This made-for-TV docudrama, which aired before the real-life murder trial of accused wife-murderer Scott Peterson, carefully fudges the issue of his guilt or innocence. The result is that no one minute has the gripping authenticity of Court TV's subsequent coverage.
When pregnant Laci Peterson disappeared during the Christmas season while walking her dog, she left behind her purse and her perfect life. As the authorities comb the area, Laci’s family and friends remain hopeful but are haunted by the dark suspicion that she's been kidnapped by a stranger. Laci's adoring husband, Scott (Dean Cain), claims he was away fishing on Christmas Eve and there's no obvious reason for the police to doubt him. But Detectives Gates (G.W. Bailey) and Ross (Tom O'Brien) have been trained to suspect husbands and boyfriends when women vanish, so they work on gaining Scott’s trust even as his best friend, Tommy (David Denman), harangues them about pursuing other leads. Laci’s family, meanwhile, is puzzled by his reluctance to make a televised appeal for Laci’s safe return. He eventually acquiesces, and the reason soon becomes apparent. His mistress, Amber Frey (Tracy Lyn Middendorf), spots her fibbing lover on the air and tells the police everything she knows. To Laci’s family, Scott’s adultery is tantamount to a confession; his friends are slower to leap to that conclusion, but are hurt by Scott's betrayal of the family values they supposedly shared. Scott coolly starts pursuing the media in the apparent belief that his likable demeanor will get public opinion on his side. Then the bodies of Laci and her unborn child wash ashore: Although Scott’s loyal friends still find it hard to believe he's a homicidal sociopath, they're hard put to explain why he abruptly dyes his hair and heads for Mexico with $10,000.
Although the producers deserve credit for turning this lurid crime tale around in a timely fashion and Cain’s vacant handsomeness is used to good effect, writer Dave Erickson's script is simply cobbled together from tabloid headlines – it's less drama than crass opportunism.
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- Released: 2004
- Rating: PG-13
- Review: This made-for-TV docudrama, which aired before the real-life murder trial of accused wife-murderer Scott Peterson, carefully fudges the issue of his guilt or innocence. The result is that no one minute has the gripping authenticity of Court TV's subsequent… (more)