Seduced by Madness: the Diane Borchardt Story (1996) Ann-Margaret, Peter Coyote.
A rare Lifetime portrayal of female-on-male domestic violence.
When not whacking her husband Ruben across the jaw with a telephone or other convenient household object, Diane Borchardt was busy belittling and neglecting his children from a previous marriage and complaining about her pitiful lot in life to impressionable teenagers during study hall at the local high school, where she was a monitor.
When Ruben meets a nice woman who doesn’t abuse him, sets about divorcing Diane, and, worse, appears to be getting the house (since it is also his place of business), Diane gets a little teed off and notices how it would work out a lot better for her if Ruben, say, DIED, before the divorce so she could get the house and the payout on his life insurance policy.* She talks some teenage boys at the school into killing Ruben in exchange for a portion of the life insurance (while of course also telling them that Ruben has been beating her).
Can you believe one of the teenagers spilled later (possibly because Diane never quite got around to paying them) and now Diane is in jail on a 45-year murder sentence? Boy, kids these days.
Based on a true story! You can read Diane declaiming her innocence and begging for funding for her appeal here, along with some interesting comments from people who knew Diane before she went to the big house. Apparently, there’s also an American Justice episode about “Mrs. B”, though the A & E website sadly notes that they will not be able to ship the DVD in time for Father’s Day, so it’s ties and aftershave again for poor old dad this year.
*Lifetime Fact For Women: Diane remarks to someone that Ruben can’t change the beneficiary on his life insurance policy until the divorce is final. In reality, you can name anyone you want as beneficiary on a life insurance policy, though probably Ruben hadn’t gotten around to it yet by the time of his death.
Lifetime rating: ***