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My Son Is Innocent

Maggie Sutter (Henner) and her inarticulate and surly (need we add) teenage son, Eric (Nick Stahl), are dining with her new b.f., David (Matt McCoy), while Sutters' neighbor, Joann Brodsky (Jamie Rose), is at home being attacked at knifepoint by a shadowy figure whom Brodsky tentatively identifies as Eric.

With:
Cast: Marilu Henner, Nick Stahl, Matt McCoy, Carmen Argenziano, Sherman Augustus, Jamie Rose, John O'Hurley, James Sloyan, Lisa Banes, Michelle Williams, Gregg Henry, Michael Greene, Barry Corbin, Charles Kahlenberg, Cynthia Jordan, Corbin Allred, Dana Daurey, Barbara Glover, Gary Clarke, Francesca Jarvis, Dana Reilly, Michael O'Guinne, Mark DeMichele, Ginny Harman, Ric San Nicholas, Liz Romero, Elizabeth Carney, David Jean Thomas, Josef Rainer, Al Fienberg, Melinda Parker Peterson. Marilu Henner stars as another of TV's endless supply of plucky moms, here fighting a court system so lazy that her son winds up arrested for assault and attempted rape when conviction-hungry cops fail to follow a lead that's lit up like Broadway on opening night. Premise (said to be based on unattributed "true story") doesn't sound quite as preposterous these days as it might have a few years ago, and Robert Inman and Philip Rosenberg's teleplay has a few moments that lift it above the norm. A believable Henner and her supporting cast take it relatively easy on the histrionics under Larry Elikann's direction.

Maggie Sutter (Henner) and her inarticulate and surly (need we add) teenage son, Eric (Nick Stahl), are dining with her new b.f., David (Matt McCoy), while Sutters’ neighbor, Joann Brodsky (Jamie Rose), is at home being attacked at knifepoint by a shadowy figure whom Brodsky tentatively identifies as Eric.

That’s enough to send Detective Carver (Carmen Argenziano) into action, prodded by district attorney Brokaw (James Sloyan), who’s up for re-election.

David, eager to help, brings in the only attorney he knows — the one who worked on his divorce representing his wife. Neither David nor Maggie thinks to hire an experienced criminal lawyer, and self-confident Hennessey (John O’Hurley) doesn’t recommend one.

Hennessey botches the case, leaving it to Maggie to (1) uncover evidence the police failed to follow up, (2) teach herself how to file an appeal, (3) bring in a hotshot big-city lawyer (Barry Corbin, playing Dan Pendleton as Gerry Spence without the buckskin jacket), and (4) convince reporter Lisa Eubanks (Lisa Banes) to investigate a teenager, long missing, who was spotted peeping into neighborhood windows.

Still, it’s Maggie who tracks him down and takes the candid, but very clear, close-up photos that Brodsky identifies as the person who really assaulted her.

Dan has for the most part disappeared, and Pendleton (who’s been onscreen for a few minutes, tops) suddenly reappears at the end of the show to make a statement to reporters after charges are dropped against Eric. That part, at least, sounds like a grandstanding lawyer in action.

Phoenix locations stand in for fictional “Fairview,” and tech credits are professional.

My Son Is Innocent

Production: My Son Is Innocent (Mon. (6), 9-11 p.m., ABC) Filmed in Phoenix by Hallmark Entertainment in association with Von Zerneck/Sertner Films. Executive producers , Robert M. Sertner, Frank von Zerneck; producers, Stacy Mandelberg, Randy Sutter, Michael G. Larkin; director, Larry Elikann; writers, Robert Inman, Philip Rosenberg.

Crew: Camera, Eric van Haren Noman; editor, Peter V. White; production designer, Timothy S. Stepeck; sound, Michard I. Birnbaum; music, Ron Ramin; casting, Susan Glicksman, Fern Orenstein.

With: Cast: Marilu Henner, Nick Stahl, Matt McCoy, Carmen Argenziano, Sherman Augustus, Jamie Rose, John O'Hurley, James Sloyan, Lisa Banes, Michelle Williams, Gregg Henry, Michael Greene, Barry Corbin, Charles Kahlenberg, Cynthia Jordan, Corbin Allred, Dana Daurey, Barbara Glover, Gary Clarke, Francesca Jarvis, Dana Reilly, Michael O'Guinne, Mark DeMichele, Ginny Harman, Ric San Nicholas, Liz Romero, Elizabeth Carney, David Jean Thomas, Josef Rainer, Al Fienberg, Melinda Parker Peterson. Marilu Henner stars as another of TV's endless supply of plucky moms, here fighting a court system so lazy that her son winds up arrested for assault and attempted rape when conviction-hungry cops fail to follow a lead that's lit up like Broadway on opening night. Premise (said to be based on unattributed "true story") doesn't sound quite as preposterous these days as it might have a few years ago, and Robert Inman and Philip Rosenberg's teleplay has a few moments that lift it above the norm. A believable Henner and her supporting cast take it relatively easy on the histrionics under Larry Elikann's direction.

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