THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT Copyright (c) 1996, Landmark Communications, Inc. DATE: Friday, June 7, 1996 TAG: 9606070072 SECTION: DAILY BREAK PAGE: E2 EDITION: FINAL SOURCE: Larry Bonko LENGTH: 67 lines
TOM NAUGHTON and his colleagues at New Dominion Pictures at the Oceanfront - call it Hollywood East - have given viewers a peek at dinosaurs that flew, cannibals and 2,000-year-old pyramids.
Next up from New Dominion Pictures for The Discovery Channel are detective stories. Think of the latest New Dominion production as ``Quincy'' meets ``Cops.''
The busy gang in Virginia Beach has produced a miniseries for The Discovery Channel about the men and women who help solve crimes and identify the missing, including those who are lost in wars, through forensic medicine.
``The New Detectives'' premieres Monday night at 10 p.m. It's Part 1 of a three-part series that continues on Tuesday and Wednesday night at the same time.
In Part 1, sub-titled ``Soldier Stories,'' the Virginia Beach producers show how it's possible to re-trace history from the remains of soldiers who died in the 1700s during the French and Indian wars. Also in Part 1, the producers show workers at the Central Identification Laboratory in Hawaii still searching for the names of the dead from World War II and the fighting in Korea and Vietnam.
Tuesday's ``Dead Men Do Talk'' reveals how long-dead murder victims yield clues to when they died and in what manner. In ``Deadly Chemistry,'' the forensic detectives go after people with the nasty habit of poisoning others for revenge or profit.
The miniseries was in production for about a year with all the creative stuff springing from a staff of about 25 in Virginia Beach. Naughton is producer-director, Nicolas Valcour and Naughton executive producers and Robin Bates, Robert Clem and Sue James the writers. This group also produced 52 episodes of ``Archaeology'' for The Learning Channel as well as 25 ``Paleoworld'' programs for TLC.
And the same group is working on three new series for other cable channels. Busy. Busy. Busy.
``It will be an exciting summer,'' said Naughton.
Joking a bit that he likes to involve himself in projects that are ``more or less scary,'' Naughton and friends chose a creepy subject in the ``New Detectives'' miniseries. This is not TV for the kids because there is talk (and some scenes) of rotting flesh, heads being chopped off by psychopathic killers and medical examiners showing what nasty things a sharp blade can do to bone.
``New Detectives'' should carry this warning: Do not watch while snacking. It's powerful, engrossing TV. But is it entertainment? Not unless your idea of fun is watching deputies poking around shallow graves.
``New Detectives'' is powerfully enlightening, however.
Do you realize that America's interstate highways are a favorite place to dump bodies? That serial killers take a lot of chances and often risk capture because that is a thrill?
It's all there in the ``New Detectives.''
The ``Dead Men Do Talk'' segment is a Virginia story as forensic experts attempt to identify a woman in her 30s who was murdered in Fairfax County some time between 1980 and 1991. The 1980 date is for sure because they found a quarter in her jeans' pocket with that date on it.
Naughton and writer Clem show how quickly these experts move. One moment, it's just a skeleton in a shallow grave. Within days, they know the victim is a young woman who died in warm weather (she was wearing sandals), didn't have much money (she needed dental work) and was stabbed in three places.
``Only the bones are left to tell the tale,'' says narrator Gene Galusha.
The new detectives know only so much. Who will come forward to identify the woman from the shallow grave? From her facial bone structure, the experts have created a face they think is a good likeness of the woman.
Check it out on Tuesday night. by CNB