Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Oscar winner Richard Dreyfuss made his long-awaited weekly TV series bow in CBS' weekly, 60-minute The Education of Max Bickford. In the tradition of Dreyfuss' theatrical feature Mr. Holland's Opus, the series focuses on an irascibly liberal-minded but rigidly tradition-bound professor of literature at a prestigious women's college. Passed over for a promotion in favor of his former student (and lover) Andrea Haskell (Marcia Gay Harden), Max Bickford (Richard Dreyfuss) begins to wonder if his 23 years of steadfast academic service were truly worth it. All but deserted by his best friend Steve -- who has been reinvented as "Erica" (Helen Shaver) after a sex change -- and his Gen-X daughter Lyla (Katee Sackhoff), who happens to attend the college where Max teaches, our hero finds himself drawing closer to his 13-year-old son Lester (Eric Ian Goldberg), a chip off the old block if ever there was one. The producers describe the series as "a drama about a man who realizes life has passed him by and has to re-examine a lot of his assumptions." Debuting September 23, 2001, The Education of Max Bickford was one of the few new series of the 2001-2002 season whose premiere was not delayed by coverage of the World Trade Center bombing.