Gimme a Break!: Seasons 5 and 6 [DVD]

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With the death of co-star Dolph Sweet on May 8, 1985, the producers of the NBC sitcom Gimme a Break had no choice but to allow Sweet's character, suburban California police chief Carl Kanisky, to pass away as well. The opening episode of the series' fifth season finds the Kanisky household still trying to come to grips with The Chief's death, which in many ways has impacted housekeeper Nell Harper (Nell Carter) far more than Kanisky's daughters Katie (Kari Michaelsen), Julie (Lauri Hendler), and Sam (Lara Jill Miller). Eventually, the family bucks up and moves on with their lives, though Nell is occasionally seen talking to the departed chief, supplying him with "updates" as to the well-being of his daughters. In other developments, Nell has decided to enroll in college, even though she is sorely tempted to return to her previous career as a singer, never more so than in the two-part "Second Chance", in which she is spotted by actor Gary Collins and given the opportunity to sing on Collins' afternoon TV show "Hour Magazine." Eldest Kanisky daughter Katie has moved into her own apartment, and by season's end has closed down her boutique to accept a high-paying job in San Francisco. Middle daughter Julie finds out she is pregnant, just as her husband Jonathan (Jonathan Silverman) has left on an archeological expedition to Mexico; eventually the couple is reunited and Julie gives birth to a daughter, whom she names after Nell. And youngest daughter Sam has entered the dating scene and is weighing options for her college career. As for the family's foster child, Joey (Joey Lawrence), he finds out he is "gifted" academically, but prefers to remain in the fourth grade where he's happy; and on a more somber note, he accidently shoots Nell with the late chief's gun, an act for which he cannot forgive himself despite Nell's efforts to calm him down. Finally, season five yields the series' 100th episode "The Elevator", a milestone acknowledged by a closing scene in which the cast breaks character and blows out the candles on a huge cake. ~ Hal Erickson

Cast & Crew

  • Nell Carter - Nellie Ruth `Nell' Harper
  • Dolph Sweet - Chief Carl Kanisky
  • Kari Michaelson - Katie Kanisky
  • Lauri Hendler - Julie Kanisky Maxwell
  • Lara Jill Miller - Samantha `Sam' Kanisky

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