For years, Beth Williamson (DONNA MILLS) tolerated the abusive behavior of her husband, Tim (CORBIN BERNSEN). She refuses to disclose the battering to her family or friends, and manages to keep her bruises hidden from her young daughter, Laurie (ALEXANDRA PURVIS). One day Beth has had enough and decides she can no longer live her life as a recipient of Tim's rage, so she and Laurie move into her parents' home.
When Tim arrives, all smiles and charm, Beth's stepmother (ANNA FERGUSON) welcomes him into the house. Her parents believe that Beth should return to her own home and resolve her problems with her husband. Determined to take control of her own life, Beth refuses to leave with Tim. This sends him into an uncontrollable rage and he beats her severely. Fearing for her safety, Beth presses charges against Tim and the police lock him in jail.Since he is a first time offender, the judge releases Tim, sentencing him to probation but he must participate in a group therapy program. Tim promptly resumes terrorizing Beth, as he tracks her to her sister's home and sets the house on fire. Now, Beth must flee with Laurie to a protective shelter, a move she has long avoided. Here, Beth meets and becomes close friends with Kaye (ROBIN GIVENS), a battered woman who has been hiding from her violent husband for several years. The two women decide to move into a house together with their children, where they feel they can protect one another and establish their freedom.
Just when stability returns to their lives, Kaye's husband, Joe (TRACEY OLSON), finds them, and stabs Kaye to death right before Beth's eyes. Reeling from her friend's violent death, Beth receives a double shock when officials inform her that she must testify against Joe. Though Beth wants to bring Joe to justice, she fears that testifying will bring her into the public eye, making it easy for Tim to discover her whereabouts.
Based on a true story, "Dangerous Intentions" is a compelling
contemporary thriller, portraying one woman's struggle for survival against her husband's violent abuse. While attempting to reconstruct her life, Beth must battle Tim's relentless attempts to find her, amid a legal system which fails to support her. Beth can only wonder how far she must run and how long she must hide before she can finally be assured a safe refuge for her daughter and herself.
CBS Tuesday Movie Dangerous Intentions
January 3, 1995
By John McCarthy
Dangerous Intentions" treats an important social issue, domestic violence, in an engrossing way without sensationalism. The subject matter guarantees a big audience share, but the telepic deserves a ratings prize on its own merits.
Aside from a well earned moment of preachiness in a late courtroom scene, there's no pontificating. Instead, "Dangerous" offers an unflinching, informative look at men brutalizing their wives.
Donna Mills and Corbin Bernsen deliver outstanding performances as Beth and Tim Williamson, a Seattle couple fighting the demon of abuse.
Tim is a smooth talking architect prone to eruptions of vio lence. Beth finally files charges, I and her second nightmare begins. The court is lenient, letting him off with probation, and when I she moves in with her sister, he terrorizes her from a distance.
On the advice of a social worker, she moves to a shelter for battered women. This is the system's only answer, and it results in a perverse situation; Beth and her daughter are forced to hide while he occupies their home.
In the shelter she befriends Kaye (Robin Givens), who's been through it all. Hoping to build a new life, the two single mothers rent an apartment with their children at which point the vidpic takes on the guise of a thriller.
It's a disturbing story, told without gimmicks or distracting technique. (The closest thing to a gimmick is the casting of Givens, Mike Tyson's former wife and an alleged victim of abuse.)
Bernsen, looking heavy and sporting a short haircut, is fantastic as the belligerent husband, and Mills is completely convincing as the victim. Best of all,, they're believable as a couple. The supporting cast is first-rate
David J. Hill's script, marked by realistic dialogue, covers the Subject thoroughly. Director Michael Toshiyuki achieves a dreary, almost documentary, feel that leaves an aura of thruthfulness. As for tech credits, the makeup and right choreography leave something to be desired.
Refreshingly, "Dangerous" doesn't inflate the children's characters: There are no precocious kids spouting canny insights. This is an adult problem, handled in an adult fashion.
Does the movie go too far in depicting spouse abuse? Maybe. But the makers of "Dangerous Intentions" shouldn't be faulted for going to extremes in dramatizing the issue. It's a valid alternative to vidpix offering glib answers to watered-down problems.
WOMEN TAKE MORE ABUSE IN A TV MOVIE
January 3, 1995
By RON MILLER
Wife abusers obviously are hot this season. Joe Penny, Gerald McRaney, Richard Dean Anderson, John Stamos and Gregory Harrison all have played them In TV movies this season. Now It's Corbin Bernsen's turn.
The balding, bland actor certainly got lots of practice as a womanizer, through all those gears he played Arnold Becker on "L.A. Law," but I don't remember ever seeing him punch a woman out.
He certainly makes up for lost time In tonight's CBS movie, "Dangerous Intentions," as he hammers away at Donna Mills in one violent rage after another until you wish your remote control fired those ferocious new Rhino bullets, so you could help her glue him a little payback.
Believe me, this is an unpleasant movie because it reminds us how likable and charming some guys can appear to the outside world, while terrorizing their wives and children with constant physical violence at home.
Mills plays long-suffering wife Both Williamson, whose hot-tempered husband finally sends her to the emergency room once too often, inspiring her to flee with her daughter to a battered women's shelter.
Once there, Beth meets Kaye (Robin Givens), another battered wife with considerably more experience at hiding from a husband. After Beth's husbands Tim (Bernsen), locates the shelter, Beth and Kaye decide to set up housekeeping together, joining forces to hide from both their mates.
Sadly, Beth now has to deal not only with her own stalking husband, but also Kaye's. When Beth sees Kaye's ex-husband attack her, that makes her a material witness, blowing her cover and letting Tim know where he can find her.
Mills has played plenty of women In all kinds of jeopardy, but this time she really looks petrified and for good reason: Bernsen's Tim is a human fragmentation grenade, likely to explode at the slightest provocation.
Both performers are very convincing, and so is supporting player Givens. Ironically, Givens made headlines several years ago when she said she was a victim of spousal abuse at the hands of her famous then husband, heavyweight boxing champ Mike Tyson. She's a good actress but maybe Givens was so convincing because she was reliving her own nightmares while doing this part.
Yes, it's a shame we're getting 57 different varieties of wife abuser stories this season, and the O.J. Simpson trial hasn't even begun. But "Dangerous Intentions" works quite well as a thriller, too, so don't let the familiarity of the subject matter drive you away.