|Directed by||Paul Schneider|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Producer(s)||Robert F. Phillips|
|Original release||October 13, 1999|
Lethal Vows is an American drama/thriller television movie, based on a true story of Richard K Overton, his ex-wife Dorothy Boyer, and Overton's third and late-wife Janet Overton. Starring John Ritter, Marg Helgenberger and Megan Gallagher. The movie premiered October 13, 1999, on CBS.
The movie opens with Ellen Farris, the former wife of Dr. David Farris, getting out of bed after battling an illness. In the kitchen awaits her two daughters and their father. The daughters and the father leave to go to his house where his wife, Lorraine Farris is preparing for her campaign to become counsellor. It is at this point one sees a little inkling into the sinister character behind Dr. Farris.
Upon his wife being elected counsellor, Dr. Farris can be seen as visibly disturbed by the relationship between his wife Loraine and her colleague. Shortly after that, his wife is seen as becoming ill, with similar enough symptoms to that of his ex-wife. At this point Ellen starts to become concerned for her health and pleads with her ex-husband to seek help for Lorraine as he did to find out the cause of her illness. At this point it is still unknown what Ellen is suffering from.
After his wife suffers more serious episodes and his ex-wife again pleading with him, Dr. Farris takes her and their son (by Lorraine) Graham to Mexico to get her treated. On return, Ellen informs Dr Farris and Lorraine that she found out she had Selenium poisoning due to ingesting pure selenium (which is also found in some health supplements). Ellen then asks Lorraine to get tested for the same thing, which she promises to do. Dr Farris can also be seen throughout the movie to write a computerised journal about his personal life. The journal itself shows how distraught he is under his caring and loving persona.
However, just 3 weeks later, Lorraine drops dead at home in front of Graham and is then quickly cremated by David. The pathologist initially isn't able to find any signs of foul play except the faint smell of chlorine when he opened her up during autopsy. Dr Farris has applied for a marriage license and subsequently gets married to a woman he met at his wife's election celebration. This course of action places a great level of suspicion on him. With the help of his ex-wife the police look into the conditions surrounding Lorraine's death and after the examination of Ellen Farris further they find out that she is suffering from kidney failure. He was found guilty of first degree murder and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. It was also revealed that Lorraine died of cyanide poisoning which he switched to after Mexico to speed up the effects of selenium (i.e. death) - it was initially missed due to a chlorine smell, and it was believed that Dr Farris forced his wife to swallow a water supplement pill shortly before her death to mask the prominent smell of cyanide - hence the chlorine smell.
The motive behind these acts was jealousy and the desire to get rid of his wife; he poisoned his first wife in order to leave her for his second, Lorraine, who he was having an affair with prior to their divorce and who he shared an apartment with under her nose, and he did the same thing to Lorraine, to marry his third wife.