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This telefilm was essentially a long episode of the series, but the series had ended. The plot concerned a death-row inmate (Stockwell) whose guilt was in doubt, and Tony worked to clear up the matter. The problems which plagued the series remained in evidence here: the elements which had made "The Commish" so likeable and comfortable to watch had departed with the various supporting cast members. This was never a show about great suspense or intricate plotting--it was about humor and human interaction.
I always enjoyed the original Commish television series. I liked the
characters, and the stories. And I enjoyed the latter because they did not
follow the standard pattern of other crime/mystery series on television
around the same time. Matlock, Murder She Wrote, Diagnosis Murder- they
use the same plot device ad nausium. If you watch any of these shows, and
they have a sexy female guest character in the cast of an episode you can
rest assured that *she* did it (though she will be written and portrayed
the *only* likeable character in the guest cast until she is
The Commish never followed this pattern; instead, the "bad guys" were known to the audience from the get-go, and the meat of the story, if you will, came in watching Tony catch them, not in trying to guess who did it. Sadly, this Commish TV movie, aired after the series ended, did away with the style of the original show, and opted for the wornout plot device used on those other shows, including making the murderer the only likeable guest character in the production.
The result is a plodding and predictable story that makes the Tony Scali character seem out-of-place, as the surrounding events play out like a poorly written soap-opera. It ruined the Commish experience for me. Thankfully, the *very* talented Mr. Chiklis has moved on to bigger and better things, with The Sheild.
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