Fledgling network UPN’s first telepic is a cross between episodes of “McCloud” and star Edward Woodward’s former CBS series, “The Equalizer.” Woodward is the best reason to tune in, and his involvement makes this police thriller a fairly safe bet for netlet and viewer alike.
Retired Chief Inspector Teddy Harrison (Woodward), late of Scotland Yard, drops in on his estranged daughter Cecilia (Elizabeth Hurley) in New York, but the unannounced visit turns into a busman’s holiday.
Cecilia’s fiance, Frank (Jeffrey Nordling), is an NYPD media liaison officer. Mindful of the effect pop’s career had on the family, Cecilia has made Frank promise to be a nine-to-fiver and stay out of harm’s way.
That promise is tested by a serial killer on the loose after a two-year respite, and some Irish blokes on a crime spree of their own. Of course these crimes are related, and the Gotham coppers are bumblers, so Teddy and Frank team up.
Toll of the lifestyle, particularly the sense of abandonment felt by police families, is effectively handled.
Under James Frawley’s direction, telepic takes its time winding up. The standard chase scene in a warehouse is well done.
Exec producer Michael Gleason’s spirited script has irony and sentiment. The plot, however, is a minor conspiracy in its own right; the storyline isn’t easy to follow. There’s some fairly raunchy material given the 8 p.m. start.
Woodward is perfect as the urbane yet steely fish-out-of-water. Although she doesn’t have much to do, Hurley is sparkling; Nordling scrambles to make his part work. Supporting cast is uneven.
There are too many garbled lines, mainly while characters are in cars — either the sound was off in the cassette reviewed, or the sound recording had trouble with the thick Irish and British accents.
Small continuity problems crop up: Hair is dry one minute, slick the next. Music is perfunctory.
Although reminiscent of various ’70s and ’80s cop shows, “The Shamrock Conspiracy” has its merits. It doesn’t differentiate UPN from the other networks , which can be seen as both a blessing and a curse.