Perfect Crime (TV Movie 1997) Poster

(1997 TV Movie)

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Poorly put together TV movie
bob the moo24 October 2001
When Capt. Darnell Russell (Jasmine Guy) goes missing with no trace, Joanna Jensen (Mitzi Kapture) is put on the case. She immediately suspects Darnell's racist, abusive, drunken, arrogant, defensive husband Robert (Nick Searcy) who has a 26 step plan on how to murder his wife stored on computer disk. What could have happened to Darnell?!

This starts with the slogan "based on a true story" and I honestly hope that it's very loosely based or else we're all in trouble. The evidence shown on the film that is used to prosecute the suspected murderer is frighteningly circumstantial, it scared me to think that a court would accept such evidence in a trial - the main bit of evidence seems to be the 'method' of the murder, which is figured out while Jensen is stuffing a turkey. So I hope what was in the film is very much toned down from real-life.

The film doesn't want you to doubt for one minute that Robert Russell did kill his wife. I hoped that this would be a mystery but from the very start Darnell is portrayed as a church-going angel while Robert Russell is overplayed horribly by Searcy. Searcy is forced to play Russell as the worst man on earth - from the start he comes across like he's not bothered if his wife is dead, then we find out he's a racist (his wife is black), then we find out he beats her, then we find .......etc. And with all this Searcy is almost taunting the investigators knowing that they won't find the body to prove anything. He may well have been this way - but it makes it so hard to believe that Jensen would be the only person who could suspect him or that Russell would be so dumb to make himself such a suspect.

This takes all the mystery out of the film and only leaves the mystery concerning how they managed to get him convicted with no body. Some of it is clever (as I'm sure it was in real-life) but the way the film makes it look it is a) very dodgy and b) a complete anti-climax for those hoping for some legal fireworks at the end. It's actually quite dull and predictable.

Although the whole thing is poorly scripted and doesn't provide any interest or insight the actors must shoulder some of the blame. Guy plays Darnell like an angel in all her flashback roles - I'm sure she was a lovely person in real life but it's laid on very thick here. Kapture tries to give Jensen an air of dogged persistence and drive and hints at deeper motives but only manages to make her too earnest and appear to have no flaws or weaknesses. Searcy is a study in himself, although to be fair he is only playing it the way the script requires him to play it. From the very start he has an attitude towards the investigators and from there on he just adds on the bad qualities - threatening, scheming, mysterious, defensive - yup he's got them all. A better script would have allowed him to play these characteristics in a more subtle way and allowed us some doubt in our minds.

I'm sure that the real-life events were tragic and produced a more conclusive conclusion (it must have been - all subsequent appeals have been turned down), but this is dull from start to finish - this case was supposedly something of a legal milestone but you wouldn't know that from this. I'm unaware of the real-life case so this movie may have very accurate and detailed, but the way the murderer and the victim were so polarised as good and evil from the first second of the film I wouldn't be surprised if the real Darnell's family paid for this to be made.
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A true story of a landmark case.
marbleann21 January 2006
Warning: Spoilers
This is a true story about a 1991 murder case. It was the first case in history that a person was convicted without a body or a weapon. It is known as the Computer Disc case. In the movie some things were left out. But it was pretty good. The person in question real name was Captian Shirley Gibbs Russell. This case was the baby of the agent in the movie. They decided to prosecute the case in the Federal Court system because it wasn't required that a body or a weapon be found. The husband who was previously drummed out of the Corps had a 26 step plan on how to kill his wife. A few of the steps were how to look like she left? How do I kill her..electrocution, check in the library? and Step 26 "blame her own kind".

The prosecutors believed he chopped up his wife put her in garbage bags and disposed of her in a mine in rural Pennsyvania.

I find this case mirrors the Scott Peterson case, because not only do we have computer disc like Peterson had on his computer about the tidal patterns, he had a girlfriend too who was a witness. In Robert Russells case it was a fellow teacher and cheer-leading coach named Sandy Flynt who he had spy on his wife. Not the landlady as in the movie. She was a chief witness as Amber Frey was.

I think Mitzi Kapture was very good in this movie. She had the role as the investigating agent. I liked her in my guilty pleasure Silk Stalkings. She pretty much plays that part in this movie.

I hear people commenting on how the victim was played as a angel. Well she never did anything in her life to warrant that she be played as anything other then a good person as she was portrayed in the movie. It is because the husband is so evil she seems so angelic. But that is his fault not hers. Robert Russell was drummed out of the Corp because he was a creep. So people should not think of this movie as making the victim look like a angel. It is a movie to show how bad Robert Russell was. This was not some poor guy who was convicted on trumped up charges. Just like with the Scott Petterson trial there was no weapon. But it was Pettersons actions who put him in jail. Robert Russell wrote in his own words how to kill his wife.

Jasmine Guy is very good. I like her part because even though she was a victim you can see how much of a tough woman she was. Guy does a good job showing that. The man who play her husband is very good. He and Dale Midkoff are very good in these parts. He is not only a racist, and yes racist marry people of the race they hate just like racists love Michael Jordan. He is a chauvinist and he was cheating on his wife. Ultimately I believe it was his chauvinism that got the best of him.

A Update is that Robert Russell has appealed his conviction all the way to the United States Supreme court and he has lost every single one of them. And they never found her body.
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Mitzi Kapture better than ever
MIKE-9668 February 2000
This is very good film. It's very exciting till the end of the movie. But most I enjoyed the comeback of Mitzi Kapture, after Silk Stalkings, one of my favourite series. She plays better than ever. Also it was nice to see back Jasmine Guy after a long time, even when she had not a great part in this movie. Not to forget the good playing of Nick Searcy. All in all I liked the movie and can only say: See the movie and make your own opinion.
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Don't waste your time, like I did.
xavrush8924 January 2005
Okay, so maybe the acting wasn't bad, but I am typing this review as a public service to prevent anyone else who happens upon the intriguing beginning of this telefilm from throwing away two hours of their life waiting for some plot development that will never come. The chief investigator has a gut feeling who did away with the missing marine officer (Guy), and few people other than uninvolved bystanders and the accusee seem to dispute her. So what is the point of staying with this drama? Beats the heck out of me. I kept thinking (or hoping) there would be some sort of plot twist or new revelation, but none was forthcoming. In summary, I cannot think of a single reason to sit and watch this pointless TV movie, based on a true story or not.
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A Recipe for Murder
sol12186 September 2005
(Some Spoilers) True story about a murder at the US Marine base at Quantico Virgiia that involved two officers in the US Marine Corps, a husband and wife.

Being drummed out of the Marines former Marine Captain Robert Russell, Nick Searcy, had developed an extreme dislike of his Marine Cops wife Capt. Darnell Russell, Jasmine Guy, for being the success that he isn't. Living on base as a military Dependant starts to get to Robert as he drinks himself into an ugly and violent rage that leads him to consistently brutalize Darnell to the point that she has to cover her arms from the black and blue bruises he gave her.

One Sunday afternoon after Darnell came home from church services she just disappeared never to be seen again and the talk around the base is that her husband Robert murdered her. The evidence, beside the violent beating that Robert gave Darnell, is the fact that she got a court statement for him to sign for a separation and that may well have set off the very unstable and dangerous Robert.

Getting on the case that at first was a missing person investigation is NIS investigator Joanne Jensen, Mitzi Kapture,who starts to put all the facts together and comes to the realization that Darnell may well have been murdered and that Robert is the one and only suspect. Robert does very little to help his case by being both arrogant and obnoxious when he's interviewed by the NIS and even goes as far as threatening Joanne about ending up the same way his wife Darnell did.

It turns out that Robert has a very strange superiority complex that by being a hard as nails marine, which at the time he wasn't, and as smart as a whip that no woman has the smarts and guts to be able to get him convicted of Darnell's murder. It later turns out that Robert made a major mistake when, after he was forced to resign from the Corps, he left in the possession of the NIS a computer disk that was a blueprint to his wife's murder!

Unusual murder case with no body or murder weapon to convict the defendant but the circumstantial evidence was more that enough to get Joanne and the Federal Attorny Kenneth Rowland, Mitchall Laurance, who prosecuted the case against Robert a murder conviction, the first of it's kind in a Federal Court, without a body a weapon or a confession by the accused.
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Perfect Movie
cmmalt4 September 2005
I have seen this movie before and enjoyed it very much. It is not your average mystery drama in my opinion, but rather similar to the popular criminal documentary programs in as much as it doesn't follow a regular fictional-Hollywood type plot but takes on a more realistic pace. This movie is based on a true story about a troubled man who is accused of murdering his wife and brings the audience into the case by allowing them to see the different views and attitudes of the investigators, the accused and others that are involved in either side. I recommend this movie to anyone that enjoys watching criminal documentary style programs.
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RE:Mitzi Kapture
liza72122 November 2003
Great Movie. Actually Nick Searcy is one of my favorite actors. He always gives a first rate performance. He couldn't give a bad one if his life depended on it. I really enjoyed him as head of security in 7 days.

This time around he plays a b**tard husband and boy did I really hate him. Tells you what a fine actor he is doesn't it???

As for Mitzi Kapture, welllllllllll. I never saw Silk Stalkings so I don't really know her work as an actor but honestly, I was not impressed. She is a very beautiful woman but (I don't know why) maybe she was miscast in this role. Better luck with future roles, Mitzi.
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I was fortunate enough o be an extra on this film
Peerlessfan14 January 2005
I was fortunate enough to be an extra on this film, I got to walk out of a door behind jasmine guy and then later in the movie i walked out of a door behind Mitzi Kapture. My part was "lawyer #3" although I am not listed in the credits, of course. It was my only extra experience and it was a lot of fun, if anyone here has the opportunity, I would recommend it to all. The lunch was so good I would have done it for lunch alone. I am hoping to do it again soon, although it has been a long time since I got to be an extra. The movie was filmed in Wilmington, NC, and my three scenes were all conveniently filmed on a Sunday... lovely town Wilmington, and hot if you want to be an actor.
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