Why Triple A stopped working on The A-Team

Melinda Culea and Stephen J. Cannell did not see the character the same way.

Although Amy Amanda Allen — better known as Triple A — was never an official part of The A-Team, she proved herself tough enough to earn a place.

Just watch the first season episode "A Nice Place to Visit," where Triple A must defend her ground in a farmhouse, managing to survive all alone through an intense shoot-out.

Playing Triple A was Melinda Culea, a model who had been struggling to make it as an actor for years.

She was stoked when Stephen J. Cannell and his team cast her on The A-Team, and as the only woman on the cast, she frequently gained attention from reporters who asked her what she thought about her character and where it might be going.

During these interviews, Culea often spoke of how The A-Team focused much of the action on the men, but that she saw Triple A as a character that was just as strong an individual as all the real A-Team members.

"The ’80s is the decade of the individual; we are just beginning to peak on it, and I mean in the purest sense of the word," Culea told the Herald and Review in 1983. "It’s a very new concept, which combines the conscious, the unconscious and the superconscious. On the show, we are all such ridiculous individuals. It’s holding the mirror up to nature in a humorous way – the best way to teach humans anything."

In Culea’s eyes, The A-Team was focusing more on the male characters to establish the main action on the show, but she expected that, eventually, Triple A would get more screentime as viewers became more interested in her character.

"Now that we’re established, we’ve talked about my character and where she’s going, and I have faith in the writers," Culea told The Sheboygan Press in 1983. "It’s a natural progression, and two things I’ve learned from it are humility and patience."

But producers had already lost patience with Culea. As these interviews were being published, behind the scenes of The A-Team, producers had made the decision to go in the opposite direction — and fire Culea.

TV Guide reported in 1983 that they decided to cut her character, and Cannell told The Philadelphia Inquirer that year that writers never intended to make anything more out of the Triple A character.

"It didn’t work out the way we or she intended," Cannell said. "There were misunderstandings regarding the size of her role and the sorts of things her character would be doing."

Before the second season ended, Triple A was evacuated from the show, leaving for a reporting trip and never coming back.

Culea had been so sure that The A-Team was going to keep her on, she bought a house after the first season ratings were so high.

After she was fired for what Cannell said was her own dissatisfaction with the role, Culea continued acting through 2001.

She featured on shows like Family Ties, St. Elsewhere and Star Trek: The Next Generation.

In the mid-1990s, she joined another TV cast on a sitcom called Brotherly Love.

When she left The A-Team, producers tried to replace Triple A with a new female character Tawnia Baker.

Played by Marla Heasley, Tawnia lasted even fewer episodes than Triple A.

This time, producers didn’t bother to bring in a new female character, happy to let the men of The A-Team hold the show down on their own for the rest of the series.

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DerekJ 24 months ago
For Pete's sake, she's called 'Triple A' ONCE in the pilot. That's not her nickname in the show, everyone calls her Amy. Talk about running something into the ground...
MichaelFields 24 months ago
I mean it was about a troop of men who all worked together in the military and battle (beginning of the show) so if they wanted to bring in a female, they really and should have brought in someone they "Knew" and "worked with" on a few missions, this way they would all still be the same team
DethBiz 24 months ago
Well, the show was all about them. They were a military team together and in all honesty wouldn't be that open to having a civilian be that integral of a member. I could see her just handling their gigs but she really shouldn't have been more than that.
RichLorn 24 months ago
Aah yes. Many careers were ended by leaking the story to The Sheboygan Press.
LynCarceo 24 months ago
I heard that the male cast threatened to leave the show if she wasn't let go. I heard that George Peppard let her know that she was useless and not wanted at all. In fact, no female was welcome as a permanent member.
Jeffrey 24 months ago
That wasn't nice of the producers to fire Melinda Culea, they should've given her and her character more of a chance.
TlorDagama 24 months ago
She seemed rather useless to the cast, she wasn't wanted for anything. She obviously couldn't write about their exploits for whatever paper (or maybe she was a freelancer?). She wasn't asset. No idea why they put her in the show in the first place. The A team was about men who escaped to the underground, she wasn't part of the 'team'. Annoying when they put in token women in a good storyline just because the suits wanted her there, seen that done many times and its a death knell .. sort of like when a main character gets married.. then its the last season for sure. My favorite movie is Ice Station Zebra!
JoeGuenther 24 months ago
The final season was awful as a new unwanted male character was added to the team and Robert Vaughn was made their boss.
BuckeyeBeth JoeGuenther 24 months ago
Sort of like that S5 E10 episode where as they are flying/boating away from the island they just escaped from the natives are chanting something that suspiciously sounds like “who wrote this”. I think that pretty much sums up the last season.

I’m sure Eddie Velez is a nice person and fine actor but I really hated his character. It just seemed way too forced to me inserting him in with the team. And Robert Vaughn? I knew he was supposed to be someone who had been in Hollywood forever and I’d seen him a few times as a baddie on current tv shows, but I had never seen him in any of his younger stuff including The Man from U.N.C.L.E.. I might have liked his character better if I had been familiar with his past work.
Fuentino 24 months ago
Somehow, I could have easily imagined her triple A character on the series Castle. Cannell made at least one cameo appearance as one of Richard Castle's poker buddies.

PDCougar 24 months ago
If I remember right, this character was included in the action figure line that came out toward the end of the first season. Seems like it was tough to find even then.
BrittReid 24 months ago
The cast was less than happy with her being on the show.
Andybandit 24 months ago
I didn't know that she was part of the A-Team. I just thought she was in a couple of episodes and that was it. I didn't remember her from other shows.
Pacificsun 24 months ago
I liked Melinda Culea's personality. I thought the Show needed some femininity without throwing it in everybody's face. But, it really *was* a Boys' ensemble. They liked playing around, and maybe they were self-conscious about not saying the wrong things, behind the scenes. Or maybe they did, and got reported. Bye Bye Melinda!! Stephen Cannell was known for featuring "tough-guy" central characters! That's who drives the non-stop action, and Culea was pretty soft. Though smart!!
Michael Pacificsun 24 months ago
Beth Davenport on the Rockford File.
Pacificsun Michael 24 months ago
Well Gretchen Corbett was smart! And tough against Rockford. But it was a central character premise with only his father and Angel.

I can't remember if there were any recurring women in Magnum P.I. though.
Michael Pacificsun 24 months ago
Erin Gray made an appearance, "Digger Doyle". She was a security expert and I think conflicted with Magnum. But it was to try out a potential spinoff.
BenSchockley Pacificsun 24 months ago
Carol Baldwin played by Kathleen Lloyd?
BenSchockley Pacificsun 24 months ago
Agatha Chumley played by Gillian Dobb?
ETristanBooth 24 months ago
I've never watched the A-Team. I know her from the Star Trek: TNG episode, which I've seen dozens of times because I play it for my students.
Pacificsun ETristanBooth 24 months ago
Well that's pretty cool! What class do you teach!!
ETristanBooth Pacificsun 24 months ago
Gender and communication. That episode is all about gender.
Pacificsun ETristanBooth 24 months ago
In terms of "Popular Culture" or "Entertainment's Industry Courses."

I loved "Communication, Linguistics, Origin of Language." But loved the "Popular Culture" perspective as well!

Fortunate your students are, to have you as their instructor. You've been commenting on this site for a very long time!

Thank you for your reply!
mlauenstein ETristanBooth 24 months ago
I thought it was going to be physics.

"A 5 pound watermelon is launched at a 45 degree angle from a slingshot made out of a tractor tire..."
MrsPhilHarris 24 months ago
I don’t recognize her name. Don’t remember her in any show.
daDoctah 24 months ago
Having her exit off-screen on a reporting trip from which she never returned would have made a great setup for a reunion series maybe ten years later, when the team get called in to investigate her disappearance.
LoveMETV22 24 months ago
Well she had a good run of 24 episodes on The A-Team before her departure. She appeared on
Knots Landing and a few other series as well. She was funny on the Family Ties episodes she appeared in as Alex's boss.
Michael 24 months ago
She was the best part of the A-Team.

She was also "Wagons East!", which was either John Candy's last film, or second to last. It was the second to last film of his released.
nd1irish Michael 24 months ago
Her husband, Peter Markle, directed Wagons East.
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