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Blackmail Review

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Two grifters are caught in a deadly con with a down-and-out detective when they target a wealthy gangster's wife.

★★★★★

Another made-for-cable thriller, which means that the steamy sex and explicit violence promised by the packaging are withheld, but the plot is more complicated than in the explicit versions of the same story cluttering up the top shelves.

Susan Blakely is married to John Saxon but having an affair with gigolo Dale Midkiff, who is setting her up for a blackmail scam with his girlfriend, but unscrupulous private eye Mac Davis has targeted Midkiff for his own extortion scheme, and everybody has actually sold out to everyone else with the intention of betraying them, so the last half-hour is a succession of “gasp, so you were really planning to . . .” confrontations in which characters “unexpectedly” shoot each other.

It’s mildly diverting, and Davis at least tries to create a character, but everyone else comes from that bizarre and unreal void where most American television takes place.