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 V.20 No.48 | December 1 - 7, 2011 
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Idiot Box

Cop Talk

Hide on TNT

TNT is crazy for crime. The network has adapted four best-selling crime novels into made-for-TV movies in the last month alone. The latest page-to-screen adaptation is Hide, based on Lisa Gardner’s Det. D.D. Warren novels. Hide is actually the second of the six novels, but it gives viewers as good a jumping-in point as any.

Carla Gugino (Sin City, Watchmen) stars as our main gal, Boston police detective D.D. Warren. A huge case drops into the homicide squad’s lap when a group of teenagers, exploring the grounds of an abandoned mental hospital, discover a secret underground bunker filled with six mummified bodies. The bodies date back nearly 20 years and closely resemble a kidnapping case from the same era. The two can’t possibly be connected, however, because the kidnapper was arrested and put in jail just before these murders took place. But as Det. Warren is fond of saying, “Nothing is random.”

Hide—like a lot of modern crime novels—owes most of its DNA to Thomas Harris’ classic serial killer thriller The Silence of the Lambs. Throw in a decade or so of “CSI,” and you’ve got a pretty solid blueprint for what Hide is selling. The film is largely a police procedural, and fans of the genre will be satisfied by the story’s complex mystery and tangled web of red herrings. There are few forensic elements to the film, so those who get their jollies off autopsies and computer simulations of cellular decomposition might feel shortchanged. Instead, we get a lot of good, old-fashioned “Law & Order”-style detective work: interrogations, witness interviews, historical research, plenty of feet-on-the-ground effort.

This doesn’t leave a whole lot of room for character details. We know that Det. Warren is the stern type. Even during her brief personal moments—“casually” sleeping with a couple of her detectives—Warren seems to like things as businesslike as possible. The cast boasts a few familiar faces. Mark-Paul Gosselaar (“Saved By the Bell,” “Raising the Bar”) and Kevin Alejandro (“Southland,” “True Blood”) play the detectives vying (sort of) for Warren’s affections. Their characters don’t get much in the way of development, but they look photogenic on screen. And, though there isn’t a lot of it on display, it’s nice to see Gugino break out her sexy side again after her recent turn as a Catholic girls’ school basketball coach in the generically uplifting feature The Mighty Macs.

Lensing on the film has some style to it—lots of flashing blue police lights and dark hallways. Unfortunately, the settings are rather bland. The story is set in Boston, though you’d never know that from watching the film. Readers of this type of mystery like a little local flavor—something the looks-like-it-was-shot-in-Toronto Hide lacks.

Clearly, TNT would like to make more of these films. Judged on its own merits, Hide is adequate. Compared to Gugino’s tragically short-lived federal marshal series “Karen Sisco” (penned by the incomparable Elmore Leonard), though, Hide lacks a certain zest. But if you wanna see the actress do the cop thing some more, Hide is a decent starting point from which to grow a franchise.

Hide premieres Tuesday, Dec. 6, at 7 p.m. on TNT.

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