Some of the older and wiser among you might be experiencing a faint tickle in the back of your mind at the spelling of Spenser in Spenser Confidential. That’s because Spenser: For Hire was a TV series that ran for three seasons between 1985 and 1988, and which starred the late Robert Urich and Avery Brooks (before he starred as Captain Benjamin Sisko in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine).
For those of you who don’t know, Spenser is a tough former cop (with a penchant for both boxing and reading) who works as a private detective in Boston along with his partner, Hawk. He was created by author Robert B. Parker who wrote forty novels in his Spenser series, the first was published back in 1973 and the last posthumously in 2011. The forty-first novel that he’d been working on was completed by his agent, Helen Brann, and since then a further eight novels starring Spenser have been written by Ace Atkins. Atkins’ second Spenser novel, 2013’s Robert B. Parker’s Wonderland, is the inspiration for Spenser Confidential.
Mark Wahlberg steps into the shoes of Spenser, while Winston Duke (Black Panther) takes on the role of his reluctant partner, Hawk. It sees Spenser just released from prison and wanting to leave Boston for good, but when two of his former colleagues are murdered it’s up to him to investigate the crime and unravel a conspiracy that involves City Hall, the cops, and some of the biggest gangsters in the city. It’s directed by Peter Berg (Deepwater Horizon), who regularly works with Wahlberg, with the screenplay by Brian Helgeland (L.A. Confidential) and Sean O’Keefe.
The official plot synopsis is as follows:
Spenser (Mark Wahlberg) — an ex-cop better known for making trouble than solving it — just got out of prison and is leaving Boston for good. But first he gets roped into helping his old boxing coach and mentor, Henry (Alan Arkin), with a promising amateur. That’s Hawk (Winston Duke), a brash, no-nonsense MMA fighter convinced he’ll be a tougher opponent than Spenser ever was. When two of Spenser’s former colleagues turn up murdered, he recruits Hawk and his foul-mouthed ex-girlfriend, Cissy (Iliza Shlesinger), to help him investigate and bring the culprits to justice.
Let’s take a look:
This looks like a decent action-comedy and… that’s about it, I guess. The action looks pretty good, but the humour comes across as a tad silly to me. I think I’d watch this, enjoy it, and then forget about it the second it’s over.
What do you think?
Spenser Confidential will premiere on Netflix on 6 March. It also stars Austin Post, Colleen Camp, Bokeem Woodbine, Michael Gaston, Marc Maron, and Post Malone.
And for a trip down memory lane, here’s the opening sequence for the ‘80s TV show:
Last Updated: January 21, 2020