Review: The Jesse Stone series (2005-2012 movies)

Note: To search for Jesse Stone information on the Hallmark Movies and Mysteries Channel website, click this link.

Update (2017 February 2): Jesse Stone en español en Unimás
The Spanish-language channel Unimás, affiliated with Univision, has for a couple of years been occasionally broadcasting Jesse Stone movies dubbed into Spanish. The most recent (in late January) was Jesse Stone, el beneficio de la duda (Jesse Stone: The Benefit of the Doubt).

Update (2016 June 15): Jesse Stone films available via Feeln.
My brother Mark tells me that the Jesse Stone series is now available on line via the relatively inexpensive subscription video-on-demand service Feelin, which available through Roku, Apple TV, various televisions and Blu-ray players, computers, game consoles, etc. I haven't tried it myself.

Update (2016 May 30): I finally reviewed Jesse Stone: Lost in Paradise (2015)
I saw the latest Jesse Stone film (originally broadcast back in October 2015) some time ago, but for some reason never got around to posting a review until now. You can find it here rather than below. I debated whether to add it to this post, but I decided I'd keep this one for the CBS films and start a separate one for those on the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Channel. There's supposed to be at least one more of those in the works, at least according to an article in Variety published last spring.

Update (2016 May 23): Jesse Stone trivia quiz
The Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Channel has a Jesse Stone trivia quiz here.

Beginning in 2005 Tom Selleck (the star of Magnum PI in the 1980s and more recently a regular on Blue Bloods) has been lead actor, executive producer, and occasionally co-writer of eight made-for-television movies based on a series of mystery novels by Robert B Parker, who’s better known as the creator of the Boston private eye Spenser. Stone is a former Los Angeles cop whose drinking cost him his job and his wife, leading him to take a position as chief of police in a small town called Paradise on the Massachusetts coast, almost as far from Los Angeles as he could get. He’s still struggling with his drinking, but he’s good at what he does, and in his new job he earns the friendship of a lot of people while pissing off some of the local civic leaders for not doing what he’s told.

There’s enough of a continuing story here that the films are best watched in logical sequence, which means switching the first two films from their broadcast order.

Jesse Stone: Night Passage (2006)

Saul Rubinek plays the town leader who persuades his colleagues to hire Selleck. His wife, played by Stephanie March (the stunning tall blond assistant district attorney on Law & Order: SVU) has her own designs on him and is very forthright about it. Selleck says, “Wow,” but he never takes her up on the offer, possibly because she’s married, possibly because he’s still pining for his ex (the two of them talk by phone almost every night) and possibly because he’s afraid of being hurt, and I don’t mean emotionally. She’s scary hot. He does over the course of the series get romantic with younger women, but mainly ones who seem more likely to show mercy to an older guy like us. Selleck is even older than I am, but that barely seems to slow him down.

(Yes, he’s also taller, slimmer, better looking, has not gone bald, his facial hair isn’t gray, and in general he looks more like a somewhat older Magnum PI than like the less-successful brother of Santa Claus.)

The police department includes an annoying middle-aged male cop, a woman he quickly learns to respect, and a naive young guy Selleck takes to calling “Suitcase” after the famous shortstop he slightly resembles. (Suitcase is played by Kohl Sudduth, a name that sounds like he should be an associate of Cthulhu.) Another recurring character is Stephen McHattie, the state’s head homicide investigator, who’s based in Boston.

In the course of the film Selleck takes a street-cop approach to a domestic dispute and helps McHattie solve the murder of Selleck’s predecessor. Unfortunately the climax is ridiculous, with Selleck putting himself pointlessly in danger, but the characters, setting, and overall story make up for that.

Jesse Stone: Stone Cold (2005) 

This is more suspense than mystery, since we learn very early on who the bad guys are. Somehow Selleck intuits it as well, though he has no evidence to support his suspicions. Again he also has to deal with more mundane problems in town.

If you watched Frasier, you probably remember that in the final season of that series Niles (himself engaged to someone else) professed his love for Daphne just before her wedding. Daphne’s fiancé was played by Saul Rubinek, the sleazy politician who hired Selleck in Night Passage, so it’s interesting that Niles’s fiancée, Jane Adams, has a major role in this film. (Incidentally, while Adams often plays a rather mousy character, here she comes off as seriously sexy.)

Jesse Stone: Death in Paradise (2006)

Selleck co-wrote this episode, and perhaps as a result it’s a bit better plotted than the previous two. Investigating the death of a teenage girl leads Selleck to a Boston mobster and a young nun, both of whom show up in later episodes as well. Meanwhile, his ex-wife, or at least her voice on the telephone, convinces Selleck to start seeing an ex-cop turned psychiatrist for help with his drinking.

Jesse Stone: Sea Change (2007)

Stone’s alcoholism is worsened by the news that his ex is sleeping with her boss, so he tries to get himself back on track by investigating a cold case, a bank robbery that ended in kidnapping and death. He soon turns up puzzling new evidence that suggests the crime wasn’t what it seemed to be. Meanwhile the city council wants him to stop risking bad publicity by investigating a rich yacht owner accused of molesting a young female guest.

At one point Jesse listens to a Brahms piece that is apparently Intermezzo in A Major Opus 118 Number 2. There's a YouTube playlist of music from that episode.

Jesse Stone: Thin Ice (2009)

Selleck is hanging out with his friend Stephen McHattie on a stakeout in Boston when a gunman nearly succeeds in killing them both, and he breaks the law to solve the case and bring the bad guy to justice.

Meanwhile, Camryn Mannheim has ridden by bus all the way from Albuquerque to look for her missing son [not daughter as I originally wrote], who had been snatched from the hospital not long after birth. She's come to Paradise because she just got an anonymous letter with a Paradise postmark saying, “Your child is loved.”

Jesse Stone: No Remorse (2010)

The city council has suspended Selleck without pay, not for his lawbreaking in the previous film (they’re not even aware of it) but mainly, one suspects, for cutting down the tree hiding the speed limit sign at the town’s lucrative speed trap.

Saul Rubinek’s wife, the one who propositioned Selleck when he first got into town, is now divorced and is a new woman, or played by a new actress anyway, but she’s still hot in every sense of the word and still wants to pork Selleck’s brains out, and in reaction he still says, “Wow.” He also still declines, possibly because he’s busy tackling the greatest mystery of his career: figuring out his new cell phone.

In addition, he’s been hired by his friend McHattie as a consultant on a case in Boston that involves an apparent serial killer. Back in Paradise the severely understaffed police department is investigating an unusually violent series of convenience store robberies.

Jesse Stone: Innocents Lost (2011)

Selleck is no longer suspended because he’s been forced to take early (actually, not that early) retirement. But when the obnoxious young new chief won’t look into the drug-related death of a young woman Selleck knew, he bends the rules and eventually breaks the law again investigating on his own. He also drinks more while his dog looks on with obvious disapproval.

This is one of the weaker films of the series and even seems to be missing at least one scene, given that Selleck suddenly knows something without any explanation how he found it out. The ending and some things leading up to it struck me as dumb. The characters remain appealing, though. This is one of the great things about the Jesse Stone movies: Flawed they may sometimes be, but you like them anyway.

Jesse Stone: Benefit of the Doubt (2012)

When local leaders want a double murder solved they bring Selleck back out of retirement, which is a practical necessity because nobody else is left in the police department. All is of course not as it seems. Well-written dialog helps make up for the occasional plot holes. A hot woman for once turns Selleck down, bluntly telling him she’s too young for him. And then she goes out with him anyway, and gets mad when she thinks he's not sufficiently interested in her romantically. It’s good to be the co-writer.

Update: K. Hollenbacher (who also comments below) points out that the last paragraph above seems to imply that the town re-hired Jesse Stone only because they had no cops left, and in fact he's rehired because even his biggest enemy on the town council recognizes that he's the best person available to investigate the murder of his beloved son-in-law. And from the same source comes a complaint that my quick descriptions may leave an impression that the plots are simpler than they are. In fact, the stories are reasonably involved, especially given the limits of the running time, and there are hints supplied for the viewer to figure out more of what's really going on.

Update: For my reviews of the Jesse Stone novels, see this later post.

Here's the trailer for the first broadcast:

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Comments

Review: The Jesse Stone series (2005-2012 movies) — 172 Comments

  1. Please Make another Jesse Stone movie please I watch all of them on Hallmark today n love this series please begging for more pretty please...thank u awesome. ..don't leave us hanging please

  2. Love tom sellect & love the jesse stone series, they need to keep making them. Thank you

  3. Pingback: Jesse Stone news (slightly stale) | D Gary Grady

  4. What is the Brahms piano piece played on one of the Jesse Stone episodes.
    Love the series. Watch them over and over!!

    • If you're asking about the piece Jesse plays on his stereo in Sea Change, it appears to be Intermezzo in A Major Opus 118 Number 2. (I can't claim any great expertise; I just Googled for "Jesse Stone Brahms" and got lucky.) I've updated the post above to include a link to a YouTube playlist of music from that episode, including the Brahms piece.

  5. I have bought most of the series and would like to see more episodes produced. Its good wholesome everyday experiences without bad language that families could share.

  6. Have always loved Tom Selleck...he is a great actor whether it be Magnum, Commissioner Reagan, or Jesse Stone.
    Hope he keeps coming out w/more of the latter movies. : )

  7. I started reading the Jesse Stone books before watching the movies- love both!

    I also enjoy Blue Bloods, new episodes and the ION TV marathons. Selleck is great in anything he does. I hope more JS movies can be made eventually- that some network or Netflix can pick them up. I've been watching the movies on there, also Longmire, another excellent show series.

  8. I have been waiting one year for you to make another Jesse Stone. It is not fair to leave us without another movie. So many unanswered questions. Please make another Jesse Stone movie.

  9. These are fabulous movies. The screen writing, direction and acting are excellent. Selleck is perfect. Devane is priceless AND SO REAL!! Cop shows and movies are very hesitant to show the dark side of police work. Not the corruption but the slow methodical pychological effect of constant exposure to crime and death. The gradual need from repeated trauma to not feel, to not react... to anesthetize. Jesse Stone movies expose this and humanize it. Blue Bloods cannot touch these movies. BB is creme puff. There is no comparison. I always admired Selleck's looks but I got to admire his acting in the Jessee Stone movies. MORE JESSE STONE MOVIES PLEASE!!!

  10. Please make more Jesse Stone Movies before Tom Selleck gets too old. Because Now it would be just perfect. Don't let us without Jesse all those years 2013, 2014. New I hope for 2015. Please dear Mr. Selleck read and hear the beg of your Fans!!

    • Add me to the list of people who would like more Jesse stone movies. I've read the books too. Love both.

    • Love Tom Selleck, from Magnum P.I., Blue Blood, and all of Jessie Stones movie's. Waiting for the next Jessie Stone movie

  11. We love Jessie stone movies. Please don't leave us hanging. At least give one more and I want to see at least a picture of Jessie's ex wife. what happened to her and did Jessie get a girl and who? We love the layed back style, not so fast paced. Also love Blue bloods.How does the story end?please please #greatfans.

  12. Have watched the Jesse Stone movies throughout the years. I decided to order all eight of them to Introduced them to my guy and he is totally hooked. I love them even more !! Please Tom Selleck just 1 more. 🙂

    • Hi Brenda. I read the Jesse Stone books too & remember only 8 of them. Perhaps they are not making any more movies if there are no more books to base them off, esp. since the author is now deceased. I was hoping for more myself.

      • Hi Laura. Robert B Parker wrote nine or ten Jesse Stone novels depending on how you count. I get ten by including BLUE SCREEN, a cross-over novel that's more "officially" part of Parker's Sunny Randall series. The Jesse Stone of the novels is much younger, though Parker praised Tom Selleck's performance as perfectly capturing the character's personality. (The Jesse of the books is also dogless, the police department larger, and his ex-wife a much more prominent character, among other differences.) I reviewed the novels here.

        As you note, Robert B Parker is unfortunately no longer with us, but the series has been continued (with the approval of Parker's estate) by two other writers, Michael Brandman (also a writer/producer of the Tom Selleck films) and more recently Reed Farrel Coleman. I need to get around to reading them. You can find a complete list of Jesse Stone novels here.

        The later Jesse Stone movies are based on original teleplays rather than adaptations, so even if the novel series had not been continued I don't think that would have made a difference. The problem seems to be finding a network willing to pay for a film, now that CBS has pulled out. As I noted a few months ago (link), Selleck still seems to be interested (as of last spring anyway), but unless I've missed something there's still no prospect for a new film, and more's the pity.

        • Thanks for that information Gary. Jesse may be younger in the books but I think Tom captures him perfectly as is. I really like him as PC in Blue Bloods too. I would love more JS movies, hopefully something will come of it before it's too late, would be a shame.

  13. Any ideas as to why Tom decided not to follow the books after the first four movies? Did he really think he and his screenwriters were better than Parker? 😉

    • That's an interesting question, and Selleck at al are the only ones who can say for sure. I suspect, however, that it was probably not a matter of thinking their writers were better than Robert B Parker but that there was a lot to be said for not being limited only to adaptations. There were already enough differences -- Jesse's age being an obvious one, but also the details of his relationship with his ex-wife, his living circumstances, the size of the department, and so on -- that even films that are adaptations of Parker's novels have a lot of differences (something often true of film adaptations, of course). On the whole I think I like Jesse Stone films based on original stories at least as much as I do the adaptations. But that's just me.

      • I agree with you. Times change and you have to change. I love the Jesse Stone Series and I hope that Tom Selleck continues with these movie's.

  14. I would like to know where this series was shot; my parents are curious about the house that belongs to Jesse in the series.Obviously, I don't see how it would actually be cheap, but out of curiosity, my parents and me are set to know.

    • I believe I have tracked down a few photos of the house in Lunenberg, Nova Scotia, Canada, together with a fairly exact location:

      House and bridge (link).

      Same place in the winter (link).

      Closer shot said to be of Jesse's house (link), which looks about right. The accompanying map gives the geographical coordinates as 44° 21' 48.81" N 64° 12' 41.38" W. If the numbers are exact, that's the location to the nearest foot! (But I presume that's the GPS location of the camera rather than the front door.)

      The same house and bridge can also be seen among these pictures from the surrounding area (link).

      Multiple sources (see for example this link) confirm that the series was filmed in southern Nova Scotia. There's a fair chance that with Google Earth or Google Maps one could track down the exact location. Or just look up the Nova Scotia or Lunenberg tourist office; odds are they get questions about it all the time and would love for Jesse Stone fans to visit.

  15. I have loved all the Jesse Stone movies I have been able to watch, but how do I get "Benefit of the Doubt" in region 2? I have watched all the ones shown on Sky and bought some off Amazon uk but the one I would like I cannot find as it only seems to be out on DVD region 1. Im also one of the older
    generation a year older than Tom himself and I would love to see more of
    Jesse Stone but I cannot see it happening. Love you and your work Tom Sellek

    • I was going to suggest looking for it on line, but oddly enough, it doesn't seem to be on iTunes (even here in the U.S.), so it might be hard to find even on streaming and download services. If your only option is a Region 1 DVD, it may be possible to convert your player to region-free (also known as "Region 0" -- see this web page for information about specific models: http://www.videohelp.com/dvdhacks, but use care because there is some risk this might disable your DVD player. One good thing: Once the region problem is taken care of, most PAL television equipment will play U.S. NTSC video just fine. The reverse isn't always the case, unfortunately. (I have an old Phillips DVD player that not only will play PAL video just fine, it will even do a perfect job of converting it on the fly to NTSC. But I had a high-end Sony BD player that won't read PAL DVDs though my Sony television accepts PAL just fine.)

  16. Please keep making jesse stone movies. I've watched all of them more than once. I don't know why i like these movies so much, i think that maybe i identify with the character jesse stone on some level. I've read many coments and i am not alone. love this character.

  17. Looking forward to 2/9/15 Jesse Stone Marathon on Halmark Channel. Selleck plays this character wonderfully!! I hope they continue with the series!

    • Chansen, I cannot find the Jesse Stone marathon listed in the schedule for 2/9-- looked in the TV Guide, AND scrolling through Hallmark programming for Monday. I see the movies listed on the HM site, but that's it, not the airing date. I would love to watch them again, get them on DVR too.

      • I believe the correct date is Sunday, January 8, 2015, starting at 9 a.m. Eastern Time and 8 a.m. Central. I *think* it's also 9 a.m. Pacific Time, but don't take my word on that. I hope this information comes early enough to be useful.

        • Since I don't see it on TV schedule, I assume it's an online marathon from the Hallmark channel?

          • A little more digging turns up the fact that it's on the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Channel, which is apparently different from the regular Hallmark Channel. My apologies for not noticing the difference. (You see how I keep up.) Here's a link to their schedule page:

            http://www.hallmarkmoviesandmysteries.com/schedule

            It does show a Jesse Stone marathon beginning Sunday, January 8, 2015, at 9 a.m. EST with Night Passage.

  18. Please make more of these movies! It's refreshing to have these to watch.The world is hungry for for a more of the movies like this.Please give us more

  19. Love the Jessie Stone series. My husband and I watched the all day marathon. It was awesome. Can't wait for a new one!

  20. CBS television you need to make another Jesse Stone movie. We love Blue Blood very much. But Tom Selleck is a great real down to earth type of guy. He makes a movie the way a movie should be made. He has always played a great part in all his acting career. It's a shame you have taken a great show away from the public. Ratings are what you want but I can say more real movies like these is what the public needs. Thank you Tom Selleck for your dedication in making a story come to life. God bless you all!

  21. Will there be another movie in 2015? The 8th movie ended with Suit coming back and it seems like this movie ended before everything was resolved. We love this series of Tom Selleck playing Jesse Stone and as much as we love Blue Bloods, the Jesse Stone movies are great entertainment...and I LOVE that dog!

  22. Love Jesse Stone movies. Just watched all of them continuously. Please do make more.

  23. Yeahhhh..!!!!! Tom is making two new ones!!! The first one is called "Lost in Paradise".

    My dream came true. We waited sooo long, now it's true.

    Best greetings!!!!!

  24. OMG! I cannot believe I just read there will be a new Jesse Stone movie in the fall of 2015. We fans have waited so very long for a new installment! Hope it ties up the loose ends of Benefit of the Doubt and that Hastings gets caught for good this time. This is a wonderful bonus for those of us who are avid Tom Selleck fans and I hope we will be treated to more than just one new movie. So glad that Tom listened to his fans and ultimately convinced a network to air more quality entertainment.

  25. New Jesse Stone movies are indeed in the works, and I've update the post to reflect that. I'll post more on this when I have a chance, but in the meantime just do a search for Jesse Stone and you'll find a lot of information.

  26. I have enjoyed the "Jesse Stone" movies. He is a very handsome man, terrific actor and brings you into the life of the story. I will be thrilled to learn that there is a new one on its way!

  27. I purchased all 8 movies on DVD awhile ago having caught them on tv several years ago and love Selleck as an actor. Sometimes you must watch each movie several times to catch everything that is going on. I have one question: I don't know why H (as in the calendar code) went to the boat with a bag full of money. Did he hire the shooter and was going to pay him off? He flees as he hears gun shots so what gives? I really enjoy seeing the "older" more experienced actors in the films. Also, how do you train a dog like "Reggie" to be such a great actor!

    • Hi Nancy

      I've been trying to but the complete set on DVD but region 2 for uk, where did you buy yours from please?

      Thank you

  28. So overjoyed there is going to be another Jessie. I love Tom Selleck to bits and this is the best series I've ever seen. I can't wait.
    Silly question I know but has anyone else seen and tell me what episode William Devane wears a pink women's dressing gown when Jessie sees him in his rooms. Saw it once but have not seen it since in every time I have watched the 8 of DVDs and I have watched them at least 7 times. A friend saw it also so it was not just me. Was funny.
    Thanks for any comments .

  29. I watched some of these movies yesterday on Hallmark Movies but did not see all of them. You know those little things that you want to know? Well, I want to know how Jesse got Reggie back? I know in the movie where the owner died that Jessie took the dog but then didn't Jessie give Reggie to (forgot her name?) in that same movie? But in a later movie I noticed Jesse has the dog again. Hope someone will fill me in 🙂 I did search for a answer but couldn't find it. It might be there and I missed finding it. Thanks!

  30. Has anyone found out when the new movie, Lost In Paradise will be aired on the Hallmark channel? My searches indicate the fall of 2015. That could be anywhere from Sept to Dec if you go by how the calendars are broken down by seasons.

    • Excellent question! The Internet Movie Database entry for Lost in Paradise (link) narrows it down to October 2015, but I'm not sure how certain that is. Everything else, as you say, simply gives the date as "fall 2015."

      • All I ever see is Fall 2015. I am quite sure the closer it gets, we will see PLENTY of ads for it. I don't have the HMM&M channel (just the plain Hallmark) so I will have to wait until it comes to DVD or Netflix, but I AM glad there are MORE Jesse movies.

  31. Please Tom Selleck we all want you to make some more of your Jesse Stone movies . I am hoping ! ,

    • They're coming, Elsie! At least two more of them, sometime this fall on the Hallmark Movies and Mysteries Channel (and presumably other ways sometime later). See other recent comments for more.

      • Atmospheric, compelling riveting Jesse Stone movies are The Best Please come back Tom Selleck

  32. SO MANY PEOPLE ARE BEGGING FOR TOM SELLECK TO RETURN TO HALLMARK WITH
    MORE OF JESSE STONE MOVIES. I LOVE THAT SHOW SO MUCH, IT IS THE BEST
    & ONLY TRULY WORTHWHILE SHOW ON TV. ALL THE ACTOR IS OUTSTANDING
    INCLUDING THE DOG. SO SAD THAT JOE THE DOG HAS PASSED AWAY! THIS IS
    A GREAT SERIES, PRODUCERS, AD PEOPLE ALL OF THEM DO NOT APPRECIATE
    OR ACCEPT OLDER FOLKS THAT LOVE THIS SHOW & NOT THE CRAP THAT IS ON
    THAT WE HAVE TO PAY FOR BIG TIME! THIS IS THE ONLY SERIES THAT I CAN
    WATCH OVER & OVER & NOT BE BORED! WAKE TV PRODUCERS & LEAVE THE KIDDIE
    SHOWS OUT & PUT ON GROWNUPS SHOWS. MY COMMENTS ARE ONLY 1 OF MANY,
    MANY & THE PEOPLE THAT CAN PUT THIS SHOW BACK ON, ARE DEAF TO COMMENTS.

    • Hi Cookie! In fact, Jesse Stone is returning to the Hallmark Movies and Mysteries Channel with a new film this fall, with one or two more to follow, as I understand it. I don't think a specific air date has been announced yet, but my guess is that it will be shown multiple times, probably following a Jesse Stone marathon. (By the way, word to the wise, I don't have a big problem with all caps, but some websites will jump all over you for it or even delete your comments.)

  33. I can't get enough of Jesse Stone......his best character to date.
    How can you not enjoy his movies.

  34. Love Jesse Stone movies. Please make more of them. Can watch them over and over. Just watched newest on.

  35. Love Jesse Stone Character and others. Tired of all scarryhorrow movies. Want real life people who want justice done to dirty birds in high places. Like the intrigue of Jesse's mind . Love the music, drama, who done it type stories.!!!

  36. Pingback: Jesse Stone on UniMás | D Gary Grady

  37. Jesse Stone is the greatest. Thank you Hallmark for your wisdom and dedication to the JS series to bring it back. More please, Jesse Stone is the best t.v. has to offer.

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