“Jesse Stone Triple Film Collection” (2005-2015)
Created by: Robert B. Parker
Series created by: Robert Harmon & Tom Selleck
Featuring: Tom Selleck, Kohl Sudduth, Kathy Baker, Viola Davis, Vito Rezza, Stephen McHattie, William Devane, Saul Rubinek and William Sadler
Luther ‘Suitcase’ Simpson: “Is this official?”
Chief Jesse Stone: “No. It’s personal.”
Tom Selleck has had a pretty great career although you may not think that until you start looking at his filmography, he was catapulted to international stardom in the 1980s with his TV show “Magnum P.I.”(1980 – 1988), film roles followed and even now he is in the long-running “Blue Bloods” (2010 – present ). He is blessed with a great smile, a handsome face and the ability to play almost any kind of role. The ability to play deeply flawed characters was not something he was know widely for, until he started playing Jesse Stone in the TV movie adaptions of the characters created by the late author, Robert B. Parker. My personal opinion is that this is his greatest role, which very few people know about.
This is a character piece through and through and we find Jesse Stone, at about 35 years old. He is a former minor league baseball shortstop whose career was cut short by a shoulder injury. He was asked to resign from his job as a homicide detective for the LAPD Robbery-Homicide Division because of a drinking problem that began after his divorce from his wife, Jennifer. Showing up drunk to an interview for a job as police chief for the small town of Paradise, Massachusetts, Stone is hired because the corrupt president of the town board of selectmen thinks he will be easy to control. Stone quickly notices that the town has big league crimes, struggling with the mob, white supremacists, wildly errant wives and a triple homicide, and that his job will be more difficult than he expected. But, he proves up to the task, beginning with making a corruption case against the town council president and arresting him.
The series chronicles Stone’s cases as chief of the Paradise Police Department, as well as his struggles with alcohol and his complicated relationship with his ex-wife Jennifer. He is respected and well liked by the police officers in the town police department. He develops a good working relationship and friendship with the State Police Homicide Commander, Captain Healy.
No man is an Island – unless your name is Jesse Stone in which case it is entirely possible. After a career spent as a cop and reaching the homicide division it is a pretty hard fall going to a small town in the middle of nowhere – where the biggest crime might be speeding or theft. This is where Stone finds himself, its no wonder he is so introspective and difficult in dealing with authority as well as having an outsized sense of justice. This sense of justice has a price and as the series moves forward you can see the toll this has on Jesse as well as those that are close to him.
Each film is well directed but the atmosphere is helped by the fitting compositions by composer Jeff Beal, they not only haunt Jesse as the main character through whom the plot of each film flows, but they undercut each scene well – there is little manipulation added when viewing to the mise-en-scene and the outlook of the ocean, this is a soundtrack that complements the images and spoken audio well.
The following is a breakdown of each TV film that has been produced. They have just been re-released this month and are available now from retailers. The descriptions are not full as to get the most out of the stories you really need to watch them in order and there are many spoilers that would be given away by going too deep into any synopsis. Each movie deals with Jesse Stone and his peers as well as crimes that he has to solve with assistance from those around him.
Jesse Stone: Innocents Lost (2011)
After being replaced as the chief of police in Paradise, Massachusetts by the town council president’s son-in-law, William Butler (Jeff Geddis), Jesse Stone is still without a full-time job (though he vows to one day be reinstated). Nevertheless, he continues to find ways to pursue investigations into two separate murders: one involves a friend with whom he had lost contact, and the other has him working as a consulting investigator for the Massachusetts State Police Homicide Division on a case involving a robbery and murder suspect. Both Jesse and his friend, State Police Captain Healy (Stephen McHattie), have doubts as to the robbery/murder suspect’s guilt. His problems with his ex-wife, and drinking issues are still present.
Jesse Stone: Benefit of the Doubt (2012)
Jesse Stone still misses the Paradise, Massachusetts police chief position, which he lost because the current town council president, Carter Hansen (Jeremy Akerman), wanted his son-in-law, William Butler (Jeff Geddis), to have the job. A suspicious police cruiser explosion kills chief Butler and officer DeAngelo (Vito Rezza). Curiously, the former town council president, Hastings “Hasty” Hathaway (Saul Rubinek), appeared to know about the incident before the current town council president was officially notified. Jesse is reinstated as “temp chief” by Hansen and uncovers apparent (but unproved) police corruption involving Butler.
Jesse attempts to reassemble his team, starting with his deputy Luther “Suitcase” Simpson (Kohl Sudduth) and then longtime assistant Rose Gammon (Kathy Baker), but both have moved on to other pursuits after choosing to not work with Jesse’s replacement, thus Jesse is left to solve the case himself. State Homicide Commander Healy (Stephen McHattie) also returns, along with Jesse’s psychotherapist Dr. Dix (William Devane). Thelma Gleffey (Gloria Reuben) also remains in Jesse’s life, and continues to work as a sales associate at Hasty’s luxury car dealership.
Jesse Stone: Lost in Paradise (2015)
Police Chief Jesse Stone (Tom Selleck) accepts a position as an unpaid consultant with the Massachusetts State Police, working for Lt. Sydney Greenstreet (Leslie Hope) who gives him case files on several murders. After reviewing the files, Stone takes special interest in one case that involves the fourth victim of a brutal serial killer who slashed and disemboweled his victims while they were still alive. The jailed killer, a man named Richard and known as the “Boston Ripper” (Luke Perry), admits to the first three murders with pride, but maintains he did not commit the fourth murder. After interviewing the killer, Stone concludes that he’s a “sick son of a bitch”, but does not believe he killed the fourth victim, Mavis Davies.