Postpartum depression kicks off this two-hour quasi-whodunit, as a series of mishaps befalls new mom Catherine Elshant, leading friends to conclude she is cracking under the stress of new motherhood. When her baby disappears from its crib, she is suspected of foul play.
The scenario is plausible, and many new mothers will no doubt attest — with multiple nighttime feedings and cranky infants — to wondering if they are going insane or just really tired.
But scripters Raymond Hartung and Joe Broido, who deftly mix key elements of “Gaslight” with the recent “The Hand That Rocks the Cradle,” take too long to get the drama out of second gear and into cruising speed.
Once they allow Catherine (Amanda Pays) to determine she’s the unsuspecting victim of a conniving husband (Corbin Bernsen) and their nanny, the story picks up. But until this pivot, the setup is lengthy and the dialogue predictable.
Catherine’s turning the tables on Mark — gaslighting him with equal finesse — may come too late to retrieve viewers who may have already tuned out.
Bernsen, as the sensitive husband turned baby-napper, is strikingly similar to his slippery yet sympathetic lawyer role as Arnold Becker on “L.A. Law.”
Pays keeps the pace brisk, only occasionally slipping into daytime soap opera territory with exaggerated readings.
Director Bill Corcoran wisely lets the talented cast go through its paces unencumbered. But those looking for ground-breaking elements are sure to be disappointed.
Contributing perfs from Al Waxman, as the overbearing but well-meaning father-in-law, and Kim Coates, as the hard-charging police detective, are effectively placed story drivers.