It’s been almost two decades since TV and movies did anything with Spenser, the private eye created by mystery novelist Robert B. Parker and most famously played onscreen by Robert Urich in the classic ’80s show Spenser for Hire. He was last played by Joe Mantegna in a trilogy of TV films in the late ’90s and early aughts, but our modern age loves reboots, so it was only a matter of time before someone or someones got around to exhuming him. And those people turn out to be actor-auteur pair Mark Wahlberg and Peter Berg.
The trailer for Spenser Confidential barely resembles previous screen incarnations of the character, who’s still thriving in books, which are these days written by Ace Atkins. In fact it plays like the most lighthearted movie Wahlberg and Berg have yet made. The two last collaborated on the spy thriller Mile 22, and this one looks to be more comical, with Wahlberg’s Spenser getting out of prison, after being framed by dirty cops, and trying to clean up the Boston underground.
Wahlberg’s joined in his shenanigans by a Mad Libs roster including Winston Duke, Alan Arkin, and Marc Maron, and by lots of punching, shouting, things going boom, and a fair amount of vehicular mayhem. Will Spenser Confidential be hitting theaters? Nope — it’s one of those pricey Netflix pictures, now that Hollywood is too scared to make films not based on widely recognized IP, and perhaps Spenser the P.I. is too obscure for the multiplexes. In any case, you can start streaming it on March 6.