Janice Bradford (Rebecca Jenkins - Bond of Silence) is a happily married mother of one whose life comes crashing down when federal agents force their way in to her home and arrest her. It seems that many years earlier Janet went by the name Sharon and was part of a non-violent activist group called "The Jesters" who were blamed for the death of a land developer who died in an explosion. Janice's arrest comes to the attention of hot shot criminal lawyer Donna Erickson (Lauralee Bell) who takes the case and sets out, with the help of her ex-husband, Glen (Woody Jeffreys - FBI: Negotiator), to prove that not only was Janice innocent but she and her friends were set up by some one else.
For a few brief minutes I thought that maybe "Past Sins" was going to be an exciting thriller, a movie with a historic crime solved which involves conspiracy and double crosses. But then we get a scene where criminal lawyer Donna goes in to prison to see Janice and the arrested housewife utters the words "I thought you would be taller". With those words my heart sank and any hopes I had that maybe "Past Sins" would be a TV movie to break the mold were dashed. What followed for the next 85 minutes was the sort of made for TV drama which, whilst not hard to follow, is riddled with the sort of writing and acting, as well as reality flaws, which gives TV movies their bad name.
Now in fairness I like the basic story to "Past Sins", the whole arrest for a historic crime might not be that original but the actual storyline, which through flashbacks shows that Janice and her friends were set up, is a decent one. A flashback scene where we see that the man they were accused of killing was in fact already dead and strapped to a bomb gives the movie a nice aspect of mystery as do the scenes of shady figures, in the present, who appear to be trying to keep the truth buried. But the storyline is drenched in the sort of terrible writing and acting which is more at home in a soap opera and unless you are a fan of that style of entertainment "Past Sins" struggles. It also has the gaps in realism which make you question whether they think the audience is that stupid.
What this all boils down to is that I am sure there will be some who will enjoy "Past Sins" a lot more than I did but for me the writing and acting often felt like it belonged more in a soap opera than a movie, even one made for TV.