Picks and Pans Review: 20/20: Mias—the Story That Will Not Die

UPDATED 06/02/1986 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 06/02/1986 at 01:00 AM EDT

ABC (Thurs., May 29, 10 p.m. ET)

C

And here is another show about another painful legacy of Vietnam: MIAs. The big question, of course, is whether any of our 2,000-plus MIAs still could be alive over there. No one has been able to answer that question. No one, including 20/20. But the show seems unwilling to admit that it cannot solve the puzzle. Instead, correspondent Tom Jarriel vaguely hints that some men may still be there. In the first third of the show, he takes the Army to task for allegedly botching the identification of partial remains returned from Vietnam and Laos. The subtle hint: If these aren't the bones of our men, then where are those men? In the second part Jarriel reports on profiteers who try to sell bones and on people who are raising money to rescue or buy freedom for MIAs. The obvious hint: Some people believe there are MIAs to rescue. But there's no way for Jarriel and company to confirm or debunk what these people say. Then, in the last segment, cameras follow a congressional delegation to North Vietnam, where they solve a minor discrepancy involving two stories of Americans reportedly seen in a Hanoi military camp as recently as 1982. The segment gets wrapped up in complicated technicalities without, in the end, proving that Americans really were there. So we're left with another hint. All in all, this 20/20 special only repeats the hopes and doubts about MIAs that we've already heard over and over.

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