If you combine Lifetime, Ann Rule, and the esteemed Diane Neal, you get another ripped from the headlines thriller that will have you on the edge of your seats.
Circle of Deception is the latest Ann Rule true crime inspired piece to make it to the small screen, and as fans of the books and the Lifetime films know, they’re among the strongest of the Ripped from the Headlines series.
And much like Lifetime actress Robin Givens helmed Ann Rule’s A Murder to Remember, this time around, it’s another network veteran, Ashley Williams, making her directorial debut.
From the promos, the standout of the film is Law & Order SVU‘s Diane Neal. She stars as a former Beauty Queen who orchestrates a murderous scheme.
The film is about a small island community that is rocked by the mysterious death of Russel Douglas, played by Paul McGillion, the day after Christmas.
Of course, the first suspect is always the spouse, right? Russel was still married to Breanna, star Jill Morrison, but the two were estranged, and their divorce was imminent.
Enter Neal’s character, Peggy Sue Thomas. She’s a former beauty queen and Breanna’s best friend and confidant. Breanna shares with her the nature of her strained relationship with her ex-husband.
Breanna also talks about how Russel was emotionally and physically abusive to her. And from there, the investigation into Russel’s death goes down a twisty road of secrets and deception until his killer is revealed.
In the promo, we see Breanna confront Russel and implying that he’s having an affair. She tells an agitated Peggy Sue, tired of her friend putting up with less than she deserves to do something about it.
Breanna says that she threw Russel out, but she’s having a difficult time now without money and no idea what to do with the rest of her life.
In the interim, Peggy Sue and presumably her husband are facing some financial challenges of their own.
Breanna mentions Russel’s life insurance policy, and Peggy Sue’s husband has a surprising proposal of the non-romantic variety.
We catch a glimpse of Russel’s untimely murder in broad daylight, and the detectives informing a suspiciously unsurprised Breanna of her husband’s death.
From detectives to insurance investigators, the deep dive into what really happened to Russel is on, and everyone is determined to get to the bottom of things.
The stakes are high; the friendships are slowly unraveling, and the lies and deception are piling up.
After all, you can only get away with murder if everyone is on the same page and doesn’t turn on each other, right?
Of course, to echo Neal’s Peggy Sue, why are we so sure she did it?
Circle of Deception stars Diane Neal, Jill Morrison, Paul McGillion, Tahmoh Penikett, and another Law and Order: SVU veteran, Tamara Tunie.
Circle of Deception premieres Sunday, March 6 at 8/7c on Lifetime.
And a special Beyond the Headlines: Beauty Queens Gone Bad documentary follows it.
Are you intrigued by this popcorn thriller? Check out the promo below and hit the comments with your reactions!
Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.