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on December 24, 2008
I was so pleased to hear that Chad Allen is returning as gay detective Donald Strachey in a third film. I've seen both "Third Man Out" & "Shock to the System" and was knocked out by Allen's terrific performances. As Strachey, he's torn down stereotypes of the limp-wristed homosexual, proving you can be gay, proud & tough at the same time.
Even more pleasing is his monogamous devotion to his partner, Tim Callahan, shattering the other myth that gay men don't know how to commit.
Kudos to Here! TV for bringing this fine series to the public. I've heard from another reviewer that two more films are being planned. Keep 'em coming!
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on February 28, 2009
...and what fun they are! Am really glad there's a third installment in the Donald Strachey series that has made it to movies. And just like the other two movies, this one is just as entertaining and well acted, produced and filmed. Chad Allen does another wonderful job as the private I Donald Strachey, along with his lover, played by Sebastian Spence. This time, we also get Margot Kidder added in, who does a really good job, as well as the rest of the cast. Plus I love that they are produced and directed really well- a lot of times 'gay' movies appear low budget and cheap, but these always look really well made and professional, just like a big budget Hollywood film.
I know that there are quite a few books in this series, and I really hope that they ALL get made into movies, starring Chad of course. The more movies I see him in, the more I recognize what a really good actor he is. Plus, hopefully these movies can find thier way out to a more mainstream audience. They're well written and shot, and hopefully they can educate people who harbor certain stereotypes of gay people that we're just like everyone else, and that gay cinema is expanding and covering all the same subject matters as mainstream cinema. Keep em coming!!!
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VINE VOICEon February 25, 2009
A very enjoyable movie, one I would definitely watch again. The cast is terrific, and I was thrilled with all of the performances, especially Margot Kidder.
All the movies in this series are well done, but this one is my favorite. Great directing, acting, dialogue, story, etc., it's just a winner!
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VINE VOICEon March 30, 2009
Chad Allen is back as gay private investigator Donald Strachey in the third made-for-cable film based on Richard Stevenson's mystery series. This time a lesbian couple is being harassed and their home vandalized. Are they victims of homophobia or something else? Margot Kidder plays strong-willed Dorothy, a high-school guidance counselor who refuses to be intimidated. Her partner, Edith (wonderfully played by Gabrielle Rose) has a secret in her past that might or might not be contributing to the happenings. Sebastian Spence is back as Tim, Strachey's husband and a guy Tim once dated is visiting the area and stirring things up everywhere he goes. These films are light and formulaic with enough intrigue and suspense to keep the viewer guessing. They effectively capture the feel of the tough detective novels they are based on. The production values are good and the acting is excellent.
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A mysterious client hires private eye Don Strachey to tail a woman who turns out to be a detective running an uncover investigation. Two aging lesbians, one a high school counselor, are harassed and their home vandalized in the small town where they live. A giant real estate deal is nearing a deadline. If that wasn't enough, an old lover of Timmy Callahan's shows up. Timmy is Don's life partner. We'll soon learn that Timmy's friend knows the two women.

And before long, murder appears carrying an accelerant for arson. As Strachey digs into these seemingly unrelated cases, he gradually realizes there are links. Some of the links depend on big money deals. Some depend on long-buried secrets that have been buried far too long. Some lead to beatings and death.

Chad Allen plays Strachey in this third, and in my opinion the best, of the Don Strachey television movies. They're based on the Richard Stevenson mysteries. For those who like to read as well as watch, Stevenson has written nine of them. Death Vows, his latest, came out in 2008. He's a fine writer who comes up with complicated stories that involve deadly motives. Allen is a little shorter than how I envisage the written Strachey, and a little more ironic. He's a good actor, however, and makes believable Strachey's intelligence, decency and, when needed, willingness to do some violence. Sebastian Spence plays Timmy Callahan, Strachey's, for want of a better term, co-husband. They've been together for a while and are committed to a monogamous relationship, although sometimes tempted. Timmy works for a top legislator in Albany. He's smart, doesn't like it when Strachey gets involved with danger, and mixes a soothing martini for them both after a tough day's work.

The centerpiece of this story is the two aging women who have been together for years. Their house is being vandalized with graffiti and thrown bricks. The driving force of the story, thankfully, isn't just a screed about some townspeople's intolerance. No, this involves plain old greed, corruption and enough complications to make a satisfying story. Margot Kidder plays Dorothy Fisher, a no-nonsense woman who talks straight and is quite prepared to take a baseball bat to anyone who tries to hurt her or her partner, Edith Strong. Dorothy is an indomitable woman who can be a pain in the rear. It's a showy part and Kidder makes the most of it. Gabrielle Rose, however, as Strong, brings not only subtle emotion to the plot, but some extraordinarily fine acting. Ten years ago she played Delores Driscoll, the anguished bus driver in that achingly sad movie, The Sweet Hereafter. The most hidden secrets involve Dorothy and Edith.

With that out of the way, what about the feared gay agenda we keep hearing about? Well, sure there is one here, for those who want to call it that. Don Strachey and his committed partner, Timmy Callahan, are portrayed as two men, comfortable in their skins, who love each other and who have an easy-going, affectionate relationship. We'll see examples of deeply committed love between two older women; we'll see the problems of teens who know they're gay and have no one to talk to about it, including their parents; and we'll see a positive case made for love, affection, humor and help regardless of the gender. If the alternative to the feared gay agenda is a hetero agenda as exemplified by Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee...well, give me Cary Grant, Grace Kelly and Randolph Scott in any combination they want. I'll approve.

On the Other Hand, Death is a made-for-television production with that carefully photographed look about it. The video transfer is very good. There are a couple of lightweight extras.
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on January 16, 2014
On The Other Hand, Death (2008). Not rated. Running Time: One Hour, 25 mins.
The third tv-movie in the Donald Strachey Mysteries series.
Directed by Ron Oliver. Written by Gillian Horvath, Ron McGee.
Chad Allen returns as "Donald Strachey". Sebastian Spence, Nelson Wong, Daryl Shuttleworth also return.

A woman is being followed by a man. Behind him a policeman tells him, "Hands up!". The police are surrounding our gay Private Investigator, Donald Strachey (Chad Allen). Even the woman, Gina Santer (Lori Triolo) is in on it.
Meanwhile, we see a thief in a hooded jacket. he breaks into the home of Dorothy Fisher (Margot Kidder). She goes downstairs with a baseball bat in her hands. She thinks it is Joey breaking in. The thief runs away. Apparently, it is a gay attack as the thief wrote on the wall, "Dykes Get Out!". Dorothy and Edith (Gabrielle Rose) are lesbians living together.
Donald is brought into the police station for almost ruining an investigation Gina Santer has been working undercover on for eight months. However, Donald has been investigating an affair Gina is having.
Donald goes to a school board hearing where Dorothy is a guidance counselor. Dorothy loses her job. He meets Dorothy and Edith and is invited to their home. While having a conversation in the house, the thief returns and throws a brick threw a window. David takes the case to find out who is breaking into their home and harassing them.

Also in the cast: William MacDonald, Barclay Hope, Damon Runyan, Cali Boyle, Ralph Alderman.
A picture of actor Keye Luke is on the desk of Nelson Wong.

Contains male nudity.

Filmed in Langley, British Columbia, Canada.

English language only. English 5.1 Surround Sound, English Stereo.

Special Features: English SDH available. Here! Backlot. Photo Gallery.

Originally broadcast on Here! Network.

Third Man Out (2005).
Shock to the System: A Donald Strachey Mystery (2006).
On The Other Hand, Death (2008).
Ice Blues - A Donald Strachey Mystery (2008).

"Donald Strachey Mysteries" books by author, Richard Stevenson:
Death Trick (Donald Strachey Mystery) (1981).
On the Other Hand, Death (1984).
Ice Blues (1986).
Third Man Out (1992).
A Shock to the System (1995).
Chain of Fools (1996).
Strachey's Folly (1998).
Tongue-Tied: A Donald Strachey Mystery (2003).
Death Vows (A Donald Strachey Mystery) (2008).
The 38 Million Dollar Smile (A Donald Strachey Mystery) (2009).
Cockeyed (A Donald Strachey Mystery) (2010).
Red White Black and Blue (Donald Strachey Mystery) (2011).
The Last Thing I Saw (Donald Strachey Mystery) (2012).
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on October 13, 2013
Correction - "On the Other Hand, Death" is actually the FOURTH and last movie made in the series. The confusion is caused because the third, "Ice Blues" had a delayed DVD release. Another thing that really surprises me is that the Chinese actor who plays Strachey's side kick in all four films, is never mentioned in cast lists, nor in Amazon reviews - nor on the DVD covers, for that matter - and he was a really fun addition to the series, real charming guy - who has a picture of Key Luke on his desk, who was Charlie Chan's side-kick in the early Hollywood Charlie Chan films (never noted in any of the "Backlot" comments on the DVDS). The whole Donald Strachey series is the greatest - the people (actors--many well-known) add real color to the films. . . Margot Kidder, Morgan Fairchild . . .
On the Other Hand, Death: A Donald Strachey Mystery
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on October 13, 2009
Excellent movie - thought-provoking, superbly-acted... and yes, incredibly sexy. The whole Donald Strachey series is superb! TREMENDOUS kudos to Chad Allen, who is truly an inspiration, in life and on-screen. Also, of course, many thanks to the screenwriter, the director, AND the actors for putting together a believable portrayal of a healthy, long-term, monogamous gay relationship between two characters who are far from perfect, but who are all the more endearing for being vulnerable and human and susceptible to the same insecurities and jealousies that we all face. Waiting eagerly for the next installment in the series....
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on October 14, 2014
Chad Allen, need I say more? He has this character down to a science. He excels with this part, the stories and a lot of fun as are the supporting characters, well, I may get grief for this but the Sebastian Spence character I tend to find annoying. I will toss another criticism out there...Margot Kidder? Really? She has always been a rotten actress and she still is. She just tries too hard and it doesn't work, not as Lois Lane(She was horrifyingly bad) not in this. Even in spite of those shortcomings, I did love this movie. I did see the resolution coming a mile away but it was very fun. Chad Allen.....so good. I just saw him in a movie called "Hollywood, Je T'aime" he is just so charismatic.
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on April 9, 2009
I started getting the Donald Strachey mysteries with Chad Allen about a year ago. I find them interesting and well done. I think this one has the widest appeal. And the plot twists are more believable if no less shocking. Chad Allen is not a standard detective - he actually gets beaten up, he's gay, and he's also not always right at the drop of a hat. The surprise here is the re-emergence of Margot Kidder (Lois Lane to Christopher Reeve's Superman) in a far more mature and gritty portrayal of an older Lesbian. She makes the character have both strength and weaknesses. It is a subtle portrayal. If it carries with it some of the turmoil Ms. Kidder has gone through herself, that's all to the better.
I look forward to more in this series.
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