Facing Evil with Candice DeLong
10 p.m. Thursday
TV loves the Susan Grund murder case. And why not? Hot 24-year-old woman with a shady past (three previous marriages, a child) hooks up with successful prosecutor (age 39) in a small town (Peru, Ind.) and ultimately shoots him through the eye. At trial, she maintains her innocence and alleges a two-year affair with her college-aged stepson, whose stolen gun was found to be the murder weapon. She gets 60 years.
If that doesn't scream Law & Order episode – or at least segments on Oxygen, TruTV and other channels – nothing does.
So now here's Candice DeLong, the real-life model for Clarisse Starling of The Silence of the Lambs, sitting down for an interview with Grund at the Rockville Correctional Facility to find out whether there's anything to Grund's story.
Let me save you the trouble: There's not. And that's not just my conclusion; it's DeLong's – and she shares it freely with viewers (although, curiously, not with Grund) throughout this half-hour.
But if this murder case interests you, you will absolutely want to watch on Thursday to hear what Grund says when DeLong asks her reaction to the jury verdict. I won't reveal Grund's response here, since it would be unfair to steal the show's thunder, but it certainly is revealing.
Otherwise, this look at Grund – now in her 50s, still reasonably attractive but with the worn look of someone who's been in prison for 18 years – yields little in the way of new or useful information.
DeLong starts her off with a question that begins, "You went from the society pages of Peru, Ind., to prison lockdown." There was more to the question, but my laughter drowned out the rest. The society pages of Peru?
Later, Grund suggests that her late husband, Jimmy, fell for her because she was like "the bird who had a broken wing" and he felt the need to take care of her. That, DeLong assures us, is a sure sign of Susan Grund's narcissism.
From there, the Grund segment of this four-part miniseries rehashes the case through reenactments and narration: Jimmy Grund is found murdered. Susan suggests he probably confronted a burglar. Susan takes and tries to hide the murder weapon. Susan alleges the affair with her stepson and says she confessed their relationship to her husband. Her stepson denies everything. Susan is convicted.
DeLong turns out to be a somewhat gentle inquisitor, more Katie Couric than Mike Wallace (or even Chris Wallace). And a couple of elements of this show are unclear. Why does DeLong save her observations about Grund for the viewer rather than discuss them with Grund? And, when you name your show Facing Evil, are you leaving any doubt about where you stand?
Oh well. That just leaves more Grund ground to cover. And since Grund is eligible for parole in 2019, you can expect to hear more about this case.