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Jesse Stone Preview: Lost in Paradise

Photo Credit: Chris Reardon/Crown Media United States, LLC

Photo Credit: Chris Reardon/Crown Media United States, LLC

[Warning: General spoilers ahead.]

The Jesse Stone films are very near and dear to me, and for more than just what happens onscreen. They are also a personal touchstone–I have specific memories attached to when I first watched each of them. The last film aired in 2012, and I have felt their absence. As I finished watching Lost in Paradise, the first original film in the series commissioned directly by Crown Media for Hallmark Channel/Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, I was a sniffly mess because it felt like coming home.

Tom Selleck falls right back into Jesse’s rhythms, and so does everyone else who wanders through. He’s joined by several of the series’ impeccable recurring roster–Kohl Sudduth as the beloved Suitcase, William Devane as Dr. Dix, who is helping Jesse adapt to a new dynamic, Leslie Hope as Sydney Greenstreet, who brings Jesse into Boston to consult on a few cold cases, Gloria Reuben as Thelma, who has moved on, William Sadler as the ever-manipulative Geno Fish, Christine Tizzard as his assistant, Amanda, and Kerri Smith as Sister Mary John.

Photo Credit: Chris Reardon/Crown Media United States, LLC

Photo Credit: Chris Reardon/Crown Media United States, LLC

Photo Credit: Chris Reardon/Crown Media United States, LLC

Photo Credit: Chris Reardon/Crown Media United States, LLC

Photo Credit: Chris Reardon/Crown Media United States, LLC

Photo Credit: Chris Reardon/Crown Media United States, LLC

New faces this go around include Luke Perry as an imprisoned serial killer, Breaking Dawn‘s Mackenzie Foy as a young girl Jesse decides to help, and CSI‘s Alex Carter as a detective whose case Jesse reopens. Amelia Rose Blaire (Scream) is very good as Amelia, a young woman with insight into Jesse’s case. Vickie Papavs is terrific in an almost wordless scene with Selleck.

The plotline is fairly straightforward, but it’s the artfully crafted journey that’s the joy. Full disclosure–a development right out of the gate may be disappointing to longtime fans, but stick with it. There is a payoff. As with the previous eight films, Jesse takes his time, and so does the film. When he’s handed a stack of cases, he starts with the one that touches a personal chord, and in the process, bonds with a key witness, and Amelia. He remains tethered to the women of his past, and would seem to be creating new relationships that I hope we will see again.

Photo Credit: Chris Reardon/Crown Media United States, LLC

Photo Credit: Chris Reardon/Crown Media United States, LLC

Photo Credit: Chris Reardon/Crown Media United States, LLC

Photo Credit: Chris Reardon/Crown Media United States, LLC

Photo Credit: Chris Reardon/Crown Media United States, LLC

Photo Credit: Chris Reardon/Crown Media United States, LLC

It’s so, so good to return to these characters, this writing (Selleck is co-credited with Michael Brandman) and direction (Robert Harmon again), this music (Jeff Beal), and this place in the world. I love that they went back to Halifax, and Jesse’s house, and that the look and feel of the movie is very much intact from its predecessors (which originally aired on CBS). I want another Jesse Stone movie every year from now until Tom Selleck decides otherwise. That’s not too much to ask, is it?

Jesse Stone: Lost in Paradise premieres Sunday at 9 pm/8c on Hallmark Movie Channel, and next Sunday, October 25th, at 9 pm/8c on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. Here is a sneak peek.

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