|If Someone Had Known|
|Written by||Alan Landsburg|
|Directed by||Eric Laneuville|
|Theme music composer||Laura Karpman|
|Country of origin||USA|
|Executive producer(s)||Alan Landsburg|
|Producer(s)||Don Goldman (co-producer)|
|Editor(s)||Karen I. Stern|
|Running time||80 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Landsburg Company|
|Original release||May 1, 1995|
If Someone Had Known is a 1995 American television drama film based on a true story, directed by Eric Laneuville. Although the film received no critical acclaim, Kellie Martin was praised for her 'believable performance'. Writers Alan Landsburg, Susan Cuscuna and Michael Petryni received the Christopher Award for their teleplay. Originally aired on NBC, the film is nowadays frequently re-aired on Lifetime and sister channel Lifetime Movie Network.
Katie Liner is the 18-year-old daughter of Jack Liner, a powerful police officer. At one of his benefit parties, she meets Jimmy Pettit, a man in his early twenties she soon starts dating. Initially, he seems to be the perfect guy; he is well-educated, respectful, polite, popular, and has no records with the police. Nevertheless, Jack is not sure about the guy, and when he finds out that Katie is engaged, he is not enthusiastic. In a short period of time, Katie and Jimmy are married, and she gives birth to a son, they name Jamie.
Soon, Katie finds out that Jimmy is not the perfect man he comes off as. He starts to show violent behavior, pushing Katie, and slapping her in the face. His apologies afterwards make Katie forgive him every time. After this happens regularly for two straight years, her older sister, Sharon, notices bruises on her skin. Katie admits the truth about Jimmy's abuse, but begs Sharon not to reveal the violence. Sharon makes Katie promise to tell her if Jimmy beats her again. By the time she is pregnant with her second child, his aggressive behavior has worsened, and he has also begun to slap Jamie. Desperate, Katie admits to her mother, Ellen, that she is a victim of domestic violence, and that Jimmy isn't treating her right. Ellen convinces her daughter to leave Jimmy, but Jimmy is not willing to let go of his wife, and severely beats her for trying to leave him. When he threatens to shoot her, she defends herself by killing him with the gun.
Katie is arrested and admits to her lawyer that she is guilty, although claiming that she still loves her husband. Jack is shocked to find out she was abused, and has trouble accepting that she did not turn to him with her problems, implying how it could have saved her from the abuse, and the current situation. He tries to discourage her from taking the case to trial, explaining that she could be sentenced to life in prison. Katie thinks her case has a chance, though, and wants to show the jury that she was abused. She also starts to realize that Jack treats Ellen very badly, and confronts him with it. She also points out that she never came to him about the abuse in fear he would become overprotective of her in the future. Realizing that it is the truth, Jack tries to better his life, and apologizes to her. Later, Jack has a possible domestic violence perpetrator arrested, despite his friendship with the man.
Once the trial begins, Katie has trouble proving the intensity of the domestic violence. She is harassed by Jimmy's best friend, Wade Blankenship, who wants revenge for the killing. Additionally, the fact that none of the witnesses reported the violence instead of standing by and doing nothing, so as to save Katie from Jimmy's wrath starts to work against her. When Sharon attempts to elaborately answer the question of whether or not she reported her sister's bruises to police, the prosecuting attorney cuts her off, forcing her to say only "yes" or "no." Another witness, an older neighbor of Katie, explains that he grew up during a time when whatever happened between another couple was "their business".
When Katie testifies, she admits she was so naive for believing if she provided unconditional love to Jimmy, he would eventually stop abusing her. She finally eventually realized that it was never going to stop, and that one of them was going to end up killing the other. (During her testimony, it is shown that Jimmy told her she'd have to kill him and offered her the rifle, but she kept resisting because she loved him too much. However, when he finally tells her, "Yeah, I didn't think so!" and hits her across the head with the butt of the rifle, drops it, then retreats to the bedroom, that was the moment. She walked in and shot him, breaking down crying as she did.)
She is found not guilty by the jury and even Jimmy's parents, who at first wanted her in prison for the murder, sympathize with her. The film ends with Katie laying a flower at Jimmy's grave, then telling Jamie and her newborn second child that they will have a better life.
- Kellie Martin as Katherine 'Katie' Liner-Pettit
- Kevin Dobson as Jack Liner
- Linda Kelsey as Ellen Liner
- Ivan Sergei as James Charles 'Jimmy' Pettit
- Kristin Dattilo as Sharon Liner
- Anna Gunn as Officer Linda Reed
- Alan Fudge as Chief Hunt
- Jennifer Savidge as Dr. Lois Coutu
- Tom Amandes as Paul Chambers
- James Harper as Charles Pettit
- Noah Emmerich as Officer Ed Hunt
- Rodney Rowland as Doug Pettit
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