The Jesse Stone movies come from a best-selling series of crime novels written by the late Robert B. Parker. Jesse Stone’s world is brought to life with a superb performance by Tom Selleck and cast. The dark, moody and introspective atmosphere of these movies set it apart from everything else that is on TV. You will not see any huge action sequences here. This universe goes back to a time when story and character development matter more than special effects; which is probably why it has been such a hit. The stories are strong and subtle and leave you wanting more. The Jesse Stone cast are veteran character actors that are perfect in their roles.
So far there have been seven Jesse Stone movies in the series. Each story stands on its own so you don’t need to watch them in order, but some scenes will make more sense if you do. Here is a brief synopsis of each movie and the date it was released.
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Jessie Stone: Benefit of the Doubt (2012)
Benefit of the Doubt is this is the eighth movie in the series. An explosion takes the life of the Police Chief and another officer. Jesse is asked to be the Police Chief of Paradise once again and he accepts. As he gets closer to the killer, he doesn’t like what he finds. More on this instalment can be found here.
Jesse Stone: Innocents Lost (2011)
The seventh instalment, Innocents Lost, was co-written by Selleck and it supposed to be the last in the series (let’s hope not). Jesse is determined to avenge the death of a young girl that he once mentored. Looking into her checkered past he discovers drug addiction, acquaintances with a known mobster and prostitution. All indications point to an overdose, but Jesse’s instincts tell him otherwise. The police force is dealing with an new arrogant chief of police who has connections to the town council.
Jesse Stone: No Remorse (2010)
In No Remorse, Jesse is suspended and not allowed to talk to his former colleagues. Jesse starts drinking more and is depressed. A group of strange murders in Boston grabs his interest and the case leads to a infamous crime boss Gino Fish. Rose and Suitcase are left back in Paradise and are trying to solve a series of crimes.
Jesse Stone: Thin Ice (2009)
For the first time in the series, this instalment is based on original material. Don’t let that concern you though as Thin Ice is another excellent instalment in the series. In Boston, Jesse and his State Homicide friend are shot and his friend is seriously injured. Paradise City Council is not happy with his performance and his ex is moving in with her new boyfriend. Thin Ice is definitely an appropriate title. Not my favorite of the Jesse Stone movies, but it is still very good.
Jesse Stone: Sea Change (2008)
In Sea Change, newly fired from the LAPD, Jesse leaves his wife and moves to Massachusetts to become a Police Chief in a small town. Jesse struggles with drinking and women. A 12 year old cold case grabs his attention and new clues lead him to rape aboard a yacht during a popular New England boat race. The twists and turns during the investigation will leave you at the edge of your seat.
Jesse Stone: Death In Paradise (2007)
Even though Death In Paradise is the third instalment it takes place immediately after the events in Stone Cold and features an excellent performance by Steven Baldwin. The body of a teenager is found in the river. Jesse follows the clues to Boston and the mob and ends up rubbing them the wrong way.
Jesse Stone: Night Passage (2007)
Night Passage is a prequel to the first movie Stone Cold and is the story of Jesse trying to find the killer of a young girl. This back story provides insight into his drinking problem and why he ends up getting fired. The sheriff is retiring early and Jesse finds out why. Investing a case with a battered wife he finds the husband is hiding something. This is another excellent instalment. This is my personal favorite of the Jesse Stone movies in the series.
Jesse Stone: Stone Cold (2005)
Stone Cold is the fourth novel in the series, but the first of the Jesse Stone movies to be filmed. This is an excellent introduction to the Jesse Stone character and is one of the better mysteries to ever be brought to television. People in Paradise are being shot randomly with .22 calibre pistols. Witnesses notice a red Saab. This leads to other clues and unlikely killers. This is the first in the Jesse Stone movies series, but I actually recommend watching Night Passage first since it is a prequel and establishes a lot of the back story Stone Cold doesn’t.
Jessie Stone Movies in Order
I have been asked a few times lately what order to watch the Jesse Stone movie series in. To me, it really didn’t matter. I started watching the series at Death in Paradise and it didn’t stop me from enjoying the rest of them. However, if I was to watch them all over again I would start with the prequel Night Passage. That one gives a lot of the back story and sets the stage for the rest of the series. I would then just watch the rest in the order they were released. It really doesn’t matter if you watch the Jesse Stone movies in order, but it can help to understand the man and also get to know the characters better.