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.
Virginia Madsen portrays the blond, 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 spending time together sans spouses.
Paul awakes on the beach one day with a sleeping Stella by his side and his wife, Linda, with a gun in her hand.
Stella is killed 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 does not emphasize the drama’s tension as much as it might have.
Narrated in hindsight by Thomas’ character Paul, “Linda” is an entertaining telepic with a wistful final dialogue.