"Love, Lies and Murder" is the miniseries of the year.The...

February 15, 1991|By David Zurawik | David Zurawik,Sun Television Critic

"Love, Lies and Murder" is the miniseries of the year.

The two-parter, which begins at 9 Sunday on NBC (Channel 2), is distinguished by exceptional acting and a story of great psychological and sociological resonance.

"Love, Lies and Murder" is about the Brown family of Southern California. It revolves around the murder of the mother and the roles of the father and one of the daughters in that murder. It is a story of psychological manipulation, murder, love and madness. The headline to this story: Daddy is a psycho.

Clancy Brown, who plays daddy, is mesmerizing. His is one of the finest made-for-TV movie performances of the year.

Two other performances of the year are also on display here. One is delivered by Moira Kelly as the teen-age daughter preyed on by her father and convicted of murder. The other is by Sheryl Lee, from "Twin Peaks," as the sister of the murder victim whobecomes Brown's wife in this bizarre drama based on a real-life case.

The great appeal of this story is in the psychology of the father and the dynamic of the family he manipulates through his ability to manipulate women.

Daddy-is-a-psycho is the dark opposite of father-knows-best, the underbelly that is closer to the reality of

some of our real-life home lives than the pretty domestic pictures television used to paint.

From "Fatal Vision" to "Blind Faith," television has struck deep chords within a great number of viewers the last few years with the themes of patriarchal madness and murder.

"Love, Lies and Murder" has everything it takes to trigger the same kind of response.

Fine performances mark this best-of-TV-movie about psychological manipulation

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