Ken Tucker
April 01, 1994 AT 05:00 AM EST

The odd-couple casting of George C. Scott with Burger King pitchman Dan Cortese in Traps is stunningly wrong-these two not only don’t belong in the same show, they shouldn’t inhabit the same universe. Scott plays an ex-deputy-chief of homicide who comes out of retirement to help his cop grandson (Cortese) on tough cases. Scott is the craggy, old-fashioned pro; Cortese is the pony-tailed hothead. Scott barks hardboiled nonsense like, ”If you can’t identify the victim, you’ll never identify the killer: First rule of homicide.” Cortese murmurs nonsense like, ”When my dad died, I learned something that helped me make it through the nights.” Creator Stephen J. Cannell (The A Team, The Hat Squad) was undoubtedly hoping to come up with a show that would lure viewers fond of senior-citizen mystery shows like Matlock and Diagnosis Murder along with channel-grazers who think Cortese’s MTV-style smoothness is a kick. Instead, the actors erase each other onscreen, and you’re left with an hour-long smudge. D

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