Ken Tucker
December 10, 1993 AT 05:00 AM EST

There’s a reason critics don’t write much about such shows as Murder, She Wrote and the new Diagnosis Murder: They feature veteran stars so likable (in Diagnosis, it’s Dick Van Dyke as sleuthing doctor Mark Sloan) and plots so bland that even nit-picking seems unduly harsh. All Diagnosis Murder wants to do is please an audience of older viewers, renew their TV friendship with Van Dyke, and give the star’s son Barry, who plays a vacant-eyed cop, some work. So far the only mystery that has stumped me was the one when Van Dyke played four characters in one recent episode, and not one of them sported Sloan’s full white mustache. Next we’ll find out that Van Dyke’s silver hair isn’t real.

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