Review: ‘Linda USA, Fri. Oct. 8, 9 p.m.’

Nathaniel Gutman directs this N.D. Schreiner teleplay about a perfidious wife who frames her docile husband for the murder of her lover's wife. Despite some storyline discrepancies, "Linda" remains, overall, an entertaining piece of work.

Nathaniel Gutman directs this N.D. Schreiner teleplay about a perfidious wife who frames her docile husband for the murder of her lover’s wife. Despite some storyline discrepancies, “Linda” remains, overall, an entertaining piece of work.

Virginia Madsen portrays the blond and sexy woman with more than just a mean streak; Richard Thomas puts in a good turn as Linda’s long-suffering but loving husband, Paul; and Ted McGinley (“Married … With Children”) puts in a surprisingly out-of-character performance as Linda’s lover, Jeff, and husband to murder victim Stella (Laura Harrington).

After Jeff and Stella — who’s heiress to a fortune — convince Paul and Linda to vacation with them on a remote Florida beach, Linda and Jeff hatch the seemingly perfect crime to frame Paul for Stella’s murder. When they get to their destination, Linda and Jeff start flirting and spending time together away from their spouses. Paul tries to confront them but his accusations are brushed off as being childish. They carry out their plan, and with the evidence stacked high against him, Paul is charged with first-degree murder and is placed on death row.

Linda and Jeff’s behavior throughout the first act is unbelievable at best. On top of this, Paul inexplicably manages to escape from high-security death row only to give himself up in a matter of hours: some slight inconsistencies.

All actors put in good performances, but of special note is McGinley, whose sudden changes in emotion are believable and work well.

Camera work is standard. The linear editing doesn’t emphasize tension as much as it might have.

Narrated in hindsight by Thomas’ character Paul, “Linda” is an entertaining teleflick with a wistful final dialogue.

Linda USA, Fri. Oct. 8, 9 p.m.

Production

Filmed in Wilmington, N.C., by Linda Prods. Inc. in association with Wilshire Court Prods. Producer, Bob Roe; co-producers, Nathaniel Gutman, N.D. Schreiner; director, Gutman; writer, Schreiner; story, John D. MacDonald.

Crew

Camera, Bryan England; editor, Karen Stern; sound, Peter Bentley; production design, Gary Constable; art direction, Donna Stamps; music, David Michael Frank. 120 MIN.

With

Cast: Virginia Madsen, Richard Thomas, Ted McGinley, Laura Harrington, T.E. Russell, J. Don Ferguson, Richard K. Olsen, David Dwyer, Michael Goodwin, Maria Howell, Vito Marabella, Mary Lynn Riner, John Keenan, Winston Hemingway, Charles McLawhorn.

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