Jeffery Deaver is one of the most brilliantly intricate mystery writers of all time. One of his most complex and amazing books is The Devil's Teardrop. This book has now been made into a run of the mill, nothing out of the ordinary film on Lifetime Movie Network. It is standard "movie of the week" fare from beginning to end. Since it has such magnificent source material, this is a major disappointment.
In the film, a killer strikes in Washington, DC. He fires upon a crowd at a train terminal and kills a number of people and wounds many more. He gets away with it much to the chagrin of the FBI and the local police. Later a ransom note is received saying unless a huge amount of money is paid in ransom the killer will strike again.
The head of the local FBI office, Margaret Lucas (Natasha Henstridge), seeks out retired FBI Agent Parker Kincaid (Tom Everett Scott) to try to convince him to work on the case. He is a handwriting expert and is reputed to be one of the best in his field. Currently he is a stay at home dad and takes various projects which he can work on from home.
When Margaret contacts him he declines because he is in the middle of a renewed custody case with his ex-wife (Rena Sofer) and doesn't want to do anything to upset the status quo. With a little persuasion he changes his mind. He realizes that the clock is ticking and if he doesn't help capture the killer than many, many more people could die.
Several years ago Deaver's The Bone Collector was made into a movie. This film captured the essence of Deaver's writing whereas this new movie does not. It isn't that the Lifetime movie isn't suspenseful, it is. It just isn't special.
Henstridge never gives a full portrait of who or what Margaret is. She has words that describe her character's feelings, but she never gets into them. The same is true with Scott. Parker is a man who deeply cares for his children and Scott captures this, but you never know the reasons for his devotion. It is just there.
Gabriel Hogan is bland as the local police officer who helps out with the case, but both Rachel Marcus and Jake Goodman are a pleasant plus as Parker's two children. Rena Sofer has little to do as Parker's ex-wife and barely makes an impression.
If you want a standard "murder of the week" mystery then you might enjoy The Devil's Teardrop. If you are expecting something special because it is based on a brilliant Jeffery Deaver book then you will be disappointed.
The Devil's Teardrop premieres on the Lifetime Movie Network, Sunday, August 8 at 8PM (ET), 5PM (PT).
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