Image: The Everett Collection
At the core of every crime show is the imagination of the series creator. In the case of The Division, that brilliant mind is Deborah Joy LeVine. By the time LeVine launched this instant hit for Lifetime - which pulled in more viewers than any other basic cable show that premiered in 2001 - she had already turned many heads to the sky to watch her upward rise as the "Woman who Revived Superman" the decade prior.
We're talking about Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, which starred Teri Hatcher and Dean Cain and brought back Superman for his legions of fans for the first time successfully on television since the original series in the 1950s. LeVine was the one who adapted the story and helped pitch it to the network, and when the show became a success, nominated for Emmy Awards and winning a Saturn, it was LeVine whose writing gave the show the sizzle that took the show to the next level, by highlighting more of Lois and Clark's romance and looking at Clark Kent as a person, not just the personality that shields the public eye from Superman.
You only have to look at some of LeVine's other early work to understand what the writer and producer brought to Lois & Clark that helped Superman soar in the ratings again. Her pilot for Dawson's Creek was praised by The Boston Globe as a "flood of hormones" and her writing on critically acclaimed series like Equal Justice and Early Edition demonstrated her mastery when exploring the tension between forces of good and evil onscreen. Both of these factors would come into play for The Division come the early 2000s.
For The Division, LeVine at last was able to take what she'd done so well on Lois & Clark - combining the personal issues that are just part of living life with the heroic efforts of choosing to be someone who fights crime. It's a series that tracks a team of female police officers in San Francisco, as these women work hard to balance their lives with the job at hand.
It offered some of LeVine's most complex characters to charge onscreen, led by their captain Kate McCafferty who's played by action movie star Bonnie Bedelia (Die Hard). For the rest of the cast, expect to see TV vets like Nancy McKeon (The Facts of Life), Tracey Needham (Life Goes On) and Amy Jo Johnson (Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers), as well as upcoming dramatic stars like Taraji P. Henson (Empire) and Jon Hamm (Mad Men). So whereas the show carefully explored the division between work and personal life, LeVine's series itself navigated that riveting territory between excellent writing and fantastic casting, which is how you can sum up her career so far.
And for those of you new to The Division but fans of the new Superman you watched in the '90s? Dean Cain is one of many celebrity guest stars on the show. He made eight appearances, beginning with the first episode of the third season, so stay tuned for more of the Man of Steel actor.
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