If Someone Had Known

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If Someone Had Known
If Someone Had Known DVD cover.jpg
DVD cover
Genre Drama
Written by Alan Landsburg
Susan Cuscuna
Michael Petryni
Directed by Eric Laneuville
Starring Kellie Martin
Kevin Dobson
Linda Kelsey
Ivan Sergei
Theme music composer Laura Karpman
Country of origin USA
Original language(s) English
Executive producer(s) Alan Landsburg
Linda Otto
Producer(s) Don Goldman (co-producer)
Cinematography Paul Elliott
Editor(s) Karen I. Stern
Running time 80 minutes
Production company(s) Landsburg Company
Distributor NBC
Original network NBC
Original release May 1, 1995

If Someone Had Known is a 1995 American television drama film based on a true story, directed by Eric Laneuville. Although the film received no critical acclaim, Kellie Martin was praised for her 'believable performance'.[1] Writers Alan Landsburg, Susan Cuscuna and Michael Petryni received the Christopher Award for their teleplay. Originally aired on NBC, the film is nowadays frequently re-aired on Lifetime and sister channel Lifetime Movie Network.[2]


Katie Liner is the attractive 18-year-old daughter of Jack Liner, a powerful police officer. At one of his benefit parties, she meets Jimmy Pettit, a man in his early twenties she soon starts dating. Initially, he seems to be the perfect guy; he is well-educated, respectful, polite, popular and has no records with the police. Nevertheless, Jack is not sure about the guy and when he finds out that Katie is engaged, he is not enthusiastic. Things are going fast, though, and in a short period of time, Katie and Jimmy are married and she gives birth to a son.

Soon, Katie finds out that Jimmy is not the perfect man he comes off as. He starts to show violent behavior, pushing Katie and slapping her in her face. Apologizing afterwards makes Katie forgive him every time. After this happens regularly for two straight years, her older sister and friend Sharon notices bruises on her skin. Katie admits the truth about Jimmy's abuse, but begs Sharon not to reveal the violence. Sharon makes Katie promise to tell her if Jimmy beats her again. By the time she is pregnant with her second child, his aggressive behavior has worsened and he has also begun to slap their son Jamie. Desperate, Katie admits to her mother Ellen that she is a victim of domestic violence and that Jimmy isn't treating her right. Ellen convinces her daughter to leave Jimmy, but Jimmy is not willing to let go of his wife and beats her up severely for trying to leave him. When he threatens to shoot her, she defends herself by killing him with the gun.

Katie is arrested and admits to her lawyer that she is guilty, although claiming that she still loves her husband. Jack is shocked to find out she was abused and has trouble accepting that she did not turn to him with her problems—implying how it could have saved her from the abuse. He tries to discourage her from taking the case to trial, explaining she could be sentenced for life. Katie thinks she stands a chance, though, wanting to show the jury that she was abused. She also starts to realize that Jack treats Ellen very badly, and confronts him with it. She also points out that she never came to him about the abuse in fear he would become overprotective of her in the future. Realizing that it is the truth, Jack tries to better his life and apologizes to her. In a later scene, he has a possible domestic violence perpetrator arrested, despite Jack's friendship with the man.

Once the trial begins, Katie has trouble proving the intensity of the domestic violence and is harassed by Jimmy's best friend, Wade Blankenship, who wants revenge for the killing. Additionally, the fact that none of the witnesses reported the violence (instead standing by and doing nothing) so as to save Katie from Jimmy's wrath starts to work against her. When Sharon attempts to elaborately answer the question of whether or not she reported her sister's bruises to police, the prosecuting attorney cuts her off, forcing her to say only "yes" or "no." Another witness, an older neighbor of Katie, explains that he grew up during a time when whatever happened between another couple was "their business". When Katie testifies, she admits she was so naive for believing if she provided unconditional love to Jimmy that he would eventually stop abusing her; she eventually realized that was never going to happen, and that one of them was going to kill the other. She is found not guilty by the jury and even Jimmy's parents, who at first wanted her in prison for the murder, sympathize with her.

The film ends with Katie laying a flower at Jimmy's grave, then telling Jamie and her newborn second child that they will have a better life.


DVD release[edit]

The film was released on DVD in 2005 by MPI Home Video, one of a number of TV films issued under their "True Stories Collection" banner.


  1. ^ Review Summary The New York Times
  2. ^ Profile of "If Someone Had Known" MyLifetime.com

External links[edit]