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Land’s End

Also helping to make the pilot a winner are the strong cast, adroitly directed by James Bruce, and the gorgeous locations in Cabo San Lucas, magnificently captured by director of photography Garett Griffin.

Also helping to make the pilot a winner are the strong cast, adroitly directed by James Bruce, and the gorgeous locations in Cabo San Lucas, magnificently captured by director of photography Garett Griffin.

The project does occasionally trip over its cinematic approach, with some of the early scenes dragging in their attempt to build tension. Also, occasional camera angles, apparently deemed inventive or impactful, may come off to some as oddball and distracting.

Dryer is more than up to the relatively unambitious role of Mike Land, a tough, brooding LAPD cop who quits the force when a drug sleaze, who had Land’s wife killed, escapes conviction by bribing the jury. Land is then called to Cabo to bail out an old buddy, scheming entrepreneur Willis P. Dunleevy (a socko perf from Geoffrey Lewis).

The mess back in L.A. follows Land to Cabo when Taffi (a show-stealing turn by Rena Riffel), the Valley girl g.f. of the drug sleaze, seeks out Land with a tape that’ll put her wayward squeeze away for good. There are several double-crosses to come, keeping Land off-balance and viewers entertained.

Other standouts in the superb cast include Bryan Cranston as the polished drug lord Matt McCulla and Robert Guy Miranda as McCulla’s small-time flunky with big-time aspirations.

Over the long haul, the high-quality look and top-drawer performances of “Land’s End” should win over all viewers who stick around long enough to appreciate them.

Land's End

(Fri. (22), 8-10 p.m., KCOP)

Production: Filmed in Cabo San Lucas and Los Angeles by Fred Dryer Prods., Skyvision Partners and Buena Vista Television. Exec producers, Fred Dryer, Victor A. Schiro, Brian K. Ross, Jim Reid; producers , Ron Frazier, Jefferson Kibbee; co-producer, John Clarkson; coordinating producer, Diana Young; director, James Bruce; creators, Dryer, Schiro, Peter Gethers, David Handler; writers, Gethers, Handler; camera, Garett Griffin; editors, Terry Blythe, Jason Freeman; production design, Michael Clausen; sound, Mike Hogan, Craig Clark; music, Marco Beltrami, Chris Beck. Cast: Fred Dryer, Geoffrey Lewis, Tim Thomerson, Pamela Bowen, Bryan Cranston, Rena Riffel, Castulo Guerra, Daniel Faraldo, Francis X. McCarthy, Steve Horn, William Marquez , Gary Cervantes, Mary-Margaret Humes, Robert Guy Miranda, E. Danny Murphy, Guillermo Zapata, Jed Curtis, Ken Clark, Tracy Snyder Vaccaro, Norma Michaels, Kim Delgado, Andrew J. Marsh Jr., Carol Kiernan, Tony Capozzola, Dolores McCoy, Marcy Goldman, Mark Chaet, Symba Smith. Fred Dryer, one of TV's most entertaining tough guys, is back in an impressively mounted action-drama series that's a little lean on story but plenty long on cinematic style. Given Dryer's star power (as demonstrated by his six solid seasons toplining "Hunter") and the stylish execution of familiar tough-guy themes, Buena Vista TV's first stab at a one-hour drama on the syndie market has a better-than-even shot at the kind of loyal audience needed to navigate those rough waters.

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