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The Killing Mind


Lee Tergesen plays Ron Donoho, a detective with a difference -- mainly a wild mane of dyed-black hair and a beard. 

This Lifetime TV movie first aired April 23, 1991, and starred Stephanie Zimbalist of "Remington Steele" fame. It was released on video in 1993, and will be released in the U.S. on video Nov. 21, 2006. It is already available in Europe on DVD.

Zimbalist plays Sgt. Isobel Neiman, an FBI agent who joins the newly formed Special Investigative Unit of the Los Angeles Police Department. On her first day at the LAPD, Isobel is greeted by Detective Donoho -- definitely an unlikely-looking policeman.

He explains that the Special Investigative Unit (SIU) had been set up to fail -- to take the heat off the rest of the detective force. But they have had a good success rate and with Isobel's arrival, now have a psychological profiler. 

As she meets the rest of the SIU squad -- a motley collection of misfits who occupy the basement of the LAPD offices -- Isobel becomes the butt of a few practical jokes. The treatment continues later on -- after Isobel pursues a suspect on her own. The squad mocks her for being a "lone ranger" by wearing masks and whistling the William Tell Overture.

Nevertheless she proves she's tough enough to take a joke from the all-male force -- and she can dish it out too. 

The casework begins in earnest as she selects her first case to reopen -- the Ballerina Murder. She has a personal connection to the case, as she witnessed the crime scene when she was a young girl. It has haunted her ever since.

Isobel is partnered with Donoho as they sift through the clues and try to establish the killer's profile. Donoho is the resident techno-geek, manning the SIU's computer as well as passing time on stake-outs by playing hand-held computer games. (The sexist tone as well as the gee-whiz treatment of technology sure make this TV movie feel a lot more dated than just 1991.)

Lee-as-Donoho appears fairly regularly throughout the TV movie, but inexplicably disappears as the show reaches its climax and the heroine is endangered. Nevertheless, it's a good time capsule of Lee in an early role -- and his hair at its most outlandish!


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Related Links


Available on DVD

Stefanie Zimbalist Site
page for Killing Mind