Picks and Pans Review: Confessions

updated 09/18/2000 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/18/2000 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Court TV (Sundays, 10 p.m. ET)

This latest excursion into reality programming brings us actual videotaped criminal confessions from police precincts and district attorneys' offices. The show starts with a note: "Disturbing as they are, confessions provide a rare glimpse into the killer's mind." Not so, given that the suspects in the first two half hours mostly seem demented.

You can, however, glean something about the brains of the show's producers, who show unenviable skill in providing an entertaining mix of murderers: a flaky pothead who cooked his roommate on the stove, a Hispanic would-be tough guy whose riffs sound as if they were scripted by John Leguizamo, and so on. What's shocking is that Confessions isn't shocking. Although the Sept. 10 premiere will be followed by an experts' discussion, the pilot, at least, provides virtually no context. The victims are abstractions, unrepresented by so much as a photo. This frees us to sit back and enjoy the suspects' comical stupidity. Confessions has got to be one of the most cynical, senseless and dehumanizing shows ever. Bottom Line: Gallows humor of the worst kind

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