Not the best of the series, but solid performance
This Jessie Stone story has literary back-up by Robert B. Parker (the creator of Jessie Stone.) It's a mystery which Parker might have embraced, but he would have spiced it up a good bit more. This ninth movie is more of a swan song with deep character looks at the main character, Jessie, and his demons (booze and loneliness.) Unfortunately, the other unusual character cast is either left out, or truncated. Only one of PPD's characters (Suitcase Simpson) appears a couple of times, and Jessie's best buddy, the Boston homicide chief is nowhere to be see.
In a smooth and heartfelt twist, Jessie's dog (Reggie,) has died and left a hole in Jessie's soul. In an interesting screenwriting twist, we learn just how big this hole is as the camera pans in on the dog's headstone. To add heart-tugs, a new dog comes into Jessie's life and makes it's appearance in almost the exact manner as Reggie did several years back. This interplay between deeply troubled man and a deeply troubled dog may be the best part of this story.
The actual mystery is a cold case, where almost everybody thinks the case is "solved," even when the man accused of the killing admits to the first three gruesome killings but refuses to take credit for this fourth identical killing. Jessie, bored with the lack of high profile crime in Paradise after Hasty Hathaway's hasty retreat, goes looking for cold cases to work in Boston. With the homicide chief away, he works a sweet deal with an old love interest, Internal Affair's Sydney Greenstreet (what a wonderful shout out to the Dashall Hammett and the Maltese Falcon.) This time Sydney is all business and no romance, keeping Jessie on a short leash.
The story, written by Tom Selleck and Michael Brandman, is a smart and savvy mystery, with a twist that probably would make Parker smile if he was still alive. The problem lay in the ending. It's too quick, from the moment the killer is identified to the moment he is dispatched. It works, but it could work a lot better. Perhaps producer-actor types are not the best writers. With that said, if this is the biggest knock on Tom Selleck, we can forgive him. His acting and character portrayal is flawless.
I just hope it's not the last movie in the series! It would be great to bring Hasty back for a finale and get the whole gang of regular players back for one last moment in Paradise.
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