Jesse Stone: No Remorse [9/8C] is the sixth entry in the CBS series of TV-movies based on the characters created by the late Robert B. Parker – and the first to not be based, in any way, on a Parker novel. It also continues to be an old-fashioned TV-movie franchise in the way if takes its time to get to where its going.
In No Remorse, alcoholic Paradise Police Chief Stone [Tom Selleck] has been placed on suspension and is allowed no contact with the remaining members of the Paradise Police – Acting Chief Luthor “Suitcase” Simpson [Kohl Sudduth] and Officer Rose Gammon [Kathy Baker] – which makes investigating the murder of a convenience store worker very difficult. From time to time, Stone just happens to be somewhere in the vicinity of each and advice and encouragement are offered.
Meanwhile, a tricky case in Boston has Captain Healy [Stephen McHattie] hiring the currently available Stone as a civilian advisor – but the case becomes even trickier when a link is discovered between it and the goings-on in Paradise. This results in Stone consulting old acquaintances Hasty Hathaway [Saul Rubinek] and gangster/boxing promoter Gino Fish [William Sadler].
Although No Remorse isn’t based on a Parker novel, it has the feel of Parker’s books. Stone’s quietly contrary behavior has gotten him in trouble and could result in the entire Paradise Police Department being fired and replaced. Stone remains acerbic and mostly laconic, with his tendency to put police work ahead of the town’s tourist trade and/or the petty demands of the town council.
The murders aren’t easy to solve, but they are merely the device on which the movie’s character explorations are hung. Selleck continues to give an appropriately understated performance as Stone – and continues to show the character’s growth [as much through his performance as through his being co-writer of the script]. Sudduth is especially noteworthy here, giving Suitcase’s fears of not being up to the task of investigating the homicide a desperation that stops just shy of hysteria – but without ever raising his voice. Jesse Stone regulars McHattie and Sadler provide depth and a bit of dark humor to the proceedings, while Baker gives Gammon even more mother hen aspect in regard to both Suitcase and Stone.
William Devane continues to appear as Stone’s therapist and Joe the Dog effortlessly steals every scene he’s in as Reggie.
Director Robert Harmon gives the characters plenty of time to show us who they are, and keeps the suspense before picking up the pace for the movie’s few action sequences. Like Parker’s books, everything rises from the characters – which is why the series of TV-movies has done so well for CBS.
Jesse Stone: No Remorse is one of the better entries in the series, which is saying a lot – the whole series is well above the norm for made-for-TV movies.
Final Grade: B+