Small Sacrifices (TV Mini-Series 1989)

TV Mini-Series   |    |  Crime, Drama, History

Episode Guide
Small Sacrifices (1989) Poster

A peculiar and disturbing case catches the attention of the police when a young mother and her children, all severely injured, show up in a hospital's emergency room.


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Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews

2 September 2001 | freebird-10
| An Excellent True Crime movie about a woman who tries to kill her kids to get a man.
Here's TV doing true crime the way it should be done--slowly unfolding plot through character, threading the cops and perps stories together, good courtroom drama--it's spellbinding. Farrah Fawcett is exceptional as Diane Downs, the woman who manages to kill one out of three kids. The two surviving kids are also stand-outs, especially the small daughter who must choose whether or not to testify against the monstrously narcissistic Downs. John Shea is also good as the D.A. A must-see for crime buffs.

Did You Know?


Though the film left this situation out, Diane Downs, at one point, forced Robert "Nick" Knickerbocker, named Lew Lewiston in the movie, to choose between her and his wife. At the time, he and his wife were separated and weren't living in the same house. He ended up choosing his wife over her, and Downs became extremely angry at him and turned on him. Fed up with her erratic and devious behavior, he moved back in with his wife. Downs began stalking the couple and kept making threatening phone calls to their house. The stalking and harassment ended up being too much for Knickerbocker and his wife that they ended up leaving town for several weeks just to get away from Downs and have a vacation. Downs couldn't believe that he left town without telling her and this prompted her to get a transfer at her job to Oregon to hopefully manipulate Knickerbocker into following her there and getting him away from his wife so she can have him all to herself. He fooled her into thinking that he was going to join her and the children in Oregon, yet ended up officially ending their affair over the phone once she was in Oregon and away from him. A week later, she returned to Arizona unannounced to give him back the gold chain he'd given her and tried to manipulate him into reconsidering their "relationship" to which he completely rejects her. In the movie, this is why Lew Lewiston was so apprehensive.


Psychiatrist: As a psychiatrist, it is my professional opinion that Diane Downs' personality disorders qualify her as a dangerous offender. She is a sociopath: an antisocial personality without any concern for the rights of others. She has a brilliant mind with ...


When Diane brings a pizza over to her mailman friend Matt Jensen's house, she asks him if he likes mushrooms on his pizza while holding the pizza out to him. He says yes. But the pizza has no mushrooms on it, it is clearly plain.


Plot Summary

Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Crime | Drama | History

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