Movies like this make me wish I had not misspent my youth but had gotten a law degree among other constructive things. But never mind that I couldn't be sure if some of the courtroom goings-on were kosher ... one move will make you ask yourself if you have ever seen it before ... there was enough going on in the rest of the plot, you needed a score card. I'm afraid I came up woefully short in understanding some of the ins and outs particularly in the area of campaign contributions. But I will give this Patrick Bergin thriller very good marks, better than Suspicious Minds which, despite its flaws, I liked, too; yes, Virginia, there was another Patrick Bergin mystery made. Despite having made an impact as Julia Roberts's implacable husband in Sleeping With the Enemy, in these detective stories with Bergin as the hero he is quiet and reasonable, qualities I told Mike Connors whom I once spied in a restaurant and who had played TV's Mannix years ago were admirable in his character. Yes, Connors said, they don't write 'em that way anymore. I guess Hawaii 5-0's Jack Lord, The Fugitive's David Janssen and Peter Gunn's Craig Stevens to name a few filled that sort of bill and are much to have been appreciated. Cause of Death was made in the early 2000's probably before 9-11 but it has a bit of the feel of the 80's, although I was surprised in a way to see SUV's, laptops and cell phones so much in use; the budget was pretty good on this one, also witness the quality of the direction and the production values, not to mention the script. Re the 80's though. some skirts seemed too short for professional situations; I know I'm not alone in wondering about this because at least one other reviewer here mentioned that. At least the bodices weren't low-cut and sleeveless, even sometimes strappy, as we are supposed to believe by the various CSI's forensic technicians are allowed to sport. In this one, Bergin is an assistant state's attorney with a scandal in his recent past who is trying to parse out the high-profile murder of the mayor's somewhat shady cousin. The victim's wife is the accused. Boy, I got a lesson from Joan Severance in how to wrap a man such as Taylor Lewis, played by Bergin, around your little finger. Of course, it helps when you're as beautiful as she is. Somehow I felt Joan was an actress from the distant past and so looked amazing as a 35-year-old. But it's probably just her somewhat dated name. Classic names are making a comeback anyway. And she has cheekbones. One thing I kind of liked is that we never meet the mayor, who is herself a woman; we don't really need to and I suppose she just would have confused the roster of characters. There are enough others to keep you busy, including a lovely black man unaccountably named Carmine DeLuca; perhaps he's in witness protection except that rather than give him a white bread name they decided to hide him in plain sight with a moniker no one would expect. Lol. But back to the mayor. Given how things turn out, I almost wish we had met her. There is an interesting subplot in which Bergin and his pretty sidekick this time named Missy have a boss who throws big words all over the place, sometimes wrongly, a bit to Lewis's annoyance. I'm not quite sure why that's in there except possibly to prove that Lewis is, again, more reasoned and intelligent, or give the writer and those of us in the audience who care, who include me, a chance to skewer someone with pompous rhetoric; someone who defames the English language deserves the worst. Ooh, wait, I just did it ... probably shouldn't throw stones. The subplot is not laugh-out-loud funny and it's sort of a red herring and yet it didn't bother me as being out of place. This was a very professionally done movie down to the evocation of a smell, that of garbage due to a garbage strike which somehow has to do with the victim buying it. Had there been just a little more finesse with some of the plot points which, truth to tell, were so well laid out their connections almost took care of themselves, this might have been more memorable, and no doubt is a classic in its class. I do not have the same complaint about the end that I had with that other Bergin thriller I have seen so far and am referencing here, Suspicious Minds, in which you did not see the ending coming because you had no clues to point you to it. In Cause of Death I did not see the solution coming but it was a classic one and I was left with the admiring reaction, "Boy, I missed that"; the script must have been doing a great job of redirection. My biggest complaint is that Bergin had another of what seem to be for him obligatory once-a- thriller-in-which-he-is-the-hero sex scenes; he's an imposing mope but I'd sorta rather keep that between him and his future wife. But some ladies might swoon. So sorry. Meow.
Cause of Death
Cause of Death
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A deputy-district attorney, assigned to investigate the murder of the mayor's cousin, finds himself falling for the victim's wife.
September 11, 2020