You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Darkness Before Dawn

Darkness Before Dawn" plays like a hard-edged update of"The Days of Wine and Roses." This fact-based television movie, the story of a husband and wife who reinforce one another's heroin addiction, feels entirely authentic and boasts an admirable lack of sentimentality.

Cast:
Cast: Meredith Baxter, Stephen Lang, Chelsea Hertford, Alana Austin, Gwynyth Walsh, Michael Bryan French, Mary Ann McGarry, Robert Desiderio, L. Scott Caldwell, Bill Applebaum, Lee Tergesen, Natalie West, Richard Grove, Kirsten Dunst, Tim Farrell, Matthew Linville, James Dean, Rusty Schwimmer, Lora Staley, George Solomon, David Thompson, Maura Soden, Art Chudabla, Lindsey Ginter, Frank Novak, Kriss Turner, Earl Boen, Julie Ariola, Eva Bush.

Darkness Before Dawn” plays like a hard-edged update of”The Days of Wine and Roses.” This fact-based television movie, the story of a husband and wife who reinforce one another’s heroin addiction, feels entirely authentic and boasts an admirable lack of sentimentality.

The film has a documentary-like texture; it is a stark, non-judgmental look at a self-destructive couple. Their sobering story is told efficiently and compellingly, without melodrama or any hint of corny uplift.

Mary Ann Thompson (Meredith Baxter) is a single mother, a nurse at a Las Vegas methadone clinic-and a prescription-drug addict. At work, she meets and rapidly falls in love with slick, handsome recovering heroine addict Guy Grand (Stephen Lang).

Guy sees her as his salvation, and for a time it appears he is right. They get married; he finds a job. But soon he’s emptying out her bank account to purchase drugs, and she’s providing excuses for his behavior.

Guy returns to sobriety after a stay in the clinic, but it’s only a matter of time before he gets back on heroin, and this time he takes the all-too-willing Mary Ann along with him.

One of the impressive things about Karen Hall’s script is how it manages to stay riveting even as it accurately portrays the rather monotonous life of an addict. The Grands’ life follows a depressing pattern, in which sobriety alternates withdrug abuse, and the partner who happens to be straight at any given time tries to help the other get over the addiction.

Their story is consistently compelling, however, because the characters are so well-drawn and the script avoids obvious, cliched scenes.

The only misstep is the superficial and rather clunky attempt to locate the root of Mary Ann’s addiction in her childhood traumas. While the idea of reaching back into the past is appropriate, the flashbacks seem out of place, and the second of them is banal.

Under the sensitive direction of John Patterson, Baxter nicely underplays her character; even the inevitable withdrawal scenes are free of hysteria (and all the more moving because of it). Lang is totally convincing as a smooth-talking operator and as a genuinely frightened man who somehow finds the strength to clean up his act. The effective, low-key musical score is by Peter Manning Robinson.

Darkness Before Dawn

(Mon. (15), 9-11 p.m., NBC)

Production: Filmed by Diana Kerew Prods. and the Polone Co. in association with Hearst Entertainment. Supervising producer, Diane Kerew; executive producer, Judith A. Polone; co-executive producer, Meredith Baxter; director, John Patterson; writer , Karen Hall.

Crew: Camera, Kenneth D. Zunder; editor, Michael Ornstein; production designer, Dena Roth; sound, David Barr Yaffe; music, Peter Manning Robinson.

Cast: Cast: Meredith Baxter, Stephen Lang, Chelsea Hertford, Alana Austin, Gwynyth Walsh, Michael Bryan French, Mary Ann McGarry, Robert Desiderio, L. Scott Caldwell, Bill Applebaum, Lee Tergesen, Natalie West, Richard Grove, Kirsten Dunst, Tim Farrell, Matthew Linville, James Dean, Rusty Schwimmer, Lora Staley, George Solomon, David Thompson, Maura Soden, Art Chudabla, Lindsey Ginter, Frank Novak, Kriss Turner, Earl Boen, Julie Ariola, Eva Bush.

More TV

  • 'Magnum P.I.' Reboot in Development at

    'Magnum P.I.' Reboot in Development at CBS From Peter Lenkov With Production Commitment

    Darkness Before Dawn” plays like a hard-edged update of”The Days of Wine and Roses.” This fact-based television movie, the story of a husband and wife who reinforce one another’s heroin addiction, feels entirely authentic and boasts an admirable lack of sentimentality. The film has a documentary-like texture; it is a stark, non-judgmental look at a […]

  • YouTube logo

    TV News Roundup: YouTube Greenlights Tinder-Themed Comedy 'Swipe Right'

    Darkness Before Dawn” plays like a hard-edged update of”The Days of Wine and Roses.” This fact-based television movie, the story of a husband and wife who reinforce one another’s heroin addiction, feels entirely authentic and boasts an admirable lack of sentimentality. The film has a documentary-like texture; it is a stark, non-judgmental look at a […]

  • THE GIFTED: L-R: Natalie Alyn Lind,

    Delayed Viewing Ratings: 'Gifted' Scores for Fox, 'Good Doctor' Stands Strong on ABC

    Darkness Before Dawn” plays like a hard-edged update of”The Days of Wine and Roses.” This fact-based television movie, the story of a husband and wife who reinforce one another’s heroin addiction, feels entirely authentic and boasts an admirable lack of sentimentality. The film has a documentary-like texture; it is a stark, non-judgmental look at a […]

  • The Walking Dead Season 7 Mid

    Microsoft Picks Up Six-Second Ads in AMC's 'Walking Dead'

    Darkness Before Dawn” plays like a hard-edged update of”The Days of Wine and Roses.” This fact-based television movie, the story of a husband and wife who reinforce one another’s heroin addiction, feels entirely authentic and boasts an admirable lack of sentimentality. The film has a documentary-like texture; it is a stark, non-judgmental look at a […]

  • Apple Video Taps Amazon Alum Morgan

    Apple Video Taps Amazon Alum Morgan Wandell to Head International Development

    Darkness Before Dawn” plays like a hard-edged update of”The Days of Wine and Roses.” This fact-based television movie, the story of a husband and wife who reinforce one another’s heroin addiction, feels entirely authentic and boasts an admirable lack of sentimentality. The film has a documentary-like texture; it is a stark, non-judgmental look at a […]

  • nickelodeon animation loud house

    Female Animators Call for End of Culture of Sexual Harassment in Open Letter

    Darkness Before Dawn” plays like a hard-edged update of”The Days of Wine and Roses.” This fact-based television movie, the story of a husband and wife who reinforce one another’s heroin addiction, feels entirely authentic and boasts an admirable lack of sentimentality. The film has a documentary-like texture; it is a stark, non-judgmental look at a […]

  • Finn Wolfhard Stranger things

    APA Fires 'Stranger Things' Star's Agent Following Sex Abuse Allegation

    Darkness Before Dawn” plays like a hard-edged update of”The Days of Wine and Roses.” This fact-based television movie, the story of a husband and wife who reinforce one another’s heroin addiction, feels entirely authentic and boasts an admirable lack of sentimentality. The film has a documentary-like texture; it is a stark, non-judgmental look at a […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content