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28 January 2012 @ 08:49 pm
Cohen's Daughter is Mentioned in "Amateur Night"  
I had FK's "Amateur Night" on while I did some other things tonight.  I pulled up short when I heard Captain Amanda Cohen say, "My daughter jumps rope."  "My daughter"!  This means that a) Cohen canonically, indisputably, has a daughter, and b) I have failed to fully absorb this fact for an awful lot of years.

"Amateur Night" is nobody's favorite episode.  I think it's underrated and deserves respect as a Schanke vehicle (with some intriguing Natalie tidbits on the side), but even I rarely rewatch it.  What do we all rewatch?  "A More Permanent Hell."  Everyone has seen AMPH a dozen times, and AN a couple, so we absorb that Cohen has photos in her office in AMPH, and miss that AN tells us who one of those photos depicts!

Okay, maybe none of you did that; maybe it's just me. ~grin~  Certainly, fanfic usually depicts Cohen as the mother of a daughter (on the rare occasions that Cohen's personal life wins a mention).  If only I had studied Cohen back when I was writing character FAQs, I would have learned better.  I have always known that Cohen has that photo of a girl in her office, but from time to time, from forkni-l to here, you'll find me ruminating on the question of whether the girl is Cohen's daughter, niece, sister, or herself as a child (alongside similar questions about the photographed couple with the leis).  Well, one question answered, anyway!  Cohen has a daughter, and she is at least as old as the girl in the picture, and still young enough to jump rope.

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greerwatsongreerwatson on January 29th, 2012 06:35 am (UTC)
Well, on the FK Wiki, Cohen is described as "married with children, names unknown, husband's initial is 'D'". There's also a separate wiki article for her photographs which captions the girl's picture, "On her desk, Captain Cohen has a picture of her daughter." So this is not exactly unknown information. (Unabsorbed, I guess.)

Let's face it, people don't write much about Cohen, do they? She appears tangentially in plenty of Season Two stories with cop scenes; but there are very few stories that feature her, even at work, let alone at home.

A Rare Woman, I guess.
Amy R.: Lacroixbrightknightie on January 29th, 2012 07:09 am (UTC)
Citation, please
Please, what is the episode showing that Cohen is "married" and that her husband's initial is "D"?

"The Code" and "Be My Valentine" have always influenced me to perceive her as single/divorced, rather than married.
greerwatsongreerwatson on January 29th, 2012 10:04 am (UTC)
Re: Citation, please
You'll recall that in "The Black Buddha, Part One", in the airplane hanger that was used as a temporary morgue, there were two boards holding ID sheets on the crash victims. One of the boards only had three sheets on it: these were for the people whose bodies had not yet been found (one of whom was Vachon). The other board was filled with a large array of ID sheets. Cohen's and Schanke's were placed side by side so that, as Nick looked at the board, there could be a close-up.

Among Nancy Taylor's screencaps, there is one of this close-up view. It is sufficiently detailed for some of the information written on the sheets to be almost legible. An even closer view can be seen in this screencap.

At the bottom of the form is a section of squared-off boxes to be filled in. I suggest you look first at Schanke's victim sheet. His name is in the top left side box. Just below it is "Myra Schanke" in a box marked Next of Kin. (The next box under that is labelled "Address", but the contents were written rather than block-printed in capital letters, and hence hard to make out.)

On Cohen's sheet the corresponding top space has "Amanda Cohen" filled in. Under that is a name that—admittedly—is darned hard to make out on the first screencap. However, it seems to have an initial letter, followed by the surname. On the closer screencap the surname is definitely "Cohen".

The initial looks like a "D", at least to me. There is definitely a straight more-or-less vertical stroke on the left, and a rounded curve on the right. I suggest you compare it with the "D" in "Don Schanke" on the other form. (What is needed is a slightly different not-quite-so-close-up screencap so the letter can be made out more exactly. However, I don't have one.)

The rest of both forms is quite illegible, which could be the quality of the screencap. Or it could be a deliberate scrawl by the person making the props just to put in something to fill the space.

Since the evidence does not come directly from dialogue, whether you take it as canon depends on whether you accept things taken off props. At any rate, we have no contradictory info about Cohen's husband, for we're told precious little about her personal life at all. Picking up her daughter's photograph is about it, isn't it? She is not a woman who brings her family to work.

Edited at 2012-01-29 10:14 am (UTC)
Amy R.: Lacroixbrightknightie on January 29th, 2012 07:32 am (UTC)
Word Choice
>"So this is not exactly unknown information. (Unabsorbed, I guess.)"

Nowhere in my post did I say that this information was "unknown."

I explicitly said that I had failed to "absorb" the information, and that I supposed we all "miss" it, but "maybe it's just me." So you do not need to "guess" that it was "unabsorbed;" I said it was so.

Your phrasing poured cold water on my enthusiasm for my personal discovery. Please, when possible, don't do that in my journal. Instead, why not encourage enthusiasm for rewatching FK, and for all the great things we can discover and rediscover, whether or not they are already in the Wiki?
greerwatsongreerwatson on January 29th, 2012 09:21 am (UTC)
Re: Word Choice
I apologize. It was a poor choice of words.

Certainly, rewatching Forever Knight is always rewarding. It is particularly so where the less written about or minor characters are concerned. I believe it was you who pointed out that Norma Alves is mentioned in "Only the Lonely". Now there's something that I had never noticed—and, of course, it prompted me to get out my tape of the episode.

Enthusiasm for FK is rare enough nowadays. Your support for FK fandom in your journal is always apppreciated.

Amy R.: Nick Solemnbrightknightie on January 30th, 2012 08:05 pm (UTC)
Re: Word Choice
Thank you very much. I appreciate it.
Foxy11814foxy11814 on January 29th, 2012 07:17 pm (UTC)
LOL, I rewatch AN frequently, just as much, if not moreso than AMPH, but I will admit I like the latter more. (That might be its placement on the disks, i.e. the other episodes that are with it, LOL.) Despite that, AN is a good episode and I appreciate it for its focus on Schanke and his abilities as a cop, as well. =) I always noticed her saying she had a daughter. =) In my opinion, her feelings about the young victim and her daughter explain why she put Nick, her best detective, on the case, and allowed him to pull Schanke off of his vacation to help him. =)

Edited at 2012-01-29 07:22 pm (UTC)
Amy R.: Remote Controlbrightknightie on January 30th, 2012 07:01 pm (UTC)
Episode Order and Cohen Interpretations
It's interesting that you may watch episodes based on their DVD adjacencies; that's a factor that I had not pondered in the evolution of the wider audience's interpretations. I personally tend to look up specific episodes, and of course the series overall still sits in my mind in the original aired order, not the order on the DVDs (which, in second season, is very different; I should make a new chart...).

>"In my opinion, her feelings about the young victim and her daughter explain why she put Nick, her best detective, on the case, and allowed him to pull Schanke off of his vacation to help him. =)"

Do you interpret Cohen as influenced by her emotions, then?

Myself, I interpret her as walling off her emotions and personal life as much as she can, keeping her dedicated professional life focused and driven -- pure, in a way -- perhaps because of coming up through such a male-dominated profession, or perhaps for personal reasons we never got to learn.

"Amateur Night" is one of several episodes in which it seems to me that Cohen shows little respect for vacation time, here telling Schanke to "bank it," elsewhere denying Schanke's request to go up to his cabin as he had planned, when Nick insists on following a lead that Cohen herself had discouraged just a few sentences before, telling them that there was "no extra credit" for overtime yet immediately sending them out to work more. I think that she may be the kind of workaholic who does not fully grasp that expecting of others what she expects of herself may sometimes be not only unfair, but against good personnel policies...
Foxy11814foxy11814 on January 30th, 2012 11:06 pm (UTC)
Re: Episode Order and Cohen Interpretations
Yeah, I tend to watch certain episodes, as well, and because of that, I'll end up watching what goes along with that particular episode on the disk often. I usually watch FK before bedtime, so I make no plans to change the DVD once I put it in there. In the case of AN, it is on the same disk as "The Fire Inside," "The Fix," "Curiouser & Curiouser," and "Beyond the Law." Because I love TF and C&C, the others get watched quite a bit, as well. I won't lie though, I'll rematch the show in order quite often, as well. I'm currently doing that now. =)

As for Cohen, I do read her as someone who tries to keep herself and her emotions closed off, but I believe this was one of those rare occasions in which circumstances put a chink in that armor, so to speak. In my opinion, because it deals with a child murder, she mentions her daughter and makes Schanke work despite her hating detectives who do a little grand standing and pull overtime. Her characterization to me is a lot like Agent Scully on The X-Files. She's a no nonsense woman who is very dedicated to her job. She rarely shows her emotions unless it is extreme circumstances. Scully's emotions also showed when it dealt with children and family...and Mulder, of course, but that's a different story, lol.

Valerie - Postmodern Pollyanna: puzzleswiliqueen on January 29th, 2012 07:43 pm (UTC)
I had completely forgotten that line! And the funny thing is that I can clearly hear/see her saying it now, and immediately identified the context (the drive-by shooting of the little girl).

The only thing that ever really seemed to stick in my head about her was that she had a "date with a hot bath" once. There was a point when I actively looked for clues to who she was outside work, but somehow I never managed to translate that to any solid sense of family relationships.

I won't forget now! Thanks for highlighting it.
Amy R.: Kidsbrightknightie on January 30th, 2012 08:04 pm (UTC)
"date with a hot bath" and Cohen Clues
>"There was a point when I actively looked for clues to who she was outside work, but somehow I never managed to translate that to any solid sense of family relationships."

Cohen is shadowy. I imagine that this placed demands on Natsuko Ohama that a more rounded-by-the-scripts character might not have...?

It seems to me that the clues to Cohen's personal life are not only few and far between, but that they are universally tangential; that is, there is never a moment where it matters to plot or theme that Cohen has had a certain experience or characteristic, and that this makes it harder for us in the audience to really grasp them as they go by.

We have, "With your experience?" Nick says in AMPH. And, "...your captain... sweet nothings..."/"Of course; why shouldn't she?" in BMV. The two photos in her office. The daughter/jump-rope reference. And, apparently, the "married" status being marked on her paperwork in BB1 (though that doesn't preclude separation or divorce). In "The Code," she flirts with Schanke's buddy, if I remember correctly, but in "Bad Blood," she brushes off O'Neal's "charm" offensive.

(Thanks for playing! ~grin~)
PJ1228pj1228 on January 31st, 2012 06:17 pm (UTC)
Cohen's private life
Has anyone checked if she wears a wedding ring? I'll keep in mind to focus on her hands next time I watch a season 2 episode.

Although I was aware that she has a daughter who jumps rope, I never thought about the question if she was married or not. I guess that question never occurred to me because she does not give away much about her private life. I see her as a strong woman who is very devoted to her job and who does not allow her private life to interfere with her tasks. Maybe it's also a kind of protection: if it isn't known whether she has a family, criminals cannot put them in jeopardy for the sake of revenge or something like that. There's a parallel to Nick who also doesn't disclose much from his private life to his co-workers for obvious reasons.
Amy R.: Kidsbrightknightie on January 31st, 2012 07:07 pm (UTC)
Re: Cohen's private life
>"Has anyone checked if she wears a wedding ring?"

Great idea! I believe that she does not, but I will be sure to check, too. The absence of a ring would not be conclusive -- she might choose not to wear one, while nevertheless being married -- but its presence could be fairly decisive.

>"There's a parallel to Nick who also doesn't disclose much from his private life to his co-workers for obvious reasons."

Pertinent observation! And I do love parallels. :-) An episode paralleling Cohen and Nick on that score might have been an outstanding way to round out her character. It might also have hinted that she is like Nick, in keeping to herself; like Schanke, in being a parent; like Natalie, in being a single woman in a male-dominated workplace; but unlike anyone else in being various things specific to her alone...
waltdwaltd on January 30th, 2012 10:11 am (UTC)
Amanda, we hardly knew ye!
I've always been a fan of Cohen and felt that she was a rather neglected character. Stonetree had a couple of episodes where he was the focus (or at least a "real" co-star), Reese had a couple of episodes where he starred. About the only episode Cohen had more than a peripheral presence was AMPH.

Plus I've always kind of liked the fact that nothing was made about her 1/ being a woman, and 2/ being Oriental. It's got to have been hard to work her way up the ranks in the 70's or 80' as she must have done. But there seems to be no resentment from any of the male officers. Nick and Schanke certainly seem to treat her with the respect that a captain deserves. The same thing about being Oriental: it's never made a case. There could probably have been some interesting stories along that line (as in her being an outsider in at least two ways similar to the way that Nick is an outsider), but it was never brought out.

For Amateur Night, personally I guess *i* go against the grain in that I prefer AN to AMPH. I have real trouble accepting the "science" in AMPH -- it so ludicrous it puts me off. AN on the other hand, strikes me as being basically the plot basis of Angie Dickenson's old TV series, "Police Woman". Plus, I think the lead character goes through a great deal of growth -- and Schanke seems to have a bit of a bigger role here than usual, which is always nice.

Thanks for bringing this up. :-)
Amy R.: Nick Solemnbrightknightie on January 31st, 2012 07:35 pm (UTC)
Re: Amanda, we hardly knew ye!
I agree that Cohen was neglected! You're absolutely correct that where Stonetree had "Fatal Mistake," "Dead Issue" and a smidgen of "Dance by the Light of the Moon," and where Reese had "Jane Doe" and a smidgen of "Dead of Night," to reveal their experiences and values, that "jump rope" reference may be the most personal revelation Cohen ever shared.

It's all the more unbalanced among the captains when we consider that second season has 26 episodes, while first and third have 22 each. I sometimes wonder whether some writers may have hesitated to tackle Cohen's experience in their stories because of the unexplained, unusual conjunction of her surname and her ethnicity; it may have seemed too much to handle around the edges of the customary episode structure.

>"and 2/ being Oriental."

Please forgive my pedantry! But in case other people read here, I must note that "Oriental" is no longer considered a polite term for a person. "Asian" is preferred. Here is Wikipedia on contemporary usage in the US, UK, Canada and Australia. "In modern Canadian usage, according to the Canadian Oxford Dictionary, the term 'Oriental' is considered offensive..." (As you know, "oriental" literally means "eastern," and so is an entirely Eurocentric designation.)

>"There could probably have been some interesting stories along that line (as in her being an outsider in at least two ways similar to the way that Nick is an outsider), but it was never brought out."

I think that your idea of paralleling her with Nick is great, and it's too bad that no episode ever explored that! However, my guess is that being Asian in Toronto was not an extremely isolated position, even two decades ago. In 2006, according to Wikipedia's "Demographics of Toronto," 32.6% of the Toronto population was Asian. For realism, perhaps more of the people in FK's precincts should have been Asian! On the other hand, perhaps the police department does not mirror its community. Yes, there could have been stories touching those possibilities.

>"I prefer AN to AMPH"

AN is a better episode as a standalone unit, in my opinion. However, AMPH contains Lacroix's vampiric "origin story," among other revelations related to the ongoing continuity, so many people watch it over and over to glean every detail. I believe that episodes driven by guest stars tend to be dwelled-upon less than episodes driven by the regular cast. ~shrug~

Thanks for playing FK with me! :-)
waltdwaltd on February 6th, 2012 05:33 am (UTC)
Re: Amanda, we hardly knew ye!
>>"Oriental" is no longer considered a polite term for a person<<

Thanks for letting me know. I did not know this.

>>However, AMPH contains Lacroix's vampiric "origin story,"<<

Ah, yes, there is that. AN and AMPH each have their points and strengths.