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Laramie Movie Scope:
Jesse Stone: Death in Paradise

A remorseless man of compassion untangles a deadly mystery

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by Patrick Ivers, Film Critic
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(2006) A female's body, badly decomposed, comes to the surface in a lake outside Paradise prior to a domestic-violence case brought before Police Chief Jesse Stone (Tom Selleck), a remorseless man of compassion. When drunk, Jerry Snyder (John Diehl) often hits his wife Vivian (Debra Christofferson), who refuses to press charges or divorce him because she says she's a Catholic, "fat and stupid, and I look like hell."

During a long-distance phone conversation, Jesse's ex-wife Jenn (Gillian Anderson's voice) suggests that he see a psychiatrist about his drinking-alone problem, a doctor her shrink recommends.

Capt Healy (Stephen McHattie), the state commander of homicide, reports that the victim, a fourteen-year-old girl, who was pregnant, drowned about three weeks earlier. Luther "Suitcase" Simpson (Kohl Sudduth) finds a class ring near the lake, which Jesse traces to William "Hooker" Royce (Matt Barr), a senior and honor student on his way to playing baseball for Duke, from an interview with the private school's headmistress, Dr Lilly Summers (Orla Brady). Elinor "Billie" Bishop, to whom Hooker had given his ring, had been "the school pump," though previous to her transfer two years before she'd been an A student.

Jesse begins paying for sessions with Dr Dix (William Devane), an ex-cop and former drunk, who informs Jesse that Jenn had told him that her former spouse has "a hyperactive sense of responsibility." Jesse admits to blaming himself for the divorce (even though she had an affair) and for Abby Taylor's murder (see Stone Cold); he also feels he owes Billie the favor of finding her killer.

Several characters die in this adaptation of Robert B. Parker's novel (teleplay by J.T. Allen, Tom Selleck, and Michael Brandman), directed by Robert Harmon, involving child molestation.

Jesse uses an unorthodox approach with Mr Snyder. Dr Summers proposes that they do "the afterward" first before enjoying a dinner date together. During an interview with Emily (Mae Whitman) and Hank Bishop (Edward Edwards), Billie's parents, Jesse learns that their younger daughter left home with her father's good-riddance for drugs, sex, and failing grades.

To Jesse, Billie's cynical older sister Sandy (Maria Ricossa), in college, expresses harsh disdain for her father. From Sandy, Jesse pursues a path to a shelter for girls in Boston run by Sister Mary John (Kerri Smith), which next leads him to Norman Shaw (Gary Basaraba), a successful author (his book, Sargasso Sea, had been in Billie's bedroom) and benefactor of Dr Summer's school.

Two more individuals, a respectable member of a Boston crime syndicate, Leo Finn (Steven Flynn) - the subject of Shaw's next book - and his gunsel Lovey Norris (Brendan Kelly), fill out the principal cast, which includes officers Molly Crane (Viola Davis) and Tony D'Angelo (Vito Rezza), as well as Jesse's dog Reggie, in lesser roles. Carole Genest (Liisa Repo-Martell), who had a larger part in Night Passage, appears as a cashier in the local grocery store, where two additional fatalities take place. Relying on his "coply intuition," Jesse brings together the evidence - cinderblocks, rope, and pills - to untangle and then reconstruct the loosened knots of this crime's mystery.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in video and/or DVD format, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2012 Patrick Ivers. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Patrick Ivers can be reached via e-mail at nora's email address at juno. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)