The 'Con' is this: 'Pros' Jones and Crenna may be wasting their talent on 'Pros and Cons'

September 26, 1991|By Knight-Ridder News Service

James Earl Jones and Richard Crenna are two of the most respected actors around. They deserve better than chases and shoot-'em-ups, but that's exactly what they get in ABC's "Pros & Cons," premiering tonight at 8 on Channel 13.

The new series transforms last season's angst-ridden "Gabriel's Fire" into a lighter, jokier action drama. Gabriel Bird (Jones), the ex-con turned Chicago private investigator, tracks a mysterious man to Los Angeles and saves the life of wise-cracking private eye Mitch O'Hannon (Crenna). The two eventually team up.

Bird smiles a lot more, runs after a killer and even manages heavy breathing over the phone for his love, Josephine Austin (Madge Sinclair), back in Chicago. (Gone is the quality drama that helped win them Emmys for their work last season.)

Evidently, he enjoys breaking the law, too. He carries a weapon without a license and dabbles in a little breaking and entering. Only on TV, folks.

Jones and Crenna do have huge reserves of charm, though. In one funny scene, Bird and O'Hannon sit around remembering TV's famous lawmen and the actors who played them. It turns out the once-imprisoned Bird never saw "Magnum, P.I.," which aired in this time slot.

But given its flaws -- and its time slot opposite "The Simpsons" and "The Cosby Show" -- "Pros & Cons" is unlikely to join the roster of TV's finest detective series.

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