Melinda Gordon (Jennifer Love Hewitt) is a young woman from the town of Grandview, New York, who has the ability to see and communicate with the dead. Melinda lives with her husband, Jim Clancy (David Conrad), and later their son Aiden (Connor Gibbs). She owns a shop called “Same as It Never Was Antiques”. Ghosts seek Melinda’s help in relaying a message or completing a task that will put the spirit to rest, and allow them to cross over into the light.
Those who died with unfinished business become earthbound and cannot cross over, and Melinda, as their earthly representative, helps them to find peace. The show does not present the ghosts as having sinned; rather it is the spirits’ own guilt that condemns them, and their own fear of judgment that keeps them from “crossing over” into an afterlife.
The series also starred Aisha Tyler as Andrea Marino, Melinda’s best friend, who runs the antique shop with her. Andrea is killed in the first-season finale. During the second season, Melinda meets Delia Banks (Camryn Manheim), a struggling real estate agent who forms a friendship with Melinda and who eventually agrees to run the antique shop with her.
Delia is shocked to find out about Melinda’s abilities; in fact, at first she claims Melinda needs psychological help. Delia eventually accepts Melinda’s gift, though she remains skeptical at times. Delia has a son named Ned Banks (Tyler Patrick Jones seasons 2–3, Christoph Sanders thereafter) who finds out about Melinda’s gift long before his mother does.
Melinda also forms a friendship with Rick Payne (Jay Mohr), a professor at Rockland University. He helps Melinda solve the conflicts of ghosts throughout the second and third seasons. He departs in the fourth-season premiere for an expedition in the Himalayas.
The same episode introduced Eli James, another professor at the university, who goes thru a near-death experience which unlocks an ability to hear ghosts, but not see them like Melinda. He becomes a close friend to Melinda and helps her investigate hauntings.
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