Mare Winningham is Kim Paris, an undercover private investigator in Houston, Texas who is hired to befriend David West (Peter Gallagher), who it is believed is responsible for the murder of Virginia and James Campbell. Kim poses as `Theresa MacNeil' but unfortunately also falls in love with David, which complicates her mission.
Winningham is first seen in a platinum wig, a short skirt and tottering on high heels to allow an accident insurance scam to be exposed, where she bends over and flashes the photographer. Before she decides upon the look for `Theresa' - her hair in a wild wavy style, and dresses in denim - there is a montage of her in different outfits. Kim also rehearses her dialogue with David, sings him Happy Birthday in a Marilyn Monroe-ish voice, drives badly for her bad girl image, and is loud in the street when making fun of fellow investigator Tom (Tom O'Brien) as she walks away from him. Most of Winningham's scenes are at night, with her only half-lit, so she relies upon her her voice and a lot of hair flicking, but one anecdote is told simply and assisted by the music score of Patrick Williams. This role has layers of roleplay and Winningham lets us see how she enjoys being impulsive and also the emptiness when the act is over.
The teleplay by Alan Sharp, based on a true story, repeats Kim being described as `flaky' which seems odd, particularly since Winningham is so direct, as in the way she says she isn't interested in `just add water and stir relationships'. Her dilemma is that David appears to be sincerely in love with her, and by betraying him, she may lose something of significance.
Director Roger Young keeps things tight, uses slow motion only once when Kim's cover is seemingly blown, cuts from an unsuccessful attempt to light a cigarette to a lit candle on a birthday cake, and provides tension in 2 scenes where Kim is wired, where it's unclear whether she will be caught.
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