Postal Mystery Delivers for Showtime


Showtime's The Inspectors, a movie about U.S.
Postal Service inspectors, is an effective thriller that's more about brain power
than brawn and more about methodical detective work than action-packed chases.

Yet another film exploring a veteran/rookie relationship, The
stars Louis Gossett Jr., who must track down an elusive mail bomber, with
Jonathan Silverman as his Harvard-educated partner.

With Gossett turning in another solid portrayal and
Silverman delivering more than he could in TV sitcom The Single Guy, a chemistry
builds between the partners as we learn tidbits about their personal lives, all without
slowing the main plot.

One quibble: At the outset, much is made about
Gossett's Frank Hughes character being difficult, but that's just not so.

The story -- with Vancouver, British Columbia, standing in
for Baltimore and Bayfield, Va. -- takes a sharp turn about 50 minutes into the movie,
once the original suspect -- the son of the victims -- reveals the real culprits and their
motive. The trouble is that those two hard-case suspects are in a maximum-security prison,
and their phone logs list only an ex-girlfriend.

The inspectors are mocked by those jailbirds, as well as by
a local sheriff with a grudge, but the latter gets an icy lecture from Hughes on his
jurisdictional powers.

Gradually, however, the inspectors piece together the
puzzle via the Internet, prison phone tapes and sheer luck.

Unlike, say, U.S. Marshals, the fast-paced
theatrical sequel to TheFugitive, most of the inspectors' work is
systematic, such as when their crime lab traces a detonator fragment to an electronics
retailer in Bayfield. There, an executive offers a bombshell of his own -- new information
that sparks an urgent search for a second bomb.

Kudos for advancing the mystery's twists and turns go
to the movie's three executive producers -- Gossett, Warren Weideman and Dennis
Considine -- as well as to director Brad Turner and screenwriter Bruce Zimmerman. Weideman
came up with the idea of a series of movies exploring the little-known world of postal
inspectors. A second script is already in development.

The Inspectors will bow Sept. 20 at 8 p.m. on Showtime,
with repeats due Sept. 23 at 8 p.m. and Sept. 28 at 10 p.m.