Picks and Pans Review: Traps

updated 04/04/1994 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 04/04/1994 01:00AM

CBS (Thursdays, 10 p.m. ET)

C +

When it comes to creating odd bedfellows, politics has nothing on TV. Take, for instance, this action series built around an utterly random tandem: imperial actor George C. Scott and hopped-up hippie hamburger-chain spokesmodel Dan Cortese.

Scott plays Joe Trapchek (hence the title), an ex-homicide chief who comes out of retirement to help his old unit on high-profile murder cases. That's the basic premise, anyway. Before long, Scott is poring over seven-year-old unsolved mysteries.

Also on the force is his grandson (Cortese), a canny but unconventional detective with a ponytail. In the pilot, reference is made to a civil suit Corlese brought against the department that allowed him to grow his hair as long as he wanted. (Gee, can't you just picture the first meeting between Cortese and series creator/producer Stephen J. Cannell? Cannell: "Danny, I really want you for this role." Cortese: "I ain't culling my hair, dude." Cannell: "We can work around that.")

This is standard, slick, serviceable stuff as the two relatives battle through stubborn pride to find respect and affection for each other. (Cannell also created The Rockford Files, The Commish and many other series.) Bill Nunn and Piper Laurie costar.

There isn't much chemistry between the stars, but Scott and Cortese at least hold their own. If the caseload acquires consistent cleverness, Traps may snare a few viewers.

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