"Naked Lie" (Sunday at 9 p.m. on Channels 2 and 8) has a basic appeal to voyeurs and betrayed women. It's populated with a corrupt judge (James Farentino), a lovesick prosecutor (Victoria Principal), sleek call girls and assorted denizens of law, order and vice.
Writers Timothy Wurtz, Glenn Benest and John Bensink dart right to the point: a gorgeous blonde with a long-stemmed rose enters a fancy hotel, Farentino passes her in the bar, and seconds later he is unrolling her silk stockings in the penthouse.
"I'll tell you exactly what to do," he lasciviously whispers, wearing only black shorts. She chews on his fingers (it gets much steamier) and then--flash! click! The woman's pimp materializes out of the shadow, a Polaroid picture in hand.
But nobody said blackmail was easy. The lamp-wielding judge kills the hooker, and the pimp is tried for the murder.
The fun, as in trash that glitters, is watching Farentino preside over a trial in which he's the killer. But the emotional lark is the unwitting Principal. She's not only the judge's secret lover, ignorant of his affliction for sex for hire, but--in a delicious conflict of interest--the D.A. assigned to his courtroom to nail the pimp (Jack Ross).
Meanwhile, director Richard Colla and his cinematographer, Ron Garcia, enfold the cad of a judge and his love-smitten D.A. in endless silken shots of lingerie, thighs and groping hands. Farentino is not an actor you expect to see enact emotional devastation, but his breakdown at the conclusion is unflinching and even wracking. Principal (who was co-executive producer) trembles in her awakening, gleams in her despair.
Glossy production values mirror the sheen of San Diego watering holes. The credited Chamber of Commerce can be happy. Now if they can just keep those hookers off the streets.