It’s easy to tell the good guys from the bad guys in “Unholy Matrimony” (Channels 2 and 8 at 9 p.m.).
The main good guy, a Phoenix cop, is played by Patrick Duffy, the “good brother” of “Dallas,” at his most earnest. Watch him try to foam at the mouth over the possibility that criminals might escape his clutches because of legal loopholes: “I hate this stuff that you lawyers do!” It’s pretty funny; rage does not come easily to Duffy.
The primary bad guy, actually called “the devil” at one point, is embodied by Charles Durning, complete with a crocodile smile and a thick Texas accent. A fake preacher who runs a chain of massage parlors and arranges murderous insurance scams on the side, he faces no competition as the most entertaining character in the film.
His protege is a self-styled psychologist (Michael O’Keefe) who marries a young waif (Alexandra Powers) and then helps kill her for the insurance. Considering the time spent in showing--in repetitive fragmented flashbacks--the details of the crime, it’s odd that writer John McGreevey and director Jerrold Freedman don’t show us the scene in which the psychologist finally realizes that he’s cornered and that he’d better talk to save his own skin.
This failure to gratify the patient viewer with such a basic scene is typical of the wrongheaded choices made in this movie. However, Jacqueline Brookes and Fred Thompson lend credibility to their supporting roles.