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Series / Love, Lies and Murder

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Love, Lies and Murder is a 1991 miniseries starring Clancy Brown, Moira Kelly, Sheryl Lee and Cynthia Nixon.

It was based off the 1985 murder of Linda Bailey Brown by her 14-year-old stepdaughter Cinnamon. The crime was eventually discovered to be arranged by her husband David Brown and her sister, Patti Bailey, who then soon married David herself.

It initially aired on NBC and like its contemporaries has been aired in syndication on Lifetime in the years since.

Related Tropes:

  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: David's three relatives/pawns have these. Patti is a blonde, Cinnamon is a brunette, and Donna is a redhead.
  • Big Fancy House: David used the money from Linda's life insurance to buy a beautiful new two-story home.
  • Cool Big Sis: Linda is this to Patti, according to flashbacks about their life.
  • Disappeared Dad: Patti and Linda's father walked out on them when the former was a year old.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • Cinnamon was manipulated into killing herself after killing Linda. She ultimately survived due to vomiting up most of the pills she took.
    • Patti attempted to kill herself via hanging upon being arrested for the murder. She is saved by a fellow inmate and is placed in a padded cell.
  • Elopement: David and Patti do this with two friends via a trip to Vegas.
  • Grandparent Favoritism: Played with. While David's parents do love their son, they clearly love their eldest granddaughter, too (with Cinnamon and her grandfather in particular sharing a special bond). It was even his knowledge of David and Patti's affair that eventually caused her to turn on him and put them both in prison.
  • Greed: The primary reason for David manipulating the girls into killing Linda (with the other being so he can be with Patti).
  • Grew a Spine: Patti, who is able to break away from David's manipulations and testify against him once they're finally arrested for their roles in Linda's murder.
  • I Have a Family: Played with when Patti realizes that she's eventually going to be arrested for the murder, she repeatedly cries how she can't go to prison because she's a mother. While she ultimately does go tp prison, since her case was sent back to juvenile court, she is released after she turned 25 (and while not included in the film, she was able to regain custody of the daughter she had with David).
  • Lack of Empathy: David. He cares only about himself, and over the course of the film has Linda killed, tries to goad Cinnamon into committing suicide, and tries to have Patti killed. He also doesn't care about his two young daughters' fates of them losing their mothers to murder and prison, either.
  • Manipulative Bastard: David is very much so this trope. Even before the murder, it was said that he continuously played Linda, Patti and Cinnamon off from one another.
  • Na´ve Newcomer: Cinnamon as she first arrived in the juvenile hall. She initially was reluctant to acclimate to prison life due to believing that she would be released soon.
  • Parental Substitute: Linda was this to her kid sister, taking care of her like any mother would. Even at one point when she views her eating ice cream, she takes it out of her hand, puts in back in the freezer and gives her an apple instead.
  • Pillow Silencer: Linda is shot by Cinnamon with the girl using a couch pillow as a silencer. Given her inexperience, nervousness and her young age, the pillow ended up getting caught in the gun itself, causing it to jam (though she was eventually able to deliver the second and fatal shot).
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: The judge when he sentences David for the murder of Linda gives him an epic one, calling him a scary person and even saying how his crimes of manipulating his own daughter to kill and another woman to kill her own sister makes Charlie Manson look like a Piker in comparison.
  • Rape as Backstory; Patti was manipulated into sex by David at the age of ten. She tearfully recalls this in the present day on the witness after being goaded into discussing it.
  • Say My Name: Patti shouts out "DAVID!" as she sees him holding a gun to his head and wrestles it away. Turns out, he had no intention of killing himself, only doing it to manipulate her into killing her sister under the ruse of him killing her before she could kill him.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Cinnamon cries while watching It's a Wonderful Life in prison at Christmastime.
    • Patti and Donna make a bed while Sister Sledge's "We Are Family" plays in the background.
    • When Patti is Christmas shopping, we see several Barbie dolls in the toy aisle (as evidenced by their then-distinctive hot pink boxes). Given the crowding of the aisle and there not being any focus on them, though, it may qualify as Product Displacement.
  • Shower of Angst: After her first day of testimony and having to go over the sordid details of her and David's past relationship, Patti is seen crying and feverishly scrubbing herself off in the shower, even using her toothbrush to scrub her skin.
  • Sickbed Smuggling: David sneaks in fast food to his hospitalized daughter, Cinnamon, who unsuccessfully tried to kill herself after killing her stepmother under his demands.
  • Suicide by Pills: Invoked and ultimately subverted. David set it up for his daughter Cinnamon, after shooting her stepmother, to kill herself this way in order to show her sorrow and get away with the crime. She survives because she vomited up the majority of the excessive amount.
  • Tangled Family Tree: David has a daughter with both Linda and her kid sister Patti.
  • They Look Just Like Everyone Else!: Lampshaded by the judge to David at his murder trial: "Take Charlie Manson; he looks crazy. You? You look saner than your defense attorney."
  • Twisted Christmas: Definitely: while Cinnamon is left to rot behind bars at Christmas 1985, Patti is then sexually assaulted by David underneath the family tree on Christmas Eve as his "gift"/her punishment for not answering his page to buy videotape.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: The ending explains where the characters are doing at this point circa 1991: Cinnamon will be released after turning 25 as would Patti, Amber (David and Linda's daughter) is still living with her grandparents and David is serving his life sentence. It also states that while he continues to write Patti everyday, she doesn't write back.
  • Who's Your Daddy?: Since David insisted that neither his marriage to Patti nor her subsequent pregnancy be publicized, she went on to say that "a boy named Doug" got her pregnant and abandoned her. David's parents aren't fooled for one second.
  • Wife Husbandry: David and Patti initially have a father-daughter relationship with one another years before they were married (indeed, Patti was just six when they first).