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This show has nothing to do with traversing a country bordering Israel (although the title comes from crossing the river of the same name) or with a certain former Page Three Girl.

Instead, it is an ensemble Forensic Drama centered on the life of Dr. Jordan Cavanaugh (played by actress Jill Hennessy), a rather tempestuous medical examiner in the Massachusetts State Coroner's office. Jordan is something of a Cowboy Cop, due to the murder of her mother as well as considerable additional exposure to police files and procedures at a young age by her now-retired cop father, Max Cavanaugh. As a result, she regularly ends up trying to solve homicides and other crimes herself.

The rest of the main cast consists primarily of Jordan's coworkers at the morgue and colleagues on the Boston PD, who get roped into helping with Jordan's investigations on a surprisingly regular basis:

  • Dr. Garrett Macy, Jordan's crotchety superior (played by Miguel Ferrer)
  • Dr. Mahesh "Bug" Vijayaraghavensatyanaryanamurthy, a fellow medical examiner (played by Ravi Kapoor)
  • Nigel Townsend, the morgue's resident lab rat and hacker (played by Steve Valentine)
  • Lily Lebowsky, a sweet but eccentric grief counselor (played by Kathryn Hahn)
  • Woodrow "Woody" Hoyt, a detective for the Boston police and Jordan's on/off love interest (played by Jerry O'Connell)
Tropes used in Crossing Jordan include:
  • Ambiguously Gay: Nigel. An entire episode is devoted to this. It isn't until several seasons later that the question is finally answered. Ironically, he's not.
  • And I Must Scream: More on the trope page.
  • Ascended Extra: Steve Valentine's Nigel was just a background character for a handful of scenes in the first episodes, but the producers liked the way he demaned your attention on just those scenes, and turned him into a regular.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Kate and Nigel
  • Berserk Button: Bug in an episode where a murder appeared to be racially motivated.
  • Bunny Ears Lawyer: Pretty much everyone at the morgue.