WEB OF DECEPTION. Made-for-TV movie. NBC-TV, 25 April 1994. Powers Boothe, Pam Dawber, Lisa Collins, Paul Ben-Victor, Rosalind Chao. Director: Richard A. Colla.

   In order to review this movie in the usual fashion, I’d also have to tell you more than you’d like to know about it — or more than I normally would. As is my usual fashion I picked this out of a box of DVDs I’d stored away in the basement and totally forgotten about, including how I obtained it and why I’d decided to own it in the first place.

   All I knew before I started watching it was that it was a crime film, it had the names of some people in it that I recognized, and that’s all. I didn’t even read the back cover.

   So assuming you’re somewhat like me in not knowing too much ahead of time, I’m going to be as sketchy in the details as I can and still come up a set of comments and other observations that make sense.

   Powers Boothe plays Dr. Philip Benesch in this film, a forensic psychiatrist who works hand in hand with the police department in court cases in which the sanity of the defendant comes into question. His job: to say the accused was sane at the time the crime was committed; the defense has to hire their own psychiatrist to say just the opposite.

   A more smug guy you cannot believe. Even the cops whose side he is on think he’s a jerk. This is a family-oriented blog, or else I’d be able to say what they really think. He is also having marital problems. His wife, played by Pam Dawber, has just found out he’d been having an affair. He claims it’s over, and asks for forgiveness.

   About this same time, a good-looking court stenographer (Lisa Collins) starts stalking him, following wherever he goes, and obviously obsessing about him. He’s flattered but finally tells her off, to get out of his life, adios, good-bye. She retaliates, and how. Suffice it to say that Dr. Benesch finds himself in deep sh–, oops, what it’s like to be on the other side of the law.

   Powers Boothe, who played Philip Marlowe on the HBO series of the same name, does a fine job here playing a man who finds his life turned upside down, almost literally. Pam Dawber, though, as his wife, does an even better job of playing a woman who is trying to keep loving her husband, but as more and more details come to light, finds it more and more difficult to do so.

   This is pretty good entertainment, as far as the standard of TV-making stood in 1994. It would have been even better if the police weren’t so obviously uninterested in doing a proper investigation. The lady district attorney equally so. You’ll have to stay focused on the characters and the relationships between them. If you can, you should enjoy this one. If you’re interested in a murder mystery worthy of the name, I don’t believe you’ll be happy at all.