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  • In "Jane Doe: The Ties That Bind," Cathy's son is doing a piece for school on "nature versus nurture." In Jane Doe's case (that's Cathy's alias when she works for the government) the question of nature versus nurture is an underlying theme. She embarks on a case with Frank Darnell (Joe Penny) involving a man being in two places at the same time. We know what's coming. When that comes, and there's still 45 minutes to go, we know what's coming next.

    Lea Thompson stars as Jane Doe. This particular story is preposterous, though I've spent my time doing worse. Thompson is likable. The best thing in the series is Joe Penny by a mile. The worst thing about this series, by a mile, are scenes depicting Cathy's home life, which are great if you're trying to go to sleep. The family part is the major problem with this series and drags the rest of it down to an even lower level. The episode this week dealt with the older daughter getting permission to stay out all night. The script for these scenes was a total mess. Cathy (Jane Doe) tells her husband (Billy Moses) to have the daughter text every half hour. This is never mentioned again, but before the daughter leaves, she begs her father not to call her every half hour. He doesn't tell her to text. Later on we learn he's calling her every half hour. Then Jane Doe is concerned back in her office because her daughter hasn't called. No mention was ever made of her daughter calling her. Nobody in the show can get their cell phone to work - they're always conveniently out of range whenever the plot needs them to be. At the end of the show, the son gives his speech on nature versus nurture - which is not the speech he was practicing in his room.

    The "Jane Doe" series has some action to it - and it has Penny - and a pleasant, if not fiery actress in Thompson. With some attention to the scripts, this show could be much better. The family is too perfect, the scenes are too ordinary, and they move too slowly. The music is horrific. The rest of the show is always more interesting, and some of the mysteries have been pretty good.

    Mildly entertaining.
  • JANE DOE: TIES THAT BIND is one of 8 Jane Doe Mysteries so far made by the Hallmark Channel and it's from the creator of the 1980's/90's PERRY MASON MYSTERIES & Dick van Dyke series DIAGNOSIS MURDER, so if you've seen either you'll know what to expect.

    It stars Lea Thompson as soccer mom Kathy Davis who lives a secret life as 'Jane Doe' an agent for the Central Security Agency who works hard to separate her work and home life (her husband Jack is played by PERRY MASON star William R. Moses) while she solves crimes along with her boss Frank Darnell (Joe Penny).

    In TIES THAT BIND Kathy & Frank investigate when CCTV surveillance put a CEO at the murder scene of his Friend who was going to be a whistle blower to some dodgy goings on in his Company - You actually see the Murder take place, which makes you think this is going to turn into a COLUMBO style mystery when it's a How-do-they-know-he-done-it rather than a Whodunit, but it becomes intriguing when the CEO has an apparent water tight alibi because he was having Dinner with the Mayor at a Restaurant the same time as the Murder took place.

    So does the alleged killer (Robert Carradine) have a Twin?

    You'll have to watch to find out!

    The story ends up becoming improbable, bordering on ridiculous, but On the whole TIES THAT BIND is no better or worse than all the other JANE DOE Mysteries, once again the best performance comes from Joe Penny as CSA boss Frank Darnell, Lea Thompson is likable but rather unconvincing.

    If you've seen the rest of the series, you'll know what to expect and you should enjoy.

    *** out of *****
  • George Barrister is the CFO of EM Industries and confronts CEO Everett Myers with charges of extortion and corruption, calling a special board meeting to expose his embezzlement. Myers leaves the office that night but the security staff and CCTC catch him returning to the offices at the exact moment that Barrister is murdered. Open and close case? Well it appears that Myers and his wife were dining with the Mayor at the time of the murder so how can he have been in two places at the same time? Needless to say, sloping-shouldered CSA boss Frank Darnell turns to Jane Doe for help.

    For a film series that sells itself entirely on mystery and puzzles I must confess that few of the Jane Doe films have engaged or gripped me in the way they should do. Here we a typically "impossible" puzzle but, lets be honest, the film was always going to pull the "identical twin" card out of the pack and when it finally does it is no surprise. In fact the only surprising thing is it then pulls the "identical triples" card out of the pack and just keeps adding twists within these rather silly twists to keep things a mystery. It doesn't really work and it all feels a bit lazy and uninspired. The score helps rob it of any tension it might have had by being as atmospheric and unique as a Starbucks.

    The usual family stuff is as bland as usual even if it is a nice idea to have a touch of the mystery in there as well. It doesn't help that every family scene is delivered with this soft music that was composed by a committee of soulless robots or that the dialogue is apple pie and lacks even a touch of realism – see the chat between the lost parents about how the concern of Susan's father is a really cool thing, is this a discussion real teenagers have on a night of freedom? Probably not, I suspect kissing and flirting would be quickly put on the agenda in the real world. The cast match the bland approach of the material. Thompson is very much so-so throughout and has nothing but the "wholesome mum" about her. Of course she dominates William Moses who seems more and more to be tried to adopt a foetal position in regards his performance so infantile and lacklustre is it. Penny is a much better presence and he holds the attention well. Carradine is OK with his multiple characters but his conclusion does come off like a bad episode of Star Trek. Schram and Shada are as annoying and unconvincing as ever, I suspect they have a long and bland career in poor television movies ahead of them both.

    Overall then a typically bland entry in the Jane Doe series. The series needs solid mysteries to make it work but as it goes on it seems to be less and less challenging and more and more bland as it goes on, wallowing in mediocrity as if it is some sort of badge of honour. I didn't expect much from it but a warm, undemanding mystery but this just smacks of laziness.
  • Prismark1014 September 2017
    When CCTV security cameras show a company executive killing a potential whistleblower who was going to report him for taking kickbacks, you think this is a case where the CSA are unlikely to become involved in.

    When it turns out that the suspect was having dinner with the mayor of LA at the time of the murder, Cathy and Frank are called in to unravel the puzzle. Then a second murder takes place and the suspect was still held in jail.

    You think back to the Michael Caine character in the movie The Prestige, there has to be a double. That would be too simple for this ludicrous and tepid movie.

    This movie is so bad it does not even deserved to be called a guilty pleasure. It has an irritating soundtrack and the family set scenes where the kids talk about nature and nurture quickly becomes tiring. The ending when the killer is caught with all the suspects just happen to be wearing the same clothes was simply taking the biscuit.
  • Lea Thompson and Joe Penny are investigators looking into a murder... which turns into murders . Their prime suspect seems to be Everett Myers, played by Robert Carradine. The story is pretty good; they track down the usual clues and make the usual mistakes, like not waiting for backup to arrive. Isn't that rule number one in the cop manual? Meanwhile, we watch Jane Doe (Thompson) try to keep her family on track while she works on the case. We never do find out much about Frank Darnell (Joe Penny), but I guess Thompson is the star of the show.

    Everett's mother Emily, played by Joanna Miles, seems to have her own do-it-yourself show biz family; her husband and sons are all in the business, and she has produced their films. In addition, Joanna won the Primetime Emmy for Glass Menagerie in 1973. The sound is a little goofy in places. Either the microphones were put in odd places, or maybe there was a lot of post production dubbing being done, but we can hear changes in tone of peoples' voices here and there. Shown on Hallmark Channel. There are some twists and surprises, which zing up the story, even if they ARE pretty unlikely. Directed by James Contner. Looks like Thompson has worked with him on three Jane Doe stories, as well as Jaws 3D... WAY back in 83, one of Thompson's first roles!