Robert Conrad returns to TV as Jack Stewart, law officer who doggedly pursues a case given up by his superiors. Purportedly fact-based script doesn’t always make a lot of sense, but serves as a nice showcase for its star.
Three teenagers have been murdered, and local constabulary are chasing clues in all directions. Only Sgt. Stewart pays any attention to a woman (Sharon Farrell) who claims to have witnessed murder in a vision — through she denies being a psychic.
Taking the woman at her word, he simply pokes around until he finds a suspect who fits her description: left-handed, with a tattoo and a “smaller, dark” accomplice who wears his jeans tucked inside his boots.
The suspect (Billy McNamara), known variously as “Spike” and “Michael Burke,” is already in jail on an unrelated charge; it’s up to Stewart to get him to admit the crime. He takes a job as a jail guard, to get closer to his suspect.
McNamara turns in a chilling perf as Burke, first seen as a long-haired hippie who might be a cousin of the Manson Family. By the time he’s in jail, he’s been cleaned up to look like a young Gary Busey.
Other main players include Tom Atkins as Stewart’s main adversary in the police department; Ramon Franco and Clifton Gonzalez Gonzalez as a couple of assistant bad guys; Katherine Armstrong as Burke’s girlfriend; Cristan Crocker as a woman whose resemblance to one of the victims (though noticed only by Stewart) turns out to be a clue; and La Velda Fann, effective as a mysterious, flirtatious convenience-shop owner.
The three young victims are played by Paul Scherrer, Monica Creel and Arlene Taylor. Despite her billing, psychic Farrell is seen only briefly — if the detectives had more on the ball, her “help” wouldn’t have been necessary at all.
Director Peter H. Hunt turns in a cameo as a parole officer; Conrad’s son-in-law Tim Erwin (husband of exec producer Joan Conrad Erwin) checks in as a deputy.
Pic is somewhat slow-paced, with grisly murder saved for a flashback at show’s end.
Tech credits are fine.