Assault at West Point An interesting, fact-based legal case has been turned into a stiff melodrama in Assault at West Point (Showtime, Feb. 27, 8-10 p.m.). Written, directed, and… John Glover Samuel L. Jackson Sam Waterston Seth Gilliam
TV Review

Assault at West Point

An interesting, fact-based legal case has been turned into a stiff melodrama in Assault at West Point (Showtime, Feb. 27, 8-10 p.m.). Written, directed, and produced by Harry Moses, whose past films have included the first-rate American Playhouse production The Trial of Bernhard Goetz, Assault at West Point tells the story of Johnson Whittaker (Seth Gilliam), one of the first African-American cadets admitted to West Point. In 1880, Whittaker was tied down and beaten by fellow cadets; he was court-martialed on the grounds that he had staged his own assault to avoid taking a philosophy exam. During his military trial, Whittaker was represented by two attorneys: Daniel Chamberlain, a testy racist played by Sam Waterston (I'll Fly Away), and Richard Greener, a black Harvard graduate (Samuel L. Jackson, of Jungle Fever and Jurassic Park). They squabble over how best to defend Whittaker, and the drama loses focus-the cadet's personality never comes across, because Waterston and Jackson are so ostentatiously chewing the scenery. Thank goodness for John Glover (South Beach), who plays the officer prosecuting Whittaker; preening amusingly, he delivers his lines with a witty ferociousness. Single-handedly, he energizes this lethargic TV movie. C+

Sign up for EW.com's What to Watch Newsletter!

What to watch on TV. Hear what's on tap for the night ahead and get witty, morning after recaps of top shows (sent weekday mornings).
Originally posted Feb 18, 1994 Published in issue #210-211 Feb 18, 1994 Order article reprints