Tom Selleck is Jesse Stone. You don’t doubt it for a minute from the opening shot of Jesse drunk and staring out at the Pacific Ocean to the final shot of his worn face after breaking bad news to a family. Night Passage is the second Jesse Stone movie but is actually the first Jesse Stone story. For some reason known only to CBS executives they made a movie of the second Jesse Stone book before they made a movie about the first Jesse Stone book. That being said they are faithful to the spirit and story of Stone while giving viewers television that is truly a cut above everything else on network television. The Jesse Stone movies recall a time when networks spent real money on creating their own independent movies and all that was good about those creations.
Visually Night Passage is beautifully shot with clean camera movement and great locations and set shoots. There is no weak link in this intriguing tale of deceit, extra marital affairs and gangsters in a town where you would least expect to find the real McCoy. Jesse Stone arrives in the town of Paradise, MA drunk and stinking of scotch and oddly enough still passes the job interview to replace a retiring sheriff who was clearly on the take. As much as Jesse wants the job the fact that he receives the job the first question into his head is: Why? He wouldn’t have hired a drunk so why did the town hire one?
As the story eases forward we find Jesse is part irreverent, part vigilante, part social worker and all tough guy. Jesse is not afraid of anyone and he has a basic respect for most everyone he meets willing to give them the benefit of the doubt until they prove otherwise – something which Stephen Baldwin accomplishes in his role with ease. This is an hour and a half of excellent story telling a police procedural in a small town and definitely worth adding to the DVD library for mystery, Selleck and Parker fans alike.