Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollectionsPrime Time

Tv Review : A Botched Bust Fuels 'Night Heat'

August 04, 1987|PATRICK GOLDSTEIN

TV never seems to tire of cop stories which suits us fine. Most network fare is so lightheaded these days that it seems positively refreshing to get hit with a chilly blast of urban Angst. The tube's tales from the squad room, with their messy moral dilemmas and emotional urgency, offer drama with some heft to it.

That brings us to "Night Heat," CBS' late-night policier that is moving--at least temporarily--to prime time, airing tonight at 10 p.m. on Channels 2 and 8.

The show hasn't always been a huge critical favorite. But it puts its best foot forward with a hard-edged new episode, exploring the dark recesses of loyalty and integrity as it follows the complications that ensue from a bungled undercover drug bust.

There's nothing fancy to the story. When detectives arrive at the scene of the botched bust, they find an alley-full of dead drug dealers and several other suspects under arrest, thanks to Jack (Jason Miller), an off-duty cop who was conveniently on the scene at the time of the fireworks.

However, when the department's top guns (Scott Hylands and Jeff Wincott) discover that both the evidence and a key witness have disappeared, they begin an investigation that seems to implicate Jack, a steady 20-year veteran of the force.

The show's confident story-telling is undermined by some unfortunate "Miami Vice" influences, including an over-reliance on hopped-up bad guys, cops with sky-high soap-opera hair and--of course--those dreaded "Vice" pastels (when's the last time you saw a mint-green hospital filing cabinet?).

But its casting is excellent. One highlight is Miller, who gives a terse, understated performance as a cop who might be crooked--or just scared. Another is Clark Johnson as Jefferson, a suspicious, gum-cracking undercover whiz who glides through the squad room with the kind of wary intensity that reminds us of the show's classic theme--just how easy it is to confuse fear with corruption.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|