'Cracker' is no match for the British original


September 18, 1997|By David Zurawik

If you never saw the original on A&E, you won't think ABC's "Cracker" (9 p.m.-10 p.m., WMAR, Channel 2) is all that bad. But be warned, if you were a fan of the British version starring Robbie Coltrane, it will make you ill.

Robert Pastorelli, from "Murphy Brown," has the sorry task of trying to replace Coltrane as Gerry "Fitz" Fitzgerald, the police psychologist who solves cases no one else can because he is every bit as troubled and out of control as some of the criminals.

He's as out of control in the Brit version, that is. In ABC's telling, it's more a matter of Fitz marching to his own drummer -- Baretta with a Ph.D. in psychology.

The worst choice the producers made was in moving the show from dark, working-class Manchester to sunny Los Angeles. It's like setting "Homicide" in Anaheim and following only the day shift. The producers say they wanted a "brighter, sunnier look."

Sadly, they got it.

Pub Date: 9/18/97

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