Sunday, January 29, 2017
The Golden Gate Murders
A priest (Regis Cordic) plummets over the side of the Golden Gate Bridge. Investigating is gruff, wisecracking police detective Paul Silver (Janssen), eight years on the graveyard shift, but temporarily switched by boss Tim O’Connor (BUCK ROGERS IN THE 25TH CENTURY) to days. What seems like an open-and-shut case of suicide is exacerbated by the priest’s nurse, Sister Benecia (York), who is convinced he would never kill himself.
Because director Walter Grauman gives us glimpses of Cordic going over the side, we know he was murdered (the title also gives away the mystery), so while writer David Kinghorn (TWO FATHERS’ JUSTICE) sends the stars through their procedural paces, we derive pleasure from the chemistry between them. Of course, romance is out (or is it?), but the distinguished York brings out the best in the hilariously brusque Janssen, who probably isn’t ad-libbing, but is so natural in his line-readings that he sometimes appears to be. He wears sunglasses a lot, which may be to hide red eyes (he’s funny when shopping with York and nonchalantly filling his cart with liquor bottles, telling her, “I entertain a lot”).
The production is surprisingly cheap for a ‘70s TV-movie with Grauman shooting driving scenes against an unconvincing screen and bridge scenes on unconvincing sets. Janssen died a few months after CBS aired THE GOLDEN GATE MURDERS against Game 1 of the American League Championship Series between the Orioles and Angels.