Cheryl (Ally Sheedy) and Stephen Crowe (Michael Riley) are loving parents to Michael, Shannon, and Stephanie in Escondido, California. One night, someone stabs Stephanie to death. The police is puzzled by the lack of evidence of a break-in and suspicion immediately falls on the family. Detective Baker interviews transient Richard Tuite for an unconnected issue and doesn't even consider him for the case. They isolate the surviving kids from their parents. With relentless interrogation and trickery, they gain false confessions from Michael, his friends Joshua Treadway and Aaron Houser.
Based on the real murder in 1998, this TV movie is at a lower level. It doesn't have the production value to be truly compelling or intense. It would be melodramatic if there isn't a real story behind it. The interrogations are tough to watch due to their inherit unbalanced dynamics. They also drag on for too long. In a way, the audience is stuck inside the room along with Michael and that has some benefits. It shows how a confession could be coerced. It's an uncomfortable watch. The legal wrangling after that in the second half works well enough.