Janek: The Silent Betrayal (TV Movie 1994) Poster

(1994 TV Movie)

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3/10
How can a film with six slasher killings at the start be so dull?
anne-craig4 January 2005
Plot summary sounds great, but this is seriously dull. I love William Shatner, but he was the only good thing about this film. And even I admit that he has his limitations! The long pauses we have come to expect are definitely there, and he hams it up as always but nothing could save this film from boring me to death. If you're a big fan of Columbo or Murder She Wrote, maybe this will suit you. Se7en it ain't. The tedious will she/won't she romance between "our hero" and his long-distance girlfriend simply distracts from the plot, while a possibly interesting side-plot in which she is involved with a case of multiple personality disorder dissolves into nothing as the police try to find the deranged killer who has struck so brutally. Although the film doesn't actually tell you whodunit at the start like the Columbo format, I still guessed pretty early on, and the rest of the film seemed just to be padding. Might have made a decent half hour drama - but I doubt it.
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7/10
Final Janek A Solid But Not Spectacular Ending To Series
ThomasMLeonard200328 May 2014
Warning: Spoilers
William Bayer's fictional hero Frank Janek, popularized in a series of successful books and adapted to TV for seven movies on CBS, makes his final appearance in "Janek: The Silent Betrayal". Emmy Winner Richard Crenna returns to the title role of the world weary, not getting any younger NYPD Detective who has a knack for cracking tough cases involving serial killers & occasionally police corruption. Cliff Gorman is back as Janek's partner Aaron Greenberg, a bit toned down in terms of the sarcastic wise cracks and romantic overtures towards younger women than in previous outings. Phillip Bosco also returns as Chief Wycoff, although he has a smaller role in this film than in previous movies. The basic premise is six grisly stabbings all occur the same night in the same small apartment building, which is owned by a famous & highly eccentric Broadway Producer William Bodosh (Played by William Shatner). There is a side story involving Janek's latest romance, with psychologist Monique Dessier from Canada who testifies in criminal trials. Janek's previous romantic entanglements have never ended well in these films but this one (played by Helen Shaver) seems more serious.

Trying to determine links between the victims (outside of all living or working in the same building) proves tough, except they all have had major personal issues with Bodosh, a heavy drinker known for ruthlessly firing people and blackballing talent in the industry. The character is supposed by over the top and full of himself, and Shatner, though maybe just a bit too much, plays that character well. This of course makes Bodosh the prime suspect, along with a shaky alibi for the time of the attacks. Things get more suspicious when a 7th victim, tied directly to Bodosh through his recent termination of her from his latest production, turns up dead, also in the building. The fact the first six victims showed no defensive wounds indicates they either were completely surprised or knew their attacker. Bodosh turns Janek onto another suspect, a disgruntled ex building manager with a nasty drug habit and ties to recent burglaries in buildings where he used to work.

Along the way a mistake by one of Janek's team leads to a false alibi not being checked properly, delaying the investigation. Typical of previous films however, though Janek isn't pleased he doesn't come down too hard on the young cop, hoping they learn from the miscue. Wycoff suggests pairing Janek with Det Reggeri, his nemesis in the Dept from two previous films ("Murder Times 7" & "Murder In Black & White") but Janek balks, forcing Wycoff to chose between the two (Reggeri, though mentioned, does not appear).

Crenna's portrayal of Janek is a bit more subdued in this film than the others, though we still see glimpses of his artistic side (cooking gourmet meals for his girlfriend and discussing his ballroom dancing prowess) and he still lives in his father's old apartment, complete with lutes on the wall (though he doesn't play them in this film), all references from Bayer's books incorporated into the movies. Shatner gets a pass on the almost campy portrayal of Bodosh simply because that character is supposed to be that way, though taking it down a notch or two might have been more believable. Greenberg eventually gets the lead that breaks the case, although it puts Janek in a tough position politically, and he uses a psychological profile he developed with Monique to help par down the suspect list, all setting up a climax to smoke out the killer, ala old school detective shows like Columbo or Murder She Wrote. Even If Janek can crack the case he still has to convince Monique to marry him or risk losing her forever, a task that maybe tougher than smoking out the real killer, and one Janek tries repeatedly to deal with only to be taken away by work.

The film moves at a good pace, though there aren't as many twists and turns as in previous films like "Internal Affairs", "Murder Times 7", or "Murder In Black In White". This time Janek spends more time hitting brick walls than breaking through, though when he finally cracks the lead he needs it's more believable than the finale of "Terror On Track 9". All in all, it's a good, solid, detective film, Crenna is still engaging as Janek, and like previous films there isn't much violence shown though it is implied. More procedural than who done it, but entertaining. Airing in Dec 1994, this was the final film in the series.
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