Reading Between the Lines
When a man going by the name of "The Digger" goes on a shooting spree at a train station the FBI have little to go on other than 6 black bullet cases left on the floor, a message sent demanding money to be left at a specific location and an envelope left in a paper vending machine. The trouble is that the person who called in with the message is killed in a hit and run leaving FBI agent Margaret Lukas (Natasha Henstridge - You Lucky Dog) clutching at straws. Her only hope is Parker Kincaid (Tom Everett Scott - Race to Witch Mountain), a former forensic documents expert, who quit the FBI to look after his children, especially his son who was left traumatised by past events. To make matters worse Parker's ex wife, Joan (Rena Sofer - Always and Forever), has sobered up and is not only getting remarried but is planning on fighting for custody of their children. Despite his problems Parker feels like he should assist Margaret with the case.
You just need to take a glance at the movies I have reviewed to realise I like TV movies and as such I am probably more aware of the actors who tend to feature in TV movies than some may be. I mention this because when I saw the first four names in the cast of "The Devil's Teardrop" I was impressed as Tom Everett Scott, Natasha Henstridge, Rena Sofer and Gabriel Hogan have all appeared in their fair share of good TV movies, with both Natasha Henstridge and Rena Sofer being memorable because they have those captivating eyes which once seen are never forgotten. In some ways the cast are a big part of what makes "The Devil's Teardrop" work because they all have a good look, are likeable and whilst not always believable when it comes to their character's jobs and abilities they do a better job than some actors I can think off.
But "The Devil's Teardrop" has some thing else and that are the scenes where Parker analyses the documents, picking up on the tiny details such as intentional spelling mistakes, the teardrop dots over the letter "i" and the fact that there is no tremor in the writing which he says would be indicative of someone trying to mask their own writing. It is a fascinating glimpse at this type of handwriting analysis and there are other equally fascinating scenes which go to make up the movie, along with some twists and back stories.
But at the same time "The Devil's Teardrop" is a made for TV movie which whilst doing a good job of drawing you in, thanks to the mystery and the casting, it does take liberties not only when it comes to logic but also when it comes to procedure, which never goes down well with those who watch a movie for the logic of crime solving. What also might cause issues for some is the personal side as Parker and Margaret unsurprisingly become close with a few cutesy moments alongside some equally cutesy dialogue.
What this all boils down to is that "The Devil's Teardrop" is both an intriguing and entertaining crime drama which features a good cast. But it is a made for TV movie and as such is not going to appeal to everyone as it has subplots and lapses in realism which won't suit those looking for grit and accuracy.