The NBC miniseries "Love, Lies and Murder" would be completely unbelievable if it weren't for the fact that it's true.
"We didn't have to make anything up," said Danielle Hill, who wrote the teleplay and is a co-producer on the miniseries. "The truth was so bizarre nothing we could make up could be any stranger."As the series opens (it airs Sunday and Monday at 8 p.m. on Ch. 2), Linda Bailey Brown is shot to death in her own bed. Her husband, David (Clancy Brown), tells police that Cinnamon (Moira Kelly), his 14-year-old daughter from a previous marriage, is the killer.
But it's obvious from the beginning that the facts are not quite what they seem. Without giving away too much of the plot, it turns out that David has convinced both his daughter and his wife's 17-year-old sister, Patti (Sheryl Lee), that Linda meant to kill him.
"They were absolutely convinced if they didn't kill Linda she would kill David and their whole family would fall apart," Hill said.
It's obvious there was a conspiracy to kill Linda.
The miniseries starts out a bit slowly, but as events unfold it becomes absolutely engrossing. Until well into Part 2, you're never quite sure what the truth is - all of those involved seem incapable of telling anything but lies.
David is revealed to be extremely twisted - a complete sociopath. He uses and manipulates all those around him in bizarre ways.
"I think he's a very complex individual," said Hill. "He's very smart, and he's very stupid. He's very attractive, but he can be grotesque looking.
"What he's exceptionally good at is honing in on people's weaknesses and taking advantage of them."
The miniseries treads a fine line between portraying Patti as a party to a killing and as a victim.
"I am more on the side of her being a victim," Hill said. "He really controlled her entire world from the time she was 11 years old - he told her how to dress, where to go, what to eat, who her friends were, everything.
"He took this little girl who was in a very insecure family situation and completely dominated her."
Brown is excellent as David Brown. And Lee, who played the murdered Laura Palmer and Madeline Ferguson on "Twin Peaks," finally gets a chance to demonstrate that she's a fine actress.
And, while the miniseries accurately portrays what happened, Hill concedes that some events were compressed and other strange goings on had to be cut due to time limitations.
"Four hours just wasn't enough to show exactly how strange David Brown is," she said.
- ON THE COVER: Moira Kelly, left, and Sheryl Lee star in the NBC miniseries "Love, Lies and Murder" Sunday and Monday at 8 p.m. on Ch. 2.