Picks and Pans Review: Downpayment on Murder

updated 12/07/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/07/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST

NBC (Sun., Dec. 6, 9 p.m. ET)


And here we get to see two actors stretch themselves to the snapping point. Connie Sellecca, Hotel's simpering hostess, tries to look scared stiff—and she just about pulls it off. On the other hand, David Morse—that gooshy good guy, Dr. Jack Morrison, on St. Elsewhere—tries to act mean and tough and falls flat on his moon-eyed face; he ends up looking like a macho marshmallow. Sellecca is scared because her lunatic husband (Ben Gazzara) put a murder contract out on her. Morse is tough because he's the cop who tries to save Sellecca's life. Downpayment was inspired by a true story, and quite a tale it is, with spectactular potential for shock value. But that potential gets wasted under the weight of overwrought writing, direction and acting. At the end I wasn't surprised. I was glad it was over.

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