The made-for-TV Before He Wakes is based on the novel by Jerry Bledsoe),which in turn was inspired by the true story of convicted murderer Barbara Stager (who at the time of the film was slated for her first parole hearing in 2006). A small North Carolina town is shocked when popular high school baseball coach Ron Michaels (Timothy Carhart) is killed in his sleep. The killer turns out to be his wife Bridget (Jaclyn Smith), a successful career woman who is widely loved and respected in the community. Bridget insists that she shot her husband by accident, and the police are willing to believe her story--until members of Ron's family, joined with the relatives of Bridget's first husband, raise a number of disturbing questions. Ultimately it is revealed that Bridget has been leading a double life, posing as a pillar of the community while mounting huge debts to maintain her sumptuous lifestyle--and it is determined that Bridget killed her first husband, who died under similar circumstances as the hapless Ron Michaels. All of the character names are changed for various reasons, and a great deal of dramatic license is taken with the sequence of events (in real life, the cops weren't quite as slow on the upstake as they're shown to be here!) Before He Wakes made its first CBS appearance on December 1, 1998.
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