Blessed with sharp production values and tight direction by E.W. Swackhamer, Brian Ross’ teleplay about a father-son competition rings out loud and clear. If the tale doesn’t bear close scrutiny and if a red herring or two are dragged across the plot line, the story still has effective conflict.
Scott Valentine as a Georgia district attorney, home after living in N.Y., finds himself prosecuting playboy Kevin Conroy for murder.
John Mahoney, playing Valentine’s trial-lawyer/dad, takes up the defense of Conroy, who’s accused of killing a local hooker with whom he and another prostie (whose dynamic presence just fades out of the tale) have been partying.
Trouble is, Conroy is married to lovely Eve Gordon, Valentine’s former girlfriend, who helps Junior rekindle plenty of sparks. As the Conroy trial chugs along, Valentine’s case looks assured. But Ross’ script, based on a story by him and Lucky Gold, has a couple of forced tricks in the works.
Thesping is confident, with Conroy’s besieged character leading the pack. Valentine works Junior’s role well, and Mahoney gives the senior lawyer credibility. Gordon plays out the complex wife well enough, and Elizabeth Swackhamer as the dead girl’s pal is terrif.
The diversion moves fast, with Billy Dickson’s often-diffused, evocative camerawork picking up on production designer William McAllister’s rich backgrounds and Atlanta locations. Bernard Gribble’s editing’s a plus, and Nicholas Pike’s score buoys the meller.