Spoiler alert! The following story discusses the January 24 episode of Night Court, “Just Tuesday.”
Fans of the 1980s sitcom Night Court were thrilled to see the series receive a revival on NBC, especially with the inclusion of OG actor John Larroquette as Dan Fielding. Rather than Harry Stone commanding the courtroom, however, the new series introduced us to his daughter Abby Stone, who has seemingly proven to share some of the same empathetic qualities behind the bench as her father did decades ago. In the latest episode “Just Tuesday,” however, Abby revealed there were complications in their relationship, and Dan’s kind words proved that Harry will continue to be a presence on the show.
Harry Anderson, the actor who played Harry Stone in the original Night Court, died in 2018 from a stroke at age 65. The revival’s premiere episode revealed that his character had also passed, giving the new series the opportunity to memorialize the actor in a way that likely wouldn’t have been possible if Abby’s father was alive somewhere off-screen. This was used to its full advantage in the most recent episode, as Abby (Melissa Rauch) opened up to Dan about her past struggles with alcoholism, and how it affected her relationship with her father. She told him:
I lost a lot of time with my dad when I was at my worst. Ashamed to be around him. But he always had faith in me. He said he was keeping that faith safe until I had it in myself again. I’m glad I got into recovery in time for him to see me get better, but I never felt like I could make up for that lost time. It’s one of the reasons I took the job here, to feel connected to him. So when it’s not going well or I mess up, it’s like I’m failing him all over again.
Here, Abby gave us the true reason for why she moved to Manhattan to accept the position on the night court. As heartbreaking as it was to learn Harry Stone’s fate, it was even more of a gut punch to find out that he apparently lost time with his daughter due to her addiction. However, she clarified that he did see her go into recovery before he died.
Her opening up to Dan about her past only served to strengthen the bond between them, as he told her he’d been through that situation with his wife, and coming from someone in his position — and someone who knew Harry — Dan was able to tell Abby:
The Harry I knew, pfft. You failing him? That thought would have never even remotely entered his mind. And just, also there’s folks around here who have a lot of faith in you.
I am loving the fatherly glimpses that Dan is showing for Abby, and their relationship also seems to prove that Harry Anderson’s memory will continue to be honored. After all, it was the former judge’s influence in the premiere that helped Abby convince the former assistant district attorney to return as the night court’s public defender.
Tune in to see how these characters continue to develop, and to see if and how the revived series addresses other OG characters who were played by Night Court actors who have passed, including Charles Robinson's Mac and Markie Post's Christine Sullivan. Night Court airs at 9 p.m. ET Tuesdays on NBC and is available for streaming with a Peacock subscription. Check out our 2023 TV schedule to see what other premieres are headed our way soon!