Role: “Bad cop” on the farm
Who I’d Cast: Stephanie March
Jaqueline Thompson was born in Longmont, Colorado, to Jack and Toula Thompson. Jack was an inventor who created the gravity-fed kitchen mixer and the inversion desk. Toula was a poet, but because Jack was able to sell several of his lucrative patents, they had the money to buy an alpaca farm in Longmont on which to raise their children.
The name on Jackie’s birth certificate was “Willow,” but when she was four she asked to be called Jacqueline, so Toula filed for a legal name change.
Jacqueline’s mother was warm and scatterbrained; her father was quiet, creative, and intense; and her sister Theresa was sweet and sensitive. Theresa, who was three years her junior, fit effortlessly into their hippie-dippy family, but Jacqueline always felt a little out of place.
She was closest to her father, who encouraged her to pursue her love of sports. Jacqueline always admired her father’s work ethic but felt that he lacked business sense. And since both of her parents were a little out of touch with reality, Jacqueline always felt as though she had to protect Theresa from the outside world.
When the kids at school would bully Theresa about her homemade clothes and her stutter, Jackie was always there to stand up for her. Jacqueline was a star athlete in high school — excelling both in basketball and field hockey — and so she had a certain degree of respect among her classmates, even if she wasn’t universally liked.
After she graduated, Jackie attended the University of Colorado-Denver on a full athletic scholarship. She majored in political science but dropped out when her father was diagnosed with sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.
Watching her brilliant father’s rapid decline was extremely hard on Jackie. At the time, Theresa was completing her senior year of high school and Toula was a mess, and so Jacqueline assumed full-time responsibility for her father’s care. He died a year later, but not before he made Jackie promise to always look after her sister.
The death of her father had a profound impact on Jacqueline. Instead of going back to school to earn her bachelor’s degree and then pursuing law school, she got her associate’s degree and entered the police academy.
She became a beat cop for the Denver Police Department, but when her mother was diagnosed with cancer, she didn’t have the heart to come back home to care for her. Theresa, who had just completed a year of student teaching, moved back to the farm to stay with her mother instead.
After both their parents died, the Thompson sisters were forced to sell the farm. Toula’s prolonged illness had left a pile of medical bills, and neither daughter was earning enough money to keep it. They each went their separate ways — Theresa to teach in Boulder, Jacqueline back to Denver — but they remained close and continued to get together several times a month.
Thompson flitted from one fling to the next, always too restless to start a real relationship. She became a bit of a workaholic, and her colleagues on the force became her second family.
When food shortages in the city sparked mass panic, Jacqueline stayed behind to keep the peace with the National Guard. But when the situation continued to deteriorate, Theresa begged Jackie to move away with her. (Theresa was dating a woman from New Mexico, and her family had a farm.)
Moved by the prospect of returning to her roots, Jacqueline agreed. After all, she had to take care of Theresa. She had made her dad a promise.