2 September 2005 | rsoonsa
Serious Shortcomings Prove Overwhelming.
This is one from a series of nine films produced for television, during the late 1980s and into the late 1990s, that share titles but with differing subtitles, each purporting to relate stories based upon actual events concerning law enforcement personnel, and it is one of the weakest, a lack of realism its most damaging drawback due to clichéd melodrama that debars any conceivable element of believability. James Farantino performs as Ray Wiltern, a lieutenant and officer-in-charge of a narcotics unit within a major U.S. city's police department, a group of officers knit socially; when one of their number is gunned down during a drug transaction that turns sour, the harmony of the section disappears in the face of the department's internal investigation of those who were involved in the incident. Guilt shared by the unit's personnel, particularly Wiltern, when combined with imputations of the O.I.C.s incompetence made by the outfit's most effective member, played by Steven Weber, threaten to overturn any sense of teamwork, and it becomes manifest that only a successful operation organized to apprehend a major cocaine dealer will restore unit cohesion, and such a mission is planned. The work is scripted with seemingly no knowledge whatever of the methods with which police departments function, both afield and in administrative capacities, resulting in action and dialogue that consistently ring false, while an ostensible conflict between the Forces of Good and Evil is downplayed in favour of a tedious emphasis upon sundry emotional travails of the officers. There are some talented players aboard, but even charismatic Weber can not mold a persona for his role with his assigned dialogue, and the story is riddled with allied weaknesses in logic and continuity, present to a point of embarrassment in a film wherein character development falls victim to a hackneyed script and mechanical direction.