Picks and Pans Review: One Woman's Courage

updated 02/28/1994 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/28/1994 AT 01:00 AM EST

NBC (Mon., Feb. 28, 9 p.m. ET)

D+

Patty Duke plays a woman who witnesses a brutal attack on a stranger. Ignoring everyone's advice not to get involved, she's soon looking at mug shots and testifying in court against the vile monster (Keith Szarabajka, for whom it's been quite a week: He also plays a heinous and vindictive Army captain in John Jakes' Heaven and Hell). Duke's desire to do the right thing leaves her life in a shambles. Her husband (Dennis Farina) walks out, and Szarabajka, a wily combination of Houdini and Jack the Ripper, busts out of jail to wage a relentless campaign of terror against Duke.

In the midst of the harassment, the movie throws us a few heartening sops: Duke slops drinking, starts painting and learns to handle a gun. But it's cold comfort. At its heart this is the most reprehensible and manipulative kind of woman-in-jeopardy "thriller."

While overacting in a string of overheated TV movies, Duke has slowly turned into the female William Shatner. James Farentino goes a little over the top, too, as a homicide detective. But the salty, profane Margot Kidder is wonderful as Duke's salty, profane best friend.

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