Lifetime's 'Patient Killer' Is a Look At Therapy

The story of Lifetime's latest film sounds far too serious to be a Lifetime film, but is Patient Killer based on a true story, or just unexpected from the network? The answer, basically, is neither. In reality, there are unfortunately many patients who commit suicide while under a doctor's watch. This particular version isn't based on a particular doctor or patient, and Lifetime isn't exactly going for verisimilitude here... the point is to turn the real thing into a typical Lifetime-y thriller. And that's not a new thing for the network, which is used to manipulating real types of events into the format of a "Lifetime movie," which is far more about maximum thrills than maximum truthfulness.

But there is some level of reality to the trauma of patients who commit suicide. In a New York Times article from 2001 describes the effect of patient suicide on therapists, and their consensus is that "many therapists carried unresolved feelings of guilt, anger, grief or betrayal around with them for years." It seems like with its killer plot, Patient Killer is externalizing that threat into something outside of the emotional realm and into the serial killer one. While Lifetime films never quite reach the levels of turning Tara Reid into a scientist, they've certainly glossed over the particulars of different careers before.

Ambulance Girl

This is more of the Lifetime Emmy awards bait, but it turns being an EMT into something more like Eat Pray Love. But the presence of Kathy Bates certainly makes this one of the best entries on the list, even if it glosses over some of the realities of EMT work.

The Client List

Of course, the film that managed to glamorize becoming a prostitute because of economic necessity. This was so successful, in fact, that it was adapted into a television show.

Confessions Of A Go-Go Girl

And double of course, the film that tried to convince audiences in 2008 that go-go dancing was still a thing.

Crowned And Dangerous

There's really no use for this thriller where beauty queens get murderous while there's already Drop Dead Gorgeous. Even so, this Lifetime classic that turned a Miss America-esque pageant into a bloodbath managed to not just predate the black comedy classic, but also is a great example of Lifetime's urge to throw mortality into normal conflict in order to make things more dramatic.

Killer Hair

Definite winner for worst title, Killer Hair tells the bizarre story of a fashion journalist who winds up investigating a murder at her friend's hair salon. That's a far cry from snapping street style photos at Fashion Week or trying an interesting cut of jeans.

Magic Beyond Words: The J.K. Rowling Story

Yes, this network managed to make the real life of J.K. Rowling into a maudlin, sappy story that totally misunderstands what writing is like... even for a woman who becomes a bazillionaire.


I love a good equal-opportunity bad guy story. In fact, I think more gangster films need to have a stronger female presence, because while organized crime may be male-dominated, women were there. However, Wisegal is not that story. I mean, this just proves that Lifetime can truly change any profession — even criminal! — into something it's not with the application of their signature sense of drama.

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