To Love, Honor and Betray

Ockham's Razor states that given all available evidence pertinent to a problem, the most obvious solution is probably the correct one. Add to that Ockham's TV-movie Corollary: Given all available evidence in a telepic mystery, the second-most obvious solution, shocking only to the protagonist, is the correct one. "To Love, Honor and Betray" obeys this second rule with dreary, predictable precision, squandering a decent cast.

With:
Ted - James Brolin Melissa - Crystal Bernard Charlie - David Cubitt Detective Gonda - Philip Akin Nick - Dean McDermott Julia - Dee Wallace Stone Doug - Jeff Clarke Steve - Sean Bell Adelle - Brandi Marie Ward

Ockham’s Razor states that given all available evidence pertinent to a problem, the most obvious solution is probably the correct one. Add to that Ockham’s TV-movie Corollary: Given all available evidence in a telepic mystery, the second-most obvious solution, shocking only to the protagonist, is the correct one. “To Love, Honor and Betray” obeys this second rule with dreary, predictable precision, squandering a decent cast.

Crystal Bernard stars as Melissa Brennan, a young trauma-unit nurse with an ostensibly happy family — Dad (James Brolin), whom she worships, and Mom (Dee Wallace Stone) are seemingly in love; brother (Dean McDermott) stays out of the way unless a plot element requires his presence.

All’s well until Melissa sees Pop smooching another woman and rebels, agreeing to see Charlie (David Cubitt), a man her father recommended she avoid.She doesn’t tell either of her parents she knows of the affair, however. Romance blossoms perfunctorily for Melissa and Charlie and, three scenes later, they’re getting married. Not long thereafter, Charlie goes into business with Melissa’s parents. AlasMom then turns up dead, Dad’s the only possible culprit and Melissa’s testimony of his affair is the most damning evidence in his murder trial.

Of course, it’s not that easy, but viewers will have figured things out long before Melissa even gets a smidgen suspicious. Once she does some sleuthing, she’s utterly incapable of doing anything useful with the information and pic devolves into standard-issue women-in-peril territory.

Brolin delivers a stolidly reliable portrayal of a relatively decent and caring man, and Cubitt’s performance is cagey enough so that anything could result from his character. Bernard’s turn is competent but undone by her character’s more exasperating qualities.

Tech contributions are adequate, though Skip Schoolnick’s editing features occasional flourishes that were clever back when Hitchcock did them but are fairly trite today.

To Love, Honor and Betray

CBS; Wed. May 12, 9 p.m.

Production: Filmed in Toronto, Ontario by Orly Adelson Production. Executive producer, Orly Adelson; co-executive producer and director, Peter Levin, producer, Terry Gould; writer, Dennis Nemec;

Cast: Ted - James Brolin Melissa - Crystal Bernard Charlie - David Cubitt Detective Gonda - Philip Akin Nick - Dean McDermott Julia - Dee Wallace Stone Doug - Jeff Clarke Steve - Sean Bell Adelle - Brandi Marie WardMusic, Louis Febre; camera, Nikos Evdemon; editor, Skip Schoolnick; production designer, David Davis; costumes, Noreen Landry. Running time: 2 HOURS.

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