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"Janek: The Forget Me Not Murders" was the 6th of 7 made for TV movies on CBS based on novelist William Bayer's fictional NYPD Det Frank Janek. Bayer's novel "Wallflower" is the inspiration for this edition, where Janek returns to the small screen after a two year absence (broadcast in March of 1994, the film was a follow up to 1992's "Terror On Track Nine") with his most personal case yet, finding the killer who murdered his beloved god daughter Jess. Once again Richard Crenna gets the call to play Janek.
When we first see Janek he's very much alone (typical of the films and the books), this time taking in the sights in Canada before attending a conference on criminal behavior. It's here that he meets Dr. Monique Dessier (Helen Shaver), one of Canada's top psychologists, who initially catches our hero's attention for her good looks, before he realizes she is the main speaker at the conference he is town to attend. Despite some endearing but decidedly awkward verbal fumbling the two eventually hit it off, at least until news of Jess' death reaches Janek. Once he returns to New York Janek immediately is at odds with Police Chief Wycoff (Phillip Bosco, reprising his role from earlier films) over not being involved in the investigation. Once it's revealed that Jess' death was the work of a serial killer and not a random act Janek wants the case even more (these types of crimes tend to be his specialty).
Eventually Janek is put in touch with the FBI team investigating the case and although impressed with their work he quickly ends up at odds with them as well over a key piece of the investigation he feels is being overlooked. Originally brought in to assist the FBI due to his past dealings with serial killer cases, Janek & the FBI agree to work separate angles on the case. Wycoff isn't pleased since this effectively takes Janek off any other potential cases but reluctantly agrees. As usual, Janek's partner Aaron Greenberg provides the back up, played once again by Cliff Gorman who does an excellent job at commanding his own presence in scenes without overshadowing Crenna.
The bulk of the film deals with Janek's investigation as he & Greenberg work the angle he argued with the FBI over, which slowly turns in some promising leads. Like in past films there is a fair amount of psychological profiling by Janek as he tries to discern the killer's identity. Unlike in "Terror On Track 9" or "Silent Betrayal" where Janek's investigation basically leads to one dead end after another until a lucky break cracks the case, here Janek & Greenberg seemingly hit on a string of fruitful leads, following each step until it leads to the killer. A risky ploy that breaks Department Policy provides the most vital clues yet, but it nearly gets Janek & Greenberg fired. It also gets an informant killed and puts Janek in a deadly confrontation with the killer.
The kicker here is whether the killer acted alone, with Janek (and eventually Greenberg) convinced that an earlier suspect since ruled out may still have been involved, possibly as the brains behind the killings. Unfortunately Janek is short on proof and given little time by an impatient Wycoff to solve the last piece of the puzzle. Complicating matters more is Janek's attempts to start a serious relationship with Monique, who ends up providing some valuable insight into the killer's profile as well doing some under cover work for the team, though it puts her in danger briefly as well. Monique isn't sure she likes Janek's intense pursuit and questions how much of his obsession is strictly business as opposed to wanting vengeance for Jess' death.
Janek is forced into some extraordinary measures to get a final confession but nothing to out of sorts for many police and detective dramas. Tyne Daly does a strong turn as a cold as ice therapist who seems to be intrinsically linked to all of the victims. Next to Crenna, she steals the show. As usual Crenna is strong as Frank Janek, convincingly straddling the lines between standard tough guy cop, hopeless but jaded romantic, and a man consumed by his desire for revenge. The film portrayal of Janek isn't as complex as Bayer's books but that doesn't make Crenna any less effective in illuminating the different layers of the character. Crenna was an excellent actor always capable of pulling the most out of the material he was given. A good choice for a good character.
Will Janek catch the killer ? Will he get the girl (typically he doesn't in these films, his romantic life the polar opposite of his police career success wise) ? "The Forget Me Not Murders" is an enjoyable, if at times a bit predictable, film, a solid procedural, that doesn't bog down much in the middle and leaves with a satisfying ending. Another good entry in Frank Janek film series.
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