This is it for Molly Dodd.

"We all thought that Molly would go on forever," said Blair Brown. "'Molly has a walker,' 'Molly has a triple bypass,' 'Molly visits the eye bank ...'" She laughed.

But Molly Dodd will never grow old. No more days or nights. No new jobs or new men. Instead, midway into the final 13 episodes beginning this week, Molly Dodd will become a mother.

"She was a nice character to play," agreed Brown.

Molly first caught the fancy of viewers -- particularly women -- in May 1987, when she appeared on NBC, a single working woman making her uneven way through life in New York City (where the series is shot).

When NBC dropped the series, Lifetime cable service picked it up. Red-haired Molly got to continue her aimless and somewhat whimsical way for a couple of seasons, still parrying with her mother, Florence Bickford (Allyn Ann McLerie), and still forming liaisons with various men.

So various, as it turned out last season, that when she became pregnant she wasn't certain who was the father. Television had come a long, long way since Desi and Lucy slept in separate beds and couldn't utter the word "pregnant" on the air.

Saturday at 10:30 p.m., Lifetime airs the first of the final 13 episodes of Molly Dodd's still-quirky life. (Episodes from previous seasons air Monday through Friday at 11:30 p.m.)

The installment begins on an up-note and ends, as the ruminating "Molly Dodd" almost always does, on a question mark: What's really happening here, and why? Why does Molly, soon to be a mother and presumably a wife, still feel unsettled? Why do times that should bring unbridled happiness often seem less than perfect?

Blair Brown, who plays Molly, finished the final episode in October and directed two of them, including the installment midway through when Molly gives birth. Like Molly Dodd, Brown is a single mother, with an 8-year-old son by actor Richard Jordan.

"We had such a good relationship with Lifetime and they with us, but to film a show like this was very expensive and they felt it was more practical to put their money elsewhere," she said. "They and we had very mixed feelings about ending it. But at the end -- and {creator, producer, director} Jay Tarses had already written the script, not knowing that the series was going to end -- all the characters had gone in a different direction, and Molly was really at a whole new spot."

Without spoiling the surprises of this week's installment, suffice it to say that by the time Molly Dodd gives birth, she is still a single mother. Brown agreed that it would have been difficult to see Molly any other way.

"It's Molly sort of coping with single parenthood," said Brown. "That was the whole point of her, her different tune, and in that way it would have been interesting {to continue}. And despite this new little person, it's still about Molly, about her reaction to motherhood. This has been a diary about this woman."

Returning for this last season are McLerie and her real-life husband, George Gaynes, who plays her romantic interest, Arthur Feldman; James Greene as Davey McQuinn, the doorman, and James Gleason as his son Jimmy, who's learning Dad's profession; William Converse-Roberts as Molly's ex-husband, jazz musician Fred Dodd; Richard Lawson as Detective Nathaniel Hawthorne and David Strathairn as her former boss, Moss Goodman, both Molly's suitors, and John Pankow and J. Smith-Cameron as Molly's neighbors, Ron and Ramona Luchesse.

Brown, who appeared in the critically acclaimed television movie "Extreme Closeup" earlier this season, has moved on to two writing projects with "Molly Dodd" colleagues, one with writer Rick Dresser, to be presented to NBC, the other with producer Don Scardino, to be presented to PBS.

The idea, said Brown, is to generate enough income to be able to continue to live in New York City.