Geena Davis has dropped out of an anticipated new legal series for CBS, and is swiftly being replaced. The project is currently untitled, but referred to as a “Mother & Son legal drama” and is to co-star Broadway star Skylar Astin (as the son part of the presumptive title). The role of Mother is now being filled Marcia Gay Harden, herself a longtime star of television, theater, and film. It is notable that both Geena Davis and Marcia Gay Harden are Academy Award winners (Davis in 1989’s The Accidental Tourist and Harden for 2000’s Pollock, both as Best Support Actress). It looks like CBS is shooting for some pretty heavy-hitters, critical acclaim wise, and also telling of where the state of television is at that multiple Oscar winners can be attracted to the same role on a CBS pilot.
Mother & Son is described as starring Skylar Astin as a former private detective who has lost his license due to some ethical “misunderstandings” (that are probably understandable, given that he’s the good guy here). While he may be a bit shady and undoubtedly has a personal life that is in shambles (we will place a decently large bet that the introduction of his character will be him being woken up by a phone call in a slovenly apartment), his talent as a detective manages to land him a new job. This being Mother AND Son, that job is as an in-house investigator for his mother’s law firm. The mother, now to be played by Marcia Gay Harden rather than Geena Davis, will be a high-achieving, A-type, currently in the aftershocks of a divorce. It sounds like a classic mismatched pair series, which is always a reliable trope; the hook is that one of the mismatched pair presumably changed the other’s diapers at some point.
In recent years, Geena Davis has taken on a number of television roles. She starred in the first season of the FOX TV adaptation of the horror classic The Exorcist, portraying an adult Regan MacNeil (the possessed little girl from the movie, originally played by Linda Blair). Davis was also the lead on the ABC drama Commander in Chief, in which she played the first female President of the United States. She played a recurring character on the hit medical drama Grey’s Anatomy between 2014 and 2018; coincidentally, Skylar Astin currently has a recurring role on the show. It seems it is difficult to work consistently on TV and not show up on Grey’s Anatomy at some point.
For the majority of her career, Geena Davis was a consistent and acclaimed draw in feature films. She starred in hits like David Cronenberg’s science fiction horror classic The Fly (with former spouse Jeff Goldblum), the Chevy Chase comedy Fletch, and the 1992 baseball classic A League of Their Own with Tom Hanks and Lori Petty. While we regret that Davis will not be starring in Mother & Son (if the pilot is greenlit and goes to series, that is), we hope to see her on either the TV or big screen again soon.