Life Before Murder
For 16 years Betty (Meredith Baxter - Burning Bridges) and Dan Broderick (Stephen Collins - Jumpin' Jack Flash) were happily married and had four children together and after years of hard work with Betty supporting the family whilst Dan first went through medical school then law school they have finally made it. But that all changes when Dan hires the pretty Linda (Michelle Johnson - The Glimmer Man) to be his assistant leading Betty to accuse Dan of having an affair. But things spiral out of control as despite Dan trying to keep the peace Betty criticizes everything he does till he not only moves out but files for divorce and causes Betty to take some irrational actions from ramming his home with her car to destroying his clothes. With Dan's knowledge of the law it feels like the entire world is ganging up on her as Betty's life is ripped out from beneath her.
"Till Murder Do Us Part" is the first movie of two which originally aired in March 1992 with the follow up "Her Final Fury: Betty Broderick, the Last Chapter" airing in November of the same year. I mentioned that because when "Till Murder Do Us Part" was broadcast in the UK it was billed as a two part movie with the second one called "Till Murder Do Us Part - Part II". Anyway which ever way you end up watching these movies they deal with the true story of Betty Broderick and this first movie takes us up to the violent act which I will tell you know is Betty murdering Dan and Linda as they sleep.
So what goes on in "Till Murder Do Us Part" well on one hand it details how things got to the point of murder. We see how Betty jumped to a conclusion as to what was going on between Dan and Linda then things spiral out of control from Betty becoming overly critical, to abusive till Dan moved out and filed for divorce. At which point we also see how following the destruction of their marriage Dan ended up falling for Linda and proposing to her.
Now throughout this various things are made clear starting with the fact that Betty felt that Dan owed her because of having supported him through both medical and law school she deserved something. And we also get made aware that because Dan's legal knowledge Betty felt like the whole world was against her.
But the one thing whilst is really established is how flipped Betty became from psychotically ramming Dan's home with her four by four, leaving vile phone messages which her children heard, making death threats and a lot more. It is certainly scary stuff and Meredith Baxter delivers one of her most terrifying performances as the woman scorned which is no wonder she was nominated for an Emmy for her performance. In fact Baxter's performance is so full on that the rest of the cast are left in her shadows be it Stephen Collins as Dan or Michelle Johnson as Linda.
What this all boils down to is that "Till Murder Do Us Part" is a powerful part one of a powerful two movie story. It is because of Meredith Baxter's full on performance of Betty Broderick and the psychotic state she fell into that it grabs you from the word go.