Picks and Pans Review: The Corpse Had a Familiar Face

updated 03/28/1994 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/28/1994 AT 01:00 AM EST

CBS (Sun., March 27, 9 p.m. ET)

C

Elizabeth Montgomery portrays Pulitzer Prize-winning Miami Herald crime reporter Edna Buchanan in this shaggy, schizophrenic movie.

We follow the irrepressible Edna on her rounds, appointed and otherwise: visiting her mother, visiting crime scenes, padding around her house at all hours while monitoring the police band. Dennis Farina, Yaphet Kotto and Lee Horsley costar.

This is a play in two distinct acts, neither of them terribly cohesive. At first the tone is distressingly chipper as the script labors awkwardly to juggle violence and levity. It's all gunshots and rim shots.

Then in the second hour, the film undergoes a radical mood swing as Edna enters into a morose period of self-examination that coincides with a grievous mistake in judgment at work. This fictionalized portrait of Buchanan lacks charm, whether it's being cheery or crabby. Come to think of it, between this film and the increasingly anemic Dave's World, the network hasn't done very well by Miami-based journalists this season.

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