Picket Fences
GenreFamily drama
Legal drama
Created byDavid E. Kelley
Opening theme"Picket Fences" by Stewart Levin
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons4
No. of episodes89 (list of episodes)
Executive producers
  • David E. Kelley (S1-S3)
  • Alice West
Running time42 minutes
Production companies
Original release
ReleaseSeptember 18, 1992 (1992-09-18)[1] –
June 26, 1996 (1996-06-26)

Picket Fences is an American family drama television series about the residents of the town of Rome, Wisconsin, created and produced by David E. Kelley. The show ran from September 18, 1992, to June 26, 1996, on the CBS television network in the United States. It sometimes struggled to maintain a stable primetime audience and had fluctuating ratings, due in part to its Friday night death slot. In its first season on the air it placed 63rd in the prime-time Nielsen ratings and in its second season it moved to 61st. Nonetheless, the show won critical acclaim and was a major awards winner, winning 14 Primetime Emmy Awards during its run and now regarded as a cult classic. The show's exteriors were shot in the L.A. suburb of Monrovia, California.[2]


Actor Character Seasons
1 2 3 4
Main characters
Tom Skerritt Jimmy Brock Main
Kathy Baker Jill Brock Main
Lauren Holly Maxine Stewart Main
Costas Mandylor Kenny Lacos Main
Holly Marie Combs Kimberly Brock Main
Justin Shenkarow Matthew Brock Main
Adam Wylie Zachary Brock Main
Fyvush Finkel Douglas Wambaugh Recurring Main
Kelly Connell Carter Pike Recurring Main
Zelda Rubinstein Ginny Weedon Main
Don Cheadle John Littleton Recurring Main
Marlee Matlin Laurie Bey Guest Main
Ray Walston Henry Bone Recurring Main
Recurring characters
Dabbs Greer Henry Novotony Recurring
Roy Dotrice Gary Barrett Recurring
Roy Brocksmith Michael Oslo Recurring
Denis Arndt Franklin Dell Recurring
Sam Anderson Donald Morrell Recurring
Michael Keenan Bill Pugen Recurring
Robert Cornthwaite Howard Buss Recurring
Elisabeth Moss Cynthia Parks Recurring
Leigh Taylor-Young Rachel Harris Recurring
Richard Masur Ed Lawson Guest Recurring
Amy Aquino Joanna Diamond Recurring
Matthew Glave Bud Skeeter Recurring


Main article: List of Picket Fences episodes

Picket Fences has a total of 88 episodes and four seasons.


The series has two crossover episodes with another David E. Kelley series, Chicago Hope, one occurring in each series. In the first, on Picket Fences, Dr. Jill Brock accompanies Douglas Wambaugh to Chicago Hope Hospital over concerns of his heart. In the second, Wambaugh is back at Chicago Hope Hospital causing trouble for the doctors. Lauren Holly later joined the cast of Chicago Hope as Dr. Jeremy Hanlon and Tom Skerritt appear in a different role as a guest star.

Show Episode # Episode Name Airdate
Picket Fences 3–7 "Rebels with Causes" November 11, 1994
Chicago Hope 1–13 "Small Sacrifices" January 23, 1995

David E. Kelley and Chris Carter (creator of The X-Files) were talking in a parking lot on the Fox lot one day and thought it might be interesting to have Mulder and Scully visit Rome, Wisconsin for an X-Files episode. Originally, the two shows would be shot with different viewpoints – one from the X-Files perspective and the other from Picket Fences'. The official approval was never given by Fox and CBS, so the only remnants remaining of this effort are the X-Files episode "Red Museum" and the Picket Fences episode "Away in the Manger" having similar plotlines involving cows. Every reference to Picket Fences has been purged from the X-Files episode, but there still are some small details left in the Picket Fences episode referring to the happenings at The X-Files and some minor characters there.[3]


Season U.S. ratings Network Rank
1 1992-93 9.49 million CBS #63
2 1993-94 9.49 million CBS #61
3 1994-95 9.50 million CBS #64
4 1995-96 7.00 million CBS #98


The series was adapted in India in Hindi language and aired on StarPlus as Kehta Hai Dil from 2002 to 2005 produced by UTV Software Communications.[4] However, the Indian version in between deviated entirely from the story of Picket Fences.[5]

Home media

On June 19, 2007, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment released the first season of Picket Fences on DVD in Region 1. In the United States, the entire series was available to stream on Hulu from Thanksgiving 2021 to Thanksgiving 2023. On August 20, 2014, Season 1 was released in Australia. [6] Season 2 was released in Australia in December 2014.[7] Season 3 was released in Australia in March 2016.[8]

Awards and nominations

Main article: List of awards and nominations received by Picket Fences

Picket Fences won fourteen Emmy Awards (including "Outstanding Drama Series" twice) and one Golden Globe Award in its four-year run. In 1997, the episode "Heart of Saturday Night" was ranked #96 on TV Guide's 100 Greatest Episodes of All-Time.[9] In 2002, the character of Douglas Wambaugh was ranked 47th on TV Guide's 50 Greatest Television Characters of All Time list.[10]


  1. ^ Kitman, Marvin (September 17, 1992). "Beyong the 'Picket Fences'". Newsday (Long Island, New York). p. 65.
  2. ^ Abcarian, Robin (July 28, 2005). "Monrovia's Midwest mystique". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  3. ^ "Picket Fences and The X-Files". Thom Holbrook's Crossovers & Spin Offs pages. Retrieved September 24, 2009.
  4. ^ "Bindass". The Times of India. September 26, 2002.
  5. ^ "UTV's 'Kehta hai dil', 'Meher' top the charts". August 27, 2004.
  6. ^ "JB Hi-Fi | Picket Fences - Season 1 6 DVD". Archived from the original on December 6, 2014.
  7. ^ "Movies + TV Shows - Deals on DVD + Blu-Ray at JB Hi-Fi".
  8. ^ "Picket Fences - Season 3 ~ DVD".
  9. ^ "Special Collectors' Issue: 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time". TV Guide. No. June 28-July 4. 1997.
  10. ^ TV Guide Book of Lists. Running Press. 2007. pp. 191. ISBN 978-0-7624-3007-9.