Jesse Stone (character)
Tom Selleck as Jesse Stone (DVD cover)
|Created by||Robert B. Parker|
|Portrayed by||Tom Selleck|
|Occupation||Law enforcement officer|
Jesse Stone is the lead character in a series of detective novels initially written by Robert B. Parker. They were among his last works, and the first series in which the novelist used the third-person narrative. The series consists of nine books, starting with Night Passage (1997) and ending with Split Image (2010), which Parker completed before his death in January 2010 but did not live to see published. The series has been continued by Michael Brandman.
The Jesse Stone character starts out at about 35 years old. A former minor league baseball shortstop, who injures the shoulder of his throwing arm, he was raised in Arizona and California. Having been dumped by his beautiful wife (actress Jennifer Stone), he was asked to resign from his job as a homicide detective for the LAPD Robbery-Homicide Division because of a drinking problem that begins after his divorce. Showing up drunk to an interview for a job as police chief for the small town of Paradise, Massachusetts (loosely based on the real town of Swampscott, Massachusetts), he is hired because the corrupt president of the town board of selectmen (town council) thinks he will be easy to control. He quickly notices that the town is rife with big league crimes, the mob, white supremacists, wildly errant wives and a triple homicide. Stone knows this job will be more difficult than he anticipated. But Stone proves up to the task and makes a corruption case against the town council president and arrests him. The series chronicles Stone's cases as chief of the Paradise Police Department as well as his struggles with alcohol and his complicated relationship with his ex-wife. He is respected and well liked by the police officers in the town police department. He has a good working relationship and friendship with the State Police Homicide Commander, Captain Healy.
The character of Jesse Stone, a deeply troubled man, was a departure for the author. Parker, comparing Stone to Spenser, the protagonist of his first series and the one for which he was best known, said, "Jesse is a much more damaged individual who is coming to terms with himself as he goes along."
By Robert B. Parker:
- Night Passage (September 1997) ISBN 978-0-399-14304-5
- Trouble in Paradise (September 1998) ISBN 978-0-399-14433-2
- Death in Paradise (October 2001) ISBN 978-0-399-14779-1
- Stone Cold (October 2003) ISBN 978-0-399-15087-6
- Sea Change (February 2006) ISBN 978-0-399-15267-2
- High Profile (February 2007) ISBN 978-0-399-15404-1
- Stranger In Paradise (February 2008) ISBN 978-0-399-15460-7
- Night and Day (February 2009) ISBN 978-0-399-15541-3
- Split Image (February 2010) ISBN 978-0-399-15623-6
By Michael Brandman:
- Robert B. Parker's Killing the Blues (September 2011) ISBN 978-0-399-15784-4
- Robert B. Parker's Fool Me Twice (September 2012) ISBN 978-0-399-15949-7
- Robert B. Parker's Damned If You Do (September 2013) ISBN 978-0-399-15950-3
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CBS has adapted the Jesse Stone novels into a series of movie specials starring Tom Selleck in the title role. The movies begin out of sequence but stay relatively true to storylines and character with exceptions made mostly for television network viewing palatability, until the fourth film. Tom Selleck plays the character as straight from the novels as possible, and although Selleck is much older (late fifties/early sixties vs. late thirties in the books) than Stone, the author, Robert B. Parker, stated that he found the Jesse Stone movies the most accurate television adaptations of his novels, having gone so far to say on his blog that "Tom nails the character".
As Police Chief Stone, Tom Selleck carries a Smith & Wesson Model SW1911SC .45 pistol. In real life, Tom Selleck is a former soldier and a skilled shooter and collector of firearms. Most of the characters that Selleck has portrayed in television who carry a sidearm have carried a type of Model 1911A1 .45 pistol. However, in the first novels, Jesse Stone usually carried a .38 Special Smith & Wesson Model 36 snub-nosed revolver; the same firearm that Stone carried when he was a homicide detective with the LAPD. Robert B. Parker's private detective character Spenser also carried a snub-nosed Smith & Wesson Model 36 .38 Special revolver in the first thirteen Spenser novels. In the most recent Jesse Stone novel, Robert B. Parker's Killing the Blues, Chief Jesse Stone has started carrying a 1911A1 Colt Commander .45 pistol.
Other regular characters have included Viola Davis as Police Officer Molly Crane, Kohl Sudduth as Police Officer Luther "Suitcase" Simpson, and Vito Rezza as Police Officer Anthony D'Angelo (as fellow members of the Paradise Police Department). The character of Anthony D'Angelo was no longer a member of the department by the time the 5th film Thin Ice, having quit at the urging of Chief Stone. The character of Molly Crane was discontinued in that film too. This was due to scheduling conflicts Viola Davis had with other film projects, which caused her to leave the film series. However, in the Jesse Stone storyline it was explained that she quit the department to raise a family after becoming pregnant. Her position in the department was replaced by Police Officer Rose Gammon, portrayed by Kathy Baker (from Picket Fences), who is actually closer to the character of Molly Crane from the novels. Stephen McHattie appears in some of the movies as Captain Healy head of the Massachusetts State Police Homicide Division and likewise William Devane as Dr. Dix, a former cop turned psychiatrist, who Stone sees for help with his drinking and other personal issues. Saul Rubinek has a recurring role as Hastings "Hasty" Hathaway, the former corrupt town council president, who has since been released from prison and is now running a local automobile dealership. Hasty and Jesse have become friends despite their past. Robert Harmon has directed all but one of the films (Dick Lowry directed Jesse Stone: Innocents Lost), and Jeff Beal has provided original music. Selections from the scores of all the movies to date were released on a limited edition CD by Varèse Sarabande in 2009.
Starting with the fifth film, Tom Selleck and Michael Brandman took over writing duties. That film marked a departure from films based on the novels by Robert B. Parker (who recently died while working on another novel at his home in Boston) and a significant divergence from the storyline in the novels. In the recent television storyline, Jesse Stone was forced out of his job as the Paradise Chief of Police by the town council. The council dubbed it "early retirement" and granted Stone a partial pension (plus, as a retired sworn officer, Stone was also granted the right to carry concealed firearms, without having a "concealed carry" permit, which he usually did). The head of the town council wanted to install his son-in-law as the new police chief. Stone is hired as an occasional "temporary consultant" by Captain Healey to assist on certain state police investigations. Stone insists that he will get his old job as chief back saying that he is "not done." Jesse's buddy, man's best friend, his Golden Retriever Reggie (played by Joe the dog) does a great job watching over Stone after Jesse puts down his first dog Boomer in Night Passage. Reggie plays an important role in the Jesse Stone series.
- Stone Cold (February 20, 2005)
- Jesse Stone: Night Passage (January 15, 2006) a prequel to Stone Cold
- Jesse Stone: Death in Paradise (April 30, 2006)
- Jesse Stone: Sea Change (May 22, 2007)
- Jesse Stone: Thin Ice (March 1, 2009)
- Jesse Stone: No Remorse (May 9, 2010)
- Jesse Stone: Innocents Lost (May 22, 2011)
- Jesse Stone: Benefit of the Doubt (May 20, 2012)
Uncertain future for the TV series
Although Jesse Stone: Benefit of the Doubt attracted nearly 13 million viewers when CBS aired it on May 20, 2012, producer Michael Brandman told Variety a few days later that he and Tom Selleck had been notified that CBS wouldn't be ordering any more episodes, because the films mainly attracted older viewers and because CBS is moving away from movies and specials in favor of shorter duration TV series. Tom Selleck added that the movies are expensive to produce, and he had his own money invested in the last few. Selleck did state, however, that he is not finished with the Stone character, and when interviewed by NBCs "Popcornbiz" in August 2012, he added: "Well, right now CBS hasn't ordered another one. That's nothing new. They always seem to order them one at a time even though we kind of hit home runs, which is frustrating. So I'm not sure whether this is the last 'Jesse' or not. I don't think it will be, because there are so many other markets, cable and everything, that I think would want the series."
- Shanahan, Mark; Meredith Goldstein (April 28, 2011). "Parker's series live on". Boston Globe.
- Robert B. Parker interview—Penguin Group (Canada)
- Parker, Robert (2006). Blue Screen. New York, New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons. ISBN 0-399-15351-9
- Robert B. Parker: Selleck and other matters - Typepad. July 2007
- Variety, May 25, 2012: 'Jesse Stone' over at CBS Retrieved 2012-09-01
- Zap2it, May 20, 2012: 'Jesse Stone: Benefit of the Doubt' may be Tom Selleck's last Stone turn at CBS Retrieved 2012-09-01
- 5 NBC Chicago Popcornbiz, Aug 10, 2012: Tom Selleck Back to his Sleuthing Ways Retrieved 2012-09-01
- Jesse Stone at Robert Parker's website
- Megan Walsh-Boyle interview with Tom Selleck - TV Guide - May 2007
- Bullets & Beer website - (With list of all of Parker's novels, including Jesse Stone)
- Jesse Stone novels at the Internet Movie Database