The Quality of Mercy
Season 2, Episode 221
Air date April 27, 1996
Written by Andrew Smith
Directed by Chuck Bowman
Episode Guide
Portrait of Mrs. Campbell
Flesh and Blood
  • Guest Star: Ted Shackelford


A father who used to be a TV actor, suddenly goes through a mid-life crisis, trying to be the same actor he used to be. When his son gets the part in a school play and a series of events start when the father starts kissing a female student, the son is angry at his mother for moving to a new town and is angry with his father for what he has done. Meanwhile his mother has fallen from a ladder while trying to hang a picture. Monica, Tess and Andrew must intervene and get the son to forgive his father and mother before the family breaks up.

Extended PlotEdit

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.


Main Cast

Recurring characters

Guest Stars