Once and Again

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Once and Again
Once and Again logo.jpg
Once and Again title card
Created by Edward Zwick and
Marshall Herskovitz
Starring Sela Ward
Billy Campbell
Jeffrey Nordling
Susanna Thompson
Shane West
Julia Whelan
Evan Rachel Wood
Meredith Deane
Todd Field
Marin Hinkle
Jennifer Crystal Foley
David Clennon
Ever Carradine
Steven Weber
Composer(s) W.G. Snuffy Walden
Joey Newman
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 63
Running time 60 minutes
Production company(s) The Bedford Falls Company
Touchstone Television
Distributor Buena Vista Television
Original network ABC
Picture format 480i (SDTV; 1999–2001)
1080i (HDTV; 2001–2002)
Original release September 21, 1999 (1999-09-21) –
April 15, 2002 (2002-04-15)
Related shows thirtysomething

Once and Again is an American television series that aired on ABC from September 21, 1999, to April 15, 2002. It depicts the family of a single mother and her romance with a single father. It was created by Marshall Herskovitz and Edward Zwick.

One of the show's unique aspects was the "interview" sequences filmed in black and white and interspersed throughout each episode, where the characters would reveal their innermost thoughts and memories to the camera.


Lily Manning (Sela Ward) is a suburban soccer mom in her forties, who lives in Deerfield, Illinois. Recently separated from her philandering husband Jake (Jeffrey Nordling), Lily is raising her two daughters, insecure, anxiety-ridden 14-year-old Grace (Julia Whelan), and precocious nine-year-old Zoe (Meredith Deane). For support, she turns to her more free-spirited younger sister, Judy (Marin Hinkle), with whom she works at their bookstore called My Sister's Bookstore (renamed Booklovers later in the series).

Lily's life changes when, during the pilot episode, she meets Rick Sammler (Billy Campbell) in the principal's office of Grace's school, Upton Sinclair High School.

Rick is a single father and co-head of an architectural firm, Sammler/Cassili Associates, which is located in downtown Chicago. Rick has been divorced from his uptight ex-wife Karen (Susanna Thompson) for three years and has two children, Eli (Shane West), a 16-year-old basketball player at Sinclair High who suffers from a learning disability, and sensitive 12-year-old Jessie (Evan Rachel Wood), who longs for the days before her family's disintegration.

Lily and Rick share an immediate mutual attraction and begin dating. Their budding relationship causes problems in both of their respective families. Grace strongly objects to Lily and Rick's relationship as she still hopes to see her parents get back together. Karen, a public interest attorney at the downtown law firm of Harris, Riegert, and Sammler, is worried about the toll Rick's new relationship would take on their children, particularly Jessie, who is shy and emotionally fragile. She is also working through her own feelings of jealousy that Rick is moving on to a new relationship.

In addition to Lily and Rick's relationship, the show also focused to a lesser degree on their exes, Jake and Karen, and their own struggles to move on in a post-divorce environment.

Plot summary

Season 1

Lily is in the process of divorcing her restaurateur husband, Jake. She is reluctant to begin dating again due to the sensitivities of her daughters, who are still emotional about the divorce. She meets and is instantly attracted to divorced architect Rick Sammler. However, their new relationship is complicated by Lily's many remaining emotional and financial issues with Jake. Grace and Eli become close when she becomes his tutor. Judy has a relationship with Rick's friend, Sam Blue (Steven Weber) before discovering Sam is married.

Season 2

Lily and Jake's divorce is finalized, and she hopes to spend more time with Rick. However, Rick becomes sidetracked by difficulties at work and has to begin working with unscrupulous developer Miles Drentell (David Clennon, reprising his role from the series thirtysomething). Things become difficult for Lily when Rick's project runs into legal difficulties and his ex-wife Karen is hired to represent the opposition. Jessie flirts with an eating disorder, and begins to address her problems with the help of a therapist (played by show producer Edward Zwick). Jake's girlfriend Tiffany announces she is pregnant. At the end of season two, Rick has to dissolve his architectural firm, and Lily and Rick get married.

Season 3

Rick resumes his partnership with Sam Blue, now divorced, to design a hotel for a new client. Sam and Judy try to be friends but eventually resume their romantic relationship. Jake and Tiffany have a baby girl and eventually decide to get married. Grace develops a crush on her English teacher, Mr. Dimitri (Eric Stoltz); although their relationship never became sexual, an investigation eventually forces Mr. Dimitri to leave the school. Meanwhile, Jessie discovers she is attracted to another girl: upperclassman Katie Singer (Mischa Barton), and after Katie acknowledges her own romantic feelings towards Jessie with a love letter, the two girls quietly begin dating while hiding their romance from everyone, in what became the first teen lesbian romance on American network television.[1] Karen deals with her depression; just as she is starting to make progress, she is hit by a car, leading to months of painful rehabilitation where she meets physical therapist Henry Higgins (DB Woodside). Lily faces more painful domestic struggles when her mother begins to show signs of Alzheimer's Disease and her brother Aaron (Patrick Dempsey), who is schizophrenic, wants to move in with his girlfriend. By the end of the season, Rick and Lily face big decisions when he is offered a job in Australia, and she is offered a nationally syndicated radio show. Their decisions are never shown, but in the last moments of the series finale, Lily reveals she is pregnant, and everyone comes together to attend Jake and Tiffany's wedding.


Main cast

Sela Ward received several awards and nominations for her role as Lily Manning.
  • Sela Ward as Lily Manning: Grace and Zoe's mother, separated from Jake
  • Billy Campbell as Rick Sammler: Eli and Jessie's father, divorced from Karen
  • Jeffrey Nordling as Jake Manning: Lily's estranged husband, Grace and Zoe's father
  • Susanna Thompson as Karen Sammler: Rick's ex-wife, Eli and Jessie's mother
  • Shane West as Eli Sammler: Rick's son
  • Julia Whelan as Grace Manning: Lily's elder daughter
  • Evan Rachel Wood as Jessie Sammler: Rick's daughter
  • Meredith Deane as Zoe Manning: Lily's younger daughter
  • Marin Hinkle as Judy Brooks: Lily's younger sister
  • Todd Field as David Cassilli (season 2;[a] recurring season 1): Rick's business partner and friend
  • Ever Carradine as Tiffany Porter (seasons 2–3;[b] recurring season 1): Jake's mistress/girlfriend
  • Jennifer Crystal Foley as Christie Parker (season 2): Lily's boss at PagesAlive.com
  • David Clennon as Miles Drentell (season 2[c]): Rick and David's primary client
  • Steven Weber as Samuel Blue (season 3; recurring season 1): Rick's friend and Judy's lover



  1. ^ Field was credited in the main cast for episodes 1 through 13 of the second season.
  2. ^ Carradine was credited in the main cast starting with episode 14 of the second season.
  3. ^ Clennon was credited in the main cast for episodes 1 through 21 of the second season.


Season 1 (1999–2000)

No. in
Title Directed by Written by Original air date
1 1 "Pilot" Edward Zwick Teleplay by: Marshall Herskovitz
Story by: Marshall Herskovitz & Edward Zwick
September 21, 1999 (1999-09-21) N/A
2 2 "Let's Spend the Night Together" Marshall Herskovitz Marshall Herskovitz & Edward Zwick September 28, 1999 (1999-09-28) N/A
3 3 "The Scarlet Letter Jacket" Dan Lerner Marshall Herskovitz October 5, 1999 (1999-10-05) N/A
4 4 "Liars and Other Strangers" Ron Lagomarsino Winnie Holzman October 12, 1999 (1999-10-12) N/A
5 5 "There Be Dragons" Ron Lieberman Liberty Godshall October 19, 1999 (1999-10-19) N/A
6 6 "A Dream Deferred" Scott Winant Jan Oxenberg October 26, 1999 (1999-10-26) N/A
7 7 "The Ex-Files" Robert Black Winnie Holzman November 2, 1999 (1999-11-02) N/A
8 8 "The Past Is Prologue" Patrick Norris Marshall Herskovitz & Edward Zwick November 9, 1999 (1999-11-09) N/A
9 9 "Outside Hearts" Todd Field Alexa Junge November 16, 1999 (1999-11-16) N/A
10 10 "Thanksgiving" Claudia Weill Donald Margulies November 23, 1999 (1999-11-23) N/A
11 11 "Where There's Smoke" Edward Zwick Michael Weller December 7, 1999 (1999-12-07) N/A
12 12 "The Gingerbread House" Dan Lerner Pamela Gray December 21, 1999 (1999-12-21) N/A
13 13 "Mediation" Peter Horton Pamela Gray January 24, 2000 (2000-01-24) N/A
14 14 "Sneaky Feelings" Claudia Well Sue Paige & Daniel Paige January 31, 2000 (2000-01-31) N/A
15 15 "Mystery Dance" Dan Lerner Sue Paige & Daniel Paige February 7, 2000 (2000-02-07) N/A
16 16 "Daddy's Girl" Barnet Kellman Liberty Godshall February 14, 2000 (2000-02-14) N/A
17 17 "Unfinished Business" Edward Zwick Marshall Herskovitz & Edward Zwick March 6, 2000 (2000-03-06) N/A
18 18 "Strangers and Brothers" Marshall Herskovitz Richard Kramer March 13, 2000 (2000-03-13) N/A
19 19 "Cat-In-Hat" Claudia Weill Michael Weller April 3, 2000 (2000-04-03) N/A
20 20 "My Brilliant Career" Dan Lerner Jan Oxenberg April 10, 2000 (2000-04-10) N/A
21 21 "Letting Go" Peter Horton Alexa Junge April 17, 2000 (2000-04-17) N/A
22 22 "A Door, About to Open" Dan Lerner Winnie Holzman April 24, 2000 (2000-04-24) N/A

Season 2 (2000–2001)

No. in
Title Directed by Written by Original air date
23 1 "Wake Up, Little Susie" Marshall Herskovitz Marshall Herskovitz & Edward Zwick October 24, 2000 (2000-10-24) N/A
24 2 "BookLovers" Dan Lerner Winnie Holzman October 31, 2000 (2000-10-31) N/A
25 3 "I Can't Stand Up (For Falling Down)" Peter Horton Sue Paige & Daniel Paige November 14, 2000 (2000-11-14) N/A
26 4 "Feast or Famine" Claudia Weill Marshall Herskovitz & Edward Zwick November 21, 2000 (2000-11-21) N/A
27 5 "Ozymandias" Michael Engler Joseph Dougherty November 28, 2000 (2000-11-28) N/A
28 6 "Food for Thought" Edward Zwick Marshall Herskovitz & Edward Zwick December 5, 2000 (2000-12-05) N/A
29 7 "Learner's Permit" Arvin Brown Liberty Godshall December 19, 2000 (2000-12-19) N/A
30 8 "Life Out of Balance" James Eckhouse Lynn Siefert January 10, 2001 (2001-01-10) N/A
31 9 "Scribbling Rivalry" Dan Lerner Jan Oxenberg January 17, 2001 (2001-01-17) N/A
32 10 "Love's Laborer's Lost" Michael Engler Emily Whitesell January 24, 2001 (2001-01-24) N/A
33 11 "Thieves Like Us" Claudia Weill Winnie Holzman January 31, 2001 (2001-01-31) N/A
34 12 "Suspicion" James Eckhouse Liberty Godshall February 7, 2001 (2001-02-07) N/A
35 13 "Edifice Wrecked" Dan Lerner Winnie Holzman February 14, 2001 (2001-02-14) N/A
36 14 "The Other End of the Telescope" Robert Berlinger Sue Paige & Daniel Paige March 7, 2001 (2001-03-07) N/A
37 15 "Standing Room Only" Arlene Sanford Jan Oxenberg March 14, 2001 (2001-03-14) N/A
38 16 "Aaron's Getting Better" James Kramer Richard Kramer March 21, 2001 (2001-03-21) N/A
39 17 "Forgive Us Our Trespasses" Dan Lerner Teleplay by: Lynn Siefert and Winnie Holzman
Story by: Lynn Siefert
March 28, 2001 (2001-03-28) N/A
40 18 "Best of Enemies" Barnet Kellman Emily Whitesell April 4, 2001 (2001-04-04) N/A
41 19 "Armageddon" Marshall Herskovitz Marshall Herskovitz & Edward Zwick April 11, 2001 (2001-04-11) N/A
42 20 "Won't Someone Please Help George Bailey Tonight?" Dan Lerner Liberty Godshall and Marshall Herskovitz & Edward Zwick April 18, 2001 (2001-04-18) N/A
43 21 "Moving On" Ken Collins Sue Paige & Daniel Paige April 25, 2001 (2001-04-25) N/A
44 22 "The Second Time Around" Dan Lerner Winnie Holzman May 2, 2001 (2001-05-02) N/A

Season 3 (2001–2002)

No. in
Title Directed by Written by Original air date
45 1 "Busted" Dan Lerner Marshall Herskovitz & Edward Zwick September 28, 2001 (2001-09-28) N/A
46 2 "The Awful Truth" Michael Engler Winnie Holzman October 5, 2001 (2001-10-05) N/A
47 3 "Kind of Blue" Peter Horton Richard Kramer October 12, 2001 (2001-10-12) N/A
48 4 "Acting Out" Michael Engler Sue Paige & Daniel Paige October 19, 2001 (2001-10-19) N/A
49 5 "Destiny Turns On the Radio" Ken Collins Winnie Holzman November 2, 2001 (2001-11-02) N/A
50 6 "Jake and the Women" Mark Piznarski Sue Paige & Daniel Paige November 9, 2001 (2001-11-09) N/A
51 7 "Chaos Theory" James Eckhouse Liberty Godshall November 23, 2001 (2001-11-23) N/A
52 8 "The Sex Show" Dan Lerner Emily Whitesell November 30, 2001 (2001-11-30) N/A
53 9 "Tough Love" Jim Kramer Maggie Friedman December 7, 2001 (2001-12-07) N/A
54 10 "Pictures" Dan Lerner Alexa Junge December 14, 2001 (2001-12-14) N/A
55 11 "Taking Sides" Mark Piznarski David Schulner January 4, 2002 (2002-01-04) N/A
56 12 "Gardenia" Edward Zwick Richard Kramer January 11, 2002 (2002-01-11) N/A
57 13 "Falling in Place" Eric Stoltz Sue Paige & Daniel Paige March 4, 2002 (2002-03-04) N/A
58 14 "The Gay-Straight Alliance" Patrick Norris Winnie Holzman and Maggie Friedman March 11, 2002 (2002-03-11) N/A
59 15 "One Step (Parent) Backward" Elodie Keene David Schulner March 18, 2002 (2002-03-18) N/A
60 16 "Aaron's List of Dreams" Dan Lerner Richard Kramer March 25, 2002 (2002-03-25) N/A
61 17 "Experience Is the Teacher" Matt Shakman Winnie Holzman and Maggie Friedman April 1, 2002 (2002-04-01) N/A
62 18 "Losing You" Jim Kramer Liberty Godshall April 8, 2002 (2002-04-08) N/A
63 19 "Chance of a Lifetime" Dan Lerner Sue Paige & Daniel Paige and Marshall Herskovitz & Edward Zwick April 15, 2002 (2002-04-15) N/A


The series was filmed at the Century Studio Corporation sound stages in Culver City, California, and also on location in the Los Angeles area.


It originally aired on ABC from 1999 to 2002. In the U.S., it was in syndication on Lifetime Real Women the spinoff channel from Lifetime Television. The channel stopped running O&A in April 2005, and no American outlet presently carries the show. Once and Again was seen on Sky One and the now-defunct ABC1 in the United Kingdom (in both cases, only the first season was shown) and the Seven Network in Australia. In Canada, the show was seen on the W Network until late 2007, then returned to the network in September 2008, albeit in a 3 a.m. time slot.

DVD releases

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment (formerly Buena Vista Home Entertainment) released Season 1 on November 5, 2002, mere months after the series finale. However, it took three more years and numerous petition drives for season two to be released, which occurred on August 23, 2005. A little over a month later, on September 30, 2005, news broke about the release of the third and final season, which was slated to occur on January 10, 2006. Mock-up photos of the packaging were even released. However, by October 2005 the title was delayed indefinitely with no explanation and was never released.

It was almost two years before another official word was uttered on the subject and in July 2007, it was reported that Buena Vista's license on the program was soon to expire. As a result, a new company could acquire the distribution rights to the title and potentially release the third season.[2]

DVD Name Ep # Release Date
Season 1 22 November 5, 2002
Season 2 22 August 23, 2005
Season 3 19


Season Timeslot (EST/EDT)[3] Season Premiere Season Finale TV Season Rank Viewers
(in millions)
18–49 Average
1 Tuesday 10:00 p.m.
(September 21 – December 21, 1999)
Monday 10:00 p.m.
(January 24 – April 24, 2000)
September 21, 1999 April 24, 2000 1999–2000 #51[4] 10.93 7.9/13
2 Tuesday 10:00 p.m.
(October 24 – December 19, 2000)
Wednesday 10:00 p.m.
(January 10 – May 2, 2001)
October 24, 2000 May 2, 2001 2000–2001 #84[5] 8.5 N/A
3 Friday 10:00 p.m.
(September 28, 2001 – January 11, 2002)
Monday 10:00 p.m.
(March 4 – April 15, 2002)
September 28, 2001 April 15, 2002 2001–2002 #107[6] 6.7 N/A



  1. ^ "Evan Rachel Wood on her queer roles, educating others about bisexuality and her preference for suits". AfterEllen. February 1, 2013.
  2. ^ "Once and Again on DVD, Release Info, News at TVShowsOnDVD.com" Archived 2012-10-21 at the Wayback Machine, TVShowsOnDVD.com. Retrieved on 30 October 2011.
  3. ^ "Once and Again – TV.com", TV.com. Retrieved on 30 October 2011.
  4. ^ "US-Jahrescharts 1999/2000", Quotenmeter.de, 30 May 2002. Retrieved on 30 October 2011.
  5. ^ "The Bitter End", EW.com, 1 June 2001. Retrieved on 30 October 2011.
  6. ^ "How did your favorite show rate?", USA Today, 28 May 2002. Retrieved on 30 October 2011.

External links

  • Once and Again on IMDb 
  • Once and Again at TV.com
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