This eight-week summer package focuses on the fictional homicide div of TV’s reliable ol’ Metropolitan Police, as the first inning sets up running characters , a couple of crimes and a serial strangler-rapist case that wends its way through the first three episodes. With Lee Horsley enlisted as the div’s topper Lt. Ben Carroll, “Bodies of Evidence” proves a slick retread; so far, it’s the melange as before.
Det. Ryan Walker (George Clooney) birddogs the strangler case with startling intensity as he quizzes anyone who might have been connected with the married victim–and in one case badgers a surviving victim into telling all.
Det. Nora Houghton (Kate McNeil), whose dad is on the force, tracks a dancer (Kelly Rutherford) who was shacking up with a plastic surgeon now slain.
A pushy TV reporter (Michele Scarabelli) hits the sack to get a story. Det. Walt Stratton (Al Fann), dealing with a suicidal widower, unloads a Luger without checking for a second amunition clip.
Series’s first chapter has sharp production values, little humorous relief, and generally pro performances. Several off-putting touches –Walker’s palm stuck with glass, members of the staff conferring with Carroll while he’s sitting in a men’s room stall, even what’s becoming a cliche, the serial killer–don’t add much class to the effort.
So far Horsley has little to do besides romancing his ex-wife and fending off a young woman (Renee Jones) badgering him to catch her mom’s killer. So far, Ben Carroll’s a grimmer, dimmer Barney Miller.
Director/co-writer James L. Conway efficiently marshals his dutiful forces, but just down the road Hill Street still casts its impressively human and influential shadow. The neighborhood’s changed, but not for the better.