In "Raines," Jeff Goldblum plays an LAPD detective who talks to dead people. Well, not really. Oh, they're dead. But he isn't really talking to them.
Well, he's talking, but they aren't really there. Because they're figments of his imagination. Well, not exactly figments of his imagination, because they're real murder victims.
Did I mention that he might be mentally unbalanced?
Goldblum stars as Det. Michael Raines, who has just returned from a traumatic event (I won't give it away) and is once again trying to solve murders. And then the dead people start showing up to help him.
But he's not a "Medium" or a "Ghost Whisperer," appearances notwithstanding.
"The way I thought of the show was that the imagination of Raines is a little bit analogous to what it's like to be a writer," said creator/executive producer Graham Yost. "And I spend time alone in a room, thinking of characters and interacting with them. And I'll talk a dialogue in my head.
"And I thought, 'Wouldn't it be interesting if you actually saw that and that process?"'
Yeah, well, not so much.
The gimmick doesn't work so well. Oh, there's a nice turn of events that may catch you by surprise in Thursday's premiere (9 p.m., Ch. 5) and I won't give it away here but it's not enough to keep the show going through subsequent episodes.
What we're left with is a fairly standard detective show that looks like it was assembled from pieces of other shows.
Raines has an understanding boss (Matt Craven), an antagonist on the force (Dov Davidoff), the antagonist's partner (Linda Park), a tart-tongued police-station staffer (Nicole Sullivan) and a former partner/sounding board (Malik Yoba).
Raines even goes to see a therapist (Madeline Stowe), just like Tony Soprano.
KARMA STRIKES: Linda Park, last seen on "Star Trek: Enterprise," is a member of the "Raines" cast. Which caught the interest of, well, absolutely no one when the show was presented to those of us who cover TV at the Television Critics Association press tour in January.
If I were a better person, I wouldn't have enjoyed that fact. But I'm not a better person.
In case you missed what I wrote about Park in a story about various TCA press tours (which was published last July), let me remind you:
At one UPN party, one of my pals and I noticed "Star Trek: Enterprise" co-star Linda Park standing with only her publicist, and we felt sorry for her. On our way out we decided to stop and interview her.
When we approached her, however, Park gave us a pained look, and her publicist told us she wasn't doing interviews.
"Fine. Whatever," we said, chuckling to ourselves.
So I certainly made no effort to ask her a question in January.
Nor did anyone else.
Even though everyone else on the panel including all the regular members of the "Raines" cast got asked at least one question.
If that wasn't painful enough, Goldblum actually made it worse as the NBC publicist was wrapping up the session.
"Didn't you want Linda Park to say a little bit about her character?" he asked critics.
E-mail: [email protected]