Crossing Jordan Wiki
Dr. Jordan Cavanaugh, M.D.
Jordan Cavanaugh.jpg


April 1969 (age 38)


Cavanaugh, Love




Boston, Massachusetts


Medical Examiner, Forensic Pathologist

Known Relatives

Max Cavanaugh (father),
Emily Cavanaugh (mother, deceased),
James Horton (half-brother, considered missing)

Portrayed by

Jill Hennessy
Shailene Woodley (age 10)
Georgia Eskew (young)

First Appearance


Last Appearance


Dr. "Crossing" Jordan Cavanaugh, M.D.(born 1969), the daughter of former homicide detective Max Cavanaugh and Emily Cavanaugh, is a forensic pathologist, working under Dr. Garret Macy, M.D., at the Suffolk County, Massachusetts, Medical Examiner's Office. She often goes above and beyond her job description to find justice for the dead, putting her at odds with the law and shaking her friendship with Garret. Employed at the same morgue before the show began, she had vanished five years earlier, and she returned, at Garret's request, to reclaim her job.

Severely scarred by her mother's murder, an event that occurred when she was only ten years old, Jordan refuses weaknesses and is often shown to be stubborn, abrasive, and relentlessly passionate. She forms a deep friendship with Detective Woodrow "Woody" Hoyt, and often works with him to catch murderers. She denies his romantic advances, preferring to remain 'safe' as friends. Unknown to her for years, she has a half-brother, named James Horton, who was born six years earlier, and is suspected of murdering her mother. He is presumed dead, having jumped into the Charleston River, but his body was never recovered.


Early history[]

Though little is known or revealed about Jordan's childhood before her mother's death, flashbacks have revealed that her mother was severely mentally ill. Her father, fearing for the safety of her older brother, gave him up to a couple that had recently lost a child before Jordan's birth. This was revealed to Jordan when she located a small strip of film, which Nigel Townsend managed to clean up and enhance. They saw Jordan's mother holding a small child, but the film was dated six years before Jordan's birth.

Jordan as a child in her nightmares.

Jordan has recurring nightmares of one particular childhood moment as an adult, though she blocks out what was truly happening. She only remembers walking up the stairs when she heard her mother singing, but dream-Jordan turns and heads back down the stairs. During the series, she manages to unlock the secrets of the dream, finding that her father had been unloading a gun in the kitchen, and her mother had been cutting herself.

The moment that irreversibly changed Jordan's life was when she came home from school to find her home full of police officers, and her father being restrained. Her mother had been shot, and was lying dead on the kitchen floor. It was the weakest point of her life, and Jordan has denied ever having felt more helpless. This event haunts her through three seasons of the show, until the climactic, supposed suicide of her brother, at which point she decides, for the time being at least, to stop her dogmatic searching for a murderer.

After her mother's death, Jordan grew very close to her father, who, as stated above, was then a Boston homicide detective. His obsession with finding her mother's killer melted into the life of his young daughter, and they often spent nights reenacting Max's cases, which Garret has remarked was wrong, because too heavy a burden, to have such a young child shoulder. Jordan and her father made a game out of their reenactments; one which continued into her adult life and into the show, and was featured heavily in the first three seasons. Jordan also played this 'game' with other morgue workers and detectives to identify motive, means, and weapons having to do with her cases. When Max formed a relationship with Evelyn, a woman with whom Jordan did not get along, he became hesitant to continue their games, as Evelyn urged him instead to worry about his health and his old age. Evelyn pointed out that Max could get very stressed by these cases, and that he rarely allowed things to go without solving. Refusing to heed Evelyn's worries, Jordan continued to ask her father for help on select cases, though she displayed concern for his growing obsession.

When younger, Jordan had once entertained hopes and dreams of becoming a cardio-vascular surgeon, but those hopes were dashed during her surgical internship. While in surgery with a patient, she suggested caution to her boss, who was arrogant and egotistical. He refused to use the caution she had advised, which caused the patient's death, and he then subsequently asked Jordan to lie about it to everyone. This led to the young Jordan's first meeting with Dr. Macy, then a medical examiner looking into the patient's death. He appealed to her morals, which led to her arrogant boss forcibly dismissing her. Broken-hearted at having been fired from her dream job, she drank strong booze and swallowed depressant pills in succession, washing the pills down with the booze and nearly killing herself. Her father rushed her to the hospital, where, ironically, the very same arrogant boss who had fired her actually saved her life. He offered her reinstatement to her job, but she rejected his offer and instead, as Garret suspected she would, appeared in the morgue. Changing medical specialties to pursue pathology rather than cardio-vascular surgery, she became a medical examiner.

Before the beginning of the first installment, her father's obsession with the murder of her mother had led to the Boston Police Department forcibly terminating him from it.

Season One[]

Jordan in season one.

Jordan is first introduced in an anger-management session, in which she explains why she she was unable to punch her old boss because she was then holding a brain, so she kicked him in his privates. This season exemplifies Jordan's harsh, abrasive personality, focusing on her short temper, horrid attention span, and severed friendships. It also points out her passion for humanity, and her drive to solve cases. In the middle of the first season, a serial killer known as 'The Digger' almost murders her because she refused to stop snooping in the case.

During this season, she also meets Woodrow Hoyt, later known as Woody, and works with the lovable country bumpkin (he had originally hailed from Wisconsin) on a few of her cases. Her father, Max, purchases a bar to make himself useful, and has a run-in with a local mob boss; a problem that Jordan soon solves with a bargain involving the mob boss's son. Jordan also indulges in a series of risky sexual encounters with a man she only knew from Max's bar, which she regrets when she later recognizes him as a defense attorney involved in her current case. This event shuts her down to the idea of trust and romance.

In the last two episodes of the season, Jordan investigates a death-by-hanging in a mental institution, where she encounters a supposedly catatonic patient, Herman Redding, who may know who murdered her mother. He leaves her puzzling clues, including the ghost fingerprint that showed up at her mother's murder. This leads to him breaking his ten-year silence to make a deal: if she secures his freedom, then he will lead her to her mother. But though Jordan does have Redding cleared of the crime, their deal turns tragic when Jordan finally frees Redding and follows his final clue to a cabin in the middle of the woods. She and Woody discover that Redding truly had murdered his wife and his two children, who were found in the floorboards of the cabin. Devastated, Jordan returns to the morgue, where Macy puts her on a one-month suspension for her vigilante actions. Refusing to be suspended, Jordan instead resigns, and is seen packing a bag with a gun in the top. When Woody arrives, she reveals that she plans to pursue Redding, and he expresses severe concern for her deteriorating mental state. He offers to help her find him, pleading to remain her friend, but Jordan leaves anyway.

Season Two[]

The season begins with Jordan in Los Angeles, paying a disreputable informant for information. Having been stalking Herman Redding, she attempts to confront him in his home. But after she chases a man whom she takes for Redding down an alley, she herself is arrested. Though none other than her friend Woody Hoyt bails her out, he displays animosity toward her obsession and reveals that her father is under investigation for his involvement in the Redding case, off which Jordan "blew the lid." A long search leads to Redding cornering Jordan, during which he admits both that he plans to kill her, and that he had never truly known anything about her mother. He had only found a car which had contained a file, inside which the fingerprint had been. Woody arrives and shoots Redding four times in the chest, killing him and saving Jordan's life, but getting Woody himself into disciplinary trouble for his part in the unorthodox investigation.

When Jordan returns, Macy assigns her to a skeletal case to keep her occupied and out of the public eye, which leads to a strange discovery. The Purgatory Killer struck once fifteen years ago, and this was his first victim. She hands over her evidence to Lorraine Toussaint in exchange for a favor--having the D.A.'s Office halt its investigation of her father. Nigel Townsend also reveals that the keys found on Redding belong to a car which Jordan recalls her father having once owned--it may be the car of which Redding spoke. Jordan investigates and finds that the key does not match her father's car.

In "Bombs Away," Jordan and Woody are seen reconciling, having grown apart since their stint in L.A. She also clears Woody's name when he is accused of using excessive force in "Payback." She so exonerates him while dealing with her own grandmother, who seems to be cold-hearted. Jordan's grandmother tells her that it was her father who opened a rift in the family, to which Max responds that her mother's side of the family had done them no good, and that he did it to protect Jordan. Max also warns Woody about getting involved with Jordan, to which Woody pays no mind.

Jordan also questions her faith in humanity when, in "One Twelve," she finds that a man whom she has been comforting had bombed an entire building, killing many people and putting the medical examiners in danger.

Jordan also pursues Woody to California in "Don't Look Back," determined to solve a murder case. When the car breaks down, they share their first kiss by the light of the fire. She later has to rescue him from a paranoid man who believes himself to be an alien. Woody refuses to put the kiss off as nothing, and decides that they should rule nothing out. Jordan wants to put up a wall before anyone gets hurt. They share their second kiss under the Hollywood sign; just 'one for the road.'

In the episode "Sunset Division," Jordan emerges after Woody's extensive investigation into the death of his hometown sheriff, much to Woody's delight, and she attempts to draw him into another case that displays mysterious circumstances.

In the two-part season finale, Jordan locates the car of which Redding had spoken, which supposedly holds information on her mother, or her mother's body. Jordan's obsession with finding her mother's killer has begun spiraling out of control, which worries Lily Lebowski. Jordan also has nightmares about what she may find in the trunk, featuring a half-brother she had never known existed. She asks Lily to stay with her, knowing that it is a mere matter of time before the car is compacted. When Lily gives Jordan a piece of advice the other would rather not hear, Jordan sends Lily away, only to experience more nightmares. She eventually gives the car key to Lily, but not till after telling her why her favorite odor is that of cinnamon toast--it was also her mother's favorite odor. She reveals that she is unsure about everything and equates herself to the wolf-man, doomed to harm those around her. Max shows up and apologizes to Jordan for his obsessive behavior after her mother's murder. Jordan also finds that the man she had hired to find the car was not the one who had told her about it, leaving a mystery to unravel. Lily finds that the key is missing, and Jordan goes after the car on her own.

Though she fails to find her mother, Jordan does find the body of Boston Police Detective Carl Jeffers in the trunk of the old car. (Detective Jeffers had disappeared mysteriously in 1979.) Jordan removes a gun from the scene and asks Peter Winslow to look at it, but he instead turns it in to the D.A. after finding that the gun belonged to Jordan's father. Macy bans Jordan from the case. Jordan's half-brother, James Horton, tells her that Carl Jeffers had been sent to kill him, and that James had only killed him in self-defense. James asks to stay with Jordan. Thomas Maulden, who was Carl Jeffers's partner, is (SUPPOSEDLY!!!) revealed to be James's father, and to have sent Jeffers to kill James. Jordan confronts Maulden, but is drugged and left in an alley. Woody follows the sound of gunfire to Jordan's apartment, where Max is standing over Tom Maulden's dead body.

The season ends with Max pointing his gun at Woody.

Season Three[]

The conclusion to the second season is revealed in the last episode of season three, "Oh, Brother Where Art Thou?" Jordan awakens in an alley and questions Macy, who is at her apartment to pick up Maulden's body. Jordan's father is on the run. Jordan goes to Woody for help, but he arrests her when she enters his office, coincidentally right after she asks him for help. He refuses to believe that she even has even so much as a half-brother, because only she and her father have ever seen James. Woody later reveals that he allowed Max to get away, and Jordan tells him that James is responsible for Maulden's death. In order to clear her father's name, they will have to locate James. Their investigation into James's whereabouts lead to him abducting Jordan and taking her to the top of an apartment building to show her where he had "grown up." James apologizes for not being a better brother before jumping from the top of the building into the Charleston River; though he is presumed dead, his body is not located. Max comes to Jordan later and she demands to know if anything he had told her is true. Instead of answering her question, he tells her that he loves her, and that that is the only thing that is important.

In the second episode of the season, presumably after the events of the last episode, Jordan again reveals her passion for justice when, serving on jury duty, she refuses to agree with the other venire jurors on a case with misleading forensic evidence. Her denial leads to the true killer and exonerates the accused. She also uncovers corruption in a high school after a police officer is accused of killing a student with only one blow to the abdomen.

Season Four[]

Jordan begins this season in a multi-car pile-up in the Ted Williams Tunnel, where she outwits a gem-smuggler and saves the lives of Dr. Mahesh "Bug" Vijay and a dying woman, in addition to her own. She also bonds with a murder suspect in the episode "Out of Sight," much to Woody's displeasure and disapproval, as he believes the agoraphobic artist to be guilty. But in clearing the artist's name, Jordan puts herself in the path of the true killer, prompting Woody to come to her rescue.

In the episode "Intruded," Jordan returns home from a night of dancing with Woody to find a man, armed with a knife, in her apartment. He demands that she take her clothes off, but makes no attempt to assault her. He instead rifles through her possessions and takes only one item, a locket that had belonged to her mother. Though Jordan refuses to tell anyone of this encounter, determined to solve it on her own, she does eventually open up to Howard Stiles, a psychiatrist who works with the morgue staff. Assessing that she has now reached the same age as her mother was when she was murdered, he says that she is trying to blame herself for what was essentially only a random event. She wants control, he remarks, of what is happening to her, and he points out the cut on her hand, which resulted from her attempt to fight back. This indicates, he explains, that she has a will to live. Woody also comforts her by returning her mother's locket, and the two of them share a hug.

Jordan also faces her past in the episode "Deja Past," where the 'spooky old house' from her childhood is the scene of an old woman's death. The woman had been the object of superstitions among the local kids, as she had been accused of killing her husband and secreting his body somewhere in the house. Determined to solve this ancient murder, Jordan uncovers a shocking secret: The couple had a mentally handicapped son who had lived in the attic. Coming downstairs one day to see his father striking his mother, he had killed his father and his mother had hidden this to protect her son. Jordan goes to the ward where the old man has been undergoing treatment for many years and gives him a picture of him and his mother.

In the fifth episode, Jordan travels to the Deep South to solve a murder committed forty years ago. Jordan finds that the original documents on the murder, which the victim's son had provided, are shoddy and incomplete. Exposed to the deeply racist past of a small Mississippi town, which obviously disgusts her, she finds that a handful of intoxicated cops had covered up the entire case, and that she will never be able to prove anything. Still, Jordan gives a passionate speech to the now-elderly murderer, urging him to apologize to the victim's wife, which is all she (the wife) wants. She also tells him that she will only be leaving at the request of the victim's family, and that they care about his elderly wife, who needs such constant attention that his arrest would deprive her of her only caretaker, and leave no one else to take care of her in that case. She offers to drive him to the home to apologize, thereby giving the victim's wife the only thing she had wanted.

Jordan again comes close to death in the episode "It Happened One Night," where a released mobster seeks revenge on her father and his old friends. She finds that he actually seeks the money the group of cops had supposedly stolen, and she discovers that the culprit is a man she often refers to as her uncle.

Jordan also comes to Nigel's rescue in the episode "Forget Me Not," in which she helps her longtime friend investigate the overnight disappearance of his girlfriend's daughter.

After Woody is shot in the season finale, Jordan confesses her love for him on his way into the operating room, but he questions it when he awakens. He believes her merely to be taking pity on him, and he sends her away harshly. When he awakens again, she still awaits him. Woody again tells Jordan that when he had said he did not want to see her, he had meant it. Moreover, he still does not want to see her.

Season Five[]

Season five begins sluggishly as Jordan allows Jack Slocum, the interim Chief Medical Examiner during Macy's absence, to lay down the rules. She finally snaps when Slocum insults Macy, and she fearlessly tears him down until Sydney pulls her away. She also attempts to help Woody when he is suspected of killing the man who shot him in season four. Though he has been cruel to her in the past months, he pleads with her to clear his name. He admits to having been messed up lately, acting more rashly and caring less for the people involved and more for the actual catching of the criminals. She manages to exonerate Woody and see that Slocum leaves and Macy returns.

In the third episode, Jordan again goes above and beyond the call of duty in pursuit of two missing boys. Though sick enough to motivate Macy to bid her go home and rest, she disregards him and journeys into the forest in the middle of a storm, following a lead to an old mine vent. She slips in and finds herself trapped with the boys, though her presence is the only reason for their survival. She breaks down the wall between them and removes a bullet from one of their chests. Knowing that none of them will ever get back out where she had fallen in, she uses the pressure of the water in the pipes to burst the cave-in and guide them to freedom. Macy and the rest of the morgue crew hear one of the boys banging on the bars keeping them from escaping, and all three are rescued. Jordan had single-handedly saved the boys's lives, as well as her own, while the others apprehended the murderer responsible for the deaths of the third boy and an innocent woman.

Jordan defies orders again when she finds that an inmate's death was preventable. Visiting the prison, she discovers a filthy understaffed and under-supplied facility, which prompts her to wage war on the independent company that provides the service. Alas, her efforts prove futile, as the company manages to hide what it has done, working too fast along those lines for Jordan to be able to obtain any proof of its wrongdoing. In the course of this crusade, Jordan first meets J.D. Pollack, an investigative reporter who had sneaked into the morgue to take illegal pictures of a body. He becoms the outlet through whom Jordan wages her case.

Pollack calls on Jordan again in the very next episode, drawing her into a cult world. With Pollack's cocky attitude egging him on, Woody remains hostile toward Jordan. Jordan decides to go undercover with Pollack to solve the case, and they find that a cult leader had poisoned his own son, leading to his death. After the case, Pollack shows up at Jordan's door and the two share a passionate kiss.

Jordan wakes up in bed with Pollack. He brings her coffee, shocking her with the gesture. She seems pleased by it, and the two of them occupy themselves with morning sex. She gives Pollack a ride to Woody's most recent crime scene, which Woody, who remains hostile towards the reporter, does not fail to notice. He attempts to mislead Pollack by identifying the wrong murder weapon to him. Though Jordan dismisses Pollack, she later catches up with him and admits that she was afraid because she was too close to him. The two reconcile with a kiss and walk off together.

In the fateful tenth episode "Loves Me Not," Jordan and Woody are called to investigate a murder at a bed-and-breakfast. Woody is very hostile toward Pollack before they leave, taunting him about spending time with Jordan. Pollack gets him back by kissing Jordan in the hall. When snow forces the closures of all the roads that lead to the bed-and-breakfast, they are forced to spend the night in the only remaining room, which has only one bed. On the night before they leave, they admit how nice it is to be close as friends again, and Woody admits that he had truly missed their friendship. They hug, but it turns into more when they begin to kiss, and it leads to them sleeping together.

The next morning, Jordan awakens in Woody's arms, and they refuse to talk about the consequences of what has happened. Jordan does not know what to say to Pollack about what she did. She continues to be close to Woody, reenacting a crime scene with him as she once did with her father. Pollack walks in while Woody is carrying her 'dead body' across the room. That night, visiting Jordan's apartment, Pollack tells her that he has figured out that the two slept together. He offers to allow it to pass without remarks as long as it meany nothing. However, Jordan says nothing, indicating that it did mean something.

Pollack shows up at a crime scene and punches Woody in the gut, telling him to stay away from his girlfriend. Enraged, Jordan shoves him and declares that he does not own her.

In the sixteenth episode, "Someone to Watch Over Me," Jordan solves the murder of a man in her apartment building while looking after his thirteen-year-old daughter, Kayla. She allows the girl to stay at her house after developing a unique bond with her. As Jordan allows Kayla to stay with her, she even applies to be the girl's legal guardian. Her friends at the morgue are doubtful about her abilities as a mother, and their teasing upsets Jordan, who is determined to prove them wrong. She first asks Macy for a letter of recommendation, but he tells her that he would never allow it to happen, leading her to approach Woody instead. But then Kayla's biological mother reenters the picture, dashing Jordan's hopes. Woody later shows up with the letter and asks Jordan to read it regardless of its uselessness. She seems pleased with what he has written.

In "Thin Ice," Jordan brings Woody a present to celebrate his new office, but she walks in on Woody and Tallulah Simmons, known as "Lu," kissing. Disturbed, she leaves the office, and Lu chastises Woody for not talking to her earlier. Later in the episode, Lu comes back and finds Woody playing with Jordan's gift, a dart board, and he quickly attempts to cover himself by touching the gift she gave him.

In the season finale, Jordan wakes up after Lily's engagement party with a gun in her hand and her former love, J.D. Pollack, dead on the bed beside her. Lily finds her there and calls the police, but Jordan cannot remember what happened. Everyone is unsure of Jordan's guilt except Lu, who believes the case is open-and-shut. This opinion causes trouble between Woody and Lu, as he would do anything to help Jordan. He breaks off his relationship with Lu to join the morgue staff in clearing Jordan's name.

The season ends with Jordan discarding her cell phone in a trash bin in Washington, D.C., as she pursues Pollack's murderer.

Season Six[]

Macy joins Jordan in D.C. as she tries to clear her name and find Pollack's murderer. They find that Pollack had been investigating a crooked judge, but had stumbled upon something far larger and much more serious: a large company, and namely its CEO, had been responsible for the deaths of several miners in a collapse several years before. Pollack had been murdered to keep it quiet, and then the judge too had been murdered for good measure, both by the same man. Jordan, distraught and already a fugitive, goes after the man with a gun, but the police arrive just in time and Macy manages to slip the gun away before Jordan can be arrested. Cleared of all charges, she is reunited with her friends.

William Ivers arrives in the second episode to investigate the workings of the morgue, and he reveals that Macy, in particular, is under investigation. With him underfoot, the morgue staff handles the case of a boy whom police officers had shot thirty-three times, an event that sparks riots in Boston. During the chaos, Lu is shot and killed, and the cause of the excessive shooting is revealed to be a toy airplane the eight-year-old had been holding in the window.

In the eighth episode, "Isolation," Jordan defies Ivers's orders and autopsies a man found dead. She finds that he was carrying a deadly virus, which had been his cause of death, and that this virus had the unique ability to spread like a cold. It had already infected nearly everyone in the man's apartment building, and while treating those infected, Jordan starts experiencing the symptoms. Naturally, she hides them from everyone. Once the situation is under control, Jordan, told that she had tested negative for the virus, is given the vaccination. Unfortunately for her, she still continues to experience the symptoms, which consist of headaches, dizziness, blurred vision, and weakness. Alarmed, she scans her own brain and finds a meningioma--a "benign" brain tumor--wrapped around her carotid artery. She speaks to Garret about it without revealing to him that hers is the brain on the scan.

Garret later figures out Jordan's condition and pleads with her to get the surgery she needs, which Jordan refuses because she believes that it has been in her head, harmless, all this time, and that the symptoms will subside. She refuses to tell anyone else at the morgue. Eventually Garret stops her from doing her duties--but he is not in time! For Jordan suffers a seizure at the morgue, in front of all the others. He cares for her in her office and tells her to stay there, though she still fights to solve her most recent case, that of thirteen children who were kidnapped from their school bus. Woody speaks to Jordan after the children are rescued, and she reveals her fears to him. She wants neither to be reduced to a persistent vegetative nor to sit drooling in front of a television receiver for her remaining years, insisting that she is not that person. Despite her worries, Jordan does schedule her surgery and seeks comfort in Garret, who holds her against his chest in his office.

Jordan goes into surgery on Monday morning and stays in for the entire day. She bleeds internally, which the surgeons manage to control. But though they do save her life, they are forced to report and admit to having been unable to remove the section wrapped around her carotid artery, and that she will have to live with it. Woody avoids visiting her the entire day, denying that she is in danger, but he arrives just before she awakens. She opens her eyes and stares at him, but fails to respond to his words.

A few days later, Jordan finds that her friends are "babying" her, and that they have arranged a cycle of who will watch her. She has begun experiencing hallucinations, but as is usual for her, she refuses to tell anyone else. During this time, Bug disappears, and when this emergency arises, Kate Switzer comes to watch over Jordan, who tells her about the hallucinations. Kate adjusts Jordan's medication, explaining that one of its potential side effects is just such hallucinations. She also lets slip that Bug is missing, which fact the others were trying to hide from Jordan. This immediately stresses her, and she panicks slightly in Garret's presence, but she is reeled in when Bug makes his surprising return.

When Jordan returns to work four weeks later, she is energized, happy, and perfectly content with everything. She speaks of chi and karma, and hands out cookies that she has baked, on one of which Nigel nearly chokes. She keeps her charade up till the case breaks her down and she nearly assaults a homeless man who may have known something about their suspect. Then she gives up and sits in the hallway alone. Soon Bug joins her and speaks to her about his experience with a governmental security agency that has become infamous for its heavy-handed tactics, its needless duplication of efforts, and its overall lack of effectiveness. She tells him that they had both believed they were in control of their lives when actually neither was.

Jordan also teams up with Ivers in the sixteenth episode to solve a case that he had never had the chance to close, and she works with Woody, with whom she has again grown close, to solve the poisoning of a man searching for his daughter.

In the final episode of the sixth season, and the last episode of the show itself, Jordan and the rest of the morgue staff, excluding Lily, fly from the Norwegian Sea to Boston. They are carrying a load of bodies found on a ship, with no marks or obvious causes of death. Their plane crashes on a snowy mountaintop. Jordan, the first to awaken, finds Woody beside her and shakes him awake. Both are scratched up and disoriented. The rest of the staff seem okay, though Macy has broken ribs, Bug has a large scratch on his cheek, and Nigel's arm is wounded. They implement a plan to preserve the bodies, pool their food, and plan for rescue, but they also investigate the mysterious deaths of the men on the ship. Their conclusion is relieving, considering that some of the men were terrorists, and two brave souls released a noxious gas to stop them from blowing up a bridge back in the United States. Macy is in danger suddenly when his wound produces internal bleeding, and the team knows that failure to rescue them all soon will result in Macy's death.

Jordan, not expecting rescue, sits down beside Woody and tells him that she loves him, admitting that she was so afraid before, and that she had always thought of mortality and death. They kiss and she lays into his side for a while before they hear the beating of a helicopter in the distance. Jordan immediately runs into the bulk of the plane to tell Macy, and, tears streaming, they both await rescue.



Garret Macy[]

Macy comforts Jordan after Pollack's death.

Jordan and Macy have a friendship that extends into her days as a surgical intern, where he first tested her morals. Even though she left her job at the morgue and vanished for five years, he offered her the job back upon her return to Boston, and they spend the entire first season displaying the depth of their friendship. Macy often attempts to reel Jordan in from her pursuit of justice, but also thanks her for being the force that drives him. Most notably in the later seasons, Macy points out how much he cares for Jordan, going so far as to dismiss her in the season six episode "Faith" to keep her from working the case of the kidnapped children. He states that he cannot watch her kill herself by avoiding the surgery she needs.

Macy comforts Jordan before her surgery.

At the conclusion of the episode, Macy holds a terrified Jordan against his chest in their usual spot on his office couch, comforting her before she goes into surgery. He spends the entire day in the hospital waiting for her, and the two are seen interacting in a father-daughter way as she recovers. She also sits by his side during the last episode of the series, assuring him that they will be rescued and reversing their usual situation.

Overall, Macy shows his love for Jordan as if she is his daughter, and he favors her above all the others at the morgue. Upon his absence, he elects to put her in charge, showing his trust for her even though he constantly pesters her to be more responsible. After a long day at the office, the two are often together on Macy's couch, talking shoulder-to-shoulder or sharing a drink. Jordan is reluctant to admit it when they find that Macy is a problem drinker, but she eventually confronts him and tells him to pull himself together. She is also shown to care deeply for Macy's daughter.

Nigel Townsend[]

Jordan and Nigel are partners in crime, usually working together to go above the call of duty. Jordan sometimes asks him to perform tasks that break the law, and Nigel rarely denies her. He is outspoken about her innocence when she is accused of killing J.D. Pollack. When Nigel finds out about her tumor, he tears up and leaves to get some air, obviously distressed and unnerved by it. When a young girl asks him, he says that someone he loves is sick. They also interact in a joking romantic way at times, working more closely than they would with their other co-workers. Whenever Nigel does something Jordan is happy about, she proclaims that she loves him.

Mahesh "Bug" Vijay[]

Jordan and Bug share a bond throughout the series, mostly driven by their individual passions toward certain things. Bug shows his passion when he decides to find a vagrant's true killer, and gets himself mixed up with kidnappers, which is admired by Jordan. Jordan is also the only person Bug opens up to after his dark experience with the governmental security agency, and they relate that their lives are not in their own control. She has a good friendship with Bug and they care for each other more than most co-workers do.


Woodrow Hoyt[]

Jordan begins her friendship with Woodrow "Woody" Hoyt in first season, where they work together on multiple cases. Jordan immediately likes Woody because of his cooperative attitude with the morgue staff, and she seems to enjoy working with him. Jordan's father goes so far as to warn Woody about getting involved with Jordan, but he pays him no mind and dances with her anyway. They share their first kiss in the season two episode "Don't Look Back," and then the second under the Hollywood sign in that same episode. Jordan is reluctant to enter into a relationship with Woody, as she would rather keep their friendship safe. She fears romantic commitment, and Woody says he is all right with it, but often looks at her with longing in his eyes. He tries to kiss her in the season four episode "Intruded," but she leans away and he leaves. She refuses to tell him about the break-in, but eventually reveals that her mother's locket was taken. In the end of the episode, Woody brings the locket to her after finding it in a pawn shop, which gets him a hug from Jordan.

Jordan comforts Woody.

In the finale of season four, Woody is shot by a cop-killer with vest-piercing bullets. On his way into the operating room, Jordan whispers into his unconscious ear and later visits him in-between surgeries. Not knowing if he will be paralyzed, he lashes out at Jordan for what she said. He accuses her of only taking pity on him, and denies that whatever she had said was real. He sends her out harshly and angrily, and then again when he wakes up the second time. Neither speaks to the other for nearly two months after that, and only then because Woody is accused of killing the man who shot him. Jordan clears his name, but he continues his hostility toward her and shows his distaste for her new beau, J.D. Pollack. The two men show obvious animosity toward each other.

They reconcile when they are called to investigate the murder at the bed-and-breakfast, and they end up reconciling their friendship and subsequently sleeping together. Pollack punches Woody in the chest when he discovers this, prompting Jordan to defend her right to choose who she wants. Jordan later gives Woody a dart board to celebrate his new office, and she walks in on Woody kissing another detective named Tallulah "Lu" Simmons. Woody is also seen playing with the dart board rather than the gift Lu gave him. In the finale, Woody defends Jordan when she is accused of killing Pollack. He defends her even when Lu believes she is the killer, eventually breaking off his relationship to help Jordan.

During the riots, Jordan puts herself in danger to find Woody, who went with Lu to uncover more evidence on the case. She finds him trying to save Lu's life after being shot, and she struggles to save Lu in the back of the coroner's van while Woody drives. But Lu dies before they arrive, and Woody opens the doors to find Jordan sobbing over her lifeless body. The two share a silent moment for their fallen friend, and they later speak in Jordan's office. Woody admits that he was almost friends with Lu again, and Jordan comforts him. Woody also shows worry for Jordan during the virus epidemic, in which Jordan acts tired and distracted. He constantly asks her if she is all right, which continues to receive the same answer, that she is fine.

Woody is aloof during Jordan's surgery, working furiously on a case in order to avoid thinking about what might happen. He eventually shows up upon her waking and speaks to her softly, but receives no response. As one of the care-takers in the cycle to take care of Jordan, he expresses not knowing what to do, and his worries something will happen in Macy's absence. Called away to help find Bug when the latter disappears, he warns Kate Switzer, who will be watching Jordan, that he will be a witness if anything happens to Jordan.

In the final episode, Jordan finally admits her feelings for Woody; she tells him that she loves him and that she has been avoiding it because of the morgue's intense focus on mortality. They kiss, and then hold each other to await rescue.

J.D. Pollack[]

Jordan first begins a relationship with Pollack when he gets caught snooping in the morgue. Nigel drags him out, but Jordan finds that she needs the nosy man's help, and she trades him the photos he took for help in changing the prison's healthcare system. Though their results are futile, Pollack asks Jordan if they can be friends, and Jordan responds by saying that it is unlikely. In the very next episode, Pollack calls to settle their score by asking for her help in a cult case. The two of them go undercover together, where they are forced to kiss to stay undercover. They solve the case and save a life, meeting up in Jordan's doorway later to share a passionate kiss. It leads to them sleeping together, and they awaken happily the next morning. Jordan shows surprise as Pollack dotes on her, and gives him a ride to Woody's crime scene--and a goodbye kiss. Woody does not fail to notice this, and as attempted payback, he attempts to sabotage Pollack's story by identifying the wrong murder weapon.

Jordan dismisses Pollack after he asks her to a romantic vineyard getaway, but she later chases him down and admits that she got too close, and she was trying to push him away. She apologizes and the two kiss, heading off for their vacation. After Jordan sleeps with Woody on a case, Pollack finds out through her body language toward the other man, and he confronts her about it. He tells her that he could get past it if the sex meant nothing, but Jordan will say nothing, indicating that it did. He later punches Woody in the gut and demands that Woody stay away from his girlfriend, but Jordan shoves him and points out that he does not own her; that makes him angrier, and he storms off.

In the last episode of season five, Pollack returns to be Jordan's date to Lily's engagement party, which pleases Jordan even though she had not expected it. The two of them dance the night away, but Jordan is served, and drinks, a mickeyed drink that knocks her out, and she awakens the next morning beside Pollack's dead body with a gun in her hand. She had no memory of the night before, and fears that she killed him.

Jordan mourns Pollack.

It is later revealed that Pollack, in D.C. pursuing a story about a corrupt judge, had uncovered something more evil and gotten himself killed. He had stolen Jordan's I.D. card to the morgue and sneaked into the file-room to steal some files, prompting a hallway argument that was caught on camera. Jordan, under investigation for the murder, flees to D.C. to find the truth, going so far as to confront the man who killed Pollack at gunpoint. Macy takes the gun from her and pulls her away before she can be caught with it, but she is cleared of all charges as soon as the other man is in custody. She returns to the morgue and hugs her friends, but steps in to see Pollack's body. She gives him half of a small photo strip and lets Macy comfort her, finally mourning his death.

Physical Appearance[]

Jordan Cavanaugh is in her late thirties with a lean, muscular body, slightly olive-toned skin, and dark brown-black hair that typically goes past her shoulders. She has dark brownish eyes. In season six, Jordan's hair is changed to a lighter brown color. She typically wears it in a ponytail, but she lets it down for special occasions. She wears stylish clothing, but nothing overly flashy or gaudy.


Jordan is often the most abrasive person on the show, because she has no patience for criminals. She fights for the rights of people who have passed and those still alive at the same time, which leads her down a path of constant trouble. She fearlessly puts herself in the paths of killers to find justice, though she refuses to confide in anyone, and insists that she is always 'fine'. A large part of her personality is that of her father: obsessive and extremely compulsive. She does not consider consequences before taking action, and is reluctant to apologize to those she harms. She takes every case personally, which sometimes leads to the breakdown of her patience.

She is also portrayed as a cautious woman when it comes to relationships. She enters into a strictly-sexual relationship with a man she does not know on a whim, and it ends badly. She becomes cautious from that point on to let anyone charm her, and rejects her friend Woody's advances because she fears getting romantic would end their friendship. The first man she truly opens up to is J.D. Pollack, but she admits that she intentionally sabotaged it by sleeping with Woody. Crushed by Pollack's death, she has no relationships from that point on till she admits her love for Woody after their near-death plane crash.

She seems to rely on her friends more than any one person. She falls back on a web of support when things fall apart, and she asks them for favors for which she should not ask anyone, putting them at odds with the law. When things get really bad involving Herman Redding and the car, she originally relies on Lily to talk some sense into her, but instead is saved by Woody, both physically and mentally. She cares deeply for the people around her--for any people anywhere, actually--which is a weakness in her line of work.

Jordan seems to mature slowly as the series goes on, developing trusting friendships around the morgue and sometimes outside of it. Macy trusts her to be in charge several times, admitting once that he trusted her to be the most unrelenting spirit in the morgue, and that she was the one who drove them all to be the best.


Season 1

Season 2

Season 3

Season 4

Season 5

Season 6