Like any good Lifetime movie, the title of Lethal Admirer, premiering April 15 (formerly A Friend's Obsession) pretty much lays it all out there on the table: this is not going to be a romantic comedy with a happily-ever-after ending. Things are about to get intense. Lifetime's latest made-for-TV drama is about a young woman who becomes the victim of a former acquaintance's deadly obsession. Is Lethal Admirer based on a true story? Luckily, there's no evidence to suggest that this particular stalker story is based on real life.
Compared to the story of a doctor who tries to steal her pregnant patient's husband, or a a twin that frames her sister for their father's murder, or (this one needs no explanation) Psycho-In-Law, this story of one girl getting stalked by one former colleague is actually a fairly simple set-up for Lifetime. According to the official synopsis, Lethal Admirer follows the story of Megan (played by Karissa Lee Staples), a young woman who decides to move back to her hometown after the death of her fiancé. Megan hopes to repair her relationship with her sister and plan a future with her new boyfriend, but then she crosses paths with Lloyd (Drew Seeley), a former colleague with a secret, dangerous fixation.
The preview offers an inside look at the life of Lloyd, the lethal admirer himself. His room is mostly bare, save for some candles and a multiplying montage of photos on the wall (all of Megan, of course). The unpacked boxes suggest he's only just got into town, likely right on the heels of his beloved. When his mom calls and he answers the phone, her pushy questions about Megan suggest that she's well aware of her son's obsession. The fact that she still calls her grown-man-son "baby" is a tad off-putting, and her creepily insistent reminder, "You know what you need to do," kiiiiiiiiind of make you think, OK, maybe a lack of social boundaries and a tendency toward forcefulness run in the family...
The first part of the preview is tinged with dark humor. When Lloyd suggests that Megan kill her annoying boss, she laughs out loud. His suggestion is so ridiculous it is funny — right up until you see him squeezing the daylights out of the napkin in his fist, and cut to the shot of him lurking in his Megan-themed lair. Then the eerie organ music cues us that thinks are about to get very serious, indeed.
Just because Lethal Admirer isn't based on one specific true story, doesn't mean that Hollywood's obsession with obsession hasn't seeped over into effecting real life. Back in 1989, Fatal Attraction had just scooped up a handful of Oscar nominations and propelled the story of the infatuated and unstable Alex Forrest (played by Glenn Close, below) to the front of the public's mind.
Much like in Lethal Admirer, the main characters of Fatal Attraction meet in what seem to be fairly normal circumstances, and start spending time together. Dan Gallagher (Michael Douglas) and Alex Forrest (Glenn Close) take their relationship a step farther than Megan and Lloyd by actually spending the night together. After they do, though, the feelings in their relationship turn one-sided and, like Lloyd, Alex becomes a frightening stalker, who (spoilers) kidnaps Dan's daughter and tries to murder his wife. The film was so popular at the time, that when a court case emerged two years later in 1989 with similarities — a woman has an affair with a married man, and a short time later, his wife is killed — the media quickly dubbed it "The Fatal Attraction" murder.
You can always count on a Lifetime movie to deliver the drama, but what is it that makes the stalker trope retain so much ick-factor even after being recycled so often? Maybe it's the fact that, with no supernatural powers necessary, someone could cause another person so much fear and harm. And the worst part is that the first encounters — like the funny interaction between Megan and Lloyd — seem so innocent. The object of obsession doesn't notice the red flags until it's far too late. Since there's no real life court cases to spoil the answer for you, you'll have to tune in to Lifetime on April 15 to find out if Megan makes it out of this alive...