01/23/1989 at 01:00 AM EST
NBC (Sun., Jan. 22, 9 p.m. ET)
At the start, Peter Strauss is in the woods practicing martial arts in slo-mo and inspiring the question: If a man looks stupid in the forest and there's nobody there to see him, does he still look stupid? Yes. And he doesn't look any brighter after two nights in this, the dumbest and dullest alleged thriller ever on TV. Strauss and David (St. Elsewhere) Morse play orphans who are adopted and turned into spies by Robert Mitchum as a CIA boss. When we meet them, Mitchum is sending both men on killer missions. Strauss finds himself caught in a double cross. Morse, who's fresh out of a monastery (God knows why), finds himself chased by every spy on earth. Then all these guys—together with Connie (Hotel) Sellecca as an Israeli agent and token love interest—get tangled up in a conspiracy of international spy bosses who've set up a secret country club for spooks. The producers obviously think that we, the audience, have a collective IQ to the right of the decimal point because they have Strauss constantly talking to himself so he can simplify the already oversimplified plot for all us simpletons. But Strauss pays for this sin by being forced to listen to Mitchum drone lines like this: "You're like a samurai sword. You've been hammered and honed for years to cut through bone and steel. You don't use it to slice bread." This is a commercial for a Ginsu knife, not a thriller. A good spy story should be like an onion, with layer upon layer hiding the truth. This is not so deep and complex. But it's still like an onion, all right. It stinks.