After bombing several Mormon centers in Utah, religious extremist and polygamist Adam Swapp (Kyle Secord) has barricaded himself inside of a farm house with his wives and supporters. The FBI, led by Bob Bryant (Dennis Franz), have the house surrounded and are trying to convince Swapp to peacefully surrender. Swapp, however, has no intention of going down without a fight.
In the 1990s, NBC did a whole series of made-for-TV miniseries about real-life law enforcement operations that inevitably led to the death of at least one of the officers involved. They made so many of them and they churned them out so quickly that NBC even aired a movie about the Branch Davidian stand-off while it was still going on. Siege at Marion, the fourth of the In The Line of Duty films, feels like a precursor to what was eventually happen in Waco. Just as happened in Waco and with the attempts to arrest Randy Weaver at Ruby Ridge, critics claimed that the government came on too strong while the government claimed that they were merely enforcing the law.
Siege at Marion is the least interesting of all of the In The Line of Duty movies, mostly because the Marion siege was neither as mismanaged as what happened in Waco or as egregiously heavy-handed and disturbing as what happened in Ruby Ridge. Though based on a true story, Siege at Marion is a standard stand-off film with the only suspense coming from the film’s distasteful attempts to build up suspense as to whether it’ll be Dennis Franz, William H. Macy, or Ed Begley, Jr. who is killed in the line of duty. Since only one of them is given a backstory and a family, it’s easy to guess which one it will be.
The best thing about Siege of Marion is the cast. Dennis Franz was born to play cops and it’s interesting to see a pre-Fargo William H. Macy playing a non-nervous character. Kyle Secor is convincingly fanatical and unhinged as the messianic Adam Swapp. Secor would go on to star as Tim Bayliss on the much-missed Baltimore-set cop show, Homicide: Life on the Street. Speaking of classic cop shows, Siege at Marion was also directed by Charles Haid, who played Andy Renko on Hill Street Blues. As for the In The Line of Duty films, the last one was made in 1994 but they all live on in syndication.
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