April 28, 1997 12:00 PM

CBS (Wed., April 30, 9 p.m. ET)


One journalist calls him a “master of spin” with “a platform both liberal and conservative.” Another says, “The man is Teflon. Lesley Stahl spent six months trying to get a sexual harassment story on him.” Bill Clinton? Bob Packwood? Goodness, no. The politician in question is the fictional Emmett Hunter (William Devane), a slick senator on the threshold of the White House— unless Alison Reid (Jane Seymour), a producer for a network newsmagazine, can succeed where Stahl stalled.

Though basically a potboiler, this TV movie has enough entertainment value to overcome plausibility problems and bursts of phony dialogue. (“This is human interest!” Alison snaps to a cameraman. “I want faces!”) The plot holds surprises, and the pace is fast, except when Alison and star correspondent Jake Slaughter (Bruce Greenwood) engage in pillow talk on the nature of news and the direction of their relationship. Seymour could use more intensity, but Greenwood’s smooth ruthless- ness is on the money, and Linda Purl is good as a Hunter aide who leaks evidence of the senator’s sexual misbehavior. If anything, Devane (the former Knots Landing villain) is too well cast as a lowlife in a high place. Remember him from over 20 years ago as an admirable JFK in The Missiles of October? Now any Devane character starts with a lousy approval rating.

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