(1987 - TV Mini-series)  This mini-series is a critically acclaimed drama of psychological intrigue, conspiracy and murder.  It began in 1979 with the grisly discovery of school teacher Susan Reinert's (Channing) nude, battered body. It ended seven years later, after one of the most massive homicide investigations in history.

There are two men at the center of this story. Dr. Jay Smith (Loggia) is the principal, and Bill Bradfield (Coyote) is an English teacher at Upper Merion High School in suburban Philadelphia. Bradfield, fascinated by poet Ezra Pound, is a womanizer who charms his conquests uttterly. He has grandiose schemes. Smith is a former Army Reserve colonel whose oldest daughter and husband are drug addicts. Smith loves guns and pornography dealing with bestiality.

It takes seven years for investigators to uncover evidence that Bradfield and Smith are accomplices and to bring them to trial. Wambaugh calls the two men sociopaths, and certainly they are terrifying characters: a monster with a Ph.D. and a charismatic liar who holds power over homely women. This is a chilling odyssey into the dark heart of evil.



  • Peter Coyote.................William Bradfield, Jr.
  • Robert Loggia..................................Jay Smith
  • Cindy Pickett.................................Sue Myers
  • Stockard Channing.................Susan Reinert
  • Zeljko Ivanek ...........................Vince Valaitis
  • Alex Hyde-White......................Chris Pappas
  • Peter Boyle.........................Sgt. Joe Van Nort
  • Gary Cole.........................................Jack Holtz
  • Treat Williams................................Rick Guida


  • Directed by.................................Glenn Jordan

  • Screenplay by.................Joseph Wambaugh based on his book

  • Cinematography by..............Steve Yaconelli

  • Music by.......................................David Shire

  • Running time: 234 minutes

  • First telecast on CBS as a mini-series on November 1 & 2, 1987



Philadelphia Daily News:
"It is contemporary film noir squeezed and stretched for the mini-series format, but with only the barest amount of excess flab. For this, you can credit Wambaugh, whose screenplay retains the book's compelling energy while leaving out its breathless excesses... It is well served by Glenn Jordan's taut direction. Together Jordan and Wambaugh have fashioned a movie that unravels before you in deep, dark waves."

Washington Post: "CBS' Brilliant Echoes in the Darkness"
"It is probably the best film of this kind ever made for television. One reason is that though the crimes involved are indeed horrendous, the story is told more in sorrow than in anger, and with a distinct literary flair... Bill Bradfield, a teacher and would-be poet, played by Peter Coyote, is a megalomaniac and a dilettante who surrounds himself with friends who are his virtual subjects. He's like the most dreaded sort of Hollywood star, in a way, and Coyote's portrayal is meticulous to a fault, or to all his faults tied up in this one manipulative sociopath, as he is later described."

Houston Chronicle:
"Echoes in the Darkness is in the tradition of Fatal Vision, and it is equally riveting... Wambaugh wrote the script himself, and that script is as interesting from the standpoint of what it dos not say as what it does. Considering the countless opportunities for exploitation of the more sensational aspects, Wambaugh's restraint here is both admirable and unusual... The cast of this drama is especially good... Bradfield, played here by Peter Coyote, is a teacher, a smarmy womanizer and an oily manipulator."

Chicago Tribune:
"Echoes in the Darkness is a perversely fascinating study of murder and manipulation... The twisting and twisted story revolves around William Bradfield (Peter Coyote), a charming, incredibly manipulative teacher of English and the classics who, as one character says, 'feeds on adoration.' A would-be poet who idolizes Ezra Pound, he envies him for having lived alone in a locked room in an asylum. He has assembled a collection of gullible, vulnerable disciples... Most of the force of the series hinges on the persuasive powers of Bradfield - a monster of exploitation - and Coyote does a commendable job."

Akron Beacon Journal:
"Echoes in the Darkness may well be the finest drama presented this season on network television. The acting and directing are just that riveting...There is no one star. There are nine marvelous performers playing the central figures in this drama about sinister alliances and persistent law officers."

San Jose Mercury News:
"It's a deliberately paced true crime story that spends as much time probing the psychological makeup of the suspects as it does on the tracking down of the evidence against them. Loggia will make your blood run cold as Smith. His 'evil eye' is something to see."

Philadelphia Inquirer:
"Producer-director Glenn Jordan, whose last TV credit was the phenomenal Promise, and Joseph Wambaugh, who wrote this teleplay adaptation of his own book, have teamed up to create a sensational crime drama that defiantly refuses to be exploitive or misleading... This is classy treatment, and the performances are wonderful... the drama is full of strong work by gifted actors, including Loggia, Peter Coyote, Gary Cole and Cindy Pickett. This is easily one of the best mini-series ever shown on CBS."


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In the words of the director:
"I chose Coyote to play Bradfield because I'd seen his work and I thought of him as someone who is extremely charismatic. This is a man (Bradfield) who had a whole satellite system of acolytes. And they weren't stupid people... Before we did every scene, I always reread the book about that scene to remind myself of the details. I made sure the designers read the relevant parts, too... I don't believe we've distorted the story in any way. I think of it as a little bit like a Greek drama, where much of the most interesting action takes place off stage."


"Bradfield surrounded himself with people who needed something, people who could be easily manipulated. A sociopath is not a person without likable qualities. One of the cautionary aspects of this tale is that we all think we can judge each other's character, and that's not always true." ...Peter Coyote

Did you know?

    • After finishing the film, Loggia commented, "It's like getting a monkey off my back.. I'm glad it's over. Normally, when you play a heavy in a film, you're not as bound to reality as you are here. This was different. In many ways."

    • Both the director and Stockard Channing received Emmy  nominations and the mini-series earned a Golden Globe nomination.

    • The real prosecutor of the case, deputy attorney general Rick Guida said, "It was fascinating. Scary. I actually sat there and believed I was watching Smith up there. Bob had everything down; the eyes, the physical decay. He was Jay Smith."

    • It was filmed in Toronto instead of Pennsylvania (Main Line area). It required 57 days and cost more than $5 million. Jordan was satisfied that his Toronto locations looked enough like the Main Line.

    • In the TV version Bill Bradfield is juggling three women, instead of four that he had in real life.

    • Author Joseph Wambaugh said, "It takes five hours for the chain of evidence to unfold. Echoes in the Darkness could never be a two-hour movie. Some of my books lend themselves to movies like The Onion Field. This is definitely a miniseries - though it should have been six hours. I wrote it as six, but CBS made me cut it to five."

    • Executive producer Jack Grossbart. "We wanted the best actor for each role. In Peter's case, aside from physically being right, he had the charm to pull it off. I knew he could play this character."

    • Loggia and Coyote also starred together in the film, Jagged Edge.

    • Cindy Pickett and Coyote also starred together in Crooked Hearts and Breach of Contract.

Video available under used video sales at Amazon.com and auctions such as EBAY

[ The Official Peter Coyote Web Site ]