Review: ‘Jericho Fever’

USA Network, whose movie signature ("Marilyn and Bobby" notwithstanding) disdains socially relevant, real-life material in favor of physical melodrama, uncranks another of its bread-and-butter, action-suspense yarns in "Jericho Fever." As formulaic patterns go, the plot isn't half bad.

USA Network, whose movie signature (“Marilyn and Bobby” notwithstanding) disdains socially relevant, real-life material in favor of physical melodrama, uncranks another of its bread-and-butter, action-suspense yarns in “Jericho Fever.” As formulaic patterns go, the plot isn’t half bad.

The cable net recently explored past-life regression in the clunky “Dying to Remember.” Happily, its latest entry, stirring the spread of a deadly virus, Mexican-border violence and terrorists, enjoys a well-crafted script by I.C. Rapoport (from a story by Rapoport and director/exec producer Sandor Stern).

Stephanie Zimbalist, whose TV trademark is flinty, no-nonsense doctor/lawyer types, stars as a Centers for Disease Control specialist scurrying through remote New Mexico in pursuit of a German terrorist (Alan Scarfe) who unwittingly carries the antibodies that could save thousands from an impending, mysterious death.

It enriches the irony that he and his band of mercenaries, including a coldblooded Peruvian/German beauty (Elyssa Davalos), are fever-afflicted assassins with the secret to cure people who are dropping like flies.

Playing crucial roles are lantern-jawed Perry King, as Zimbalist’s lover and a doctor studying the virus, and, in the production’s showiest role, Native American Branscombe Richmond. The latter plays a dogged FBI investigator with a nose for tire and foot tracks.

Audiences will forget the show the minute they turn off the set, but that’s part of the diversion.

Jericho Fever

(Thurs. (16), 9-11 p.m., USA)

Production

Filmed in Tucson by Sankan Prods. in association with Wilshire Court Prods. Exec producer, Sandor Stern; producer, Kandy Stern; co-producer, Terence A. Donnelly; director, Sandor Stern; script, I.C. Rapoport.

Crew

Camera, Ronald M. Lautore; editor, Leon Carrere; production design, Robin Peyton; sound, Randy Gable; music, Cameron Allan.

Cast

Cast: Stephanie Zimbalist, Perry King, Branscombe Richmond, Alan Scarfe, Elyssa Davalos, Kario Salem, Ari Barak, Don Harvey, Andrew Brye, Michael Yama, Nicholas Glaeser, Kathleen Erickson, Jamie Stern, Peter Cirano, Connie Perez, Ramon Chavez, Ann Risley, Christie Fletcher, Thom Khaler, Jan Clevenger, Tracy Fox, Maria Amorocho, Gary Kirk, Dave Adams, Blake Conway, Guy Atchley, Craig Reay, Miguel Ortega, Daiton Rutkouski, John Hook, Bobby Joe McFadden, Paul Elia, Alison Moynihan.
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