Picks and Pans Review: Drug Wars: the Camarena Story

updated 01/08/1990 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/08/1990 AT 01:00 AM EST

NBC (Sun., Jan. 7, 9 P.M. ET)


This miniseries about the abduction and 1985 murder of DEA agent Kiki Camarena takes off like a house on fire, with all the merciless glare and heat we have come to expect from a Michael (Miami Vice) Mann production. Unfortunately it loses energy exponentially as each of its six hours passes. The first night re-creates a corrupt narco-netherworld full of trigger-delirious drug banditos in Mexico. Steven Bauer gives a vigorous performance as Camarena; Benicio del Toro is electrifying as a rampaging pooh-bah of pot. Co-stars Treat Williams and Craig T. Nelson step into the spotlight in Parts Two and Three (airing Monday and Tuesday at the same time), which detail the investigation into his death. But without Bauer and del Toro, Drug Wars loses its reckless vitality and limps home with barely enough momentum to keep you tuned in.

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