Picks and Pans Review: Nuremberg

updated 07/17/2000 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/17/2000 AT 01:00 AM EDT

TNT (Sun.-Mon., July 16-17, 8 p.m. ET)

Show of the week

The last time Alec Baldwin prosecuted a heinous crime, in 1996's Ghosts of Mississippi, the critics weren't especially impressed. Now Baldwin's back at the bar, and he's after far bigger fish. This flawed but powerful miniseries finds him in the principal role of Robert Jackson, the U.S. Supreme Court justice who took a leave from the bench to lead the Allied prosecution of Nazi war criminals at Nuremberg, Germany, in 1945-46.

The casting can't be called ideal. Baldwin is 42, whereas Jackson was 53 at the start of the Nuremberg trials. And the script by David W. Rintels may be a little too charitable in depicting Jackson's courtroom performance. (For a more balanced assessment, consult Nuremberg: Infamy on Trial, the Joseph E. Persico book on which the drama is based.) But Baldwin's professional demeanor is impeccable, and his delivery of Jackson's closing statement rises nobly to the level of the rhetoric. The stirrings of romance between the married Jackson and his secretary (Jill Hennessy) seem almost embarrassingly trivial in this trial-of-the-century context.

Christopher Plummer is debonair and well-spoken as David Maxwell-Fyfe, the British prosecutor. Brian Cox offers an indelible portrait of Hermann Goering, the imprisoned No. 2 Nazi. Supremely arrogant and perversely charming, this Goering appears capable of anything—except remorse.

Bottom Line: Favorable verdict

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