January 31, 2005 12:00 PM

Court TV (Thurs., Jan. 27, 9 p.m. ET)

Watch this important film—and keep it in mind next time you see a sweaty suspect being grilled on a cop show.

Adapted from a hit Off-Broadway production, The Exonerated relies mostly on monologues to tell the real-life stories of six Americans who managed to gain vindication after being sent to death row for crimes they didn’t commit. The cast members—Susan Sarandon, Delroy Lindo, Brian Dennehy, Danny Glover, Aidan Quinn and newcomer David Brown Jr.—speak to us so convincingly that the occasional dramatized flashbacks seem superfluous.

We feel the pain of Kerry Max Cook (Quinn), who was brutalized during 22 years in prison, and grasp why David Keaton (Glover) still looks bewildered three decades after he first insisted to the police, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” We hear that line often on TV, and we shouldn’t forget it’s sometimes true.

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