Jesse Stone is back. After an almost three-and-a-half-year hiatus, the rough and tough lawman returns to Hallmark Channel on Sunday, Oct. 18 (and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries on Oct. 25), and for cowriter and series star Tom Selleck, “It’s been way too long!” In Jesse Stone: Lost in Paradise, the ninth film in the franchise based on the books by the late author Robert B. Parker, the complicated cop helps the Massachusetts State Homicide Division track down a serial killer.
The first eight films in the Jesse Stone saga aired on CBS between 2005 and 2012, but the ninth and tenth films are being produced exclusively for Hallmark. “Hallmark has been very, very good,” says Selleck, noting that his earlier Jesse Stone films regularly re-air on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. “Jesse’s quite an adult drama. Hallmark was onboard and very generous with the fact that they wanted a movie that could pick up where the first eight left off.” But he is quick to point out that a viewer needn’t watch any of the earlier films to quickly get sucked into the gripping film-noir story.
Selleck is careful not to reveal any of the plot’s intricate twists and turns, but he shares, “Jesse has done such a good job of cleaning up Dodge that nothing’s happening. Jesse feeds off his cases. That’s the only time he’s reasonably together.” Idle hands are the devil’s playthings, and Stone recognizes that casework is the one thing that keeps his long-fought drinking problem under control. “The opening of the movie finds Jesse kind of scared because not having anything to do — nothing happening in the way of crime — is not healthy for a guy who has a real, rather unhealthy rule to only have two drinks a night,” says Selleck.
Selleck’s portrayal of the flawed hero is something of which he’s very proud, and he is honored that the series’ author entrusted him with the legacy of his character. For this reason, Selleck is confident as the cowriter of many of the famous films and says that while he’s always enjoyed writing and polishing scripts, “I am able to do the Jesses most particularly because I can just walk in his shoes. I know him because I’m playing him. I am him.”
Selleck says another reason he feels so close to the character is Stone reminds him of the Westerns he’s acted in, and those he loved as a child. “I like to think we’re carrying on a very noble tradition of these kind of movies — the man alone, the private investigator, the flawed man trying to do the right thing.”
The actor concurrently plays another lawman intent on doing the right thing as NYC Police Commissioner Frank Reagan on CBS’ Blue Bloods. When asked if it was a challenge to work on the two characters at the same time (Selleck penned Lost in Paradise while shooting the fifth season of Blue Bloods), he admits, “I had to kind of put Frank away for a while and revisit Jesse, which was scary.” But he was able to find common ground with the dramatically different men. “They both have this hyperactive sense of responsibility. Everything is their fault, the way they see it. That’s kind of where they depart. Frank is very much of a police department, of a chain of command, of doing the right thing for the right reasons. Jesse sometimes does the wrong thing for the right reasons.” He also points out that both have a strong sense of honor, and “They both have a code. I’m not sure we’ll ever know exactly what Jesse’s code is. He’s a homicide detective at heart, and killers don’t deserve much sympathy.”
Jesse Stone: Lost in Paradise
airs Sunday, Oct. 18 at 9pm ET/PT on Hallmark Channel
Sunday, Oct. 25 at 9pm ET/PT on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries
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