It’s been well over seven years since audiences had the chance to catch Tom Selleck reprising his role as Jesse Stone in the ongoing series of films based on Robert B. Parker’s novels. Delivering nine installments in a decade is undoubtedly an impressive feat, especially when you consider that Selleck was also juggling his role as a series regular on Blue Bloods for a third of that time. Interestingly, while the character is initially described as 35 years old in his debut novel, the decision-makers opted for the seasoned 60-year-old Selleck, who has been a household name since the ’80s, thanks to his iconic roles in Magnum, P.I. and Three Men and a Baby, among other notable projects. Now, as for the intricacies of his police work, well, they can get quite challenging, and that’s where his trusty canine companions and a bit of a drinking problem come into play.
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‘Jesse Stone’ Movies in Chronological Order
The second film in the Jesse Stone series, titled Jesse Stone: Night Passage, interestingly unfolds events that occur before the series debut, Stone Cold. However, the order in which these events take place is made crystal clear to the viewer, so there’s no confusion in the timeline. Once you’ve decided where to begin, it’s smooth sailing from there.
Jesse Stone: Night Passage (2006)
After having to leave his position in the LAPD due to alcohol problems, homicide detective Jesse Stone, played by Tom Selleck, takes the only job he’s being offered – as Police Chief of Paradise, Massachusetts. It’s just Stone and his loyal hound dog, Boomer, on the move, even though he still talks with his ex-wife on the phone regularly. It isn’t long before Stone and his new colleagues, Luther Simpson, Molly Crane, and Anthony D’Angelo, find themselves investigating the murder of one of their own. If that wasn’t enough, Stone’s relationship with local attorney Abby Taylor begins to develop, but it remains largely physical due to various reasons (simply put, Stone has issues).
As for Boomer, the faithful dog, he doesn’t last long in Paradise before Stone has to make the heart-wrenching decision to put his closest friend to sleep (a situation that doesn’t always happen in movies, but it’s a common theme). It’s not the last time in this series that he’ll lose a loved one, either. Having Viola Davis in the cast is always an added bonus, even though she plays a background role in Stone’s life. Additionally, this is very much the kind of story where a lonely cop takes the law into his own hands to some degree, and women find something ruggedly alluring about it, against their better judgment. So, take it or leave it, because there’s a lot more to come.
Stone Cold (2005)
Paradise is in the grip of fear as a series of seemingly random murders plagues the town, keeping Police Chief Stone busier than he’s been in a long time. While investigating the first murder alongside Simpson, who also goes by the nickname “Suitcase,” Stone does something unexpected—he takes in the victim’s now-homeless golden retriever, Reggie. It’s a glimpse into the kind of person Stone is. Alongside the murder cases, Stone and Crane, played by Davis, dive into the harrowing investigation of a high school girl’s rape, a grim reminder that other crimes continue even when a killer is on the loose.
This installment certainly embraces the serial killer theme that remains a staple in TV cop procedurals to this day. However, Stone Cold takes a different approach by not bombarding viewers with gruesome torture scenes or extended killing sequences. Instead, the murderers in this story prefer to execute their victims with sudden and surprising gunshots to the chest. Here’s an interesting tidbit: Sylvia Villagran voices Stone’s ex-wife, Jenn, in this movie, making it the only Jesse Stone film where she lends her voice to the character. In all the other voice appearances, Gil Anderson took on the role.
Jesse Stone: Death in Paradise (2006)
Now, let’s delve into the captivating world of the third installment in the series. After some character development and setting the stage in the first two movies, it’s time for business in this one. Stone finds himself in a complex situation, juggling his personal life, including therapy sessions with Dr. Dix, as suggested by his ex-wife, and a troubling murder case involving a teenage girl discovered floating in a lake. On top of that, there’s a repeat domestic violence offender causing further chaos. The safety of one of Stone’s team members is pushed to the brink, prompting some serious reconsideration of daily routines.
The storyline is getting more intense, and there’s a lot of police work ahead. Plus, we have some new faces on the scene, characters like Dr. Dix and Sister Mary John, who promise to add intriguing layers to the story. And with these fresh additions, it looks like there are more exciting movies to come in this thrilling series.
Jesse Stone: Sea Change (2007)
Introducing a new chapter in Jesse Stone’s story! With Luther still in a coma and Molly leaving the police force, Jesse is left without his trusted support system. As work slows down, Jesse finds himself turning to drinking and hanging out with Reggie. But things take a turn when he’s called to investigate an alleged rape and a cold case that puts him in the crosshairs of the mob.
This installment brings exciting changes, including Viola Davis bidding farewell and Luther waking up with a fresh cop’s intuition. We also welcome Kathy Baker as Rose Gammon, Molly’s replacement, and William Sadler as mobster Gino Fish. Don’t be fooled by the seemingly low stakes – this is the Jesse Stone that earned Tom Selleck an Emmy nomination for his outstanding performance.
Jesse Stone: Thin Ice (2009)
In this latest installment of Jesse Stone’s journey, a close friend of Jesse’s, Captain Healy, finds himself on the brink of death after a harrowing shooting incident. Naturally, Jesse Stone takes it upon himself to uncover the truth behind the attack and bring those responsible to justice. However, his unwavering determination to solve the case clashes with the wishes of the local town council, who urge him to redirect his focus towards other ongoing crimes. As you might expect, Jesse Stone pays little heed to their counsel.
Amidst the turmoil of this investigation, another tragic case comes to the forefront. It involves the mysterious death of a baby from years ago, a case that holds the potential for unsettling revelations. However, finding closure and a glimmer of hope in this particular situation proves to be an incredibly daunting task for Jesse Stone.
Interestingly, Tom Selleck, who portrays Jesse Stone, also contributes as a writer for this film, marking his second writing credit in the series, with the first being “Jesse Stone: Death in Paradise.” Notably, Deputy D’Angelo, a character who has been a presence in previ
Jesse Stone: No Remorse (2010)
ous installments, is no longer in the picture, having been effectively run out by Jesse himself. Additionally, Jesse Stone finds himself entangled in a romantic liaison with the Internal Affairs investigator tasked with scrutinizing his actions, a development that adds an intriguing layer to the narrative.
Jesse Stone: No Remorse (2010)
In this latest chapter of Jesse Stone’s life, he’s grappling with the isolation that stems from the suspension he received in the previous movie. To cope, he seems to be drowning his sorrows in alcohol, making the days blend together. Meanwhile, Captain Healy, who’s still on the road to recovery after a traumatic shooting, reaches out to Jesse Stone. He seeks Stone’s assistance as a consultant in solving a string of murders connected to organized crime and the enigmatic figure, Gino Fish.
One thing is clear: whether officially on the force or not, Jesse Stone remains as dedicated as ever to cracking cases and stirring the pot. He refuses to be sidelined, even when he’s been explicitly told to avoid contact with certain individuals. It’s just not in his nature to stand by idly.
As Jesse Stone continues to navigate the complexities of his life, there’s a poignant realization about his bond with Reggie, the dog that he’s somehow convinced himself isn’t truly his own, despite having shared his life with the loyal companion for five years. Perhaps, in the midst of it all, the owner and his faithful dog have forged a deeper connection than Stone cares to admit.
Jesse Stone: Innocents Lost (2011)
In the ever-evolving world of Paradise, Jesse Stone finds himself in a unique position. He’s been replaced as the Chief of Police, a role he once held with pride, and it’s been handed over to someone through a nepotism hire. But Stone, being the resilient character that he is, hasn’t allowed this setback to dampen his spirit. Instead, he’s been keeping himself quite busy with independent investigative work, all while his former colleagues grapple with adjusting to their new, rather brash Chief.
It seems that Stone just has an uncanny knack for stumbling across murder cases that demand his unique expertise. One such case involves a former arrest of his, a blast from the past that re-enters his life in an unexpected and compelling way.
Interestingly, it’s worth noting that Tom Selleck, the actor behind Jesse Stone, began investing his own money into this passion project a couple of installments ago. This move was driven by the desire to keep the series alive, especially as production costs were escalating. Even though these movies might appear modest in terms of scale, the increasing salaries of cast and crew do add a substantial chunk to the budget.
Jesse Stone: Benefit of the Doubt (2012)
In the penultimate installment of the Jesse Stone franchise, we see our beloved character, Jesse Stone, return to the Chief’s chair. Although it’s technically a temporary position, assigned to him to help solve the murders of the previous Chief and Deputy D’Angelo, Stone quickly realizes that working cases is where he truly thrives. He’s determined that this is no mere temporary job; it’s a calling. This time around, Luther and Rose aren’t heavily involved in the proceedings, as they’ve decided to seek employment elsewhere rather than work under Stone’s replacement. Allies or no allies, Stone is unwavering in his commitment to unraveling the deeply entrenched corruption within the police force, corruption that led to the demise of the previous Chief.
It’s worth noting that this installment takes a clear stance on the presumption of innocence for police officers, even in the face of damning evidence. While this perspective may not sit well with everyone, it’s a theme that’s explored with nuance in a world where trust in law enforcement is paramount. As a piece of trivia, it’s interesting to mention that this is the only Jesse Stone movie without his ex-wife, and it also marks the final installment to air on CBS, as the network decided to step away from the two-hour movie business.
Jesse Stone: Lost in Paradise (2015)
Several years have passed since Stone reclaimed his role as Chief, and alongside Luther, they continue to tackle cases, although the workload has slowed down. However, there’s a noticeable void in Stone’s life as his faithful animal companion, Reggie, has crossed the rainbow bridge, leaving Stone with more idle time on his hands. An opportunity arises when he’s offered an unpaid consulting role on certain cases by an old flame, Lt. Greenstreet (Leslie Hope). This leads to the discovery of unsettling revelations about a victim of a serial killer, challenging the assumption that she was solely a victim.
After enjoying many successful years on CBS, the costs eventually became too burdensome, leading to Jesse Stone’s ninth installment premiering on the Hallmark Channel. Notably, a couple of long-standing characters, Rose and Captain Healy, are conspicuously absent (leaving Tom Selleck and Kohl Suddoth as the only constants throughout the entire series). Nevertheless, fans of the film series will be pleased to see familiar faces return before the credits roll. Despite the loss of Reggie, Stone manages to find another stray in need of a loving home, because there’s just something right about ending things on such a heartwarming note.
The Future of Stone & ‘Stache
Regarding the potential for a Jesse Stone continuation, as of now, there aren’t any projects in development. However, when the series eventually resurfaces, it’s highly likely that it will proceed without Tom Selleck, even though as recently as 2021, he expressed a positive outlook on reprising the role. It’s worth noting that the character in the books was originally portrayed as a much younger man, so a future recasting with a younger actor would align more closely with the character’s literary origins. This situation mirrors cases like Morgan Freeman in “Kiss the Girls” and Tyler Perry in “Alex Cross.” Regardless of the age at which he portrayed Stone during that remarkable ten-year period, there were undeniably millions of fans eagerly tuning in to follow his adventures, his faithful canine companions, and that iconic mustache – well, at least when he wasn’t busy with “Blue Bloods.”