Picks and Pans Review: Christine Cromwell
ABC (Sat., Nov. 11, 9 P.M. ET)
Ah, the final spoke in the ABC mystery wheel is finally in place. Sing hosanna, or at least “Hail. Hail, the Gang’s All Here.” Joining the Saturday night rotation of Burl Reynolds as B.L. Stryker, Peter Falk as Columbo and Telly Savalas as Kojak is Jaclyn Smith as Cromwell, a crime-solving investment adviser in San Francisco. In the debut, Smith’s sylphlike sleuth—try saying that five times fast—is looking into the murder of a wealthy, despicable client.
The show is cast like an all-star Murder. She Wrote, with recurring characters played by Celeste Holm. Ralph Bellamy, Theodore Bikel. Richard Bradford and Mel Ferrer. Smith carries the lead with her customary elegant aloofness. Her Nob Hill detective is surrounded by beauty: colorful Bay Area settings (prequake, of course), ritzy interiors and lovely clothes.
However sumptuously appointed, Christine Cromwell, like the other shows in the ABC Saturday Mystery anthology (each appears every four weeks), is comfortable, conventional, by-the-numbers TV, nothing more. Only Reynolds’s Stryker occasionally has moments of daring or whimsy.