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Circle of Deception 2021 Movie Review Poster Trailer Online
Director: Ashley Williams
Writer: Christina Ray
Stars: Diane Neal, Tahmoh Penikett, Tamara Tunie
Based on Ann Rule’s true crime book Practice to Deceive. In this New York Times Best Seller, a small, island community is turned upside down when Russel Douglas, a local businessman, is found dead the day after Christmas. Brenna Douglas was Russel’s estranged and soon-to-be ex-wife, who often complained to her former beauty queen best friend Peggy Sue Thomas that Russel was physically and emotionally abusive. Through an investigation that twists and winds its way through neighbors, ex-wives, and best friends, it is discovered that Peggy enlisted the help of her former lover, Jim Huden, to murder Russel.
On Dec. 26, 2003, on a dead-end road on Whidbey Island in Washington state, Russel Douglas was shot dead in his 2002 Chevrolet Tracker. He was found with a bullet hole between his eyes and a 380-caliber shell casing was found in the vehicle. Investigators had few clues as to who could have killed the unassuming father of two but were curious about his estranged wife when her reaction to his death seemed muted. Their winding investigation into the murder would go on for nine years and lead from coast to coast, eventually exposing a plot that would send a former beauty queen to prison and upend the lives of several couples in the process.
The story of the Whidbey Island murder was the inspiration for veteran true-crime writer Ann Rule’s bestselling 2013 thriller, “Practice to Deceive,” and now the Lifetime movie, “Circle of Deception.” It was also the subject of a season 8 episode of Oxygen’s “Killer Couples. The book and film give a true-crime account of what happened between Brenna Douglas, her friend Peggy Sue Thomas, Thomas’ lover Jim Huden, and how it all ended in bloodshed and prison for two of them, even as questions about the case linger. Here’s a look at what actually happened between Thomas, Allen, and Brenna Douglas — according to them, and detectives — and where the mysterious and deadly events in 2003 led them.
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