5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Anyone for an Extra Credit Project, Class?
WeatherViolet from United States
11 January 2010
Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) introduces and summarizes this
"Bookend" guest sleuth episode about an LAPD Lieutenant friend of hers,
who, along with two students in his college Criminology course,
investigates a closed case murder, in which authorities have,
naturally, arrested an innocent suspect.
Its action begins one evening on a California beach near Los Angeles,
as a "Young Man" (Bill Brochtrup) hikes along the rocks, preparing to
camp beneath the stars, when he witnesses an altercation across a dune
and investigates to discover the body of a "Girl" (Holly Clark), as the
driver of one automobile speeds away, and the driver of a police patrol
car shines his headlights upon the startled Young Man.
LAPD Lieutenant Amos 'Jake' Ballinger (Barry Newman) believes the
account of the sole suspect's ailing mother, Anna Gunderson (Gloria
Cromwell), who pleads with the Lieutenant to defend her son's
innocence, for by now he has been unjustly incarcerated for nearly a
When Captain Joe Rawlings (Gerald S. O'Loughlin) dismisses Jake
Ballinger from his ongoing investigation, which turns up no other
leads, and arranges for Dean Howard Cogden (Robert Casper) to hire Jake
as a Criminology instructor on a Los Angeles campus.
Jake is therefore able to provide for his teenage daughter, Jane
Ballinger (Heather McAdam), who shares his meager apartment, as they,
together manage their domestic responsibilities, while Jane continues
her education. But, through this new experience of facing dismissal
from the force for disobeying orders, Jake devises a plan to continue
the investigation of the now cold case murder, by soliciting volunteers
from among his students, to sleuth for extra credit.
And when Jake delivers his extra-credit project before his forum
classroom, students begin to drop the course left and right, and then
there are three: Moira McShane (Hallie Todd), who bounces the idea
around and skips a few classes, Bernard 'Bernie' Berndlestein (Grant
Heslov), a geek-ish type, who maintains that information is there to be
discovered, and Elizabeth Mills (Lise Hilboldt), who resolves to prove
that she is up to any challenge that the police refuse to handle, and
able beyond their limited capacity of understanding.
Jane tolerates her father's ongoing rounds of visitors into their
humble dwelling at odd hours because she reasons that investigating and
proving the innocence of the unjustly accused are woven into his very
And while Bernie handles the processing of facts and information,
Elizabeth makes the rounds to garner clues through her conversations
with various sources and suspects, they impressing Jake beyond measure,
as he questions their methods, but, of course, they're adamantly
focused upon solving the case, by doing things as making plaster casts
of tire tracks, and infiltrating the state capitol, at Sacremento.
After deciding that information in the case has been covered up, they
question State Senator Andrew Grainger (Robert Pine) and his Chief of
Staff, Colin Hale (Robert Lipton), as well as Sam Kendall (Garry
Walberg), Joanne Summerfield (Elinore O'Connell), and even Sister Maria
(Christina Hart), under the trail of a relative of the senator, who may
have shared a past with the murder victim, as the LAPD has its hands
full, trying to calm suspects whom they've already cleared, while they
simultaneously face exposure by a "Class Act."
The cast is rounded out by Vicki Lynne Davis as Graingers Secretary,
Robin Claire as Secretary, and Brett Stimely as Patrolman.
This episode represents the only acting credit each by Vicki Lynne
Davis and Elinore O'Connell, the most recent television role each by
Robin Claire and Christina Hart, one of three by Holly Clark, and one
of the most recent performances by Garry Walberg.
This also marks the first of two "MSW" appearances for Bill Brochtrup,
the second of two each for Robert Casper and Lise Hilboldt, the second
of three for Barry Newman, the third of three for Robert Lipton, the
second of four for Gerald S. O'Loughlin, the second of five for Robert
Pine, and the first of seven "MSW" episodes featuring Hallie Todd,
before her six as Dennis Stanton's receptionist, Rhoda Markowitz.
Gloria Cromwell, acting on television since 1975, has unfortunately
Add another review