Not My Kid

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Not My Kid
Not my kid.jpg
Genre Drama
Distributed by CBS
Directed by Michael Tuchner
Produced by Bill Finnegan (supervising producer)
Patricia Finnegan (producer) (as Pat Finnegan)
Erica Fox (associate producer)
Nick Lombardo (associate producer)
Beth Polson (executive producer)
Sheldon Pinchuk (producer) (uncredited)
Written by Christopher Knopf (teleplay)
Beth Polson (story)
Christopher Knopf (story)
Starring Viveka Davis
Stockard Channing
George Segal
Christa Denton
Music by Mark Snow
Cinematography Fred Koenekamp (as Fred J. Koenekamp)
Editing by Byron 'Buzz' Brandt
Production company Finnegan Productions
Country United States
Language English
Original channel CBS
Release date January 15, 1985
Running time 100 min.

Not My Kid is a 1985 television film directed by Michael Tuchner, which was based on a 1984 book of the same name by Beth Polson (who also served as the film's executive producer) and Miller Newton. The movie aired on CBS in the United States, and had a VHS release both there and in the United Kingdom, with ITC handling distribution rights.

Plot[edit]

The film opens with 15-year-old Susan Bower on an alcohol and drug-fueled joyride with her boyfriend Ricky and two other friends, then intercuts to testimony from teenage and pre-teen addicts in a drug rehabilitation program run by Dr. Royce, who is then shown questioning the kids about the extent of their addictions. While foolishly attempting to drive with his eyes closed and both hands off the steering wheel, Ricky loses control of the car, causing it to skid on its side before overturning and landing all his passengers in the hospital (although ironically, Ricky himself emerges from the wreck unharmed). Once there, the presence of alcohol and drugs in Susan's bloodstream is revealed, much to the shock of her parents (Helen and Frank, the latter a respected surgeon) and younger sister Kelly.

After she is treated and released, Frank attempts to question Susan about what happened, and she tells him that while headed to the movies with a friend, they were picked up by two guys who gave them the alcohol and drugs that she consumed, supposedly not knowing the latter was actually methadrine, but emphasizes that she doesn't use drugs. Believing her apparent remorse to be sincere, Frank doesn't punish her, but later begins to doubt the validity of this story. Sure enough, Frank's suspicions are confirmed when a search of Susan's bedroom (over Helen's protests) uncovers her hidden "stash", which she claims to have been holding for a friend when confronted about it. Not believing this story either, he promptly grounds Susan.

Realizing their daughter is addicted, the Bowers later learn that Susan has been absent from school frequently for the past three months, and had been doctoring grades on the report cards that she showed them. A visit to a psychologist proves of little help, as he merely characterizes Susan's drug problem as natural adolescence rebellion, and blames Frank for being controlling and constraining, thus prompting her to rebel. Things finally come to a head when Susan runs away and is found by police two days later on the family's boat, getting high with Ricky and two other friends.

The next day, Frank and Helen tell Susan that it would be better if she went to a private school in order to get away for a while. Upon arrival at the school, however, Susan discovers that it's really Dr. Royce's aforementioned drug treatment program, where she is placed under the supervision of a fellow addict who has gotten far enough in her program to be trusted. One key requirement of both addicts in the program and their families is attending twice-weekly meetings, in which they confess the full extent of their drug use and their families have the opportunity to confront them about the affects their addiction has had on them. At the first meeting they attend, Helen is shocked to hear the story of a girl who injected heroin, prostituted herself for drug money and, with her boyfriend's help, pulled an armed robbery of an all-night market. After they return home, she demands that Frank pull Susan from the program, but he refuses, insisting that this is a needed wake-up call for their daughter.

Meanwhile, despite giving her testimony the following week (which includes the shocking revelation that she had gotten pregnant while high, and that she and Ricky broke into houses to steal money for her abortion), Susan remains hostile towards all efforts to get her to open up and share her feelings, and later runs away. Having no idea where his daughter might be, Frank finally receives a phone call from Ricky, who promises to turn her over to him in exchange for some liquid cocaine. Once there, Ricky attempts to play hardball, but Frank steadfastly refuses to hand over the drugs until he gets Susan back. Desperate for a fix, Ricky finally relents and leads Frank to his daughter; Susan is angry and refuses to go back to the center, but Frank assures her that he's going to take her home. Afterwards, Ricky reminds Frank that he owes him something, to which Frank replies by telling him to "have fun", and tosses the bag of drugs into a fire before Ricky can get his hands on it.

However, rather than taking her home, Frank brings Susan back to the center, promising to do so as many times as it takes. Once she has returned, angry at Ricky's betrayal and realizing just what her life has come to, Susan finally breaks down and gradually begins opening up to the rest of the group. A subsequent parents-only meeting also makes Frank finally realize that Susan's addiction isn't his fault and that she's getting the help she needs, while Helen also has an awakening regarding the matter.

During a closed-door senior staff meeting, Susan's recent progress is considered, but it is questioned if it is enough for her to go home, as she requested. The subsequent parent-child meeting shows Frank admitting his initial denial to his daughter, believing there was nothing he couldn't fix and that he thought other kids did drugs, but not his kid. Afterwards, Susan shares with him the good news that she is coming home, and as the residents, staff and parents cheer, she runs triumphantly into the arms of her waiting family.

Cast[edit]

External links[edit]