“The Babysitter’s Seduction”

Bill Bartrand, played by Emmy nominee Stephen Collins (The Two Mrs. Grenvilles), and his wife Sally (Dawn Lambing), seemingly have an idyllic life and marriage. Bill is successful, and has been able to provide his wife and children, Jennifer (Kristie Horton), and Kyle (Adam Crosby), with a very comfortable lifestyle. Part of that lifestyle of comfort, and being catered to, involves the children’s attentive babysitter, high school student, Michelle. In the role of Michelle is three time Emmy nominee and Golden Globe winner Keri Russell (The Americans). From the outset, the viewer learns that Michelle is taken with the sort of opulent lifestyle that her employer and his family lives. Michelle doesn’t come from wealth. She lives in a small house, in an average neighborhood, with her mother Alice, portrayed by three time Golden Globe nominee Linda Kelsey (Lou Grant), and her brother Jeff (Travis Robertson). In order to get to work, Michelle frequently has to borrow Alice’s car.

The life and marriage that seemed so ideal to Michelle, comes to an end, soon after the movie begins. Returning home from the children’s tennis lesson, to retrieve something that she forgot, Michelle discovers Sally’s lifeless body on the kitchen floor of the Bartrand’s home. At first, she thinks that Bill is in the house, but it is only his voice coming through on the answering machine. Arriving to investigate is family friend, Detective Frank O’Keefe. The part is acted by Emmy nominee Tobin Bell (Aileen Wuornos: American Boggeyman). O’Keefe is joined by his partner, Detective Kate Jacobs, played by six time Emmy nominee Phylicia Rashad (This Is Us).    

 Sally’s death is initially ruled a suicide. One of the factors that seems odd, is that she didn’t leave a note, some sort of goodbye and reason why, not only for Bill, but for her children. Not long after Sally’s death, forty year old Bill begins to take an unhealthy interest in teenage Michelle. He gives her a brand new SUV to drive, which he had originally purchased for Sally’s birthday. Furthermore, he allows her to wear Sally’s clothes, and gifts her, with an expensive necklace to wear, that belonged to Sally.  

Detective O’Keefe, the viewer learns, has been Bill’s friend since high school. He feels awful for his friend, who he believes to be grief stricken over Sally’s suicide, and wants to leave the family alone. Detectives Jacobs, however, is not convinced their wasn’t wrong doing. She begins to probe into Sally’s death. The more she learns, the more she feels her suspicions are correct. Especially when she learns Sally was having an affair with a man named Paul (John D’Aquino). In addition, certain information that Bill is letting slip to Detective O’Keefe, is also suspect.

Was Sally murdered? If she didn’t commit suicide, as first suspected, who killed her? Did Bill know about her affair with Paul? Perhaps Paul, fearing that Sally would never leave Bill, killed her. Is Michelle responsible for Sally’s death? Did she reach a point, where she could no longer stand dreaming about Sally’s life, and decided to create the same life for herself, regardless of the consequences? All of those questions will be answered by the conclusion of the movie.               

“The Babysitter’s Seduction” was directed by Emmy nominee David Burton Morris (Lifestories: Families in Crisis). The teleplay was co-written by Shirley Tallman and Nancy Hersage. The television movie premiered on NBC (National Broadcasting Company), on January 22, 1996. Parts drama and thriller, it has a runtime of 85 minutes.

The television movie was decent. The acting by all involved was good, nothing corny, or over the top. I am not surprised, given the cast. This movie, will probably be for many who didn’t see it when it was originally broadcast, a curiosity watch. When I came across the listing for it on Amazon Prime, I was interested in seeing it, because I’ve been a fan of Russell for a long time, even before the FX series, “The Americans,” which she was excellent in. Fans of the “Saw” franchise, might get a kick out of seeing Tobin Bell, who so famously brought the sadistic genius, Jigsaw killer to life, playing a good guy. Furthermore, those who enjoyed Phylicia Rashad’s turn as the character of Clair Huxtable on “The Cosby Show” might also be interested in seeing the movie. Overall, it held my interest from start to finish, and its short runtime, was well suited to the movie’s plot.


About robbinsrealm

I was born in Smithtown, New York, and grew up, worked, and lived in various areas of Long Island before moving to Boca Raton, Florida where I now make my home. In addition to being an aspiring writer, I am also an English teacher. I have a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Master’s Degree in Education, both from Adelphi University in Garden City, New York. In my spare time you will find me engrossed in books, watching movies, socializing with friends, or just staying active.
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