BY: Lynn Elber
LOS ANGELES – Tom Selleck’s sixth turn for CBS as lawman Jesse Stone is bittersweet: The movie is airing less than five months after the death of Robert Parker, the novelist who created Stone.
“Jesse Stone: No Remorse” (9-11 p.m. EDT Sunday) is dedicated to Parker. The author wasn’t involved with the production but saw the finished TV movie before his heart attack in January, Selleck said. He gave it his blessing, as he had the other Stone films.
“I don’t want to hype what Bob said about the show, but he said really wonderful things and he didn’t always feel that way about characters” adapted from his novels, the actor said. “He is — I still talk in the present tense about him — he was something of a curmudgeon. Praise did not come easy.”
Selleck recalled Parker telling he had shed tears of joy when he saw “Stone Cold,” the first CBS movie based on his work, because he felt “the spirit of the storytelling was captured.”
The actor has long admired Parker’s novels, including his sharp dialogue. Stone’s flaws — he’s bedeviled by women and drinking — drew Selleck to the first movie and have kept him hooked.
In “Jesse Stone: No Remorse,” Stone is moonlighting on a serial murder case in Boston after being suspended from his job as police chief of Paradise, Mass. Kathy Baker, Kohl Sudduth, William Devane and William Sadler co-star in the TV movie.
Parker’s friendship and sense of humor are missed by Selleck, but he’s not saying goodbye to Stone. A seventh movie for CBS has been completed and work is under way on No. 8.
The former “Magnum, P.I.” star could find himself back full-time on a series if CBS picks up “Reagan’s Law,” about a New York Irish-American family dedicated to law enforcement. Selleck, cast as the patriarch and city’s police chief, said he’s optimistic the drama will end up on the network’s schedule.
Whether it does or not, he doesn’t plan to say goodbye to the small-town cop in his life.
“I told CBS I won’t do this (the series) at the expense of Jesse Stone. If it’s either-or, I’d rather do Jesse,” Selleck said.
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