Controversial ABC Television Movie starring Richard Crenna as tough guy cop who struggles to deal with the emotional toll of sexual assault when he's attacked by two thugs. Richard Beck is a highly effective cop who in one scene beats up and bullies street thugs harassing an elderly homeless man and in another surrenders his gun and offers himself as a hostage to a murder suspect in order to save an elderly woman fro being kidnaped by the killer a he tries to flee. Beck's methods are not always "up to code" but he is effective and he seems to have a real sense of compassion, at least in these two instances. Beck isn't the most enlightened person when dealing with sexual assault victims, not sure he believes in "Date Rape" and unable to comprehend the difficulties victims have participating in investigations not too mention the dehumanizing manor in which evidence is collected from these traumatized victims. Simply put, sex assault victims deal with a wide range of emotional issues regular crime victims do not and Beck's lack of sensitivity and understanding put him at odds with those in the Sex Crimes Squad. His macho, sometimes overbearing behavior has also cost him his marriage, although he holds out hope he can win his wife (played by Frances Lee McLain) back and tries to maintain a positive relationship with his children, sometimes undercutting his wife's authority in the process.
Everything comes crashing down for Beck when he foolishly pursues to suspects and is attacked, disarmed, and eventually brutally assaulted. Beck's rogue like behavior on the job brings him under fire and threatens his position while he struggles with all the emotional turmoil he never understood other victims feel. More problems occur as he struggles to deal with his children and his disapproving father (played by Pat Hingle), himself a tough guy cop, now retired, that Beck has tried to emulate.
In a lesser actor's hands Richard Beck would lack the empathy needed for the audience to truly feel sorry for him, Richard Crenna however is a tour de force as he manages to highlight the positive aspects of Beck, against the back drop of his outdated macho attitudes. He also excels portraying Beck's vulnerability post attack, both during the dehumanizing evidence collection process as well as when the DA and Police Dept start cracking him down over some of "Dirty Harry" like tactics (a not so subtle way of "blaming the victim" which many assault victims deal with).
Crenna was nominated for a Golden Globe for "Best Lead Actor" in the TV Movie & Mini Series category for his performance and won the Emmy Award in that category for this film as well.