Coop's No Columbo

Sherilyn Fenn in Presumed Dead (2006)

It hasn't been long since her cop husband was killed in the line of duty but Det. Mary Anne 'Coop' Cooper (Sherilyn Fenn) wants to get back to work. Unfortunately her first job is to investigate the disappearance of Paige Stevenson (Rhonda Dent), the girlfriend of crime novelist Seth Harmon (Duncan Regehr), a smart cookie who despite everything pointing to him having murdered her manages to clear his name when he is tried for suspected murder. But Coop suspects something is not right and despite being ordered by Captain Dade (Blu Mankuma) to take some leave continues investigating and finds that the plot thickens like one of his books.

When ever I come across a movie which sees a detective dealing with a crime novelist my mind immediately drifts back to the episode of Columbo with Ruth Gordon as the crime writer trying to outsmart Columbo. Trust me when I say that "Presumed Dead" is not in the same league as that episode of Columbo, which was "Columbo: Try and Catch Me", as "Presumed Dead" is a 21st century made for TV movie where shall we say details and believability go out of the window. Trust me when I say you will find yourself groaning during the courtroom scene where Harmon basically turns on Coop as that would not happen the way this movie shows it.

Duncan Regehr in Presumed Dead (2006)

The thing is that "Presumed Dead" isn't about the court case, nope in pretty typical fashion this is about the dogged instinct of Coop to carry on digging even after she is forced to take leave. As such what the movie is really about is what Coop discovers when it comes to Harmon, Paige and an unsolved crime from many years ago. I won't give you anymore detail but I will say that I have come across the same plot developments in other similar made for TV thrillers, so yes whilst the characters may be different the movie as a whole feels familiar.

What this all boils down to is that "Presumed Dead" is just a routine, average at best made for TV movie recycling story ideas which are not in the least bit original. Despite this, and the fact some of it is unbelievable, there is some thing which is still entertaining about it.

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