I spent most of the evening Sunday, May 15 watching back-to-back movies on Lifetime, one of which was billed as a "World Premiere" while the other had had the "World Premiere" designation when it had originally been shown on Saturday. They re-aired the Saturday "world premiere," "I Didn't Kill My Sister," at 7 p.m., and followed it up with the new "world premiere," "Trust No One," at 9. Surprisingly, both turned out to be TV-movies made by a company called Odyssey Media in 2015, and both were shot under different titles than the ones Lifetime used when they aired them: "I Didn't Kill My Sister" was originally "Murder Unrecognized" (so they replaced a blah title with a silly one), while "Trust No One" was originally "Corrupt" (and according to one IMDb.com message board poster a trailer for it under the Corrupt title appeared on YouTube before it and all printed references to it on the Internet mysteriously disappeared). What was even more odd was that "I Didn't Kill My Sister," despite that dorky title, turned out to be a quite good crime thriller, a sort of neo-noir set in and around the Los Angeles TV news community, while "Trust No One" was a boring organized-crime story enlivened by a few action scenes but otherwise deathly-dull.
From the title I'd assumed the sisters, one of whom died and the other was accused of murdering her, would be teenagers; instead they were both 30-something women. The one who gets killed was Carmen Pearson Campbell (Gina Holden, turning in a nice bitch performance that makes it unfortunate she exits permanently early on — though writer Gemma Holdway and director Jason Bourque give her a lot more screen time than is common in a plot like this, which was nice), and the sister who's suspected of killing her is Heather Pearson (Nicholle Tom, who began her career as one of the kids Fran Drescher was nanny-ing on The Nanny but has had a decent if unspectacular career as an adult actress). In the opening scene Carmen, home alone, drinks a small glass of wine, then suddenly loses consciousness and ends up taking a fall into her swimming pool, where she apparently drowns — though later on a medical examiner attributes her death to an overdose of Xanax (the wine was "spiked" with the drug) and said she had croaked before she even got to the pool. Then there's a typical Lifetime title flashing us back "Two Days Earlier," and we learn that two days earlier Carmen was the co-host of Citywatch, a phenomenally popular news program on L.A. TV station KPPQ Channel 3. She was also in the middle of a bitterly contested divorce from her husband Mason Campbell (Chris William Martin), and their marriage has so totally disintegrated they're literally not speaking together off camera. Unfortunately for both of them, they're the co-hosts of Citywatch and therefore have to speak to each other on camera, and if that weren't bad enough they're also the parents of a teenage daughter, Brooke (Sarah Desjardins). Also, Carmen has talked to her attorney, Sandra Carson (Ona Grauer), about changing her will so instead of her husband getting her money, it'll go into a trust fund and remain there until Brooke is old enough to inherit it herself.
So when Carmen is found dead in her swimming pool of an overdose of Xanax, the cops at first suspect it was an accident until they find the remaining spiked wine, whereupon they not surprisingly make Mason Campbell the number one suspect — until he's able to prove that he didn't do it (just how he proved he didn't do it — whether he established an alibi or what — isn't really explained in Holdway's script), whereupon they, and in particular Cruz (Sharon Taylor), the lead detective on the case (and it was a neat trick on Holdway'a part to make her seem more intimidating by not giving her a first name), fasten on Heather as a suspect. "I Didn't Kill My Sister" is actually a quite professional piece of filmmaking, not innovative but cunning in its deployment of old clichés, and for once the ending is a genuine surprise but also a believable one instead of a whiplash-inducing reversal that negates all or most of what has gone before. It also had an interesting road-not-taken aspect in that the character I found myself caring most about was Mason's and Carmen's daughter Brooke, and the trauma she's undoubtedly going to face given not only that her mother was murdered but her father was involved in the killing.