In 2005 Tom Selleck appeared as Jesse Stone in a made for TV movie. Since then there have been 8 Jesse Stone movies and hopefully, there will be more.
The character of Jesse Stone originated in a series of novels written by the late Robert B. Parker who previously had created the character Spenser and who also wrote the novel on which the 2008 movie “Appaloosa” is based. Whilst there have since been more Jesse Stone novels with Michael Brandman taking on writing duties following Parker’s death the actual series of TV movies only uses 4 of the books with Tom Selleck and Michael Brandman taking on writing duties for the final 4 movies. Unusually the actual series of movies don’t start with the first of the novels but the 4th book before then delivering the first book as the 2nd movie which gives us the rather strange situation that had already met Jesse Stone in “Stone Cold” we then get a movie which tells us how he came to be Chief of Police in Paradise and why he has a problem with drinking.
The actual character of Jesse Stone played by Tom Selleck is a former baseball player who after retiring from sport became an LA policeman who is forced to resign from the LAPD due to personal and drinking problems. His departure from the LAPD leads him to the small community of Paradise where despite smelling of drink at his interview gets the job as Chief of Police. His style of law-keeping doesn’t sit comfortably with everyone although he gains friends in some of his loyal staff. But his problems, relationship with his former wife, relationships with various women, and drinking continue to cast a shadow over him.
Stone Cold (2005)
In the relatively quiet town of Paradise, Massachusetts Chief of Police Jesse Stone (Tom Selleck) is dealing with Candace (Alexis Dziena) who says she has been raped but is too frightened to say who her attackers were. But Jesse has other things to deal with including a series of murders all done in the same style leading to Jesse coming to the unwelcome conclusion that they have serial killers to contend with. The trouble is that he has nothing to back this up, no motive, weapons, or anything just his copy intuition as to who the killers are.
Jesse Stone: Night Passage (2006)
Forced to leave his job with the LAPD after his problems lead to drinking problems Jesse Stone heads with his dog Boomer to Paradise, Massachusetts where he has been asked to attend an interview for the position of Chief of Police. Having had a drink to settle his nerves Jesse gets the job despite smelling of booze thanks to counselor Hastings Hathaway (Saul Rubinek) who pushes through his appointment. As Jesse tries to settle into his new job his style of law enforcement soon ruffles feathers with both some of his staff and also Joe Genest (Stephen Baldwin) who beats his wife. But it is not all work for Jesse who starts dating local attorney Abby Taylor (Polly Shannon) who like Jesse questions why a man smelling of booze would get the top job leading Jesse to suspect that Hastings may be up to no good.
Jesse Stone: Death in Paradise (2006)
As Jesse Stone has various relatively normal but unwelcome issues to deal with such as a violent husband to bring in to line the Paradise police force finds themselves with a decomposed body to deal with when a 14-year-old girl is found by the water’s edge. With little to go on other than a ring they discover the dead girl was Billie Bishop (Carolyn Fitzgibbons) who had a reputation for being a slapper but Jesse along with Luther ‘Suitcase’ Simpson (Kohl Sudduth) find a connection between Billie and writer Norman Shaw (Gary Basaraba) who in turns has connections with Leo Finn (Steven Flynn) a well-known gangster.
Jesse Stone: Sea Change (2007)
With little excitement when it comes to working and his relationship with his former wife causing more personal trouble Jesse Stone starts to hit the rocky road of reaching for the drink again to blot out his problems. Turning to his therapist Dr Dix (William Devane) Jesse agrees he needs to find something to occupy his mind and get him to focus again and so delves into an unsolved crime of a bank employee murdered during a robbery. Whilst with Rose Gammon (Kathy Baker) he seeks to solve the 15-year-old mystery he also finds himself dealing with Cathleen Holton (Mika Boorem) who claims a group of men on a boat docked in paradise raped her.
Jesse Stone: Thin Ice (2009)
Whilst on an unofficial stake out Jesse and Captain Healey (Stephen McHattie) end up being shot at with Healey hospitalized and Jesse in some serious trouble with Internal Affairs who want to know what they were up to. With the Paradise town council tiring of Jesse, his problems, and attitude to what they want it is the excuse they have been looking for to get rid of him, especially Councilman Carter Hansen (Jeremy Akerman) who has never liked him. But despite pressure building on Jesse, it doesn’t stop him from trying to get the man who hospitalized Healey whilst also dealing with Elizabeth Blue (Camryn Manheim) who believes her baby who was kidnapped many years earlier may have ended up in Paradise.
Jesse Stone: No Remorse (2010)
Having been suspended as Chief of Police by the town council, Jesse retires away to his home isolating himself from everyone except Captain Healy (Stephen McHattie) who still recovering from the shooting wants Jesse to assist in solving a series of Boston murders. With Luther (Kohl Sudduth) and Rose (Kathy Baker) left to keep things running in Paradise they also unofficially call on Jesse’s help and copy intuition whilst he discovers the council plan to make the suspension permanent. But with his work in Boston leading him to mob boss Gino Fish (William Sadler) things turn deadly.
Jesse Stone: Innocents Lost (2011)
With the Paradise Town Council getting their way by forcing Jesse to take early retirement he finds it a struggle to deal with his new life with nothing to do. The change has also affected Rose (Kathy Baker) and Luther (Kohl Sudduth) as Councilman Carter Hanson placed his son-in-law as the new Chief of Police who has a very different way of doing things to Jesse. But once a lawman always a lawman as not only does Captain Healy ask Jesse to unofficially help with a case in Boston but he also takes it upon himself to solve a crime in Paradise when Cindy Van Aldan (Eileen April Boylan) is found dead.
Jesse Stone: Benefit of the Doubt (2012)
With Councilman Hanson’s son-in-law as Chief of Police, he reinstates D’Angelo (Vito Rezza) to the force but it is short-lived as whilst responding to an emergency call their vehicle blows up. In desperate need of help and a Police chief, Hanson and Hasty Hathaway ask Jesse if he will become Chief of Police again. But whilst he has been retired things have changed with both Luther and Rose having quit. With little help, Jesse must get to the bottom of who would want to kill Hanson’s son-in-law especially as Captain Healy has evidence to suspect that he was a crooked cop.
The thing about all these Jesse Stone Movies is the continuation because whilst each episode gives us a couple of crimes for Jesse to solve we get the more important continuation of Jesse’s own story. As such throughout these 8 movies, we witness his relationship with his former wife over regular phone calls deteriorate causing him to hit the bottle, his friendship with Luther and Rose grow stronger as well as that with therapist Dr Dix who knows exactly how Jesse feels having had similar problems. It is this along with some humour and some superior production values which have made every one of these movies a must-watch.
The Future for Jesse Stone
As of writing, it seems like that is it for the Jesse Stone movies despite being hugely popular with audiences across the world and leaving some unanswered questions in “Jesse Stone: Benefit of the Doubt”. The reason being is that CBS who was behind the series decided not to order any more movies. Hopefully either CBS will change their mind or another studio will pick up the Jesse Stone movies as even now they remain popular when shown on TV.