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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Distracting as long as your expectations aren't high

Author: bob the moo from United Kingdom
7 November 2006

When industrial giant Melville Horning is found dead floating alongside his luxury yacht body guard Jim Monroe, who is found "drunk" in a life raft, looks guilty of incompetence and is fired on the spot. Meanwhile all the other executives scramble to protect themselves and let the body wash away. When the body is found on the beach several days later the official line is that of a tragic accident but by then Monroe has lost his job and his wife has stormed out as she believes he has sunk into alcoholism again. Margaret does love him enough to turn to Jim's previous partner and friend Frank Darnell to tell him Jim's story about Horning dying on Saturday. With Horning officially alive until Monday, Cathy Davis is put on the case. The first puzzle – how can a man who Jim saw dead on Saturday night do a live television on Sunday night?

Although I'd like to think of myself as a fully paid up member of the cineaste society I must confess a weakness for some TV mystery series – indeed there aren't many Columbo's or Perry Masons that I haven't seen. I have come to the Jane Doe series a couple of times now and found it to be rather inconsistent with some good and some pointless. The crux is usually how good the central "puzzle" concept is and in this case it is a bit forced and involves a lot of planned and convenient things happening to establish the mystery to be solved. Once you have got passed how much of a struggle it was to get everyone in place the mystery has enough development about it to hold the interest but it is far too basic and obvious as it goes to appeal to anyone looking for more than just their daytime mystery fix.

Thompson continues in her character but I found her a bit too light for the role here and the script doesn't highlight her sharp mind in the way that, for example, the better episodes of Columbo. Penny works well alongside her with a gruff delivery and solid presence on screen – they have good chemistry and I'm glad the series has not (yet?) resorted to the narrative of "will they won't they?". That said it wouldn't be much worse that some of the other threads – in this case some rubbish about the kids (both irritating performances) selling stuff on eBay to recoup stock portfolio losses. Harewood is OK but Moses still finds himself with only a few days work and a poor character. The various suspects are mostly just so-so performance-wise and nobody stood out at all.

Overall then a reasonably OK daytime mystery that will please fans of the series but the puzzle aspect could have been better and the investigation more thrilling or engaging. Distracting as long as your expectations aren't high.

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11 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Tame film carries solid material to hold it through.

Author: TruPretender from Sundance, Utah
5 March 2006

We can't expect something extreme from the Hallmark Channel, nor can we expect anything decent from modern Hollywood. That said, one can only agree that you must do well with what you're given, and this films case, it proves to be true. We don't have a real blockbuster when it comes to watching films produced by the Hallmark Channel. Most of their films are family friendly, and interest only the more soft of audiences. Still, I suppose some of those telefilms are decent enough to tolerate, if given the right production values and proper treatment in post-production. This film, certainly deserves a look.

Hallmark has a film series of "Jane Doe" films. I had not idea, or ever cared before, until the films premiere last night. I certainly adore some of Lea Thompsons work, so watching her is always interesting, if not curious. This latest installation of the mystery television films finds a woman, named Cathy, who has a secret life of solving crimes while away from the suburbs. She has no real desire to return to the field, until tricky crimes plague a group of associates in a stock company. Now, she must team up with her partner, Frank.

Lea Thompson is a real nice performer, and as a director she goes far enough, but her light subject material makes the film somewhat fluffy and tame. Nothing is wrong with that, but mysteries should be dark too. This film was dark, and appropriate. As I said, it was done well with what it had. The cinematography is done well enough, even for a family television movie. Lea Thompson shows how cutsie tootsie she still is, with a light, humorous comedy with little twists around every corner. The co-stars work quite well, however the matter of William R Moses as the husband character in films like this is all to predictable and familiar. The glue for the film, however, is as firm as the earth stands, when viewing another terrific performance by the always remarkable, absolutely exquisite Helen Slater.

Slaters' appearance in a full-length film is the first in 2 years, so having the opportunity to watch the first airing was good enough. Quite easily over-looked, this film is a nice piece of something simple for fans of the like.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:


Author: oberlan2 from United States
7 March 2006

I have been a watcher of Jane Doe since the beginning and I have to say this was the best one by far. I started watching because i am friends with one of the main cast members and thought it was a pretty good show, but not that different from many other non FBI type crime shows. But the story in this one, both mystery and home life, went above and beyond the other Jane Does. I have to admit I was both excited and nervous to see what Lea was going to do when she stepped to a position behind the camera as well. Although I trusted her Dierecting skills, as a stage actor i know it is somewhat difficult to direct yourself, especially in a lead role, since you can not fully see what your shot looks like.

As i look at the website i am anxiously waiting for "The Brigadoon Effect" as the story sounds more mysterious then ever before. This is an excellent series that deserves watching.

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Cereal killer

Author: Prismark10 from United Kingdom
26 January 2016

Lea Thompson stars and and is also the director of this Hallmark Channel movie of a suburban housewife who also moonlights as a government agent.

A former Central Security Agency operative Jim Monroe (Dorian Harewood) who used to work with Jane Doe got fired for being drunk on the job. His boss a cereal company tycoon fell overboard at night but was successfully retrieved. A few days later just after he had given a live television interview he has been found drowned.

Monroe is concerned and insists that he was not drunk on the job yet no one has thought of running a blood test on him.

Jane Doe investigates and finds out that almost all the executives of the company had sold their shares options a few days earlier and when she goes to the television studio she figures that the live television interview may not had been live.

There is a sub plot about her daughter who has used her student fund to purchase shares in the cereal company which have dived after the death of the owner of the company.

The film is certainly cheesy and Lt Colombo will not be having any sleepless nights regarding the depth of the mystery here. It is undemanding viewing even the daughter panicking about the fall in the share prices does not sound right. W K Kellogg has been dead for decades but it seems to have had little effect in the sales of Rice Krispies.

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Another Jane Doe investigator episode

Author: ksf-2 from southwest US
23 September 2013

Lea Thompson stars AND directs this middle episode (timewise) of the Jane Doe detective series. She and partner Frank (Joe Penney) get caught up in a murder where the timeline doesn't make sense. David Groh (was Rhoda's TV husband in the 70s !) is "Melville Horning", shown as the evil CEO, who goes over the side of a boat, and since everyone was drinking, no-one is sure exactly what happened. Keep an eye out for Helen Slater (from the "Where have they Been" file) is Stella. Viewers will know her from "The Secret of My Success" with Michael Fox. When the body turns up (again), Jane Doe is called in by an old friend to try to put the pieces together. Dorian Harewood is the head of security who gets caught up in this, but he keeps showing so much attitude towards the people that are trying to help him, that it gets annoying. I understand that they are trying to show the tension involved in a murder case, but you'd think the investigators would tell him to back off, they are the ones trying to help him.

Entertaining story, as long as you buy into it without looking too closely. The family issues that come up are actually a little distracting from the investigation. They use this "family issues" device again in the "Ties that Bind" chapter, and it was also a distracting in that story.

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