Culture > Television

Nine lives

Television | Crime drama should be in theaters

Issue: "Faith-based campaigning," Jan. 27, 2007

The Nine (Wednesdays, ABC 10:00 ET) works well on every level except perhaps the most crucial one for a show that aired in the fall after Lost. At first it doesn't flesh out the characters adequately, and the scripts are so tightly written that missing even a few minutes makes it hard to understand the action.

The show's plot focuses on the lives of nine characters held hostage in a bank for more than two days. In retrospect it fleshes out what happened during the 52-hour crisis and how that event transformed the characters' lives.

A nebbishy insurance company drone (John Billingsley), about to commit suicide in the men's room at the bank, becomes a hero during the hostage crisis-but finds afterwards that he can no longer tolerate certain people in his former life. A cop (Timothy Daly) with a gambling problem, also a hero in the bank, nearly loses his job when he protests the way his department handled the crisis. An assistant district attorney (Kim Raver), also a hostage, must weigh how much backing up the cop will cost her.

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But the revelations about the characters, drawn out week by week, come too slowly, and in some cases lack believability. This crime drama, with its creative premise, would perhaps have worked better as a movie.

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