In the Best Interest of the Child

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In the Best Interest of the Child
Written byHal Sitowitz
Directed byDavid Greene
StarringMeg Tilly
Ed Begley Jr.
Michael O'Keefe
Michele Greene
Angela Bassett
Music byPeter Manning Robinson
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
Producer(s)James G. Hirsch
Robert Papazian
Sandy Papazian (associate producer)
Production location(s)Los Angeles
CinematographyBrianne Murphy
Editor(s)Eric Sears
Running time100 minutes
Production company(s)Papazian-Hirsch Entertainment
Original networkCBS
Picture formatColor
Audio formatStereo
Original releaseMay 20, 1990 (1990-05-20)

In the Best Interest of the Child is a 1990 American made-for-television drama film about child sexual abuse starring Meg Tilly, Ed Begley Jr., Michael O'Keefe and Michele Greene, directed by David Greene. It was originally broadcast on CBS on May 20, 1990.


Jennifer Colton (Meg Tilly) is a divorced mother and architect who retains custody of her five-year-old daughter Mandy (Marta Woodward) while her ex-husband Walt (Michael O'Keefe) is granted regular access. However, Jennifer becomes concerned by her daughter's restless sleeping and increasingly violent behaviors and is horrified to discover it might be related to sexual abuse by the child's father. With the help of her attorney-cousin Howard Feldon (Ed Begley Jr.), next-door neighbor and best friend Nora (Michele Greene), as well as various doctors and therapists, Jennifer seeks to protect her daughter from Walt by having his access suspended.

Jennifer soon discovers that the law is not on her side when the court, in the absence of incontrovertible evidence, refuses to restrict Walt's unsupervised-visitation rights. When Jennifer refuses to let her ex-husband see the child, the judge finds her in contempt and places her in a county jail until she relents. Ultimately, Jennifer decides the only way to save Mandy from abuse is to "kidnap" the child. She is willing to go to prison so that Mandy can live in hiding with her relatives and away from her abusive father.


Award nomination[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee Result
1991 Young Artist Award Best Young Actress Starring in a TV Movie, Pilot, or Special Marta Woodward Nominated


  1. Picks and Pans Review: In the Best Interest of the Child by People magazine (May 21, 1990).
  2. New York Magazine (May 21, 1990).
  3. Zurawik, David. TV Review (The Pittsburgh Press, May 19, 1990, p.15)

External links[edit]