Picks and Pans Review: Not in My Family

updated 03/01/1993 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/01/1993 AT 01:00 AM EST

ABC (Sun., Feb. 28, 9p.m. ET)

A-

A woman (Joanna Kerns) finds herself plunged into a deep depression after the birth of her first child. She begins to experience frightening, fragmented childhood flashes that eventually coalesce into a memory of sexual abuse by her father (George Grizzard), a prominent banker and community leader. What makes it more painful is that Kerns believes Grizzard is perpetuating his perverse behavior with her 5-year-old niece.

This is by far Kerns's strongest performance to date. The rest of the cast, which includes Michael Brandon, Richard Gilliland and Shelley Hack, is excellent too. The real standout, though, is Dina Merrill, who gives an Emmy-worthy performance as Kerns's mother, a scornful woman wrapped in a blanket of denial more impenetrable than Superman's chest.

Though the script has some facile moments, the direction of Linda Otto (A Mother's Right) is very surehanded, from the first subtle hints that something is amiss to the final bitter confrontations. This is the most shattering family drama since Fox's Doing Time on Maple Drive.

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