Jesse Stone: Night Passage (2004)

(TV Movie -- CBS, Sun. Jan. 15, 9 p.m.)
Filmed in Halifax by TWS Prods. II and Brandman Prods. in association with Sony Pictures TelevisionSony Pictures Television.

Executive producers: Michael Brandman, Tom Selleck
Producer: Steven Brandman
Co-producer: Robert Harmon
Director: Robert Harmon
Screenplay: Tom Epperson based on the novel by Robert B. Parker.

Cast:

Running Length:120 min (including commercials) / 96 min

Genre: Mystery, Crime

Reviewed by Judith Fox

Handsome and wornout looking Jesse Stone (Tom Selleck) is a law enforcerer looking for a new job after being caught drunk on his previous job in Los Angeles. Heís newly divorced with a booze problem to boot. A lovable guy really with a wry sense of humor and a wise answer to everything.

Jesse Stone drives across country from L.A. to a town called Paradise just outside Boston, with his old hound dog, Boomer, as his constant companion. The looks exchanged between the man and the dog say more than words. They are old pals and life has its knocks. A real winner with this reviewer. And probably with many viewers.

Jesseís goal is to attend an interview for sheriff in Paradise, a rather ironical name for a town full of dirty deeds.

Jesse gets the job and wonders why. They have his records and he smells of booze. So being the kind of guy he is, he has to find answers.

Throughout the story he and his wife always keep in touch by telephone, as he travels across the U.S. to get from the west coast to the east coast. Jesse does have more actual words with his ex-wife than with Boomer, but you get the same feeling. There is a fondness that runs through these relationships. A fondness which never dies.

Jesse announces his intentions to his underlings at his job, all of whom are aptly portrayed by quality actors, such as Viola Crane, Simpson, and Luther Suitcase. These secondary characters, perhaps a bit reluctant to warm up to their new superior, Jesse Stone, eventually succumb to his comfortable friendliness and wry humor. Stephen Baldwin plays a mean man, Joe Genest, who abuses his family, making it so easy to dislike him. And you get satisfaction at how Jesse deals with the gruddy guy.

There are characters like Hasty Hathaway (Saul Rubinek) and his wife, Cissy Hathaway (Stephanie March), a friendly couple until you turn your back. Apparently Cissy has slept with every man in town, but married Hasty, probably because he has loads of money. She offers herself to Jesse but it doesnít seem to interest him. Jesse already has his lady friend for bed, the younger Abby Taylor (Polly Shannon), a district attorney. Why do the older men always get the younger women?

To get back on the facts here, the former Sheriff is killed in an accident and things develop which prove otherwise. A can of worms is opened.

Instead of a whodunit mystery type story, this is more of a crime story. We follow the nice policeman while he confidently though slowly walks through his logic to solve the crime.

Iíve read the novels that Robert Parker wrote on the hero, Jesse Stone and was sorry when the stories stopped. Iím looking forward to more novels and more films with Tom Sellect, a solid and capable actor, portraying Stone.

The film is almost as good as the novel.

At a score from 1 to 10, I give this story a 10. Itís a rare treat to see.

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