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(1991) Chicago police detective James Dela (Gossett) tracks a killer who's hitting major mob bosses one by one in stunning close-range assassinations. This crime spree is special - the killer doesn't seem to fear mob reprisal, and the public is on the killer's side.

Crusading reporter Frank Nordhall (Coyote) glorifies the "Gangster Killer" in his daily column for protecting the public when police can't. Dela knows that it's only a matter of time before the psychotic gunman Vince Benedetto (LaPaglia) betrays his public "trust" by choosing a victim outside the mob. Fighting opposition from the press, the public and "a maniac with a shotgun," Dela is the KEEPER OF THE CITY.



  • Louis Gossett Jr...............Det. James Dela
  • Peter Coyote..................... Frank Nordhall
  • Anthony LaPaglia..........Vince Benedetto
  • Gina Gallego.......................................Elena
  • Aeryk Egan......................................Scotty


  • Directed by ....................... ...Bobby Roth
  • Screenplay by...................Gerald DiPego, author of the novel
  • Cinematography..............Shelly Johnson
  • Music.........................Leonard Rosenman
  • Running time..........................105 minutes
  • Aired on Showtime on January 25, 1992
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    Los Angeles Times:
    "Director Bobby Roth captures expertly the escalating tensions that evolve when a local crusading columnist (Coyote) arrogantly eggs on the unknown killer... Ever the resourceful craftsman, Roth and his cinematographer, Shelly Johnson, did a good job of matching establishing shots filmed in Chicago with L.A. area locales. A Craftsman cottage in South Pasadena passes nicely for a Prairie-style home of the kind found in the Chicago suburb of Oak Park. Keeper of the City benefits, too, from a fine Leonard Rosenman score."

    Press Telegram:
    "Coyote has impressed his, shall we say, 'distaste' for the press in the past, so he undoubtedly enjoys playing a particularly loathsome columnist who believes he is the moral voice of the city."

    Western Report:
    "Religious fanaticism, contemporary journalistic integrity, the policeman as pragmatic realist and woman as the essential survivor are the themes dealt with in this film. Thanks to exceptionally believable performances by the major players and a competent script, they are integrated surprisingly well."

    New York:
    "Besides style - Chicago exteriors, cathedral interiors, blue Pontiacs, and a snappy script by Gerald DiPego that includes a joke about Woody Strode in Spartacus, what Keeper has going for it is a refreshing insouciance about race relations."

    "The story and relationships are thoroughly credible, and the columnist's actions provide the basis for what should be part of a mandatory class in ethics in journalism schools. Director Bobby Roth extracts the best from his script and actors, with Gossett, Coyote and Soutendijk operating at perfect pitch. Also, the camera makes the urban setting seem fresh and interesting. Keeper is thoughtful, but muscular, rendered with a quality and originality that eludes so many efforts in this familiar made-for-television genre... It is rewarding to see an action film carried by quality, not the exhausted yeomen of nudity, sex and gore."

    San Jose Mercury News:
    "Keeper of the City is a tautly made and tense police thriller that gives us not only an intriguing new hero-type in Lt. Dela but also a frighteningly realistic psychopath in Vince Benedetto...Novelist DiPego has adapted his own book for the screen, and he handles it well, creating an offbeat thriller with something for everyone who appreciates the police-procedural genre... Keeper of the City is highly recommended."

    Boston Globe:
    "Besides featuring some good name actors, it credibly explores its characters, villains as well as the heroes, and the society they exist in... A scene late in the move in which Dela assails the newspaper man (Coyote) for validating gunplay and murder in his overheated columns is powerfully dramatized punctuation of the film's serious purpose... A good movie, laudable for its capacity to entertain without cynically exploiting its violent themes. The movies takes on the issue of violence responsibility and with far more intelligence than most bang-bang box-office hits."

    The Hollywood Reporter:
    "Good characters, great plot development and an exciting story combine to make Showtime's original movie presentation of Keeper of the City a true keeper. It's a well-played and extremely well-made contemporary drama that's high on suspense and intrigue that works because it uses those elements to propel the story rather than replacing one... There is profanity and brutality depicted in this film, but it is delivered with just the right mix to make it real and still palpable. Fans of the genre will love it."

    "At the end Frank realizes he is part of the problem. He's not only building a career and selling newspapers, he's promulgating the bypassing of checks and balances that grind slowly. Without it, it's just chaos... "I'm cranky about the media. Give me a chance to play a guy like Frank, and I'll jump on it."

    Did you know?

    • Coyote received a CableACE nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

    • Bobby Roth has directed Coyote in four feature films - Heartbreakers, Baja Oklahoma, The Man Inside and Jack the Dog, plus an episode in the ABC TV series, The Insiders, called "All This and the Old School Tie".

    • The film was shot on location in Chicago, Illinois and Los Angeles.

    • The now-defunct Los Angeles Herald Examiner was used for Nordhall's fictional newspaper, the Chicago Times, and the Ambassador Hotel, the Los Angeles hotel where Robert F. Kennedy was shot, was used for the Harrison Hotel, site of the climactic scene."


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    • Video available

    [ The Official Peter Coyote Web Site ]