Despite some good performances by Rob Lowe and Sam Neill, Turner Network Television's original movie Framed never catches fire.
is about a New York City detective named Mike Santini (Lowe) and a devious con artist, Eddie Meyers (Neill), who engage in what's billed as "a game of psychological seduction" and a "psychological thriller." It's certainly not the latter.
And TNT's mantra may be "We Know Drama," but this rather talky project rarely gets all that dramatic.
It is spiced up with some eye candy, though, in the form of on-location scenes in and around the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas. While vacationing there with his family, Santini spots Meyers on a yacht. The fugitive financier had disappeared to avoid testifying in a major money-laundering trial.
For Santini — a seemingly honest cop accused of complicity when his partner was busted for taking a bribe — this case is a chance to get his career back on track.
Meyers asks Santini to handle his pre-trial preparation, then tries to bribe him. If he can escape, Meyers says, he'll share his $4 million stash and a computer disk containing data on key money launderers.
Throughout their verbal cat-and-mouse game, we're never quite sure whether Meyers has succeeded in getting Santini to cross the line — especially after the policeman has a fling with Meyers's wife.
When Santini says he's never taken a bribe, Meyers replies, "Maybe nobody made you the right offer before." In the movie's one significant action sequence, the convoy escorting Meyers to the courthouse is waylaid by gunmen in an ambulance. A wounded Meyers later tells Santini that he suspects an inside setup.
is all the more disappointing given the production team's credentials. Dan Petrie Jr., who wrote Beverly Hills Cop, directs from a screenplay he adapted from the book by executive producer Lynda La Plante (a writer for the British series Prime Suspect). Besides Petrie, who cast Lowe and Neill, the movie's other exec producers are Mark Amin (Frida
), David Brown (The Sting) and Kit Golden (Chocolat).
bows April 13 at 8 p.m.