7 May 2004 | rsoonsa
SOME REASONS WHY SUCCESS WAS LOST TO THIS TELEVISION PILOT.
After Carroll O'Connor's television tenure as Archie Bunker was peremptorily ended, he immediately moved to develop a pair of concepts as means of continuing his weekly serial television career; IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT was successful whereas BRASS was not, and for sufficient reason. BRASS shows effects from its TV pedigree stamped liberally upon it, including such as freeze frames during its opening and closing moments, surges of unsubtle music as commercial interruptions apparently near, in addition to other integral elements, in particular distinctly deferred resolutions for some scenes and characters. O'Connor is Frank Nolan, Chief of Detectives for the New York Police Department, tasked to solve two separate crimes, one concerning murders of geriatric victims in Penn Station and the other a multiple homicide in the CBS parking structure, with Nolan not realistically being given the assignment by the Police Commissioner who has opted to bank upon his top-ranked investigator to personally apprehend the killers. Together with his sleuthing, Nolan offers his opinions to nearly everyone upon him upon a wide range of subjects and also lobbies to save the police pension of a boyhood friend who has been discovered associating with known criminals and is at risk of being fired as a result. Co-scriptor O'Connor, an excellent actor, contributes polished timing and some clever business but at no time convinces as a Chief of Detectives, this being the film's most glaring drawback, although it is as well riddled with incongruities and continuity failings. Paul Shenar wins the acting laurels - he portrays the principal villain - while good turns are contributed by supporting players Richard Bright and Al Mancini, also answering to the Forces of Evil. Direction by Corey Allen is not routine, and he utilizes the camera to fashion a mise-en-scene that includes a good deal of invention, while Robert Gundlach's appropriate design should not be overlooked.