Archive for the ‘TV Crime’ Category

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Baldacci characters King and Maxwell made their debut in the 2003 novel Split Second, a convoluted tale of murder and revenge, in which former secret service agent turned lawyer Sean King and the delightful, if somewhat disorganized Michelle Maxwell team up to thwart nefarious demons from their shadowy spook-filled past.

King & Maxwell David Baldacci

The Crimetastic Maxwell & King

Split Second is a 500 page donkey choker of a book, that is sure to delight fans of the fast moving crime thriller. Baldacci is of course the most pulchritudinous man in publishing [TM Crimezine]and has been churning out crime classics since the mid nineties, when he kicked off his career with the masterful Absolute Power.

The Crimetime emergence of King and Maxwell as a TNT television show has facilitated a new printing of Split Second in end of aisle paperback format. But is it any good we hear you ask. The plot is certainly twistier than a Chandleresque charabanc ride through the Hollywood Hills, or in this case the rolling hills of Virginia. There is also plenty of will they won’t they love interest possibility thrown into the mix, with the additional love triangle sauciness of former King fling Joan Dillinger stirred through for good measure.

Of course, there is a reason why the King and Maxwell chemistry is so strong. King like Baldacci is a Washington man, a lawyer, a man who has changed his career. Meanwhile, in real life, the beauteous Mrs. Baldacci—also happens to be called Michelle. Coincidence? We think not Crimeziners.

There are problems too, however. There is a revolving dessert cart of supplementary characters in this book that will make your head spin off its stalk. We also get a clunky quantity over quality feel on occasion that can be distracting. Frankly, Balders could have cut two hundred pages out of this tome and it would have smartened up the field of play no end. But in fairness, this 2003 read was the first in a series, and Baldacci has tightened things up considerably since then, most notably in 2009’s awesome First Family and the equally splendiferous Sixth Man (2011).

No doubt the nice people at Grand Central Publishing are hoping for a reprint bonanza as the new King and Maxwell show airs on TNT channel. Sadly, there might be a problem here. The show has already been universally panned by critics, as bland, cheesy and generic. Whilst this may be true, such attributes are not necessarily a hindrance to success on mainstream American television—as the legion of half baked shows that pack the schedules are testament to.

The cast of King & Maxwell includes, Rebecca Romijn, who plays the part of the ballsy and impulsive Maxwell, whilst Cloonyesque heartthrob Jon Tenney plays creaky-kneed charmer King. So far so good, until we meet Edgar Roy, played by Sons of Anarchy’s Ryan Hurst. Now you might say it is de rigueur these days, for every crime show to have their very own idiot savant, but poor old Edgar is a shambling monosyllabic computer nerd to beat out all others—greasy shoulder length hair, check, mutton chop side burns, check, googlesome retro-framed glasses that make him look like a dribbling playground pedophile—well, you get the picture. But guess what, he is a “genius” with computers. Quelle surprise.

Then there is the script.

So bad it would seem it has been cobbled together by a team of teenage interns. At one point in the premier episode, a character tells the investigative duo that it has been, ten years since her husband was around, so she cannot be much help—then she reaches to an otherwise empty cupboard and pulls out her husband’s address book—perhaps this would be useful—she enquires brightly. Yes, perhaps it would.

TNT is inundated with ampersand monikered crime shows at the moment—Franklin & Bash. Rizzoli & Isles, and now King & Maxwell. No crime in that you might say—but you would be wrong, because TNT murdered Southland, so that this cookie-cutter cobblers might draw breath. For shame.

If you want to get in at the beginning of the King and Maxwell story Crimezine recommends Split Second, just don’t leave it in chomping distance if you have a pet donkey, the consequences could be dire indeed. David Baldacci publishes the latest eponymously titled King and Maxwell thriller November 19, 2013.

The King & Maxwell books in order

Split Second 2003

Hour Game 2004

Simple Genius 2007

First Family 2009

The Sixth Man 2011

King & Maxwell 2013

Ray Donovan, Liev Schreiber

Liev Schreiber & John Voight star in Ray Donovan

Ray Donovan is the latest masterpiece by Southland creator Ann Biderman, and it has all the hallmarks of a Crimezine classic. Celebrity hijinx, brass knuckle action, and a double dose of Hollyweird kookiness, all set in the bad and beautiful city of Los Angeles, California.

The show features Liev Schreiber as Ray Donovan, a Hollywood fixer who solves the myriad problems of his rich and famous clients—Dead starlet in bed? No problem—caught with a transsexual prostitute on Hollyweird Boulevard—forgedaboudit. Serial-stalker on millionaires row in Malibu—consider his arm as good as broke.

While the taciturn Ray has no problem fixing the myriad woes of his clients, he finds meeting the needs of his own family rather more difficult.

There is his wife, who cannot get to grips with her husbands role as freewheeling man about town; there are his kids who are growing up just a little too fast, and there are his haddock brained brothers, who run the family boxing business. Then there is Ray’s pops, played by screen legend John Voight.

Academy Award winner Voight has a hardworking Hollweird career stretching back five decades. He gained a whole shelf full of accolades for roles in such screen classics as Midnight Cowboy, and Deliverance. But he is perhaps best known in this age of tabloid obsession, as the man who spawned kooky glamourpuss Angelina Jolie. How appropriate then, that the marginally less kooky Voight should play Ray’s nutty jailbird pops Mickey Donovan, a man fresh out of a twenty-year stretch for murder.

In the first episode of Ray Donovan we see Mickey shoot a priest in the face and ogle a breast-feeding mom on a plane. Mickey is creepy and dangerous, no doubt. But he is also ruthlessly manipulative and wastes no time ingratiating himself with his long lost family, much to the chagrin of Ray.

Ray Donovan is an investigation of the celebrity enablers, as much it is a reflection of the crash and burn ethos that so often consumes the world of so called celebrity. The show is a sunshine Soprano’s on sea, Californication sans horse shit, along with a generous twist of Harvey Keitel’s “Cleaner” character, from the marvelous Pulp Fiction thrown in for good measure. From the premiere episode, it looks like the rich mix of hard action and factional celebrity sleaze will draw viewers in, so that they might be swept along by the swirling undertow of this deep running family drama.

Ray Donovan. You heard it here first Crimeziners.

Screens Sundays at 10pm on Showtime.


Southland Cancelled, Crimezine conducts an autotopsy

Southland—187 ’d

After five crimetastic seasons, Southland, “One of the best police dramas ever made”, according to TNT channel, has been cancelled. You got to give ’em credit at TNT—despite this faint praise—they did after all rescue the show from network nincompoops NBC. But, despite the injection of star turn appeal in the shape of Lucy Liu, and some of the best script writing ever seen on television period—Southland will not return.

Cynics might argue that a show as hard hitting as Southland was doomed from the start—the shows sense of darkness was always too tangible for the televisual mainstream. But it was that sense of darkness, along with the shows willingness to deal with issues of race, sexuality, transgression and redemption, that made Southland so very special in the first place.

Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to sell bovine snack foods against such a real and iconoclastic show, and that in the end is what killed it dead.

Sure, Southland had its fair share of heartthrobs and hotties, but it was never going to be as curvaceous and square-jawed as the NCIS primetime pack. Crimezine predicts however that the very many talented folk involved with Southland will go on to bigger and better things—watch this space.

So what now? Crimeziners who are jonesing for a Southland fix would be well advised to investigate the work of former LAPD detective sergeant Joseph Wambaugh. For the square eyed amongst you, the aforementioned NBC are touting Chicago PD their new cop show for the 2013-2014 season —from the same team behind Chicago Fire. Just goes to prove Crimezines long-held belief that cop shows are like the Chinese Communist army—you think you have seen the last of them off—then a whole new battalion comes marching over the hill.

TNT contacted Crimezine with this message

TNT has made the difficult decision not to renew Southland for another season. We are enormously proud of Southland, which stands as one of the best police dramas ever made. Executive producers John Wells, Chris Chulack and Jonathan Lisco, along with creator Ann Biderman and our partners at Warner Bros. Television, have given us five seasons of powerful, unforgettable storytelling, for which we are deeply grateful. We also want to thank the amazing cast for their impassioned, no-holds-barred performances, and the production team for their tenacity shooting on the streets of real-world Los Angeles. We wish everyone associated with Southland the very best.


Quaid & Chiklis: What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas

New CBS drama Vegas starring Michael Chiklis and Dennis Quaid is inspired by the true story of former Las Vegas Sheriff Ralph Lamb, a fourth-generation rancher tasked with bringing order to the wild style Las Vegas of the 1960’s.

Retro crime dramas such as Magic City are in vogue at the moment of course, but this show brings a special thrill to Crimezine. Chiklis starred as hard hitting Vic Mackey in The Shield, whilst Quaid is as well known for his debauched off-screen antics as he is for films such as The Rookie, Traffic and Wyatt Earp.

Ralph Lamb (Quaid) wants to be left in peace to run his ranch, but Las Vegas is now swelling with outsiders and corruption, which is intruding on his simple life.  Recalling Lamb’s command as a military police officer during World War II, the Mayor appeals to his sense of duty to look into a murder of a casino worker and so begins Lamb’s clash with Vincent Savino (Chiklis), a ruthless Chicago gangster who plans to make Vegas his own.

Assisting Lamb in keeping law and order are his two deputies: his diplomatic, even-keeled brother Jack (Jason O’Mara) and his charming but impulsive son, Dixon (Taylor Handley). Ambitious Assistant District Attorney Katherine O’Connell (Carrie-Anne Moss), who grew up on the ranch next to the Lambs, also lends a hand in preserving justice.

The Vegas story has been tackled before, most notably in the Martin Scorsese film Casino, starring Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci; a tale that was based on the hard hitting book by Nicholas Pileggi; which was in turn based on the real life story of mob associate Frank Rosenthal, who ran the Stardust, Fremont and Hacienda Casinos for the Chicago mob in the 1970’s and 80’s.

Crimezine understands that no one ever asks to borrow a pen from Joe Pesci these days…Chortle.

Take a trip to Vegas on CBS Tuesday nights at 10:00pm

Mob Doctor

Here come the autumn schedules Crimeziners, and as ever, those nice people at Fox are crimetime leaders when it comes to new breaking crime shows. Top of this seasons offerings is the crime and medicine hybrid Mob Doctor.

We would have just love, love, loved to have been at the production pitch meet for this show—

FOX: We want a crime show involving the mafia but with the main-stream appeal of a medical drama what you got?

Josh Berman and Rob Wright: How about Sopranos meets ER?

FOX: Sold! Make sure all the actors are cute though.

Josh Berman and Rob Wright: Natcheroooo!

Jordana Spiro is the pulchritudinous lead in Mob doctor, she plays the fabulously named Grace Devlin [Angel or demon—GEDDIT?]. Spiro, you will no doubt have seen before, in the ill fated Harry’s Law. She also appeared in a multi-episode arc of Dexter. Spiro is likeable and charismatic and the show revolves around her split allegiance to the Chicago Mob and the Hippocratic oath—will she betray her personal and professional integrity to stop her lame-brain brother being toasted by the Chicago mob?

The brother is such a spineless, whining, crybaby, most people would give him up to Mob in a second, but not our Gracie… and this is where her problems start.

The Capo figure, Constantine Alexander, is played by crime-veteran William Forsythe, who has starred in many highly rated crime shows from CHiPs, to Hill Street Blues. He also starred as mobster Al Capone, in the’90s revival of the classic ’60s crime show, The Untouchables. Recently Forsythe gained critical acclaim, playing butcher Manny Horowitz in Boardwalk Empire. But perhaps more interestingly, he is starring as Jake LaMotta in the forthcoming Raging Bull II.

Other stand out performances, come from Wendy Makkena, as Grace’s Mom Daniella Devlin and Zach Gifford, as goody-two-shoes love interest Dr.Brett Robinson.

The real star of this show however, is young Gracie’s moral dilemma. What ever will the nasty gangsters ask her to do next? Judging from the first episode, where she had to remove a screwdriver from a gangster’s head and ‘kill’ a federal witness, the Mob Doctor will be up against it big time.


The Sherlock Holmes revival continues to swell ever higher, surely it can only be a matter of time Crimezine wonders,

Lucy Liu-Holmes-Jonny Lee Miller—Elementary

Smarten yourself up Holmes

before this great wave of enthusiasm crests and crashes upon the mighty beach of reinvention?

Elementary, a new series from CBS is upping the reinvention ante, not only do we find Holmes in modern day Manhattan but his Watson is the delectable Lucy Liu, whilst Holmes is played by Trainspotting hero Jonny Lee Miller.

Now Crimezine loves dear, dear Jonny, and we are never going to complain about seening Ms Liu in anything, but Holmes in modern day Manhattan you are kidding right?

Show creator Rob Doherty tells us this won’t be a will they -wont-they sexual chemistry show, he says, it will be about honoring the source material. Interesting, perhaps some of the American connections that appeared in such books as the Valley of Fear will be explored? But who will play Moriarty? Doherty is tight lipped, but he tells us we can look forward to meeting Sherlock Holmes’s father—Sean Connery surely—No? Answers on a postcard please


Elementary Premieres on CBS on September 27

Andrés Parra as Pablo Escobar,

Pablo Escobar may have looked like flossy haired favorite uncle with bad dress sense, but he was also the world’s most notorious drug lord, a legend to some—a monster to others. It is no surprise therefore, that Colombian network Caracol TV have turned his life into a telenovela: Escobar Boss of Evil staring Andrés Parra.

Crimezine understands the ratings for Escobar Boss of Evil have reached the level of that other hit Colombian show, Betty La Fea, which was anglicized into American hit show Ugly Betty.

Is Escobar a legitimate subject for such treatment though? The drug lord himself took a topple from a bullet raked Bogota rooftop in 1993 after US triangulation technology homed in on his cell phone signal, so he is in no position to argue. But the emergence of a soap opera documenting his life might be considered to be poor taste at best in a world that still suffers the runaway effects of drug war violence.

Rising from poverty to become one of the wealthiest men in the world, in 1989 Forbes magazine estimated Pablo Escobar had a personal net worth close to US$3 billion. Escobar is considered by many—particularly the Colombian poor, as a Robin Hood figure, responsible for the construction of hospitals, schools, churches, football fields, roads  housing, and other social projects, in impoverished western Colombia.

But Colombia’s favorite uncle had a dark side. At the height of Escobar’s powers his Medellín drug cartel was smuggling 15 tons of cocaine a day, worth more than half a billion dollars, into the United States. Escobar murdered anyone who got in his way, politicians, judges, the police, competitors, and hundreds of ordinary Colombians too. There were 25,100 violent deaths in Colombia in 1991 and 27,100 in 1992, many of them attributable to Escobar, and his brakes off campaign of drug war homicide. Famously Escobar offered million peso bounties to murder police officers, resulting in hundreds of deaths.

In November 1989 Escobar ordered the destruction of a Domestic Colombian passenger flight, Avianca Flight 203, in an attempt to murder Colombian Presidential candidate César Gaviria Trujillo. The flight exploded mid-air, killing all 107 passengers. Trujillo, the target of this atrocity missed the flight.

Soon after, Escobar’s killers exploded a truck bomb close to Colombia’s DAS Building (Administrative Department of Security) killing 52 people and injuring about 1,000. The 500kg bomb, leveled several city blocks destroying more than 300 commercial properties in an attempt to assassinate DAS Director Miguel Maza Marquez. No one was safe from Escobar, including Justice Minister Rodrigo Lara, who was murdered for his work prosecuting cocaine traffickers.

The new soap is being co-produced by relatives of two of Escobar’s high profile victims: Camilo Cano, son of Guillermo

Escobar Boss of Evil staring Andrés Parra

Cano, editor of El Espectador newspaper, who Escobar murdered in 1986, and Juana Uribe, niece of politician Luis Carlos Galan who was gunned down at a campaign appearance in 1989.

The open ended series was shot at over 400 Colombian locations, including a ranch resembling Hacienda Napoles, the infamous Escobar homestead, that had much in common with Michael Jackson’s Neverland ranch, including its own private zoo.

Roberto Escobar, Pablo’s 65 year old brother is reportedly suing the producers of Escobar Boss of Evil, for allegedly lifting large tranches of his books for inclusion in the series.

Roberto, who now scrapes a living entertaining narco-tourists with tales of the bad old days, was once Pablo’s accountant, spending $2500 a month on rubber bands to wrap stacks of ill gotten cash—and since the Medellín cartel had more illegal money than they could bank—they stored the bricks of cash in warehouses, annually writing off 10% as “spoilage”. When rats crept in and feasted on the mountains of illicit  cash. How times have changed. The Escobars are no longer billionaire drug lords, that title has been passed along to shadowier figures in Peru and Bolivia, where the much vaunted US policy of Coca eradication is ineffective. As for the cocaine industry it is, according to the UN worth an astonishing $85 billion annually, bigger than Microsoft, Pfizer, Unilever and Boeing—combined.

US Spanish language channel Telemundo will be broadcasting Escobar Boss of Evil consult your TV guide for details.

AMC-The Killing

The Killing: dead in the water

Crimezine cable favorites AMC, the cats behind Breaking Bad and Mad Men, have put the breaks on their Crime Drama The Killing. The network has axed the crime drama after  only two seasons. The series has received much acclaim from Crimeziners but a failure, by writers to resolve the Rosie Larson murder investigation led to much dissatisfaction amongst the shows fans and has ultimately put the kibosh on the shows chances of a third season.