The pilot “Green Dolphin Beat” features another cop h.q., in another unidentified American city, with a faltering team of officers assigned to the violent crimes division. Murder and mayhem don’t have much to worry about; writer Robert Ward’s teleplay and characters have been around the block so much, they could be ticketed.
Ensemble players are led by black detective John King (Jeffrey Sams) and white detective Terry Lattner (John Wesley Shipp), who had an affair with comely druggie-prostie Ty (Linda Hoffman).
Having gone straight, she’s now opening up a nitery with a pal and is secretly being helped by the two cops.
Another team is widower Joe Keller (Troy Evans) and hyperactive Bon Marchek (John Lavachielli), whose gimmick is pushing health pills. A sour Linda Rodriguez (Melanie Smith) rides with ex-N.Y. policeman Dave Henderson (Linden Ashby), and they both have dark secrets.
Overseeing the flock in the Green Dolphin precinct is Capt. Juan Garcia (Miguel Sandoval), an original concept among the few. His fantasy charge on a white horse against Zapata’s dreamed-up troops demos much-needed gusto in the two-hour pilot.
The grieving Keller gulps pills Marchek has given him and sees his dead wife hovering in the air. He also connects with hooker Rose (Robin Mattson), one of the better elements of the thin vidpic.
Directed without distinction by Tommy Lee Wallace, “Green Dolphin Beat” tries familiar humor — a flock of prosties hauled into the precinct, cutesy patter between King and Lattner — and supposedly startling revelations, such as a therapist involved in lesbianism, or King unconcerned about the colors of the dames he dates.
Sams’ King comes off as authoritative and persuasive. Shipp as his partner is OK, and Lavachielli gives the telefilm much-needed energy. Others, except Sandoval, Elizabeth Leslie as Keller’s wife’s floating ghost and the convincing Mattson, don’t register very high.
Brent Thomas’ production design looks worn. Camerawork by Tobias Schliessler is routine. Charles Bornstein’s editing is typically solid, and Peter Manning Robinson’s sharp score is above the usual vid fare.