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'A Crime to Remember' review: Slick piece of work

Alice Crimmins, 28, charged with the murder of

Alice Crimmins, 28, charged with the murder of her daughter, Alice Marie, 4, has her hand held by her husband Edmund, 32, on arriving at a courthouse in Queens, N.Y. the morning of May 23, 1968. Credit: AP

DOCUDRAMA SERIES "A Crime to Remember"

WHEN | WHERE Premieres Tuesday night at 10 on ID

WHAT IT'S ABOUT Cable's ID channel steps up its game, getting tone-poem significant now with its crime re-creations. The hourlong show's first two outings tackle notorious 1960s New York cases -- Queens mom Alice Crimmins' conviction for killing her two kids and the "career girl murders" that a decade later inspired the TV-movie pilot for "Kojak."

ID's standard two-bit stagings are upscaled here to $3.95, for a "Mad Men"-lite look of vintage design, faded colors and cigarette smoke. Period stock footage and TV news coverage, plus current-day recall from involved journalists and investigators, are woven among the re-enactments' "I remember that" touchstones (green-black-white city cop cars) and "I was there" narration by a conjured "neighbor" or "co-worker."

That narration lets the episode's teller assess the case's larger impact. "Looking back on it," says a female voice about man-loving Crimmins, "maybe she was sent to jail for something else, too." Ditto next week's ambitious young women, out and about in the '60s city rather than home with hubby. Social norms, culture shifts, even citizens' need to feel safe -- and cops' push to solve cases -- infuse what unfolds.

MY SAY "A Crime to Remember" is a slick piece of work from the team behind ABC's 2012 summer entry "Final Witness." That show's creepy use of the victim's voice is smartly supplanted by the interested observer.

It's also a kick seeing locally familiar folks like WCBS radio reporter Irene Cornell filling us in on the facts and fury. And it's a definite step up for ID's cable crime time.


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