Probable Cause (TV Movie 1994) Poster

(1994 TV Movie)

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A diamond in the rough...
jasonc133 December 2002
Warning: Spoilers
When scanning the shelves of your local video store, what do you see more often then generic covers of "Basic Instinct" wannabes in the thriller/mystery section? Let's face it, they are a dime a dozen, however once in a blue moon you stumble upon a diamond in the rough that exceeds expectations. Well look no further than "Probable Cause" for one hell of a good movie...

The plot is this: A serial killer is bumping off cops and the experts on the case are clueless as to who is doing this and why (an important and more than resonable answer as it turns out). The lead detective (Michael Ironside) is coupled with a sexy female partner to try and shed some light on case, but not all is well between them. You see, Ironside's character is under investigation for sexual harrassment and she is less than thrilled to have to work with this manly pig. This sets up great chemistry between them, and leaves the audience wondering if he in fact is guily of this or not. A fantastic subplot that we never actually get an answer to. The female partner has trouble sleeping at night, is plagued with nightmares, and can't figure out why, and between the body count and the rising tension surrounding the ongoing case, sparks fly and things really begin to heat up.

*SPOILERS AHEAD* The two soon discover that all the cops that have been off-ed, graduated from the same academy and hold a dark secret amoungst them. It turns out, the group of "perfect new recruits" raped a fellow officer while they were rookies, and left the victim with zero self esteem to say the least and a taste for revenge that she would take on them some ten years later. Well it doesn't take a genius to figure out that the female partner turns out to be the guilty party (hence her sleeplessness) however we sympathize with her character and in a twist ending, Ironside covers for her and she gets away with the murders, making look like one of the other corrupt cops.

The movie moves like a bullet, and keeps the suspense and whodunit factor in high gear the whole way through, without following the trend of bad "sexy thrillers" before them. The story is fresh, the acting is top notch, and in the end it actually has a message behind it...all done with better than average taste.

"Probable Cause" is the type of film that if it had more marketable actors in the leads (by Hollywood's standards anyway) it would have blockbuster status written all over it. But, since it is a direct-to-video release, it barely gets any recognition at all, and unjustly so. However, that is an element that makes this a stand out. You do not need the flavor of the month superstar to carry a film like this, because the story (which somehow seems to get lost in today's films) carries it all by itself. My Lord, what a silly concept!

So do yourself a favor, and rent this surprisingly solid thriller because it is a worthwhile "Cause."
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very compelling and engrossing murder mystery
disdressed128 June 2010
i found this Canadian production to be a very good murder stars Kate Vernon and Michael Ironside.the identity of the murderer is pretty much shown early on in the film so instead of being a who done it kind of mystery,it's more of a why they did it,and to a lesser extent how they did it.(the how is revealed much sooner than the why)this is an interesting twist.the dark tone of the movie is very consistent throughout and doesn't change until the movie fades to black.all in all,it's a very compelling and engrossing murder mystery from the opening frame to the closing credits.for me,Probable Cause is an 8/10
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Rare Michael Ironside lead performance as "surprise" the good guy....
merklekranz26 November 2013
"Probable Cause" is a nice showcase for Michael Ironside in a lead performance as the good guy for a change. The plot revolves around a series of cop killings, with suspicion pointing early on to the likely suspect. What is intriguing about the film, is the real mystery is the motive behind all the stabbings. With Ironside slowly uncovering the facts, a bang up conclusion finally reveals the "why" in flashback mode. M. Emmet Walsh makes a brief appearance as a Doctor who happens to be an expert regarding sleepwalking. The acting overall is totally acceptable. Seek this one out if you like your slasher movies to actually have a plot. You will not be disappointed. - MERK
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Not too bad, somewhat thrilling murder mystery.
OllieSuave-00727 September 2014
This is not too bad of an obscure Made in Canada TV movie starring Michael Ironside as a cop who tries to investigate a series of police murders, where the real mystery and intrigue lies in the motives behind the killings.

The entire atmosphere of the movie gives you a mysterious, somewhat depressing and serious feeling and the acting was pretty on par. There is also a little bit of several movie elements, from suspense to drama, and from action to romance. The subplot of the lead detectives female partner and her sleepwalking issue adds onto the unpredictable intrigue of the movie.

Though I've seen better made for TV movies, this one is not a bad to watch on slow Saturday night.

Grade B-
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haven't heard of or seen Kate Vernon in a long time
blanche-228 February 2014
"Probable Cause" is a 1994 TV-movie starring Michael Ironside and Kate Vernon, and featuring Craig T. Nelson.

Someone is killing police officers, but Gary Yanuck (Ironside) has his own problems. He is accused of sexually harassing another officer (Brooke Adams, in a minuscule role) and has refused to apologize, claiming he did not lay a hand on her. He's under a cloud. He's assigned a new partner, Lynn Reilly (Vernon) who is an odd duck. She occasionally passes out and other times seems out of it. Worried, Yanuck approaches her psychiatrist and, after handing him a phony warrant, learns that Lynn was married before but doesn't remember her marriage. Later we learn that something terrible happened to her that she can't remember. In the meantime, she appears to sleepwalk.

When she discovers an important pattern to the murders, Yanuck realizes that she's in danger and may be, in fact, the next victim.

This is a slow film and because Kate Vernon plays a psychologically repressed woman and has to walk around pretty zombie-like most of the time, her performance doesn't add much spark to the movie. Michael Ironside as a cop was very good, but I didn't find him particularly likable. So I wasn't very invested in either character.

The end was not surprising on one hand and on the other, had a slight twist. Not sure it was worth it.

Kate Vernon was around a lot in the '80s, and she's still very active, but I never watched Battlestar Galactica or other shows in which she appeared. She is a better actress than you would believe in this film.

Wasn't impressed.
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Stinky Cheese...
lilszoo201117 July 2012
Made for TV movie, early, gruesome deaths of police officers (8 in all) and no paranoia of any cops on the force, no Mayor or News reports of a string of deaths of the city's' finest...a sleepwalking female Detective and her horny Detective partner, already accused of sexual harassment by his former partner, and what you have is easy, slide-by movie making with no flavor and no interest for a cultured movie watcher. I watched only for Kate Vernon who literally "sleep walks" thru this whole travesty. Avoid. Craig T. Nelson was probably added to this roster for accountability, he offered his usual best, but Brooke Adams needs to search for a better plastic surgeon.
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