Review: ‘Secret Service’

Host: Stephen Ford.

Host: Stephen Ford.

NBC’s latest response to CBS’ “60 Minutes” is dramas from the U.S. Secret Service’s files, but it’s no Sunday match for ABC’s onetime stalwart “The FBI.” The Secret Service shield, the stern-looking suited agents, the infernal government agents all shout authority; but times have changed, and the sleekness is absent.

Two cases open the first episode, with one covering the agency ferreting out a would-be assassin of President Reagan; the other, drier and self-limiting, about the service chasing down an electronic whiz who’s infected a power company’s computers with a virus.

“The Stalker” moves between the Feds and the would-be killer, who’s bragged in writing about his plans. Tracing his phone calls in NYC is a replay of dozens of dramas, but it’s supposed to be a dramatization of the real thing, so the writers are stuck with a weary tag.

“Logic Bomb” involves a disgruntled former employee of the power company who knocks out not only the plant’s system but the whole city’s. Episode comes briefly to life when two agents, entering his house, are surprisingly locked in; the writers fumble the solution, and the idea’s lights go out.

The concept ispromising, but director Gilbert Shilton gives the skimpily written stories little conviction, and his platoon of actors is seldom convincing.

Page Fletcher as the Stalker kicks some life into his perf; otherwise it’s dum-dee-dum-dum.

With more polish and only one story per chapter, “Secret Service” could build its own audience; in any case, “60 Minutes” looks secure.

Steven Ford, who has had considerable experience with the Secret Service as son of a president, acts appropriately stern as the host.

Secret Service

(Sun. (16), 7-8 p.m., NBC)


Filmed in Canada by Secret Vision Ltd., Grosso-Jacobson Prods. and Skyvision Entertainment in association with NBC Prods. Co-exec producers, Sonny Grosso, Larry Jacobson; co-exec producers, Brian Ross, Kevin Gillis; producer, Jeff King; line producer, Jonathan Hackett; director, Gilbert Shilton; developer, Ron Malfi.


Camera, Ron Stannett; editor, Mike Lee; sound, Urmas Rosin; music, Domenic Troiano; production designer, Edward Hanna. "The Stalker": writers, Jim Henshaw, Ken Gass; "Logic Bomb": writers, Henshaw, Sherman Snukal.


Cast: Page Fletcher, Henry Czerny, Ron Lea, Laurie Paton, Chuck Shamata, Clark Johnson, Tony Desantis, Avery Saltzman.
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