TOM STONE

Starring: Chris William Martin, Janet Kidder, Stuart Margolin, Terence Kelly, Nola Auguston, Carmen Moore, Timothy Webber, Greg Lawson, Reg Tupper, and Stephen Hair... plus guest stars.

Director: Stuart Margolin (Episodes 1 & 2), Alan Simmonds (Episode 3), Tom Braidwood (Episode 4)
Written by: Andrew Wreggitt (Episodes 1-3), Peter Lauterman (Episode 4)
Broadcast on Canadian TV (available in USA via satellite and cable) One hour drama televised on Monday nights at 8 p.m.

Reviewed by Cherie Jung

Remember Due South, the widely popular cop show that featured Canadian actor Paul Gross as an RCMP misfit, due to his "Dudley Do-right" persona, who was assigned to work in the USofA as a means of getting him out of the RCMP brasses hair? Remember the innovative story lines, the haunting music, the sizzling personal charm of Paul Gross? And don't even get me started on his faithful dog, Deiffenbach, a deaf Alaskan Husky with almost as much charm as his Mountie owner.

Well, Tom Stone isn't Due South, but it's about as close as we're going to get without watching old episodes we've taped of Due South. For whatever reason, I find the Canadian, or at least some of the Canadian cop shows a thousand times more interesting than the ones set here in the states. And while there are plenty of things I don't like about the way Tom Stone is put together, in the long run, I'm willing to give it a chance to work out some of the kinks and settle down. There are 13 episodes scheduled for this season, and the show has been picked up for a second season.

The basic premise is straightforward enough. RCMP Corporal Marina Di Luzio (Janet Kidder) is a commercial crime specialist. She goes after the corporate bad guys who like to think and act as if they are above the law. The series opens in Toronto where justice eludes her in her latest big case. Subsequently she is transferred to the "wild west" of Calgary. Enter Tom Stone, ex-cop, ex-con, or soon to be ex-con, once Di Luzio convinces him to work for her, in an undercover capacity, and she arranges his release from prison. Why was he in prison, you ask? Don't. It's something about him having been set up by some partner who then left town with over 2 million dollars of some mob-type guy's money. But before the guy blew town, Stone did manage to misappropriate a couple of thousand of dollars which he lost on the stock market...or some such thing.

This whole, "I've been set up, why won't anyone believe me?" ploy is the most annoying recurring theme of the show. The writers want us to love Tom, rascal that he is, and have given him a somewhat shady background. But not too shady. We're supposed to get the idea that he is really a good guy at heart, just that he has a slight larcenous touch to his personality. Okay, I got that early on. Enough all ready! Put the sledge hammer away. Poor Tom got double-crossed. Now get on with it.

I think the writers were trying for a Canadian version of Magnum, P.I. or The Rockford Files. I'm more than willing to have my hero a bit roguish, but at least in the first four episodes that I've watched, the character of Tom Stone is so over-the-top, he's annoying, not roguish. Of course he doesn't do what he's told to do, isn't where he's supposed to be, etc. but he gets away with it. He out-suckers the bad guys in the current case, the bad guys from the mob who want their money back, and he charms his way through all of the women he encounters. His smart-aleck ways would have me slamming his butt back in prison before the first commercial if I were the Di Luzio character.

I find the Marina Di Luzio character a much more interesting, fuller character, than Stone. As played by Kidder (and to some extent, no doubt, as written in the script), Marina Di Luzio is plucky, classy, and intelligent. She is capable of taking care of herself, thanks to the boxing lessons her father gave her. And even though she is in a bit of a "fish out of water" situation -- coming from the large metropolitan arena of Toronto to the relatively rural setting of Calgary--she has numerous endearing qualities that make her the reason I watch this show.

Copyright © 2002 Over My Dead Body! All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Over My Dead Body! is prohibited. OMDB! and OMDB! logos are trademarks of Over My Dead Body!

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Copyright 2002 Over My Dead Body! All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Over My Dead Body! is prohibited. OMDB! and OMDB! logos are trademarks of Over My Dead Body!