Writer/producer William Link has collaborated on the creation of a number of memorable TV sleuths (Columbo, McCloud, Jessica Fletcher). Bill Cosby’s New York Police Dept. forensic expert Guy Hanks could well join their ranks.
Accompanied by a captivating Charlie Mingus-tinged jazz score, the rumpled but droll Hanks strolls casually through his Manhattan environs casting a weary but keenly observant eye on all he surveys. Director Jerry London has wisely paced the action to match Cosby’s understated style. This debut installment of “The Cosby Mysteries” may be a bit short on whodunit tension, but it does serve to introduce Cos as a potentially successful TV crime-fighter.
Right off the top, writers David Black (“Law & Order”) and Link provide Cosby’s Hanks with a few intriguing plot conveniences. He’s shot while accompanying detective pal Adam Sully (James Naughton) onto a crime scene; as he is being wheeled into the hospital, he’s informed that he has won the lottery.
The newfound wealth allows Hanks to retire from the NYPD and wander about the autumn-hued streets and parks of upscale Manhattan (lusciously filmed by Stephen McNutt). Meanwhile, his rehab from the gunshot wound introduces him to physical therapist and potential love interest Barbara — a low-key but sensual Lynn Whitfield.
The tempo picks up as Hanks is pulled back into the crime-fighting business. When a high-powered exec (Peter Kybart) is murdered, Hanks finds himself going one-on-one with the exec’s corporation.
As series regulars, Naughton’s straight-arrow police detective Sully, Alice Playten’s quirky, Shakespeare-spouting housekeeper Oona and Louis Todaro’s youthfully exuberant neighbor Max offer excellent contrast to Cosby.