February 16, 2004 12:00 PM

USA (Fit, Feb. 13, 8 p.m. ET)


How do you make a quickie TV movie about a murder case that’s yet to be resolved in court? You can’t come right out and call somebody guilty. You can’t show the homicide itself. What if facts emerge to contradict the script?

The Perfect Husband‘s strategy is to focus on the suspicious behavior of accused killer Scott Peterson (Dean Cain) after his pregnant wife, Laci, disappeared and to dramatize the effect of the case on the California community where the couple lived. Cain, far from his heroic Superman days on Lois & Clark, is effective in a role that calls for ambiguity and a degree of restraint. Unfortunately, too much of the movie is devoted to what the network calls composite characters: the Petersons’ married friends Kate (Sarah Joy Brown) and Tommy (David Denman). Kate doubts Scott’s innocence; Tommy sticks up for him. The whole controversy puts quite a strain on their relationship. But in this context who cares about their fictional problems?

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