By Todd Peterson
Updated February 13, 2004 11:00 AM

USA Network’s “The Perfect Husband: The Laci Peterson Story” is drawing a firestorm of controversy from all sides as it gets set to debut Friday. The TV movie, which stars Dean Cain, best know for his role as Superman on “Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman,” has been blasted as “inaccurate,” “inappropriate” and “reprehensible.”

Cain plays Scott Peterson, the Modesto, Calif., man arrested for the murder of his wife, Laci Peterson, and the couple’s unborn son. Laci disappeared on Christmas Eve 2002 and Scott Peterson was arrested on April 18, 2003, the same span of time that is covered in “The Perfect Husband.”

Peterson’s trial is expected to start sometime in the next couple months in Redwood City, Calif., and the timing of this movie has many people connected to the case upset. The problem, some critics say, is that if the movie is trying to be unbiased, it fails. Reviews in USA Today and New York’s Daily News say the movie “leaves the overwhelming impression that Peterson killed his wife and unborn child.”

“I had to play (Scott Peterson) innocent, although there are an awful lot of things he does that make him appear very guilty,” Cain told CNN. Those actions, say critics, might come into play as the jury for Peterson’s case is chosen. If convicted, Peterson could face the death penalty.

It’s not the first time the network has rushed a still-unfolding case to television. Writer David Erickson, who also penned “D.C. Sniper: 23 Days of Fear” prior to the trials of Lee Malvo and John Muhammad for USA Network, said he did not work with any of the people directly involved in the case. “The perception was that the family would not want to be involved in the movie,” Erickson told The New York Times.

That did not stop some of the members from both Laci’s and Scott’s families from blasting it. “It was so hard to tell the fiction from the facts because it was so inaccurate,” said Laci’s mother, Sharon Rocha. Scott’s father, Lee Peterson, added, “It’s just bull, no basis in fact,” reports the New York Post.

The movie airs Friday at 8 p.m. EST.