Last night’s Lifetime movie The Preacher’s Mistress forces me to ask what Lifetime has against preachers. We had Sins of the Preacher a few weeks ago, as well as The Pastor’s Wife before that, which is still technically about an evil preacher. I think preachers are quickly becoming the new Amish, who for a time were the new Jersey (get it?). Why such a focus on preachers? Why not The Rabbi’s Mistress or Sins of the Buddhist Monk? What makes it even weirder is that in this movie, the fact that the guy’s a preacher isn’t even vital to the story. It could have been The Orthodontist’s Mistress and had the same effect. Nevertheless, let’s get talking.
Our heroine is Gwen Griffith (Sarah Lancaster), a single mom who’s behind on her mortgage payments, something the movie makes very clear thanks to the “PAST DUE NOTICE” in huge letters on the paper she’s holding, as well as the numerous phone calls she gets about it and the fact that she never stops mentioning it. Gwen struggles with whether or not to bring a man into her son Alec’s life, since his father was married to someone else and was abusive to her before he died in a drunk driving accident.
But when Gwen gets a flat tire and receives help from Ed Baker (Drew Waters), she throws her logic out the window and goes on a date. As you’ll see, Gwen can really pick ‘em. Even when Ed shows up wearing a black polo shirt tucked into khakis (shudder), she’s positively smitten. Too bad she doesn’t see that he gets in his car afterward and calls his wife. If only Lifetime ladies could see what we could see, things would be so much easier.
Meanwhile, Gwen’s husky-voiced BFF Sidney (Natalia Cigliuti) babysits Alec and takes the opportunity to photograph a few kitchen knives and the soles of Gwen’s shoes. Just normal stuff you do when you’re in your friend’s home. It’s not at all so she can frame her for murder or anything. Why would you even suggest that?
Gwen’s mother Ellen (Eleese Lester), who should have just been named Voice of Reason, is concerned that Ed will just turn out like all her other boyfriends. Even though Gwen appears to be a full-grown woman, she whines that her mom should stop judging her and let her date whatever assholes she wants to date. “Look how that’s turned out for you,” her mom mutters under her breath, as I make a mental note to send her a Favorite Character trophy as soon as the movie’s over.
So remember earlier when I said Sidney wasn’t framing Gwen for murder? Haha, I was just kidding. I can’t believe you fell for that. Just like I can’t believe Gwen has no idea that her best friend is plotting against her. Turns out the “preacher’s mistress” can refer to either Gwen or Sidney. That’s right, Sidney’s sleeping with the preacher and they’re working together to frame Sidney for his rich wife’s murder so they can take all her money and be together. Since Sidney just bought knives and running shoes exactly like Gwen’s, I’d say that’s happening very soon. Either that or she just really admired those knives and running shoes and wanted some of her own.
The preacher’s wife isn’t silent about all this either. After complaining that he spends too much time staying late at the church (“Talk to Him, not me,” Ed actually says, pointing up), Kelly Baker (Julia Barnett) hires a P.I. – Lifetime’s favoritest career — to follow him. He lets her know that Ed and Gwen are hooking up, and Kelly shockingly doesn’t take it too well. This really sets Sidney and Ed’s evil plan in motion.
Sidney seems to have ESPN or something, because she is able to perfectly predict how the people she’s manipulating will react in any situation. Case in point: she sends a church pamphlet to Ellen’s house knowing that Ellen will drag Gwen to a service so she can see firsthand that Ed lied to her. Motive for murder? Check. I can totally see why Ed lied to her though. As Lifetime has already established, preachers are the worst.
Sidney finally gets around to stabbing Kelly, and all the evidence points a big judgey finger directly at Gwen. The knife, the shoe marks, some hair Ed stole from her brush, the fact that Sidney hacked into her phone and sent an incriminating text from the scene, the fact that she and Ed were having an affair, her criminal history from the time she was wrongly arrested for hitting her abusive boyfriend with a bat. As you can see, Gwen’s not in the best shape. Even when her mom gets the wife’s P.I. David Wyatt (Bryan Mitchell) to help them, Gwen is pretty much completely screwed.
But wait! What’s that in the distance? Could it be a Lifetime villain totally ruining their chances at getting away with stuff by confessing their evil motives? Why, I think it is. This week’s villain in question is Sidney, who admits to Gwen that not only has she been a sucky best friend, but she did all this not just to be with Ed but also because her brother was Gwen’s abusive ex-boyfriend, and she somehow blames her for his self-inflicted drunk driving death. As we’ve learned from Dina Lohan, sometimes it’s other people’s faults that you get wasted before getting behind the wheel. Sidney drugs Gwen when she sleeps over at her house and hisses my single favorite Lifetime villain line ever: “Bitch, those were my favorite sweatpants.”
Luckily the P.I. shows up just in time for him and Gwen to defeat Sidney and Ed with some very fake-looking punches with very fake sound effects, as well as some intense stabbing. Ed dies and Sidney suffers a gruesome foot wound, but not before P.I. Wyatt gets shot. Luckily he recovers just in time to date Gwen. Aw, that guy who put a recording device outside her window without her knowledge seems like such a sweet, trustworthy guy.