What I love about the Jesse Stone novels is that you never know what you're going to get. Of course you know the characters, but some are intense and emotional, while others focus more on the mystery and small town politics. Sea Change was an interesting choice for the fourth film, as it shows a different side of Jesse and was somewhat unique among the other stories. Jesse Stone (Tom Selleck), was an . Homicide Detective, who left to become a small town police chief in Massachusetts, after his life was thrown into chaos. Now that he's been there a while, he's come to realize that not a lot of things happen in a small town, and he's tired of writing parking tickets. Craving something to do, Stone decides to open the towns only unsolved murder. A body found in the woods, 20 years earlier. As he opens the investigation, it brings up the past, a past that the town of Paradise would like to forget. Sea Change plays more like a Cold Case or Criminal Minds episode than a typical Jesse Stone story, but what's unique about it, is that it really gives us a look inside Jesse's life. Tom Selleck was terrific as always, but he gives a particularly special performance in Sea Change. We finally see the man for what he is, driven by justice and living for the people. His job is his life and when there is nothing to do, he falls back into and becomes stuck in his past. Sea Change is also special as it was the novel that introduces us to the character of Rose Gammon, played by Kathy Baker. I haven't seen her in anything since Picket Fences and God did I love that show! It was really thrilling for me to see her again, and playing a character I really came to admire in the novels. Sea Change might not have the action that younger viewers crave in their police dramas, but it is a textbook example of how to solve a case and a unique look into the mind of one of the deepest characters I know. I loved the books and rarely do these types of stories translate well to film, but with a star like Tom Selleck you can't go wrong and I really did enjoy this film as much as I did the novel.
"Sea Change" is a solid entry in the Jesse Stone series, but it's the first to diverge so dramatically from Parker's source novel. The book focuses on the rape (and a murder) on the yacht and the sordid details of an old family. In the movie, the allegation of rape by a young girl is just a side-note in the main story. Jesse resurrects a cold murder case (mostly out of boredom) and finds that the guilty are still very anxious to keep the case unsolved.
Had I not been expecting a straight adaptation of the book (one of the better in the series), I might have received this movie more warmly. It's not my favorite in the series, but it's a strong mystery story. Actually, being in the dark about the new story made it a bit more engaging, since I didn't know exactly how it would end.
Nice to see Saul Rubinek again. Kathy Baker was a nice foil for Jesse, but I wanted Molly to have a bigger role.
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