‘A Killing in a Small Town‘ is a 1990 CBS TV crime film directed by Stephen Gyllenhaal and written by Cynthia Cidre. The movie was also known as “Evidence of Love” which is the name of the true crime book the film was based on.
Candy Morrison (Barbara Hershey) and her husband Pat (Richard Gilliland) have reached a plateau in their marriage as they live in Wylie, Texas. She begins an affair with friend Stan Blankenship (John Terry), but they end it because of “feelings” and he tries to make amends with his wife Peggy (Lee Garlington). A few months later, Peggy is brutally murdered and she admits it to her lawyer Ed Reivers (Brian Dennehy). At first, he does not believe her, but after the psychiatrist Dr. Beardsley (Hal Holbrook) examines her, he changes his mind. With the trial ahead of them, the small Texas town begins to turn on Candy.
As television films go, they can be a crapshoot, especially in the nineties. I will say, this is one of the better ones that I have seen. While the aesthetics were on the cheaper side, the filmmakers did their best to work with what they had and present a decent representation of the crime, though they changed some of the names.
I also want to praise the cast. Everyone did a good job. Holbrook was great as usual. His role was small in this, but he still stood out. Hershey was brilliant as Candy and especially delivered on a scene where she was on the stand at her trial. That scene showed a lot of anguish, but I also liked how she displayed Candy’s fakeness as a person. Hershey would win an Emmy for her acting and it was well-deserved.
The one thing I did not appreciate about the film was that it sort of forgot about the victim. Peggy Gore (called Blankenship in this film) becomes more of a MacGuffin in the movie so it would focus on the story of Candy and the trial surrounding the crime.
Bottom line, A Killing in a Small Town is a gem of a television film that is well-acted and if you by chance find it, it is worth a watch.
PARENTAL CONCERNS: Disturbing sequences, Sexual themes, Violence
FAVORITE QUOTE: A mother’s work is never done.
Check out the trailer below:
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