Perfect Murder, Perfect Town

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Perfect Murder, Perfect Town is a 2000 American television miniseries directed by Lawrence Schiller. The teleplay by Tom Topor is based on Schiller's book of the same title.

It covers in great detail the botched investigation into the death of six-year old JonBenét Ramsey, whose body was found in the basement of her Boulder, Colorado home on December 26, 1996. The police and district attorney openly feud about the way in which the case should be handled, and their focus on the girl's parents draws intense worldwide media attention that ultimately makes them look guilty in the public's eye, although a grand jury finds no grounds for prosecuting them.

The miniseries originally was broadcast by CBS. It frequently[citation needed] airs on the Lifetime Movie Network.

Principal cast[edit]

Principal production credits[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

In his review in Variety, Michael Speier said, "While Perfect Murder, Perfect Town isn't the most intellectual project on CBS' docket, it's certainly not the car wreck a lot of people are expecting. Patient and extremely detailed, this look at the Boulder, Colo., tabloid magnet gets high marks for steering clear of sweeps sensationalism ... There are some weak links, especially when it comes to Patsy's behavior. Helgenberger is a good sport, doing her best to get inside the mind of a flighty woman, but her portrayal often comes off as cartoonish and far-fetched. More on the mark is Cox, who creates an aloof millionaire who can't cope with a sudden loss of control ... Credit Schiller, however, for somehow making everybody credible and for crafting a search that leaves no stone unturned. Archival footage of real-life talkshows and local news footage is a nifty addition to an overall solid production." [1]

The Entertainment Weekly critic observed, "The telefilm ... is mostly a tedious slog through the legal details interrupted periodically by noxious images ... Cox and Helgenberger are called upon to do so much weeping and wailing during the first half hour that you wonder if they'll make it through the full four. Cox's John remains a cipher, but Helgenberger manages to convey much of the melodramatic emotionalism that Patsy has frequently displayed without giving a melodramatic performance herself — that's an achievement, even in a big piece of schlock like Perfect Murder ... Taking into account acting performances, script, and direction, Perfect Murder, Perfect Town averages out to a C; combine it with the F-grade moral scruples it took to embark on this exploitive abomination in the first place, however, and you get an all-too-generous D." [2]

Caryn James of The New York Times would call it "leaden" and "competently made but dull" praise Marg Helgenberger and Scott Cohen saying they "rose above the script" while calling Ronny Cox bland and Kris Kristofferson drab.[3]

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