Just in case the title didn't spill the beans, this made-for-TV nail-biter was based on a novel by Steve Martini. In the midst of a bitter child-custody battle with her former husband, Jack (Richard Masur), Laurel Vega (Patricia Richardson) is accused of murdering Jack's new, pregnant wife, Melanie (Allison Mackie). Although he knows Laurel is innocent, Jack lies to the police, using his clout as a senator to rid himself of Laurel once and for all. She, in turn, could clear herself in a minute by revealing the name of the real murderer -- but she can't without ruining the life of her 16-year-old son, Danny (Eric Michael Cole). Caught in the middle of this intrigue is Paul Madriani (Brian Dennehy), Laurel's defense attorney -- and, incidentally, her brother-in-law. With more twists and turns than a mountain trail, the two-part, four-hour Steve Martini's Undue Influence pleased the crowd when it first aired over CBS on September 15, and 17, 1996.
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