It's nice to have Raymond Burr up and out of that wheelchair again but even hardcore Perry Mason and Robert T. Ironside [WORD ILLEGIBLE] may have a little trouble adjusting to his latest [WORD ILLEGIBLE] in "Kingston: Confidential."
In this 13-week series, Burr has cast himself in an even more heroic role than usual - Navy, Cross winner, Sportsman of the Year in 1949 (for what, only his girdlemaker knows) and winner of a Pulitzer Prize, for his Korean War dispatches. He's such a super-journalist in fact, he never manages to file a word.
Tonight's series debut, at 10 on Channel 4, also includes more familiar Burr material: San Francisco for those wonderful location sots; a pair of young, eager helpers for "R. B. Kingston"; a bossy personality (and a heart of mush) for the boss; and unfortunately for a premiere, an overused plot with as few twists as the Interstate through Kansas.
This is he one about the girl (Mariette Hartley) who inadvertently sees a "meet" between her friend "the labor czar," fresh out of the joint, and the head of the Mob in the Bay Area.
Labor czar wants a piece of the action again and for his troubles he's carted away in a meat truck from the country club.
R.B. (he says it stand for "Robber Baron") enters the case on bahalf of [WORD ILLEGIBLE] Group (although you [WORD ILLEGIBLE] by the copy the [WORD ILLEGIBLE] the witness [WORD ILLEGIBLE] for disturbed children where she works and tries to save him from the Mob's hired killer.
Does R.B. keep her alive? Does R.B. rehabilitate her favorite shy pupil? Don't ask.
Wednesday has been one night that NBC has had trouble with this TV season. The return of the popular Burr explainly the network's last gasp effort, to resoup the 10 p.m. time slot [WORD ILLEGIBLE] the consecutive failures of "Gibbstille," "The Quest" and "Tales of the Unexpected."
if they de-mythplogize R.B. a bit and put him to work paying for those expensive Frazier News Group offices. "kingston: Confidential" could turn the night around and give NBC a leg up in next fall's rating race.
His scripwriters might do well to remember that Ironside's wheelchair turned out ot be a surprisingly effective vehicle for cutting back on Burr's predilection for overwhelming both his material and the characters around him. Right now, he's a little too much for all but his most faithful fans to believe in.