Give Judge David Johnson the benefit of the doubt. Just once!
Scandal, corruption, murder. Just another day on the job.
Tom Selleck (Blue Bloods) reprises his role as Chief Jesse Stone, the big-shot lawman in the sleepy town of Paradise. Having been detached from the goings-on of the department for some time, he finds himself dragged back into action when a corrupt politician gets blown to bits from a car bomb.
Utilizing his meandering investigative talents and folksy charm, Chief Stone sifts through the political crap and eventually teases out the truth behind the murder(s). Meanwhile, he hits on ladies who are (at best) half his age. But what do you expect? He's Jesse motherf-n' Stone! No one is resistant to his rugged good looks and stern facial hair. Anyway, he negotiates the sleazy undercurrents of his jurisdiction and eventually gets into a shootout on a boat.
The disc cover shows lots of flames, lighting strikes, and Tom Selleck looking like he means serious business, but this is an easygoing mystery, methodically paced, and built upon Selleck's gruff manner more than high-octane action or…well, anything else really.
Jesse Stone: Benefit of the Doubt is character-centric storytelling and will succeed or fail based on how much of fan you are of Selleck's work here. While I found the laid back pacing and weighty dialogue taxing, Selleck is good. It's obviously a role he enjoys and is comfortable with, fitting him like the classic corduroy blazer he sports throughout most of the film. Stone is even-keeled in the face of many mysteries to unravel, and Selleck offers a steadying hand. Like all the good crime-fighting leads, his acumen and success is never doubted.
The mystery itself is suitably serpentine, sporting a multitude of players who contribute to the plot, notably William Sadler (Die Hard 2) as a smirking douchebag, Stephen McHattie (Watchmen) as Jesse's superior, and Kathy Baker (Picket Fences) as his estranged wife.
The bare bones DVD features a standard definition 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, Dolby 5.1 Surround mix, and no extras.
The leisurely pace might turn off some, but Jesse Stone: Benefit of the Doubt will absolutely appeal to the PBS Mystery crowd.
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