The sedentary title works against this police film, which is in the SERPICO and PRINCE OF THE CITY vein. Police commissioner Elliott gives underling Grover the assignment of finding out why Blakely, an undercover police officer, was killed when the apartment she shared with narcotics
czar King was raided. In a flashback we learn that Moriarty, a young detective, was on the case and didn't know Blakely was working for the cops. The investigation is bogged down in a series of bureaucratic maneuvers, and the film becomes more of a character study of the men behind the badges as
we meet dedicated cops Elizondo and McGuire. Elcar leads the undercover narcotics squad, and Devane is one of those barracuda prosecutors who will stop at nothing to get a conviction. Moriarty has been teamed with Kotto, his senior in the department, and the two men try their best to do their jobs
but are detoured at every crossroads by the politics of the department. The film has only two action sequences of any note, with the major one being a confrontation in a department store elevator between Moriarty and King as they draw their guns on each other and wait to see who fires first.
Screenwriters Mann and Tidyman attempted to mix social commentary with the gritty realism, but Katselas directed everyone at such a breakneck pace that many of the actors sounded like tobacco auctioneers hawking their bright leaf. Good work from Balaban, as a street person to whom Moriarty has
shown some sympathy, and Tayback, as Moriarty's immediate boss. In a small role, note Richard Gere as a sleazy pimp. A couple of songs are heard for no apparent reason.
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- Released: 1975
- Rating: PG
- Review: The sedentary title works against this police film, which is in the SERPICO and PRINCE OF THE CITY vein. Police commissioner Elliott gives underling Grover the assignment of finding out why Blakely, an undercover police officer, was killed when the apartme… (more)