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John Leonard's TV Notes

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Saving Elián (February 6; 10 to 11 p.m.; Channel 13), from tireless Frontline producer Ofra Bikel, is a nuanced retrospective on the international custody case, touching all the bases from the little boy's high-seas rescue by dolphins, to Fidel Castro and his pep rallies, to Janet Reno and her predawn raid on the home of Elián's camera-loving relatives, with special emphasis on the political clout of Miami's Cuban community and the resentment of that clout by everybody else.

The Last Producer (February 6; 9 to 11 p.m.; USA), directed by and also starring Burt Reynolds, a slapstick take on Hollywood corruption, ought to be funnier than it is considering all the brand-name buddies Burt has dragooned into showing up to show off, including Benjamin Bratt, Ann-Margret, Charles Durning, Rod Steiger, Sean Astin, Lauren Holly, and Greg Germann.

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (February 9; 10 to 11 p.m.; NBC), in an episode called Victims, manages simultaneously to exploit rape, aids, and neighborhood vigilantes, while the regulars for no particular reason are harder on themselves than they are on the suspected perps. For once, however, Eric Roberts didn't do it.

Haven (February 11 and 14; 9 to 11 p.m.; CBS), based on Ruth Gruber's account of her own efforts in Washington, D.C., war-torn Europe, and Oswego, New York, from 1944 to 1946, to bring a thousand European Jewish refugees to sanctuary in America, enlists a stellar cast -- Natasha Richardson as Gruber; Anne Bancroft and Martin Landau as her parents; Hal Holbrook, William Petersen, Henry Czerny, Colm Feore, Bruce Greenwood, etc. -- to remind us that our very own State Department knew what the Nazis were doing very early on in the war and didn't care.

Marcus Garvey: Look for Me in the Whirlwind (February 12; 9 to 10:30 p.m.; Channel 13), an absorbing installment of "American Experience" narrated by Carl Lumbly, more than once suggests that the Jamaican-born advocate of black pride and pan-nationalism ("One God, one aim, one destiny") was his own worst enemy. But it persuades us otherwise. J. Edgar Hoover, a young lawyer in the Justice Department in the early twenties, was Garvey's worst enemy.


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