16 September 2005 | blanche-2
pilot for the "Hallmark Mystery Series" entry
This was evidently the pilot for the "Mystery Woman" series starring Kellie Martin, which rotates with "Jane Doe" and "McBride" on the "Hallmark Mystery Series." I'm a fan of Kellie Martin and of this concept, but thanks to the direction of this pilot, the minutes flew like hours. This was an extremely slow-moving, poorly acted mystery.
Martin was the only one kept of the original cast; the characters of Cassie and Philby were recast. One character who does not appear in the series is Samantha's ex-husband, played by handsome Steven Brand. Frankly, I think they could use him on the show.
The producers put some money into this pilot, which concerned an unsolved, 10-year-old murder and a mystery novelist who threatens to reveal the killer in his next book. Robert Wagner plays the novelist, and Joan Severance, whose career I guess we can assume is not what it was, played his wife. With her beauty and outrageously gorgeous figure, Severance looked to be headed towards big things in the '80s. Who can forget her with Kevin Spacey in the "Mel Profitt" "Wiseguy" story arc? Anyway, William Moses plays a police detective who is the partner of Wagner's son.
I found the story very far-fetched (not to mention given away in the first twenty minutes) but with some elements that I wish they would put into Mystery Woman now. The idea of Samantha referencing mystery books to solve a crime is similar to what Pierce Brosnan's Remington Steele did with movies, and it's a fun concept.
What I found frustrating was, first of all, the pacing, which particularly in Mystery Woman is very slow - it seems less of an issue in Jane Doe and McBride, and in the pilot, it was deadly. I thought it funny that, though in 2003 Wagner was using a standard typewriter, no one commented on it. The DA never asked why Wagner hadn't brought the police the evidence he had for an unsolved murder. A blackmailer claims that at the author's book party, she revealed to someone that she was that person's real mother - does anyone else think a book party is a strange place for that type of discussion? Samantha didn't even blink. The adopted person never commented on it. And how is it that everyone knows the date of a murder that took place ten years earlier? It seemed to be right up there with the Pearl Harbor bombing and 9/11. Bad script.
I'm surprised on the basis of this, the series was picked up. I'm glad it was, though, and I hope they get some better directors and scripts as time goes on. Not to mention a few customers for the Mystery Woman bookstore.