March 27, 2006 12:00 PM

ABC (Wednesdays, 10 p.m. ET)


The narrative for this new detective series is moored in an opening segment that presents bits of evidence that will figure in solving the mystery—a cell phone with blood smeared on the buttons, for instance, and, of course, the poor lamentable corpse itself. As the story progresses, the significance of each piece is revealed. It’s meant to feel like a puzzle being brought to completion, but for some reason I kept getting an image of magnets being thrown randomly at a refrigerator and sticking with a soft click. Which is another way of saying the gimmick isn’t as dead-on as it needs to be.

Apart from the evidence, there are also living human beings, notably Rob Estes and Orlando Jones as two San Francisco inspectors. Estes, a familiar face from Melrose Place and the cable crime show Silk Stalkings, has cut his hair down to stubble and pulls off the trick of looking glamorously grim, like a mannequin made of ash. Jones, an actor who always seems to know exactly what he’s doing, is the livelier of the two. Martin Landau, as a scientific expert, bustles in and out in a white lab coat, looking like a harried pharmacist who wants to get back to filling prescriptions.

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