Jesse Stone: Thin Ice (2009)

It is time to head back to Paradise, Massachusetts.

This time around, Robert B. Parker’s creation of Police Chief Jesse Stone (Tom Selleck) is involved in an investigation that is not based on the series of Jesse Stone novels.

That is something that sounds like it’s putting the series on Thin Ice as they stray away from the source material.

In the end, however, it seems that the writers, Michael Brandman, Ronni Kern and Tom Selleck himself have a handle on the television universe of Stone as well as the character itself, seeing as they’ve all been involved in the series in one form or another since it’s debut.

This time around, the show starts with a bang, well several of them, as Stone and State Trooper Captain Healy (Stephen McHattie) are shot several times while on an unofficial stakeout.

Jesse is only wounded, but Healy is severely injured and hospitalized. However, Stone is raked over the coals by a town council who is already upset with Stone’s performance not meeting their expectations, nor submitting to their control.

Jesse, to his peril, ignores the council, yet again, and starts running down leads and suspects in Healy’s shooting, consulting local crime boss Gino Fish (Willilam Sadler), who points him in the right direction.

The B-story follows a woman, Elizabeth Blue (Camryn Manheim), who has come from New Mexico, clutching a letter, indicating that her son, stolen from her at birth, may be living in Paradise.

Rose (Kathy Baker) takes the case to heart and with Jesse’s aid starts running down leads of her own.

Meanwhile, Suitcase (Kohl Sudduth) aids Jesse in his for the shooter, though obviously still recovering from the head wound he sustained a couple of films ago (he occasionally calls Jesse, Lou, the name of the previous chief).

Jenn (voiced by Gillian Anderson) continues to haunt his phone, leaving messages and keeping him company as he drinks, that demon still haunts him, all while Reggie the dog looks on.

Stone again enlists the help of his psychiatrist Doctor Dix (William Devane) and becomes romantically involved with an internal affairs Sidney Greenstreet (Leslie Hope) and the dialogue between the two recall Jesse’s relationship with the late Abby Taylor (Polly Shannon). She also warns him that the council is going after him.

Jesse tracks down the shooter Teddy Leaf (Fulvio Cecere) and in true Stone manner, sets him up, manipulating events to make sure the man takes the fall he deserves… a third strike.

The series continues to be well-written, engaging, and Nova Scotia continues to stand in wonderfully for Massachusetts, and it’s nice to see places I recognize.

The story-telling, building on the previous films, interweaves new material with characters we’ve come to know and care for and I quite enjoy this universe.

In the interim I have read the first Jesse Stone book, Night Passage, and while I enjoyed it immensely, I can also see why the changes that were made for television were done. What works in the book I don’t think would’ve worked as well on the screen, and the film series seems to build on the spirit of the characters and the books, while making the television universe its own.

I will say this, it’s tough to see anyone else but Selleck as Stone, so my brain automatically paints him into the novel when I read it.

In the end, the ice, I fear proves too thin for Jesse, and the council, for the time being, gets there way… setting things up for the next film, No Remorse.

I quite enjoy these films, and I’m a little saddened that there only 3 for me to get through right now. Course, I still have the rest of the books to get through as well…

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