"I'm very fond of you, Jesse"
There are things to be expected so you can re-connect and feel "at home": Jesse being his melancholy self; his wearing blue-jeans (I've missed those long legs of Tom Sellecks'!) and a blue hat with PPD on it; the slow pace of the show, its parsimonious dialogues and its water-y musical theme; Reggie being the most beautiful and perceptive dog on tv and Jesse's true soul mate or is alter-ego; Jesse encouraging Reggie to jump onto the bed and the dog refusing such intimacy or commitment; Jesse drinking and asking Reggie "what are you looking at" or insisting that people say his first name when talking to him; Jessie having an affair with a woman way too young for him and flirting with a few others; Dr Dix, played by the awesome William Devane, being his awesome self and exchanging with Jesse memorable lines; Jesse visiting gangster Gino Fish who's always so polite with him; Hasty turning on and off his blinky bow or voicing the line"I'm very fond of you Jesse"...
All those recurring things make the Jesse Stone "little music", and it never gets old. It is not a gimmick, it's being in a comfy chair and having a glass of fine whiskey in your hand while listening to a beloved piece.
The Jesse Stone movies aren't really about mysteries or cop work, even though there's always a case to solve. The true mysteries are all the characters who are familiar enough for the viewers to care and yet still a bit enigmatic to fit in the atmosphere; and first and foremost, Jesse himself. Tom Selleck is so good at playing Stone that I forgive him for the shitty "Blue Blood". May he go on making lots of money with that poorly written cop show so he can put money on the Jesse Stone movies (which he has done, apparently, for the last four!).
This new movie, "Benefit of the Doubt" was the right mix of familiar things and advances, mostly on the side of Jesse's private life (both with women and with Reggie!) and concerning the shady and clownish Hasty.
The ending was a bit weak, but the opening scene was terrific. I was unspoiled so I didn't expect the blow, but aside from that early twist I enjoyed the scene between whom characters whom Jesse disliked for he considered them unfit for the job and responsible for his losing his position, mostly talking about him in absentia. The scene also foreshadowed the theme of Jesse's doubles, since the new chief turned out to be quite Jesse-like.
He did deserve the benefit of the doubt, just like drunk Jesse when the series began, years ago.
Jesse getting into the locked Paradise's police station was also a great moment of comedy, followed, of course, by the sadness of the empty office.
The scenes with Reggie were precious, especially the two bed scenes that made me all teary. Reggie has become a strong character on the show, and it's significant that such a quiet show has a supportive actor who does not talk.
I loved it when he jumped onto the bed after Jesse has fallen asleep, but was back to his cushion on the floor as Jesse woke up. It mirrored the fact that Jesse keeps saying "Reggie isn't my dog" while obviously considering him as such. There are the same, he and the dog.
I also liked that Jesse was worried about the gorgeous border collie who had just lost his owner(the guy who looks like he hanged himself), which echoed Reggie's back story, and tried to talk his pal Healy into taking the dog in his home. Healy is another of the Jesse's doubles.
And of course I loved it when Reggie sensed that Jesse really needed to have him on the bed next to him, so he decided to quit pretending, and jumped onto the bed to settle in and snuggle. The chemistry between Tom Selleck and Joe the dog is amazing and I guess it wasn't difficult for Tom to look so moved then.
I can't think of any other film or tv movie that has such a wonderfully written and performed Man/dog relationship.
As for Thelma, the jury's still out. As she was singing there was an interesting look in her eyes that made her a fitting character in the Stone world.
The murder plot didn't seem quite resolved in the end, but who cares? Hasty fled but did turn out to be Fish's boss (or in other words a bigger fish than what we have always been led to believe!) which is a big change in Paradise, and Suitcase was back! I liked Mollie (btw enjoyed the call-back to her character) and Rose, but Suitcase is my favourite among Stone's posse.
So it can't be the last Jesse Stone, can it?