Jeff Goldblum at eponymous star of NBC TV show RainesNBC-TV premiered an interesting and innovative new detective series last night. Jeff Goldblum stars in Raines as an L.A. police dept. homicide detective who sees the "ghosts" of the victims, but they are established as being not real ghosts but just his very vivid imagination creating hallucinations with whom he discusses the cases he’s working on. Yes, that is actually the concept of the show. There will be a quiz on this, so please reread the description until you understand it or begin to have hallucinations of your own.

Some thoughts—

Overall: Interesting concept, OK+ execution.

Two, this is definitely one intuitive detective. Or, kind of. He’s certainly intuitive in that he has conversations with his own imagination. In dramatic terms the device is interesting, in that it allows us to see his thought process operating literally. This, however, puts him in the realm of the rationalistic puzzle solvers, if we take his conversations with the imaginary characters as his means of thinking things through. My head hurts.

TV detective character Michael Raines (Jeff Goldblum) and an imaginary friend Three, in his reliance on intuition but also ratiocination, Raines resembles both hardboiled detectives and puzzle solvers, combining the two in an extraordinarily intelligent police detective. In this way the show duplicates the strategy of Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe tales, but combining both characters into one. Strange and interesting.

Four, the producers actually manage to make Los Angeles look interesting in a mystery context, not an easy task given how frequently filmmakers and TV producers have used that area as a location.

Five, can we retire the Hooker with a Heart of Gold character forever? I knew you’d agree. Thank you very much!

Six, Jeff Goldblum is a terrfic actor, but sometimes he underplays the character so greatly that one suspects he might be a ghost himself.

Seven, the only way not to guess the killer is not to pay attention to the clues at all, which I pretty much managed to do. But it’s not as if the characters other than Raines were interesting enough to make me want to pay any attention to them. This is not an item in the show’s favor, of course, especially in the bloody pilot episode which is supposed to grab the audience and never let go.

Eight, I don’t imagine I’ll watch Raines regularly but wouldn’t warn anyone off, either. It has its virtues, but I really don’t need to see any more of it.