Picks and Pans Review: Crisis Center

updated 02/24/1997 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/24/1997 AT 01:00 AM EST

NBC (Fridays, 10 p.m. ET)

C

Makes sense. Ensemble dramas are potential ratings blockbusters, right? All you have to do is set your show at a law firm, a hospital or a police precinct. Crisis Center, an hour-long series premiering Feb. 28, takes no chances. It is loosely enough defined to combine cops, doctors, social workers, lawyers—just about anyone who advertises in the Yellow Pages. The San Francisco Assistance Center, with a hotline and staff ready not only to counsel but to refer clients to specialists, is equipped to handle just about any problem: a suicide, a hurtin' man waving a gun, a troubled pregnancy, a negligence suit, a batch of illegal immigrants. That's all in the first episode alone. The cast, including Nia Peeples (TV's Fame) as the center's codirector, and Kellie Martin (Life Goes On) as a psych student, is young and good-looking, although it's startling to see Dana Ashbrook, sneering, snake-hipped Bobby Briggs from Twin Peaks, playing a perfectly nice police officer. Dana, what happened?

I don't see how a show this unfocused is going to work.

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