Virginia Whitelaw (Marg Helgenberger) is the owner of the motel in Higby, Tennessee where Garr Hager (Gerald McRaney, who executive produced) visits to seek retribution for the murder of his son Garr Hager Jnr (John McRaney) and his black friend Frederick Mace (John Dyer) who had impregnated a white girl. White supremacist Colonel Blanchard (Lane Smith) with his accomplices Ed Rendell (Richard Lineback) and Will Sharkey (James Parks) have been found not guilty of the killings due to a police procedure error, and Hager harasses the three men before enacting a plan for `evil to destroy itself'. Virginia was a friend of Hager Jnr but has no bearing on the plot apart from providing a romantic interest for Hager.
Helgenberger wears her red hair in a wavy style and shapeless dresses, uses a southern accent, makes Virginia a smiley enigma, and gets one funny line with after Hager aims a rifle at her when he finds her n his room with `I guess I had better warn the maid'. Helgenberger's underplaying is a relief in the face of the general level of hysteria which everything is pitched, with director using tilted and hand-held camera and slow motion.
The teleplay by Henri Simoun and Curt Allen, based on a story by Simoun and Jerry McNeely, has another funny line when Hager asks Blanchard whether a quote is from The Book of Revelations or Mein Kampf. Although Hager's vengeance is more psychological warfare than Death Wish serial killing, McRaney's stoicism means our sympathies rest with the bad guys, particularly since Lane is typically camp.
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