Netflix Instant Pick: Murder in Greenwich (2002)

Martha Moxley (Maggie Grace) was a 15-year-old girl from a prosperous family, living in one of Greenwich, Connecticut’s most beautiful neighborhoods, Belle Haven.

Martha’s seemingly perfect life and the community of Belle Haven as a whole were shattered on the eve of Halloween (“Mischief Night”) in 1974. That night, Martha was brutally murdered, her body left in the back yard of her family’s home.

Despite furious investigation, the murder remained unsolved for over twenty years.

Enter Mark Furhman (Christopher Meloni), a writer and former LA detective who was infamously accused of perjury during the O.J. Simpson trial. Fuhrman is living out of the spotlight in Idaho in the late 1990s when he decides to investigate the Moxley case with a partner, Stephen Weeks (Andrew Robertt). The two hope to get a book and a lot of answers out of this new investigation.

Upon arrival in Belle Haven, Fuhrman finds that few are willing to speak up about that night, but with the support of a few allies – including a retired detective, Steve Carroll (Robert Forster), who worked on the case in the 1970s – Fuhrman and Weeks discover a tangled web of power, money, crime, Kennedy cousins and secrets.

2002’s Murder in Greenwich is based on Mark Fuhrman’s book, which resulted from this actual investigation that he conducted. Many of the names have been changed in the film, as have some of the details of the case (though I can’t speak for how much has been changed, since I hadn’t heard of the case before watching the film). Tom McLoughlin directs this USA Network release.

Murder in Greenwich grips the viewer immediately with narration from the victim herself. Through both flashbacks and “present-day” scenes of Fuhrman’s investigation, it slowly reveals the details of the murder and the time leading up to it.

Maggie Grace (middle) stars as Martha Moxley (Image via Photobucket)

Had I not known from the IMDb page that this film was released by the USA Network, I would have never guessed that it was a made-for-TV movie. The quality is exceptional, especially considering that the film is ten years old. Visually, the film suits both of the time periods in which it is set.

The usual stiffness or corn factor that can be found in television movies is nowhere to be found either. The performances are of a more believable quality than is typically expected from this format.

The material itself consistently keeps the viewer guessing who killed Martha (or at least viewers who are not familiar with the case). There are a few moments of high emotional impact, but it’s the mystery that really keeps the viewer hooked here.

For fans of “true crime” stories or slow-burning criminal dramas, this little-known 2002 film is not one to miss. The film is currently available for instant streaming on Netflix. The score: 3.8/5

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