Telling Secrets (TV Movie 1993) - Plot Summary Poster

(1993 TV Movie)


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  • Through a series of elaborate schemes, a wealthy woman arranges for the murder of her husband's mistress and then takes steps so that the crime won't be traced back to her. The detective investigating the murder soon realizes her role in it, and sets out to find a way to pin the murder on her.

  • A rich woman plots the murder of her adulterous husband's mistress through a series of elaborate schemes, but soon falls under the suspicion of the investigating detective, who must prove her involvement.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • Captions say that, although the plot has been fictionalized, it has been based on a true story.

    In a plane to Acapulco, it is anounced that passengers need to fasten their seatbelts because they are landing in half an hour. The flight attendant (Tim Regan) tells Faith Kelsey (Cybill Shepherd) to comply, but she says she needs to go to the bathroom because she's feeling unwell. There, she takes several wads of money and sticks them around her waist with cellotape. Right afterwards, she goes to her seat saying that she feels well now. At the airport, she has to walk through customs. There is a weird moment with the customs officer (Manny Simo-Maceo) as they look to each other, but he checks the suitcase and lets her go. She is already leaving when he calls her back. Trying to look casual, Faith comes back, and the officer gives her her handbag back, and welcomes her to Acapulco. Once in her luxurious room overlooking the beach, Faith phones a man and tells him that she's in Acapulco and that she's free.

    Cut to Phoenix, Arizona, three years before.

    Stacey Eckhart (Denise Gentile) is pushing her daughter Sasha (Stephanie Copperman) out of Josh's birthday party. Back home, she asks her why she hit her best friend, and the child says that she felt bad. Stacey tells her that the fact that she and her father are divorcing is not excuse. Sasha takes a nap, while Stacey changes into something more comfortable and checks her mail. A delivery man arrives with a bunch of flowers, but when Stacey takes them, he pulls out a gun, takes her to a bedroom and shoots her. Sasha phones Dr. Philip Eckhart (Andrew Robinson), her dad, to tell him that mom won't wake up. He was talking to the grandmother of the child, complaining about Sasha seeing Stacey's new boyfried, Terry Kelsey (Christopher McDonald), and tells Sasha to try to wake Stacey up, as they are already late. Sasha goes again but she tells Philip that mom won't wake up and that there's stuff coming from her. Philip tells grandma to call 911 and he runs to Sasha.

    Stacey is alive; it's almost a miracle, as the paramedic (John North) says, because she had been smothered and shot in the head. The forensics doctor doesn't think she was raped. Philip and the grandmother arrive together. Det. Jay Jensen (Ken Olin) talks to Philip, who has already talked to his attorney, who in turn told him not to say anything. Obviously, such behaviour is very suspicious to Jensen and tells him to stay in the premises and not to go to hospital until they have talked. Terry appears with an attitude, and he points to Philip as well. Det. Ron Taylor (Gary Grubbs) thinks the husband did it, but Jensen didn't like the fiancé. Another cop asks if the grandmother can take Sasha home, but Jensen wants to talk to her first.

    At the police station, Sasha is not of much help, and Philip says that Terry was the contractor who made a bigger swimming-pool. Philip thinks that Stacey had already passed the Terry Kelsey phase and wanted to come back with him. The attorney has to calm Philip down because he wanted to take Sasha home by force. Ron had to be at the police station as well, but didn't want to lay down so as not to mess up his hair. Finally, he may go.

    Jay comes back home to a pile of dirty dishes, which he disapproves of. Pam (Christine Jansen) works at realty and she has four houses to show. Ron and Jay talk to Peter Kohler (Ed Adams), who works for Terry and had that contract. Jay comes back to Stacey's bedroom and he finds two rings on an envelope hidden behind a nighttable drawer, and he realises about the bunch of flowers. At hospital, Stacey's parents and sister Nancy Winfrey (Wanda Dittman) are there, and the sister says that Philip didn't really love her, it was just a trophy wife. He even tried to break in in order to get the wedding rings, that's why she hid them.

    They visit Faith's home, which is gorgeous, almost a mansion. The teenaged son, Daniel (Shawn Phelan) opens up the door. There, Faith goes down the stairs; she had already guessed that the police would visit her. She offers Jay lemon and honey, because throughout the film, he has had a cold which is getting worse and worse. She used to be the bookkeeper of the company, and checked the landscape of the company. That day, she had lunch with her friend Sally Devries (Ann Risley) and then met her dad. She says that Terry had many lovers, but that with Stacey, it was the first time he had really left her. She says that Terry used to hurt her.

    Pam tries to console Jay, because it's affecting him, but he's a bit cranky and is worried about Sasha. Jay didn't think it was a serial killer. Their last hope is that she wakes up, but we cut to see a priest giving her the last rites, and then cut to an anchorwoman (Mary Jo West) who gives the news that she was disconnected from life-supporting systems. Faith and Terry watch the news, but only him has nightmares about Stacey's death. Jesse Graham (Dylan Walsh) tells his friend Susan "Sue" Redding (Nada Despotovich) that she was in the other room with the child while the mother was being tortured. Sue's boyfriend thinks that their friend is always making up staff, so he tells her not to think it over.

    Faith has a conversation with his son Danny who went out until four in the morning. Faith is with Marcus Hiller (Nicolas Surovy), apparently, but she wants to go back to Terry, who now leaves in a cheaper flat. Faith's parents Walter Jefferson (G.D. Spradlin) and Grace (Anne Haney) dislike Terry for her daughter, but they invite them to her birthday party anyway. He drinks a bit too much. Terry and Faith dance, and she mets there her friend Sally, whom she alledgely hadn't seen after high school. Marcus tells Faith to get rid of Terry.

    Terry tells Faith after having had sex that they wouldn't have any problems if they did that oftener. Then, Danny plays the drums with his friend Cody (Bryan Derrick), spoling the moment. Terry says he will be the one calling the shots around there. Jay keeps thinking about Faith. Meanwhile, Jay is the only one who hasn't moved on from Sasha. Ron tells him that he has many more easier cases to worry about, but Jay insists that he'll keep on working on this particular case. His opinion know is that, as Faith's father is the richest man in the valley, he may have something to do with the crime, although everybody tells him that he worships Faith. Walter says that Faith could run the valley or do whatever she wanted. Jay questions Walter, and he says that, although he's not happy with Terry, if that's Faith's whim, she can have him. On his way out of the field, Jay sees Faith, who is visiting Walter to have lunch with him.

    Terry arrives home with his dogs, calling out for Faith and clearly annoyed. She is cleaning after the dogs, but Terry wants her to go to a party with some clients of his company, so he threatens her. Danny sees this and he's worried, although his mother looks cool and collected. Sally and Faith talk over lunch at the golf club, and the former says she doesn't understand at all why she is still with Terry. In fact, Faith admits that Terry has another lover. Walter offers to take care of Terry if he treats her badly. Danny and Cody have a merienda when Faith talks to them. Faith phones Terry, complains that his schedule is a mess, and wants him to have the boat prepared for a day out with Sally's husband. Walter visits Faith, and he tells her to stop nagging at Danny and disaproving of his son, because she's starting to behave like Grace used to. Grace overhears this. Danny rides up and down his moped because he thought that his mother would be at the boat. Danny bets Faith to ride the moped, and she jumps to the opportunity. Walter is proud of how determined and fun Faith is.

    Some guys shoot at Terry and his buddy Robert "Bobby" Newcomb (Mark Davenport), who had been drinking all day. However, the guys didn't aim well. They go to the police station, and Bobby to the hospital because he got shot in an arm. Faith wants Terry out, because he's a danger to herself and Danny. Terry thinks that Walter asked somebody to kill him. Without him noticing, the two men who shot at them are outside the hospital watching him, maybe looking for another opportunity to finish their job. Jay and Ron listen to Terry's suspicions, but Jay goes and talks to Philip in his office. Philip was giving out a speech in Atlanta at that day and time.

    The man who killed Stacey still has nightmares about doing it. He dances with Susy, and they talk about him flirting with his friend's girl. He boast about a treat with a Colombian guy, but then he don't go on talking because it's a secret.


    Terry is with some other girl, who one morning finds a letter talking about Stacey's murder and telling him that he'll soon know everything about it. At the door of his home, Faith finds a snake killed and nailed to it with some gardening tool. Faith blames Terry, and goes to his company to shout to him. He shouts to her because she has taken some money from the company. The company was funded with Walter's money, so Faith says that, after all, it's her money. Kholer hears all the shouting forth and back, and he phones somebody right away to tell that person that she blames Terry and Terry blames Faith.

    Ron, Jay, Pam and many other people are having a barbecue. There is a recording of a female voice saying that she knows who killed Stacey, and that she'll call later. Terry also talks about the letter he got, and incredibly enough, he also tells Jay Jensen of the threats Faith has been suffering lately. Terry gives them the name of Dennis Champman (Fredric McAllaster), who had some minor charges against him in the past. Jay gives Terry a phone number to give to the person who's been calling him in case she calls again. Jay wants to investigate it, but tonight, he has to go to a concert of the chamber music small orchestra The Bavarde, from 7 to 9 at the Elaine Horwowitch art gallery. He's not too happy about that.

    Jay is restless, and luckily for him, his beeper beeps. He phones a hysterical woman who doesn't want to give her name. She's terrified of somebody, and Jay Jensen, at this moment, looks a bit afraid of Pam's incredulous face.

    At a bar, Ron questions Jay about his problems with Pam. The phone prank woman appears, late, and says that he pretended to be from the phone company, and then he put something on Stacey's mouth to avoid her screams, and that the poor child was on her own in her room, and now is afraid of Dennis killing her because she's talked. Ron and Jay end up thinking that she's a deranged woman, but she says that she knows who paid Dennis: it was her sister. The "deranged" woman is Shelley Jefferson Carp (Mary Kay Place) and her sister's name is Faith. Apparently, Dennis persuaded Shelley to marry him in order to prevent her testify against him. Dennis also attempted to blackmail Faith about Stacey's murder.

    Jay Jensen believes her, but Ron doesn't. As Shelley was to hospital, she is not believed. Jay wants to wear a wire and face Faith, but Shelley is terrified. They'll meet at the Big Apple restaurant in 30m. Faith arrives there, even though it's too late. Shelley says that she's now living with him, and that he's afraid of him. Faith says that Dennis is a friend, and the following she says can't be heard, because a lot of loud men enter the premises. Jay and Ron want Shelley to repeat the same conversation again, but Shelley refuses, knowing that Faith will suspect something. However, in the end, the police convince Shelley. She is going to pretend to be terrified of Dennis. When Faith asks if that is a setup, Shelley says she can't go to the police, because she's in deep shit, the same as Faith. Shelley says everything, but suddenly, she asks Faith why. Faith answers that she was sick of hearing Steacy's voice calling her, telling her that they were in love and they were going to take Danny's custody from her.

    The recording is not final, so they want to bring Faith up for questions. Back home, Pam can't understand why Jay is jumping around that Faith Kelsey, and she is jealous. Jay reads her her rights, and she cooly retouches her makeup. She asks to talk to Jay and Jay alone at her home. Ron advises Jay not to do it, but Jay insists. Faith is again living with Marcus, and she asks him to call her attorney. She makes some tea and says that she prefers talking without her attorney, and that Shelley said that because she was jealous of her. Faith agrees to give Jay Dennis Chapman if she is let free. Jay won't agree to that.

    At court, Faith paid 15,000 parole. Terry is angry because she will try to kill him again. Steve Wainwright (James Tarwater) was the one who introdued Faith to Dennis. Dean Everett (Don McManus) was given that case. They can't prove who the shooter was, so that may let the police not have enough evidence against Faith. They talk to Steve about Stacey. Finally, when threatened with death row, Steve admits that Dennis gave him the money and he gave it to Jessie David Graham.

    Jessie got rid of Angelyn Graham (Laura Innes), and now he's having an affair with dumb blonde Karen Blake (Melora Walters). Susan is getting fed-up with Jessie's antics. Jessie acts calm and collected, but he leaves as if nothing happened. When Ron Taylor and Sgt. Barnett (Don Collier) react, it's too late, and Jessie has gone away. Immediately, Jessie phones Ron, and insults him.

    Faith meets with a young sexy attorney called James "Jack" Merrick (James McCaffrey). Jessie thumbs up a lift with Jim Morrison and his family. Ron talks to the three women in the life of Jessie: Susan, Angelyn and Karen, but none seem to know anything of his whereababouts at that moment.

    The case against Faith looks unclear and unfinished. Walter gets an stroke because of Faith's arrest, but Grace, who doesn't seem too sorry about that, tells Faith that it was not her fault. When she is alone with him, she admits that it's true, and that she'll pay Jessie to shut up if the need arises. "This proves that you've taught me well to take care of myself." Marcus wants to leave with Faith to Mexico and leave Danny with Grace, but Faith doesn't want to leave Danny. Jessie visits Karen, and there's a cop outside. They prepare some tea, and Jessie hears something. He tries to run away, but they catch him.

    Jessie will talk with the police if they let him talk with Karen. Jessie gave the money to the guy who usually sold him speed, called Skip, but Ron thinks that there's no Skip. Jessie calls Faith from jail and asks her to pay his one-million dollar bail. Faith has to talk to her attorney first, but she doesn't talk to the lawyer who's carrying her case, David, but to the young big shot, Jack. He tells her to give 5 bucks so that he will have to keep due secrecy. Jack doesn't care about what Faith has done, but he promises to take care of the situation. Back home, Marcus has heard of Faith talking to Jack, and he's surprised and jealous, because Jack has dealings with the Colombian cartels. Marcus forbids Faith to bring him home, but she says it's her house, and why doesn't Marcus himself leave her? Marcus reminds her that he lied to the Grand Jury.

    Skip is Harold Stockton. Faith panics when Danny calls her in the middle of the night, saying that there's been an accident, and he's hurt. As Marcus dismisses it saying that the kid is always on trouble, Faith calls Jack. Cody says he's sorry, but a doctor (Craig Reay) tells her that he did everything that he could, but that it was useless. She is in shock, but doesn't even cry. The first thing she does when she sees Danny's dead body is to kiss him in his mouth. Jack waits outside and hugs her.

    Marcus has to leave because Faith says she needs a little time on her own, and then she will let her come back; however, Marcus seems to realise that this is going to be final. That allows Faith to grow her relationship to Jack, who tells her that he's stopped being an alcoholic, but that he's still an addict, this time to cocaine. Faith says that she's in no position to judge him and they make love. Marcus comes back home and he finds Faith with Jack. Marcus threatens to tell the DA that she threatened to kill him if he wouldn't lie for her.

    Ron Taylor tells Jay Jensen that he's worried about his marriage to Pam: he spends all his nights following Faith around on his own and Pam is worried and jealous. But somehow, when Jay goes on his beat with Ron, he thanks him and realises that it's been too much, he has to leave the case.

    Faith applies for a passport to the name of Mary Mitchell. She asks for the money everybody owes her. She takes out 7,500 in checks from the cashier (Angela Michelle Navarro). Jay tries to tell Dean that, now that her son Dennis is dead, she has no reason to stay behind in the USA, and they should get her to trial as soon as possible. But Dean thinks it's useless, there isn't much they can pinpoint to her beyond the shadow of a doubt, and such a trial at that moment will only lead to a mistrial. Dean offers to ask the judge to take her passport away.

    It looks like Marcus was right: Jack accepts dope as payment, and although Faith tries to make him stay, Jack has to go. Jack goes to a motel and in room 135, he knows there will be a suitcase loaded with cocaine and money. He is annoyed when finds that the money is not there, but the dope is. On leaving, a cop (Michael Hummel) appears to arrest him. Jack goes to court, and his bail is 50,000 dollars. It was a setup from one of his clients who made a deal with DEA. Faith and Jack agree that they are quite a pair, and that they deserve each other. Back home, while awaiting his trial, Faith asks him about how to revoke a bond. Faith has hopes for an agreement in her case, but Jack tells her it won't happen: for conspiracy about murder she may get even the death penalty. Jack tells her that they may need to leave for South America, and that he would leave back his own son.

    Faith makes a deal with Eli Craddock (Dave Florek). If he drives them to Salt Lake City and comes back on his own, she will forget about all the money he owes her. The three of them agree to meet at Switzer's parking lot, but Eli is late, which makes Jack nervous. A police car arrives and parks close to them, but they are on their way to have a break. Eli arrives, startling her. They cross the Grand Canyon national park, stops at Whiting oil station. Eli buys a second-hand car for them and now leaves him. He'll say that he's been to Las Vegas, not having seen them in weeks. Eli tells Jack to take care of her, as she is crazy but "we love her".

    Jack and Faith cross Montana, while Ron Taylor is taking the wall map with the clues to the case out. At that moment, Jay enters saying that Faith's gone. Finally, Faith and Jack reach Canada's borderline. They say to the customs officer (John B. Rogers) they're going on a vacation for a couple of weeks .

    They hire a cosy cabin at Milk River. Faith asks him when they are going to get their news passports. Jack tells her that she misunderstood, as he hasn't got the connections to pull such a feat. Faith mentions his connections to the drug cartel, as everybody in Phonenix knows, but Jack says that everybody is wrong, and the DEA has his passport.

    Jay Jensen tries to spot their movements from Arizona to Montana. Once, when Jack comes back to the Canadian cabin, she finds Faith counting the notes obsessively and getting frantic about a few thousands missing. She believes he only cares about her money, but he says he cares about her. Jay finds the trail which Jack left in Idaho, having rented a car there. Close to Calgary International airport, Faith would prefer for them both to be together, but Jack's papers are not ready yet. Faith pressures him onto getting them, while Jack expresses his doubts about what he's doing there or why, because he can't recognise her anymore.

    Jay and Ron have followed the lead to Calgary, where James and Faith are preparing the notewads. She goes to Acapulco, as we have seen at the beginning of the film. Once there, Faith asks Gloria Marsh (Lynn Milgrim), an American tourist, where check-in is. She makes the phonecall we've seen in the beginning, and also asks him if he's already got his passport, to which he answers that he does, to the name of David Mitchell. The passport was one day late, Jack doesn't know why. What Faith is really troubled is about the other half of the money, which she left in a drawer. Jack is getting nervous in the cabin. Somebody knocks onthe door. Inspector Crayshaw (Michael Peach) arrests him. Jack tells the police that, if they find Faith, could they please tell her that there are no hard feeling among them?

    Meanwhile, in Acapulco, Faith goes out shopping to a flea market with Maria, another American tourist. Maria has to go back home to her usual life.

    Cut to Tucson, Arizona

    Maria finds a piece of news in the newspaper about missing Faith Kelsey. She calls the police and finds it incredible that she was so taken in. Jay tells him tells him that she was not the first person which was taken in by her. She made up a story of being waiting for her high-exec husband who has to travel all over the world and will take her with him soon. On leaving Maria's home, Ron Taylor thinks that it'd be easy to find Faith in Acapulco, but Jay Jensen is afraid that, by the time they get to her there, she'll be gone again.

    Cut to Marbella, Spain, three months later.

    Faith is at the swimming-pool of a wonderful mansion. Marcus gives her a ring and pops the question, but she alleges that she doesn't like being married. She says she'll think about it, and asks Marcus to find somewhere else: she's worried about being found out.

    Marcus has to leave because of a business trip, and Faith uses the time on her own to return the ring and ask for the money back in cash. Unfortunately, it can't be done, because Marcus paid for the ring with his credit card.

    Francisco Aguilar (José M. Fernández), a Guardia Civil, has arrested Faith Kelsey and is waiting to clarify what it should be done with her. Jay and Ron can't wait to tell Everett about that. Everett says that Jay will have to go over there to reclaim her, and - jokingly, knowing how satisfied he must be after so much trouble and work - tells him that he wants receipts for every cent he spends. There, while they are signing red tape, Francisco makes a comment about all that paperwork for only a woman, and asks Jay where he'd like to see her.

    Faith appears, dressed with a plain prisoner's clothes, and tells Jensen "Jay, nice to see you again". There is no death penalty in Spain, and Jay amazes that she's become an expert in international law. Seducingly, Faith wonders why he's come all that way to see her. She proposes that, if she accepts extradition, he'll help in the USA, and approaches him as if about to kiss him. But Jay collects himself enough to say "no". Faith says: "What a disappointment you've turned out to be. You've got no guts to do what you want to do." and then tells him to go back to his pathetic little life. The prison officer comes to take Faith in.

    Jay leaves the cuartel of the Guardia Civil slowly, but can't avoid to look back.


    • Jesse Graham is awaiting execution for the murder of Stacey Eckhart.

    • Jack Merrick is serving a 15 year sentence for possession and conspiracy to distribute cocaine.

    • Faith Kelsey remains in custody while fighting extradition to the United States. If returned, she will stand trial for the murder of Stacey Eckhart.

    ---- written by KrystelClaire

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