Usually for a murder mystery to work the ending has to be a surprise.
That wasn't possible for the producers of Good Night, Sweet Wife: A Murder in Boston (8 p.m., Ch. 5). That's because the Charles Stuart case was one of the most publicized murders in the nation last year.Bostonian Stuart, you will recall, reported that his pregnant wife was shot to death and he was wounded by a black man who jumped in the back of his car. Months later, Stuart killed himself when he learned he had become the prime suspect in the case.
Despite the fact that viewers already know the ending, "Good Night" does an excellent job of keeping up the suspense. The clues pile up as a profile of the extremely sick, selfish, self-centered Stuart is revealed.
Ken Olin, best known as the nurturing Michael Steadman on "thirtysomething," is outstanding as Stuart - a man who could shoot his seven-months-pregnant wife in the back of the head on the way home from childbirth class. He is absolutely chilling as this cold-blooded killer.
"Good Night" also does a fine job of portraying the shabby way blacks in the Mission Hill district were treated in the wake of the killing, igniting all kinds of racial tension in Boston.
For the sake of TV, the story is simplified somewhat. The movie makes it appear that just one reporter (Margaret Colin) was on Stuart's tail, while in truth there were many members of the media who weren't buying his story. And, because of time constraints, there's no mention of Stuart's earlier attempts to kill his wife.
But this is still one of the better TV movies you'll see this fall.
- ELSEWHERE ON THE TUBE TONIGHT: Ken Olin is doing double duty - not only will he be appearing as Charles Stuart but he'll be back as Michael Steadman on the season premiere of thirtysomething (9 p.m., Ch. 4). Tonight, Hope and Michael welcome their new son but agonize over whether to have a traditional Jewish bris.
Also, Matlock (7 p.m., Ch. 2) is framed for the murder of a judge in a two-hour episodes; The Civil War continues - Part 3 on KUED (7 p.m., Ch. 7) and Part 2 on KBYU (8 p.m., Ch. 11); and the Coach (8:30 p.m., Ch. 4) has good news and bad news - his team is ranked but Christine's mother is visiting.
- LOOKING TOWARD WEDNESDAY: The Civil War continues - KUED has Part 4 (7 p.m., Ch. 7) and KBYU has Part 3 (8 p.m., Ch. 11); Kevin starts high school on The Wonder Years (7 p.m., Ch. 4); Hitler's Daughter (7 p.m., USA) has her eyes on the White House in a made-for-cable premiere; Mike may have inadvertantly aided a murderer on Doctor, Doctor (7:30 p.m., Ch. 5); Stephen Bochco's musical/murder and mayhem series Cop Rock (9 p.m., Ch. 4) premieres; and Mike Wallace: Then and Now (9 p.m., Ch. 5) looks back at the venerable TV newsman's 40-year career.