Picks and Pans Review: Lie Down with Lions

updated 06/13/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/13/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Lifetime (Sun., June 12, 7 p.m. ET)

D+

Timothy Dalton plays a disillusioned CIA operative who is manipulated into reentering the fray in order to restore the exiled ancestral leader (Omar Sharif) of Azerbaijan. The inducement? Dalton needs to get into the region anyway in order to warn the woman he loves (Marg Helgenberger) but was forced to betray years before in Luxembourg that the new man in her life (Nigel Havers) is an even bigger cad than Dalton ever was. (Hey, I don't make up these dumb plots. It makes me wince just to have to synopsize them.)

Pity poor Helgenberger. Not only is she unlucky in love and a pawn in these mammoth geopolitical maneuverings, but nothing seems to go her way. For instance, while she's giving birth alone in an Armenian hovel, Muslim fundamentalists stroll in and out to scream "Whore!'' at her. They didn't cover this in Lamaze class.

This convoluted, uninvolving processional, based on Ken Follett's novel of the same name, is more yawn than yarn. At least it has found an appropriate home on cable: the dreadful four-hour dud seems to take a lifetime to unspool.

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