Can’t get the law interested in your problem and just discovered that “The Equalizer” was canceled in 1989? Call in the private eyes of “Case Closed,” new reality series on USA Network cable.
Gimmick here is an 800 number. Call it, and the producers may sic their cadre of staff gumshoes — but no muscle — on the suspected bad guys. Cases are portrayed via videotape made by detectives as well as re-creations, most in the pilot using actual case figures (victims, police, witnesses) rather than actors.
Segment of the pilot with the most local interest has detectives tracking down stuntman Jim Burk, who claims disability allegedly in order to avoid child support payments. Ex-wife, Sandi Warner-Burk, is shown living on food stamps in Simi Valley.
Show’s portrayal of Warner-Burk as a formerly successful country singer is unsubstantiated. But there’s no doubt that detective Robert Funderburg got Burk — living on a large spread in Montana — to claim recent credits including “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” and “Hero.” Reaction of Burk’s attorney is amusing.
Pilot also includes cases of “The North Carolina Stalker,” whom detectives videotape in the act so that he can be arrested; and “Who Shot Trevor Partin?,” in which show attempts to discover who fired two .22-caliber bullets into the head of a 9-year-old. Kid himself claims he was attempting suicide; others suspect his mother’s boyfriend. Verdict of “Case Closed” is inclusive; they promise to follow up.
Producer/P.I. Fred Wolfson also includes segments reminiscent of “Candid Camera,” where tape crew watches Wolfson and his operatives pulling off various scams and then revealing them to their victims. Here, pretending to be repairmen , they steal a fax machine from an office; posing as pollsters, they persuade a man to reveal his credit card and driver’s license number; and a car is stolen by an operative disguised as a valet parking attendant.
Come to think of it, those bogus parking valets — who were given four sets of keys in 10 minutes — may be of most interest to the industry audience.