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Stepfanie's ultimatum on Hunter set:
After four successful years, TV's toughest policewoman, Hunter's Stepfanie Kramer, was on the verge of severing all ties with the action series last month.

In a special episode, the producers planned to incorporate a scene in which her character, Sergeant Dee Dee McCall, was raped.  But Stepfanie refused.

'It was worked out in my favor and it will be an attempted rape'

At the time, Stepfanie was filming a three-part Hunter special title City Of Passion.

Based on a true story, the episode focuses on satanic cults and serial rapists.

In an exlusive interview with TV WEEK on the set of the Seven Network drama, she revealed the rape issue nearly ended with her quitting the show.

"We've been basing stories on actual incidents for some time, but we had a difference of opinion with this particular script," she said.

"Basically, they wanted my character to be raped in the story.  Dee Dee was raped in the second year of the series, so I thought to do it again was really exploitative and unnecessary.

"It would continually perpetuate the image of violently violating women.  I didn't want to do it.  We had a parting of the ways.  They felt adamant about keeping it in and I was just as adamant about it not being in.

"It was worked out in my favor and it will be an attempted rape.  It doesn't diminish any of the power of the scene."

After four years, Stepfanie admitted she is much more comfortable with the role and the series.

A new producer and scripts based on real-life police cases have resulted in a change of direction for Hunter and it's paid off in the ratings.

"The show is so different from the first year," Stepfanie said.

"It was an action-drama-oriented show.  Dramatic changes made by a new producer turned us more into a dramatic/small-amount-of-action show.  There had also been a concentrated effort on quality scripts, quality stories and more character development."

One change in stories is the producers' plans of a romance for Dee Dee McCall.

"They're talking about a love interest for her.  They're batting the idea around," Stepfanie said.

But it won't involve her co-star Fred Dryer, who plays Sergeant Rick Hunter.

"That will always be the way it is," she revealed.  "There was even a script that was written.  We read it and it just wasn't right.  We decided to let it pass."

David Brown

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