Picks and Pans Review: The Return of Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer

updated 04/21/1986 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 04/21/1986 AT 01:00 AM EST

CBS (Fri., April 18, 9 p.m. ET)

A-

We all know where Mike Hammer's Stacy Keach has been since last year. But never mind. He's back with this TV movie, trying to win a spot in next fall's lineup. If his ratings are as good as the movie, Keach stands a chance. Usually I have to be careful not to ruin a show's ending. Here I have to be careful not to ruin the beginning. Hammer starts with twinkie scenes of New York: pretty skyline, smiling tourists and (stifle that yawn) a mime. But only 90 seconds later something shocking happens. And you're gripped. The new Hammer gives you plenty of action but just as much imagination. Of course, there's still sex and violence, but they're not used as gratuitously as before. And Keach has plenty of Spillane-esque lines: Upon finding the mime dead in a car, he says, "People in show business like to say they were born in a trunk. This was one clown who died there." But not every line is so good. And sometimes the story drags. That's the problem with making a two-hour movie out of a one-hour show. Yet there's enough good stuff here to make me think that Hammer could be a fun series once more.

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