Monday’s open-mic night might be his last. Zach tricks Sam into signing a power of attorney agreement so that he can do what he thinks is best for his grandfather. But then, to Zach’s astonishment, the singer Al Jarreau shows up–Sam’s stories were all true, including the one about “The Countess”.

We see in a flashback that “The Countess” was actually Tess. The final open-mic night is a triumph: a packed house gets to hear music and tributes to Sam from B.B. King, Dr. John, and Al Hirt. And then “The Countess” makes a return appearance. She brings down the house, as Sam passes away. Zach reconsiders selling Club Indigo; instead he’ll transform it to The Sam Brown Blues Museum.