Betrayal of Trust," a woman's point-of-view drama propelled by an absorbing performance from Judith Light, brings depth to that worked-over stereotype -- the manipulative, abusive shrink.

Betrayal of Trust,” a woman’s point-of-view drama propelled by an absorbing performance from Judith Light, brings depth to that worked-over stereotype — the manipulative, abusive shrink.

Supported by Judd Hirsch’s textured, offbeat portrayal of internationally acclaimed psychiatrist Jules Messerman, who in 1991 was stripped of his right to practice by the American Psychiatric Assn., the telepic intelligently shows the ordeal of the real-life Barbara Noel to expose the doctor’s sexual abuse.

Exceptionally well-scripted by Suzette Couture, the movie peels under the skin of a classy chanteuse (the Noel/Light figure).

Unfolding through a series of flashbacks under the deft direction of George Kaczender, the production manages to turn the overwrought issue of long-suppressed, childhood sexual abuse into substantive subtext.

Besides the Light-Hirsch danse macabre, what most impresses is the movie’s effortless way of gliding over heavy material.

Cloaking the singer’s chronicle is the sleekly coiffed Light’s unusually smart wardrobe and an upper-class Chicago atmosphere of handsome interiors, smoothly captured by production designer Richard Wilcox and cinematographer Laszlo George. Drama’s momentum is also advanced by Stephen Michael’s artful editing.

Betrayal of Trust

(Mon. (3), 9-11 p.m., NBC)

Production

Filmed in British Columbia by Cosgrove-Meurer Prods. Executive producers, Terry Dunn Meurer, John Cosgrove, Stuart Benjamin; co-exec producer, Carrie Stein; director, George Kaczender; script, Suzette Couture, based on the book "You Must Be Dreaming" by Barbara Noel with Kathryn Watterson.

Crew

Camera, Laszlo George; editor, Stephen Michael; production designer, Richard Wilcox; sound, Martin Fossum; music, Curt Sobel.

Cast

Cast: Judith Light, Judd Hirsch, Betty Buckley, Jeff De Munn, Kevin Tighe, Nicholas Campbell, Amy Aquino, Christine Dunford, Holland Taylor, John Getz, Colleen Winton, Malcolm Stewart, Gary Chalk, Jon Cuthbert, Matthew Walker, Lorena Gale, Roseanne Hopkins, Lucinda Nielsen, Chilton Crane, Donna Lysell, David Wodchis, Alan Robertson, Jane McDougal, John Payne, Alexander Boynton.
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