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Deadly Assistant (2019)

TV-14 | | Drama | 17 May 2019 (USA)
A woman's attempt to reconnect with her estranged family ends with murder and suspicion.


Daphne Zuniga


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Credited cast:
Jeannette Sousa ... Amanda Birch
Breanne Hill ... Maya
Keenan Tracey ... Charlie
Philip Boyd ... Ian
Houston Rhines ... Stone
Kate Gilligan Kate Gilligan ... Lauren
Julienne Irons ... Rebecca
Mike Capozzi ... Ed
Autumn Federici ... Serena
Ryan Anthony Ryan Anthony ... Dario
Randy Devine ... Yoga Teacher
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ansa Woo ... Featured Yogi


A woman's attempt to reconnect with her estranged family ends with murder and suspicion.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Dark Secrets Will Come to Light






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Release Date:

17 May 2019 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Protégé See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA

Company Credits

Production Co:

Protege Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Among the items on the electronic order for drugs from the Wellness Center is a "mortar and pestal." The correct spelling is "pestle." See more »


Follow You
Written and Produced by David Kater
Co-written by Manny Streetz, Tricia Battani
Performed by Tricia Battani
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User Reviews

Another Lifetime mess: good direction, problematic script
19 June 2019 | by mgconlan-1See all my reviews

The very title of "Deadly Assistant" is a "spoiler" that carefully undoes the suspense writers Blaine Chiappetta and Nicole Schubert carefully created in their script. It was ironic to be watching this right after a "60 Minutes" segment on "Game of Thrones," since Chiappetta and Schubert carefully depicted the struggle for control of a little yoga studio out in a California suburb with all the High Seriousness of the battle for the Iron Throne in the big eight-year series. The film opens in the middle of a yoga class being led by Lauren Birch (Kate Gilligan) - we're told the studio is being closed pending renovation and a big reopening but Lauren is still leading classes there, and she's recorded a number of motivational tapes (or downloads, or streams, or whatever) which her students use both in her studio and wherever else they may be. The plot kicks off when Lauren's sister Amanda (Jeannette Sousa) arrives in town after a big job in New York just finished and attempts to re-integrate into Lauren's family, which consists of her husband Ian (Philip Boyd), their son Charlie (Keenan Tracey) and the son's girlfriend Maya (Breanne Hill), who also works as Lauren's assistant at the local salon. Three years before Amanda visited Lauren and caught Ian kissing another woman; she reported to her sister that he was having an affair, Lauren didn't believe it, and the conflict between the two sisters over the issue never got resolved. Charlie, Ian's and Lauren's son, had a severe alcohol and drug problem, though he got into a "program" and has been clean and sober for three years. Chiappetta and Schubert throw us a big curveball in the opening since we expect from the usual iconography of Lifetime movies - and the title - that Lauren is going to be the central character and the plot will be about the deadliness of her assistant Maya, and how she stumbles onto the truth about her and what will happen when she does. Instead Lauren is killed in the second act when the studio has its grand reopening, she stammers through her big opening speech, then collapses and dies of a mysterious "heart attack."

One problem with this movie is that once Lauren exits, there goes the one character we actually like - though in an inspired touch the characters continue to listen to Lauren's motivational recordings, thereby giving her a weird ghost-like quality through which she continues to "haunt" the action even in a non-supernatural story. The writers clearly intended to maintain the suspense over which of the remaining principals in the family was trying to do in all the others, but the title Lifetime slapped on their work (replacing an almost-as-revealing working title, "The Protégé") makes it all too obvious to us. The film was directed by Daphne Zuniga, who has 79 credits on imdb as an actress (the one I can remember seeing is Mel Brooks' "Star Wars" spoof "Spaceballs," in which she played the Carrie Fisher role) but only two as director: this film and a documentary on the TED talks. Like a lot of other Lifetime directors, especially the female ones, Zuniga turns in an excellent job but is hamstrung by a script that is sometimes genuinely powerful (I particularly like the way Lauren's recorded voice haunts the other characters via her motivational tapes even after she's gone) and sometimes just silly.

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