Picks and Pans Review: Love, Lies and Murder

updated 02/18/1991 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/18/1991 AT 01:00 AM EST

NBC (Sun., Feb. 17, 9 P.M. ET)

B+

A 14-year-old (Moira Kelly) confesses to shooting her stepmother, despite the misgivings of the D.A.'s investigator (Hardball's John Ashton).

In jail, the girl learns that her father (Blue Steel's Clancy Brown), who collected big on a fistful of insurance policies, has married the victim's teenage sister (Sheryl Lee of Twin Peaks). Realizing she has been played for a dupe, Kelly recants her confession, leading to the whirl of schemes, accusations and revelations that make up the miniseries' conclusion the following night.

Based on actual events in southern California in 1985, it's an engrossing if labored tabloid story presented without showboating by director Robert Markowitz and his cast. Some viewers may not want to invest two nights in the mini, but it does make the characters—especially Clancy's master manipulator—and the unfolding machinations stand out starkly.

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