- Annie Potts as Louanne Johnson
- Stanley Anderson as Bud Bartkus
- Jenny Gago as Amanda Bardoles
- Michael Jace as Jerome Griffin
- Tamala Jones as Callie Timmons
- Vicellous Reon Shannon as Cornelious Hawkins
- Cedrik Terrell as James Revill
- Maria Costa as Blanca Guerrero
- LaToya Howlett as Alvina Edwards
- Greg Serano as Gusmaro Lopez
Based on a real person and on the movie of the same name, Marine veteran Louanne Johnson is an unconventional teacher who inspires her class of bright but "difficult" inner-city students, and makes a real difference in their lives, outside school as well as inside.
All 17 episodes are 60 minutes long.
Season 1 (1996-1997)
Original Air Dates-Monday, September 30, 1996)
Louanne has misgivings about the job, and scant details about her predecessor. As Louanne starts to connect with the kids, three draw special attention: one tough who misses school to help his family financially; an aggressive lad interested in trains; and a girl who's raising her own child. Soon, Louanne finds that she, too, may need help-when she faces the girl's abusive boyfriend.
- Hair Affair
Original Air Dates-Monday, October 7, 1996
Due to financial cutbacks, Louanne accepts a student's suggestion to hold a fund-raiser; Gusmaro becomes increasingly disturbed about belonging to a street gang.
- See Me
Original Air Dates-Monday, October 14, 1996
Louanne arranges for Cornelius to return to school, an action which angers Bartkus; Gusmaro is reluctant to list his date of birth and Social Security number on a form; and the students prepare for a practice job interview.
- Bad Apple
Original Air Dates-Monday, October 21, 1996
Louanne tries to reach a new student, "a hyperactive underachieve", and she makes a first visit to Mickey's Tavern, the faculty's weekly hangout. Meanwhile, James is inspired by Mr. Griffin to plant an apricot tree in the schoolyard.
- Family Ties
Original Air Dates-Monday, October 28, 1996
When an unpopular student is slain, it turns out there's no one to bury him; the father of Callie's daughter returns, which delights the little girl, but not Callie; James and Gusmaro try to turn a goose into a pet.
- The Code
Original Air Dates-Monday, November 11, 1996
Louanne tries to understand "the code" to which her students adhere when two students swear that they won't continue a fight, and after Gusmaro is arrested for stealing a CD that someone else placed in his backpack. The class visits Alcatraz.
- Need Deep
Original Air Dates-Monday, November 18, 1996
When Blanca contemplates having a baby with her boyfriend so he can leave his gang, Louanne presses her to reconsider; James thinks his community service will be a piece of cake until he's ordered to serve as companion to a severely disabled boy; and Callie worries about her daughter's safety when Callie's mother's boyfriend becomes abusive.
Original Air Dates-Monday, November 25, 1996
After James is viciously beaten in the locker room, Louanne places herself in jeopardy by trying to find the attackers. Meanwhile, Gusmaro, also attempting to help, considers joining a new gang; and Cornelius seeks a videotape that depicts the assault.
Original Air Dates-Monday, December 9, 1996
After Callie shows compassion for a convicted child molester who's being beaten by protestors, her reaction is questioned by others. Meanwhile, Chaka and James try to photograph a ghost; and Blanca is hospitalized with a bleeding ulcer.
- Trust Me
Original Air Dates-Monday, December 16, 1996
When the students suspect a newcomer of being a narc, Louanne tries to prove them wrong. Meanwhile, Callie is worried about possible repercussions for having informed on a drug dealer; and Hal asks Louanne out to dinner.
Original Air Dates-Monday, December 30, 1996
Cornelius is attracted to Callie and encourages by Mr. Griffin to ask her out. Meanwhile, James, who wants to have his grades raised in order to try out for basketball, strikes a deal with Louanne.
- To'e Me Up, To'e Me Down
Original Air Dates-Monday, January 6, 1997)
The news that her ex-husband is remarrying affects Louanne; a teacher's death causes Barkus to change his approach to students; and Cornelius is reluctant to take his graffiti talents to a higher level.
- The Feminine Mystique
Original Air Dates-Monday, January 13, 1997
Louanne arranges for a house to be built by volunteer labor for Blanca and her family, whose home was destroyed by fire. But when she asks the students for their help, she learns that the construction site is disputed territory between two rival gangs.
- Everybody Wants It
Original Air Dates-Monday, February 10, 1997
The students ask (and some fail to ask) each other to a school Valentine's dance; Louanne takes a job as a waitress; Gusmaro works delivering liquor; and a new student joins the academy program.
- Three Guns
Original Air Dates-Saturday, March 1, 1997
Gusmaro is with Louanne when preteens steal her car, and his self-confidence is shaken as a result. Meanwhile, Mr. Griffin brings Tibetan monks to school to talk about nonviolence; and James takes driving lessons from Mr. Bartkus.
- A Different Light
Original Air Dates-Saturday, March 8, 1997
As the school's 50th anniversary approaches, Gusmaro discovers that the man for whom its named was a racist. Meanwhile, Blanca learns a secret about Garrity and spreads it; and Alvina rebels against the cafeteria's food.
- Teach, Don't Touch - (final episode)
Original Air Dates-Saturday, March 15, 1997
After Louanne hugs a distressed student, the lad accuses her of molesting him. While her class and the faculty support her, opposition comes from the boy's father, who is president of the school board.
Producers Andrew Schneider and Diane Frolov made a character based on real life former U.S. Marine, teacher and author LouAnne Johnson do things that she herself thinks are unethical, inadvisable, and silly. In one episode, the character LouAnne Johnson took her students to a strip club to organize a fundraiser for their school by participating in a hair war. The producers thought that this would make her cute and endearing, ignoring the fact that they wrote LouAnne into taking her underage students to a strip club. In another episode a black character threatens to shoot her teacher because LouAnne encourages his girlfriend to go to college. This never happened outside of the show and the real LouAnne Johnson knew that depicting African American males as violent was wrong and unrealistic.
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