Lifetimes Evidence Judged a Winner

We find in favor of Lifetime Television's latest
original primetime movie, although its title -- Dangerous Evidence: The Lori Jackson
-- doesn't quite fit, and some elements cloud that verdict somewhat.

The whole premise of this movie, with Lynn Whitfield in the
title role, is that the rape case against a young Marine lacks the evidence to convict.
The fact that he's convicted anyway is an indication that Extreme Prejudice would
be a better title.

Whitfield turns in a top-notch performance in this
fact-based movie -- a legal drama that detours near the end to a tearjerker battle with
liver cancer. At that point, the ultimate verdict in the rape case almost becomes an

The story -- based on producer Ellis Cohen's book on
the case -- opens in 1983, when a woman emerges from the woods bloody and disheveled and
says that she's been stabbed and raped by a black, bespectacled young man in a
Military Police uniform. That description fits only one person at the Quantico, Va.,
Marine base, Lindsey "Scotty" Scott.

Six months later, Scotty, awaiting imminent court-martial,
sends letters to 25 lawyers. Civil-rights activist Lori Jackson, the only one to respond,
does a quick check of his story and learns from a colonel that he'd ordered him
released, only to find himself retired the very next day.

Concluding that the Marine Corps is "looking to
railroad this guy," she persuades her husband to delay their honeymoon so she can
take the case. After futilely warning Scotty's attorney against being overly
complacent, Jackson sees the Marine sentenced to 30 years of hard labor.

Even after bringing Scotty's case to a high-powered
Washington criminal-law firm, Jackson stays deeply involved in the retrial process. That
doesn't sit well with her husband and her two daughters from a prior marriage,
especially after someone plants a burning cross on their front lawn.

Unfortunately, the movie's secondary characters lack
dimension, with only Lori's bland husband (Richard Lineback) and her daughter Teresa
(Erica Luttrell) getting last-minute chances to emote.

Lifetime's Dangerous Evidence bows April 12 at
9 p.m.