Daughter of the late independent filmmaker Paul Leder, Mimi Leder was the first woman accepted to study cinematography at the American Film Institute. She began her career as a script supervisor, serving a six-year stint in that capacity for NBC's "Hill Street Blues," and performed the same duty for several TV-movies. The short film "Short Order Dreams," which she produced and directed, impressed the producers of NBC's "L.A. Law," and she made her TV directing debut with a 1986 episode of that hit series. Subsequently, Leder helmed episodes of "Crime Story" (NBC), "The Bronx Zoo" (NBC), "A Year in the Life" (NBC) and "Just in Time" (ABC), not to mention additional segments of "L.A. Law" and a half dozen TV-movies. She then served as supervising producer for "China Beach" (ABC, 1988-91), for which she also directed episodes.