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Tom Selleck is back in the role he was born to play for this eighth outing in the popular Jesse Stone series. Stone must surely be one of the most laid back heroes to ever grace the small screen and Selleck has perfected the minimalism necessary to make this character stand out. I don't know who author Robert B. Parker might have envisioned inhabiting his iconic small town police chief, but Selleck has certainly owned and perfected the role over the course of these last seven years of TV movies. Starting in 2005, these movies have proven that there is still an adult audience looking for thoughtful drama. I do think each chapter thus far has enough to recommend it on its own merits. You'll appreciate the films to varying degrees as with any serialization--some you may love, some just like. Here's a run down before I comment of "Benefit of the Doubt."

2005: Stone Cold
2006: Night Passage
2006: Death In Paradise
2007: Sea Change
2009: Thin Ice
2010: No Remorse
2011: Innocents lost
2012: Benefit Of The Doubt

"Benefit of the Doubt" starts out with a literal bang. An explosion rocks the Paradise police force and Jesse come out of his forced retirement to piece together what happened. Is it corruption? Drugs? Jesse, even more than usual, is a one man show (although he shares jurisdiction with state agencies). His former friends and co-workers (Kathy Baker and Kohl Sudduth) have abandoned the department, so Jesse's primary allies are his bottomless cup of coffee and faithful dog (not to mention a tryst with a local chanteuse, Gloria Rueben). This case affects Paradise in a major way, so the local bigwigs (including the reliable Saul Rubinek reprising Hastings Hathaway) are under much pressure to get things squared away. With quiet and precision, Jesse sees through what things were meant to look like to find the more nefarious truths underneath. While not the most compelling mystery of the series, it fits comfortably into the increasingly aloof vibe. In truth, the screenplay (Selleck shares a writing credit) may be a little too open-ended and laconic for some but that's progressively become the world that Jesse lives in. In the end, almost everything is left hanging and very little explanation is given for the rather large plot twists. In fact, for my taste, the vague resolution and lack of answers that fit into the context of the series left me wanting (and I'd rate this chapter at 3 1/2 stars for that reason).

For me, the Stone sereis has been more defined by its subtle characterizations than by its independent mysteries. Selleck is so world weary and introspective. I don't know that there has ever been a serialized crime drama that is so reliant on quiet moments and character contemplation. And, in truth, it is this moody thoughtfulness that has really made this series of movies strikingly unique in the modern television landscape. Lacking hysterics and over-the-top action set pieces, the Jesse Stone series is a quietly compelling throw-back to when stories and people mattered more than special effects. And, as always, the icing on the cake is the pitch perfect Tom Selleck who paints Jesse as both lovable and excruciatingly frustrating. I, personally, think that Stone is Selleck's best role--it is no wonder that he has revived him eight times. KGHarris, 5/12.
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"Benefit of the Doubt", the eighth Jesse Stone TV movie, finds the former Paradise police chief back on the job, rehired after a mysterious explosion wipes out his successor. Jesse sets out to solve the mystery, working somewhat at odds with the state homicide squad and an inquisitive town councilman.

Like previous installments of the Jesse Stone franchise, Tom Selleck as Jesse Stone spends a lot of time drinking coffee and contemplating the beautiful seascape of Paradise with his aging dog, when he's not breaking into his own office, stepping on official toes, romancing the secretary at the local car dealership, or reaching out to former employees. Most of the recurring cast of the Jesse Stone movies make appearences, including Kathy Baker, William Devane, and William Sadler. However, this story is mostly about Jesse's refusal to accept the easy answer about the death of the previous chief. His dogged pursuit of justice and his considerable detecting skills lead him down a thin trail of clues to a surprising discovery, and a suspenseful final confrontation aboard a derelict ship.

"Benefit of the Doubt" is an improvement over the last movie, with a plot that moves right along and another opportunity to watch a gifted veteran actor work a role he seems a natural for. Highly recommended to fans of the Jesse Stone franchise.
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on May 21, 2012
I thought they might be pushed for an interesting story line, but this one starts it all over again, and leaves the way for a sequel ,so easily.There are surprises right away, that you are not ready for, and pave the way for some interesting dramatics.
The dog is a star again, and surprises everyone.
An interesting twist on the villains, and you are never quite clear about what is going on, and why.
Jessie's love life is interesting, but boy did he blow it, with the secretary for Gino.That would have been too exhausting to cope with;Jessie too.
Seeing "Suitcase" as a fisherman, is hard to deal with, but his later decision, is awesome.
The opening Ocean scenes are fantastic, and well done!

Looking forward to the next "Movie"--

Kevin
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on May 27, 2012
I am not surprised that Benefit of the Doubt is a fine flick - had to be with a great cast, sumptuous scenery, immediately startling action and a dramatic, unexpected ending. Watched it - DVRed it - then watched it three more times to find the elusive clues that I may have missed. A very satisfying thriller. I'm hoping it is not the last in the series. Selleck and Brandman seem to be a successful team, and I look forward to the next installment!
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on May 24, 2012
Again Tom Selleck emerges as the on going troubling character of Jesse Stone which he portrays again and very well in it's 8th installment Benefit of the Doubt with the plot twisting and suprising and an ending that leaves you hanging to another sequel which you know that there will be. Tom Sellecks seasoned acting is superb and is a must see. A very well put together movie. Enjoyed this one as much as the other Jesse Stone movies. Can't wait to get this one in dvd and add it to the rest of my Jesse Stone collection. I am a die hard fan of Tom Selleck. He is a very well put together talented actor.
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on May 27, 2012
There is so little that I can add to the other reviews, I love these movies, but I am truly heartbroken that there is no affordable sound track of Jeff Beal's music. Of course, the acting is polished to perfction, the stories are surprising, but that haunting music makes these more than detective stories. Jeff Beal takes these stories to an entirely different level. Do wish it was available.
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on May 26, 2012
Another well done Jessie Stone movie! If you are a fan of Robert Parker's books or Tom Selleck's portraile of Jessie Stone and the series, this latest installment will not disappoint! I love the reoccurring roles of certain character's and actors in the series, including Rose and Luther "Suitcase" Simpson. Things change, and the story never has a dull moment. Jessie's "coply intuition" and banter never gets old. The quality of the acting in these movies and scripts are very impressive for made for TV movies and the entertainment value is very high. Selleck will not let you down as Jessie Stone. Great movie, can't wait for the next installment!
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on May 24, 2012
The movie opens with the present police chief and a younger cop casually driving along. When they pull over, the unexpected happens very quickly. Jesse Stone, is enlisted and re-hired back to his old police chief position. Trouble is, he has no police department. Suitcase now works on his father's boat. Rose is in Toledo with mom. Jesse, along with the state, is left to solve this. He feels the need to delve further into the case than the state & does so.

The movie is shot with a great deal of dim lighting to go along with the general feeling implied. Jesse still seeks advice from William DeVane regarding his personal issues, drinking being at the forefront. He still has the hots for the secretary at his acquaintance's car dealership. Tom Selleck shines, as ususal in the title role, followed closely by his dog, whose droll expressions mimic Stone and are priceless. The dog is a very welcome addition to the cast.

The ending comes quickly. It leaves the story wide open for a sequel. The ending is a bit surprising. However, in this more thought provoking installment of Stone, I thought it a bit flat. I believe the last line is from Suitcase who sticks his head in the door and utters it. It's very short and seems out of place

A bit different than the others and well worth viewing
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Tom Selleck is back in the role he was born to play for this eighth outing in the popular Jesse Stone series. Stone must surely be one of the most laid back heroes to ever grace the small screen and Selleck has perfected the minimalism necessary to make this character stand out. I don't know who author Robert B. Parker might have envisioned inhabiting his iconic small town police chief, but Selleck has certainly owned and perfected the role over the course of these last seven years of TV movies. Starting in 2005, these movies have proven that there is still an adult audience looking for thoughtful drama. I do think each chapter thus far has enough to recommend it on its own merits. You'll appreciate the films to varying degrees as with any serialization--some you may love, some just like. Here's a run down before I comment of "Benefit of the Doubt."

2005: Stone Cold
2006: Night Passage
2006: Death In Paradise
2007: Sea Change
2009: Thin Ice
2010: No Remorse
2011: Innocents lost
2012: Benefit Of The Doubt

"Benefit of the Doubt" starts out with a literal bang. An explosion rocks the Paradise police force and Jesse come out of his forced retirement to piece together what happened. Is it corruption? Drugs? Jesse, even more than usual, is a one man show (although he shares jurisdiction with state agencies). His former friends and co-workers (Kathy Baker and Kohl Sudduth) have abandoned the department, so Jesse's primary allies are his bottomless cup of coffee and faithful dog (not to mention a tryst with a local chanteuse, Gloria Rueben). This case affects Paradise in a major way, so the local bigwigs (including the reliable Saul Rubinek reprising Hastings Hathaway) are under much pressure to get things squared away. With quiet and precision, Jesse sees through what things were meant to look like to find the more nefarious truths underneath. While not the most compelling mystery of the series, it fits comfortably into the increasingly aloof vibe. In truth, the screenplay (Selleck shares a writing credit) may be a little too open-ended and laconic for some but that's progressively become the world that Jesse lives in. In the end, almost everything is left hanging and very little explanation is given for the rather large plot twists. In fact, for my taste, the vague resolution and lack of answers that fit into the context of the series left me wanting (and I'd rate this chapter at 3 1/2 stars for that reason).

For me, the Stone sereis has been more defined by its subtle characterizations than by its independent mysteries. Selleck is so world weary and introspective. I don't know that there has ever been a serialized crime drama that is so reliant on quiet moments and character contemplation. And, in truth, it is this moody thoughtfulness that has really made this series of movies strikingly unique in the modern television landscape. Lacking hysterics and over-the-top action set pieces, the Jesse Stone series is a quietly compelling throw-back to when stories and people mattered more than special effects. And, as always, the icing on the cake is the pitch perfect Tom Selleck who paints Jesse as both lovable and excruciatingly frustrating. I, personally, think that Stone is Selleck's best role--it is no wonder that he has revived him eight times. KGHarris, 5/12.
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on June 3, 2012
I'm glad I'm not the only one who was left hanging, thinking "What about....?" I thought I missed something and it's reassuring to know that there were questions deliberately left hanging. This certainly lays the ground work for another sequel. I'm looking forward to it. I can hardly wait until the DVD comes out. I look forward to watching this episode again.
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