Northern Exposure Wiki
Northern Exposure Wiki
"The Bumpy Road to Love"
Season 3, Episode 1 (?)
Airdate September 23, 1991
Writer(s) Martin Sage
Sybil Adelman
Director Nick Marck
Guest star(s)

  • Valerie Mahaffey as Eve
  • Diane Delano as Officer Barbara Semanski
  • Catherine de Prume as Joanne
  • Adam Arkin as Adam
  • Grant Goodeve as Rick Pederson
←   Episode sequence   →
"Slow Dance" "Only You"


A third season blows clouds on to love's horizon for some denizens of Cicely, Alaska. For Maggie, a ceremony to unveil a larger-than-life-size statue of recently deceased boyfriend Rick turns gloomier when a female stranger in the crowd pipes up with an intimate eulogy of her own. This revelation of Rick's unfaithfulness sends Maggie storming off to drown her sorrows in drink. Meanwhile, Maurice is walking on air thanks to his unbridled emotion for a gun-loving, by-the-book state trooper, but a search for tax loopholes may ground him. And Joel is bound for disaster when the nomadic Adam requests a late-night house call for his ailing wife, Eve.


Residents of Cicely are gathered near the woods at a ceremony for a statue of Rick which Maggie has commissioned. However, Maggie thinks it looks like a hood ornament. As people are invited to say a few words about Rick, a young woman steps forward and introduces herself as Joanne. In a short testimony to Rick, she tells of their intimate relationship, a revelation which shocks Maggie. Later that afternoon, she and Maggie are talking at The Brick, and Maggie is shocked to find that Rick had several other relationships while she was living with him. Her sadness over Rick's death slowly turns to anger.

Maurice and Barbara Semanski are out in a field, having target practice with pistols. Barbara is aroused by the gunfire, and kisses Maurice passionately. Maurice chooses that moment to present her with a Browning pistol which he had engraved to her. The thoughtfulness of the gift leaves her speechless. Barbara is obviously the female counterpart to Maurice: very gruff, bordering on masculine, with a tough, by-the-book demeanor that she devotes to her work as a police officer. At dinner that night, they dine with Holling and Shelly, and Maurice professes his love for Barbara, who is more concerned with her meal than with Maurice's affection.

Late that night, Joel is visited at his cabin by Adam, who tells him that his wife needs medical assistance. Joel is unwilling to go, but follows after Adam takes his medical bag. As the two take Joel's truck out to Adam's home, Adam speaks with unceasing praise about his wife, Eve. Despite Joel's cynicism, Adam proclaims his wife as the image of perfect womanhood. Upon arriving, Joel is confronted by a very outspoken woman, who is obviously an extreme hypochondriac. As Joel examines her, she is quick to point out her various symptoms, and makes her own diagnoses, which Joel refutes one-by-one. When Joel is unable to find anything wrong with her, after Adam leaves for a trip, she knocks him out with a frying pan to keep him from leaving.

Back in town, Maggie is drinking heavily at The Brick, and complains to anyone who will listen about how despicable men are. In a hilarious speech to Ed, Maggie concludes that men are only needed for sex and are otherwise worthless. Ed, being a man, has absolutely no response for Maggie. Much later, Ruth-Anne shows up to take Maggie home. As Ruth-Anne is tucking Maggie in, Maggie asks why men are such swine. Ruth-Anne responds with a touching story about her deceased husband and the affair that she had during the war. She tells Maggie that life is often confusing, but somehow we muddle through. She kisses Maggie tenderly on the forehead, and leaves.

Joel awakens in Adam's cabin only to find himself manacled hand-and-foot with a large welt on his head. Eve explains her need for a 24-hour physician, and Joel refuses. However Eve, being a woman of great patience, tells Joel that she will wait. Eventually, after hours of starvation, she convinces Joel to eat, and Adam walks in as she is feeding him. The entire display disgusts Adam, who is obviously unaware that Joel is being held against his will. The two engage in a bitter argument, with Adam calling Eve a hypochondriac, and Eve calling Adam a pathological liar. Joel finally calls a halt to the argument and demands that the two of them sit down so that they can discuss their differences.

As Maurice returns to his cabin in the evening, he is surprised to find Barbara prearing to leave. She tells him that she has returned his Browning, since she heard Maurice's accountant on the answering machine talking about tax loopholes for Maurice's return. Maurice is amused by the whole circumstance and then his amusement turns to fear when he realizes that Barbara is seriously leaving him. She knows she can never respect him after he broke the law. The door closes and Maurcie is left alone speechless.

As Maggie lies asleep in bed, she dreams she is in heaven, which looks surprisingly like the Grosse Pointe Country Club. She is walking with Rick who is there to answer some unresolved issues. Rick admits to sleeping with roughly 2500 women while he was with Maggie. He tells her that she needs someone steady to settle down with, like Joel. This is the last straw and Maggie awakens from her dream.

In the woods, Joel is arbitrating the dispute between Adam and Eve. He eventually determines that the two of them should part ways and never see each other again. However, his suggestion shocks them and it is shown that they are meant for each other. Eve saws through Joel's chains, and the two of them walk Joel out to his truck. Joel chides them for not taking his advice, and Adam points out Joel's past luck with women, quoting Elaine's final letter to Joel, where she says, "Dear Joey. Take care. Don't get frostbite." This is one of many times where Adam seems omniscient. Joel drives off in confusion.

Back at his office, Joel attempts to file through his manacles. In a strikingly honest moment, Maggie comes in and asks Joel if he would like to have dinner sometime. She almost leaves in embarassment, but Joel accepts her offer and she leaves with a smile on her face. The episode ends with Joel attempting to remove his manacles and falling off the desk.


Maggie: Men can only think of one thing. The joystick. Is it big enough, and where can they put it?

Barbara: He's nothing. A diversion; a rebound.
Maurice: Then what? What do I have to do, Barbara? Tell me what I have to do.
Barbara: You don't get it, Maurice. I'm not a cop because I want to be; I'm a cop because I have to be. I was called to the law. I'm its servant. I eat, breathe, sleep the law; it courses through my body like blood. When you stepped on the law, Maurice, you stepped on me. And that's what hurts.



  • Adam and Eve have been together for 9 years. They met at a book party: she was an editor in publicity at Knopf and he was the caterer.
  • Ruth-Anne's husband was Bill. They married a couple months before [the attack on] Pearl Harbor. He had rheumatic fever as a child and couldn't serve in the military. She joined Women's Army Corps and packed parachutes at an airfield near Manchester while Bill stayed in Portland. Ruth-Anne had an affair with an English pilot who was killed in an air raid over Hamburg.
  • Maggie and Rick lived together for 17 months.
  • "Heaven" to Maggie is the Grosse Pointe Country Club.
  • Rick was a sex addict like JFK and Warren Beatty.
  • Maurice gives Barbara a twin Browning 9mm.
  • Maurice's accountant is McDevitt.
  • Adam and Eve have a "country house".
  • Eve holds Joel prisoner for 36 hours.
  • Shelly's earrings: yellow and black fish (at the unveiling of Rick's statue)
  • For Adam, after 3 years in the DMZ, recon is second nature.
  • Adam told Eve on their first date he was working with a U.N. team of scientists to develop drought-resistant wheat/rice.
  • Adam escavated Ramses III tomb.
  • Adam led rebel forces in the capture of Addis Ababa.
  • Adam was offered a job at Tour D'Argent in Paris.
  • Adam designed sails for a 50-foot catamaran for the Kiwi Cup races in New Zealand.

Maggie wears Opium and Joanne wears Caliche - Rick messed them up last Christmas. "Perimeter!" - Barbara sends the dogs out in the yard. In Maggie's heaven dream, Rick mentions other dead boyfriends Glen and Bruce.


  1. Joanne and Maggie talk in the bar about Rick.
  2. Maruice, Semanski, Holling, and Shelly have dinner at Maurice's.
  3. Maggie talks to Ed about men at the bar.
  4. Maurice comes to KBHR to talk about Semanski with Chris.
  5. Maggie continues to talk to Ed. Euth Anne arrives to talk Maggie home.