Baywatch/Neely Capshaw Buchannon

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Neely Capshaw Buchannon
Gena Lee Nolin Baywatch.jpg
Actors Heather Campbell (season 5)
Gena Lee Nolin (seasons 6–8, TV movie)
Jennifer Campbell (season 9)
First Appearance 5x22 - Wet and Wild
Last Appearance Baywatch: Hawaiian Wedding
Series Billing Guest star (season 5)
Main cast (seasons 6–8)
Recurring cast (season 9)

Neely Capshaw Buchannon (AKA Neely Capshaw) is a character on Baywatch, played by Heather Campbell as a guest star in Season Five, by Gena Lee Nolin in the main cast in Seasons Six through Eight and in the TV movie Baywatch: Hawaiian Wedding, and by Jennifer Campbell as a recurring character in Season Nine.


Basic Information

Character History

Neely is introduced as a one-off character in the Season Five finale, "Wet and Wild", a manipulative young rookie lifeguard who tries to make romantic advances toward fellow lifeguard Matt Brody, who turns her down since he is already dating C.J. Parker. Stung by both Matt's rejection and by his later discovering her drinking on duty while performing a rescue (he found the smell of alcohol on her breath as they performed CPR on a child Matt had rescued while Neely was off drinking) and reporting her for the violation, the vindictive Neely seeks revenge by falsely accusing Matt of sexual harassment and, after he gets suspended pending an investigation, filing a restraining order against him based on the false charges, instigating an incident between Matt and Neely's then-boyfriend, stunt performer Johnny Danger, when Matt attempted to confront an unrepentant Neely about her hand in his suspension, and threatening to sue him, Baywatch and the County of Los Angeles. Matt and C.J. come up with a plan to expose Neely's duplicity and clear Matt's name. C.J., under the pretense of having a fight with Matt, meets with Neely at a café to discuss the case and secretly tape records Neely revealing the truth about her revenge scheme against Matt (which includes Neely telling C.J. to lie about him as she had done, then admitting that he did not sexually harass her). C.J. then reveals the incriminating recording and later brings it to county officials, who subsequently fire Neely from Baywatch for her actions and clear Matt of all charges and let him return to duty.[1]

Neely returns as a regular character beginning with the Season Six premiere, "Trapped Beneath the Sea, Part I". Neely is controversially rehired by a reluctant Stephanie Holden under orders from the county, which had opted to reinstate Neely to her lifeguard duties in exchange for her dropping the lawsuit she had earlier filed against the county, stemming from the events of "Wet and Wild". During her first full season as a regular character, Neely serves as the show's resident bad girl, being in constant conflict with her fellow employees and her boss, Mitch Buchannon (who was also not happy about Neely being rehired), about as often as she goes out saving lives while on the job; in one early incident, she gets into a fight with C.J., who was likewise upset about Neely's rehiring and blames her for Matt leaving Baywatch to move to France, accusing her of ruining his reputation because of her actions.[2]

During Season Seven, however, the Baywatch writers gave her a personality makeover as she is reformed and made into a good character, a move which did not sit well with some of the show's fans, who liked the bad-girl edge that Neely originally had. Neely also appeared in only a few episodes of that season due to Nolin's real-life pregnancy, which later led writers to make the character a mother as well. Neely's absence is later explained by having her take time off from work with a skiing vacation while she was pregnant (which she hid by claiming she had been in a skiing accident), and when she is persuaded to return to work and get her lifeguard recertification after Mitch and Donna learn of her saving an elderly heart attack victim with CPR following a botched drugstore robbery in the episode "Homecoming", she begs off of doing a necessary blood test, leading to the discovery of both her pregnancy and that she had become hooked on painkillers during her recovery from a difficult delivery of her baby daughter.[3][4] Rather than face having the pills discovered in the blood test, she quits her requalification training and gets a job as a lifeguard at a private club for a while before she is convinced to kick the painkillers and return to Baywatch.

During Season Eight, Neely becomes romantically involved with Mitch and they get married in a season-ending three-episode arc, "Bon Voyage" and the two-part episode "White Thunder at Glacier Bay".

Heather Campbell as Neely in "Wet and Wild"
In Season Nine, the character is once more retooled to her "bad girl" roots as it is revealed she had been lying for a long time about being separated from her ex-husband, her baby's father; in truth, the man had no idea Neely had been pregnant. It is later discovered that a desperate Neely had seduced Mitch into marrying her for some stability (their marriage technically was never legal), which causes Mitch to separate from her. Neely's final appearance in the series is in the episode "Wave Rage", where she becomes more conniving, even attempting to ruin Mitch's reputation as revenge for him breaking up with her (just as she had done to Matt before) by making it seem like Mitch hit her. When Neely finds out that Alex Ryker is aware of her history at Baywatch after looking into it and then threatens Neely with consequences for lying about Mitch, she tries to silence Alex by spiking her coffee with pills, causing her to be hospitalized and have her stomach pumped after nearly suffering an overdose. Realizing how dangerous Neely is, Alex (with the entire Baywatch team in tow) confronts her on the beach. Neely falsely accuses Alex of lying about the drug spiking and threatens to have her fired from Baywatch, but Alex reveals that she has already spoken with the Baywatch chief, who agrees with her assessment of Neely. Alex fires Neely for her actions, and then punches her out after she insults Alex.

Neely returns in Baywatch: Hawaiian Wedding. In the movie, Neely, who had thought herself widowed when Mitch was presumed dead after a boat explosion in Hawaii in the Season Ten finale "The Killing Machine", learns that Mitch is alive and plans to marry Allison Ford, a dead ringer for Mitch's now-deceased one-time girlfriend Stephanie Holden. Discovering that Allison is secretly in league with an old enemy of Mitch's, Mason Sato, Neely teams with the rest of the old Baywatch crew to try to stop the wedding, as well as to rekindle her relationship with Mitch.

Memorable Moments