Nobody writes dialogue like the Pope of Pulp, Elmore Leonard. His sentences have the snap and whoosh of samurai swordplay. Some say Glitz (1985) is the best detective novel he’s ever written. But what director Sandor Stern has done to Glitz in this TV version is a crime.

As a Miami vice cop, Jimmy Smits (L.A. Law) is a leading man worth following. And John Diehl, as his rodent-like nemesis, Teddy Magyk (aka ”Mr. Magic”), does Smits one better. But what Glitz sadly lacks is fast talk and real wallop. The guys give it their best with such lines as ”Just nod your head, Ted, I don’t wanna hear you whine,” but most of the script is sludge. The better dialogue is right from the book, but the spirit is gone.

Leonard fans will want to know where all the moral rot went, the neon gleam, the terse eloquence. This Glitz is sanitized to the point of wholesomeness, and as bland as a carob brownie. C-

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