Saturday, September 10, 2016

Jesse Stone, Detective series

I'm quite obsessive/compulsive. I wonder if most writers aren't, after all, we keep on writing, don't we?

I find that if there's something new that I like, I may go after it until I've tapped it all out. Lately it's been a little of both Murder She Wrote, and Jesse Stone movies. I discovered the four last TV shows/movies of Murder She Wrote on line and have watched them-in some cases twice-but in the course I've also found Jesse Stone made for TV movies as well, starring Tom Selleck. These are on UTube, but also found for sale, of course at Amazon. The UTube one is somewhat hazy. Not of good quality, although free, you still have to go through stupid ads (which you can skip). But either way to get to see it, these movies are quite good.

Lost in Paradise (2015) this is on Utube. But you can buy it and all the others on Amazon.

There's some clips on the Amazon site for Lost in Paradise, you might be interested in if you scroll down here.

Lost in Paradise opens up with Jesse seeing his shrink, who happens to be an ex cop. They tend to have arguments, Jesse won't own up to anything. He won't even admit his drinking is an addiction. But he does admit that he's frightened, and that he's lost his conscience. Back to that in a moment.

Let me say first that Jesse Stone is a somber (and not always sober), guy. He is a damaged cop, who has lost his job (prior to this), in LA, lost his wife, because of his drinking, and they have this "toxic" relationship, where he would call her every day. But doesn't so much any more, but does once in a scene and she's not there.

He has lost his "conscience", as he tells his shrink. We don't exactly know what that means, until when, in another scene after this, he goes to the sea side (I love the music in this, by the way, just hauntingly beautiful, mournful or somber to fit the series). He's talking to himself, says "Fate Wouldn't  do this to me. Took so long to acknowledge the connection. That there was a bond. Life plays tricks on you." He's looking down at something, a rock, but we don't see what it is until he walks away and the camera pans down. On the large rock a bronze plaque says "Reggie: My conscience". Reggie was his dog, obviously he buried him there.

He needs something to do, to keep him from--well, drinking too much, and having little to do, because his town as he says, "Nothing happens here". His shrink says "You did too good a job cleaning up Dodge." He's obviously used to the big city murders and crime, hustle-bustle. You can take the cop out of the city, but not the city out of the cop.

He goes to Boston, and asks to work on something. Lt. Greenstreet--Sidney--of homicide gives him a stack of files. He doesn't need the money, he needs the work. He chooses one. A rather gruesome case "The Boston Ripper"--you can derive from this name what he did to his victims. The homicide chief is a woman who Jesse has had a relationship with in another time. She tells him they've got the killer. To the best of their knowledge he did all four, but she doesn't seem sure.

Before he leaves he asks what happened to the dog of the 4th victim. He points to the picture of the Irish setter. It's sitting beside his mistress when she was found. They've taken it to the shelter, she tells him. He will go and rescue it from being euthanized. His name is Steve. And that's another clue, but I'm not gonna tell you more about that.

Jesse interviews the man accused of the murders. He's a piece of work, doesn't like the word "victim", but rather "recipients". He has confessed to 3 murders, but not the fourth, and in talking to him, Jesse sees he's quite proud of his "work". He believes it is a "public service", by killing prostitutes. So, because of this, it begs the question- why wouldn't he admit to another murder, since he'd done these others? Comes down to Jesse smells a rat... eventually.

Down the line Jesse helps a troubled young teenage girl get back on track, her mother is alcoholic, and Jesse more or less intervenes to help both the girl and the mother.

The dog, Steve, won't eat anything he sets down, even steak. Well, almost anything. Then some noodles from a restaurant is placed before him and the poor thing--an Irish mix--begins to eat. But a happy dog he is not, since his owner was killed. Jesse's relationship with this dog pulls on your heartstrings. I loved it.

Jesse does solve this cold case, and it was rather easy. Basic good detective work brings him to the real killer, just before he kills again, having to shoot him.

Supporting characters give more depth into the whole series. They tend to grow on you. Suitcase is one of the cops under Jesse. Rose, also, who has her own problems, and these are all dealt with in other shows.

A lot of great lines in this had me chuckling. The humor is usually dark, or off the wall smirky, but I'm not watching it for humor, I like it because of the great acting, moody scenes. For instance he lives on a cliff, next to the ocean, doesn't get a cell in his house, so he has to go outside in order to talk on it, and many times, it's rainy, or stormy.

The Books:
Now that I've got you thus far, here is something else I found out. These movies are based on books by Robert B. Parker.

This is the first book, and the description follows:

After a busted marriage kicks his drinking problem into overdrive and the LAPD unceremoniously dumps him, the thirty-five-year-old Jesse Stone's future looks bleak. So he's shocked when a small Massachusetts town called Paradise recruits him as police chief. He can't help wondering if this job is a genuine chance to start over, the kind of offer he can't refuse.

Once on board, Jesse doesn't have to look for trouble in Paradise: it comes to him. For what is on the surface a quiet New England community quickly proves to be a crucible of political and moral corruption—replete with triple homicide, tight Boston mob ties, flamboyantly errant spouses, maddened militiamen and a psychopath-about-town who has fixed his violent sights on the new lawman. Against all this, Jesse stands utterly alone, with no one to trust; even he and the woman he's seeing are like ships that pass in the night. He finds he must test his mettle and powers of command to emerge a local hero—or the deadest of dupes.

As the flagship volume in a new series featuring a complex and engaging sleuth, Night Passage is cause for celebration.

Robert B Parker died in 2010 and wrote Spenser detective novels back in the seventies. His fictional Spender inspired "Spenser: For Hire" so the Jesse Stone movies were not the first to bring his books to TV.

Here is his first book and bio on the Amazon page.

Interesting what you find if you dig a little bit.

I hope to visit our new bookstore soon, I need the first Jesse Stone book, and a few other books as well. But I want to buy the movies, and eventually get the whole set. They are still being made, although, from what I've read in a comment that the network dropped the series, but Hallmark picked it up. We'll see how this turns out for those who follow it on TV.


  1. Yes, I know the series. I like Selleck in the role. I did know Parker had created the character, and since his death there have been other writers working on the character as well.

  2. I'm familiar with it, too. There was a time I'd watch Tom Selleck in anything!

    1. Oh, yes. Me too. Advertisements, as well. In fact a character I'm writing in current WIP is based on his Magnum character... partially.


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