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(written from a Production point of view)
Cates made her television debut in the movie A Taste for Killing, directed by one-time TOS guest actor Lou Antonio. Cates went on to appear in such TV movies as 1994's Witness to the Execution (also featuring Len Cariou and Brian Markinson) and 1996's The People Next Door as well as the 1995 mini-series Streets of Laredo, co-starring Kevin Conway and directed by Joseph Sargent. She has also appeared in the films Underneath (1995, with Paul Dooley), The Whole Wide World (1996, co-starring Harve Presnell), and Merchants of Venus (1998, with Michael J. Pollard and Robert Easton).
During the 1997-98 television season, Cates had a recurring role opposite Dan Aykroyd and Dakin Matthews in the sitcom Soul Man. Since then, she has made guest appearances on such programs as Strong Medicine (in an episode with Albert Hall), The Michael Richards Show (with Bill Cobbs), Walker, Texas Ranger, The District (with Roger Aaron Brown, Larry Cedar, Lanei Chapman, Richard Herd, and Michael Buchman Silver), and Judging Amy (in an episode with Lawrence Pressman).