Posted by: Johnny Loftus on August 31, 2007 at 12:30 pm

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Before she was getting pawed at by Michael Madsen in Species, and before she was the fiery pragmatist of the only “CSI” that ever mattered (Caruso observation excluded), Marg Helgenberger was KC, the hooker who was as wise as she was jaded. Her character was just one of the fully-formed female leads at the center of “China Beach,” a show that explored the Vietnam experience through the eyes of those who were still on the front lines, just not those of the conflict, and let the storylines breathe over numerous story arcs.

Helgenberger, for example, didn’t even need to be in every episode. But her character’s contribution mattered even when she wasn’t. It’s nice to remember a time when TV networks let their dramatic series develop over time, like getting to know a great double LP, instead of forcing them into cutthroat competition with the cut-and-run, instant gratification ratings of bargain basement reality programming.

Johnny Loftus

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