Review: ‘Nbc Sunday Night at the Movies Jack Reed: A Search for Justice’

Following two earlier vidpix starring Brian Dennehy and spun off from actual South Chicago police files and the exploits of tough-as-nails detective Jack Reed, "Search for Justice" marks actor/writer Dennehy's directorial debut. The parlay pays off: Superior whiplash pacing and an interlock of above-average performances boost this effort in the welter of recent cops-vs.-crime, cops-vs.-civic corruption and cops-vs.-conscience TV fare.

Following two earlier vidpix starring Brian Dennehy and spun off from actual South Chicago police files and the exploits of tough-as-nails detective Jack Reed, “Search for Justice” marks actor/writer Dennehy’s directorial debut. The parlay pays off: Superior whiplash pacing and an interlock of above-average performances boost this effort in the welter of recent cops-vs.-crime, cops-vs.-civic corruption and cops-vs.-conscience TV fare.

In “Badge of Honor,” veteran detective Reed (Dennehy) blew the whistle on within-the-force corruption, sending a well-regarded officer to prison.

Now Reed faces the animosity of colleagues for his one-man cleanup campaign, and fumes as a lesser cop (Charles S. Dutton) is promoted over him in the name of affirmative action.

Together they set out on a case in which the known murderer (Miguel Ferrer) is also a highly regarded bigwig likely to be protected by civic leaders.

The murder case, though grisly, resolves along predictable lines. What sends “Justice” over the top is the aggregation of well-written lesser characters, among them Susan Ruttan as Reed’s uncommonly intelligent and helpful wife, Ferrer as the well-off villain and Joe Grifasi as an unwilling murder accomplice.

Dennehy’s character, a strong and fluid mix of career disillusionment and obsessive law-and-order loyalty, overshadows the work of his remarkable cast, but not by much.

Nbc Sunday Night at the Movies Jack Reed: A Search for Justice

(Sun. (2), 9- 11 p.m., NBC)

Production

A Kushner-Locke Co./Steve Krantz production. Exec producers, Steve Krantz, Tony Etz; co-exec producer, Brian Dennehy; producer, Larry Rapaport; exec in charge of production, Reid Shane; director, Dennehy; writers, Dennehy, Bill Phillips.

Crew

Camera, Kees van Oostrum, A.S.C.; editor, Peter V. White; music, Lee Holdridge; production designer, Gary T. New; costume designer, Ann Lambert.

Cast

Cast: Brian Dennehy, Charles S. Dutton, Susan Ruttan, Miguel Ferrer, Joe Grifasi, Charles Hallahan, Rex Linn, Michael Talbott, Amber Benson, Allison Mackie, Justin Burnette, Marjorie Monaghan, Michael C. Gwynne, Ed Cambridge, Elizabeth Dennehy, Kathleen Dennehy, Christopher Duncan, Noah Emmerich, "The Greaseman," Lindsey Baum, Hoke Howell, Amanda Ingber, Jeffrey Scott Jensen, Katherine LaNasa, James Lancaster, Ketty Lester, Rhino Michaels, Robert Snively, Lisa Spikerman, Patrick Stack, Carl Sundstrom, Milt Tarver, Ron Ulstad, Todd Weeks, Sheila Wills.
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