In the Line of Duty: A Cop for the Killing (1990) starring James Farentino, Steven Weber, Susan Walters, Harold Sylvester, Dan Lauria, Tony Plana, Charles Haid directed by Dick Lowry Movie Review

In the Line of Duty: A Cop for the Killing (1990)   2/52/52/52/52/5

James Farentinot in In the Line of Duty: A Cop for the Killing (1990)

Another in the Line of TV Movies

"In the Line of Duty" was a series of TV movies which started back in the late 80s and ran in to the 90s and as the title suggests focused on those in the police force. "In the Line of Duty: A Cop for the Killing" focuses on a narcotics team who have to deal with losing one of their team who is killed during a drugs bust. There are some good things going on in the movie but the end result is reminiscent of an episode of a cop show such as "Hill Street Blues" rather than an actual movie.

Lieutenant Ray Wiltern (James Farentino - Ride to Hangman's Tree) is the boss of a narcotics team, a close knit family, bringing in drug dealers on the info of snitches. During what seems like a routine drugs bust one of the team gets killed leading to all sorts of problems from internal investigation as to why Ray used deadly force to kill one of the drug dealers to Matt (Steven Weber - Love Letters) becoming out of control as he struggles to deal with the loss of his friend. With the team concerned that Matt is now a liability Ray believes he can get the team back on track by getting them to focus on the job.

Susan Walters and Steven Weber in In the Line of Duty: A Cop for the Killing (1990)

To be honest "In the Line of Duty: A Cop for the Killing" left me under whelmed because there was absolutely nothing special about it and as mentioned felt like an episode from an 80s cop show. The whole look, the styling and the characters all could have come from one of these series as could the storyline about a team struggling with a death of one of their own. It's not so much that it is a terrible storyline as it does highlight some issues but it has no flare, nothing memorable to make you feel like you've watched a movie rather than just an extended episode.

Now I am no expert on policing but it has to be said that a lot of what is shown seems to have been written to be entertaining rather than realistic. Take the characters in the team; they are an eclectic bunch with an obligatory attractive woman, the long haired loose cannon as well as the wise cracking one. Then there are the procedural aspects, the stings, the shoot outs and the internal investigation which all lack depth and just been thrown together as part of the story rather than to be realistic. And finally the editing as there are numerous issues where characters appear in one place and then somehow are somewhere else in the next scene. It basically feels like a movie which was rushed together just because this sort of cop drama was popular at the time.

The one thing it has going for it is the actors as they are a likeable bunch. Their actual characters may be stereotypical but James Farentino, Steven Weber and Susan Walters amongst others are watchable.

What this all boils down to is that if you have a yearning for some late 80s early 90s cop drama then by all means give "In the Line of Duty: A Cop for the Killing" a watch. But purely watched as a movie it is under whelming and you will find yourself thinking about other things whilst it is on.