The Wrong Stepfather (2020 Lifetime)

The Wrong Stepfather (2020 Lifetime)

Cast:  Vivica A. FoxCorin NemecSydney MalakehKrista Allen

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Synopsis (via Lifetime)

High school Principal, Ellen, thinks things are improving for best friend/teacher, Karen, after meeting a new college advisor, the charming Craig Green. And yet, something seems off as their relationship moves fast into an engagement, and suddenly, Karen’s daughter’s problems magically disappear. Suspicions slowly evolve into real fear when Karen thinks Craig might be the wrong stepfather for her daughter.


A car is driving along a winding road and pulls into a garage. The woman inside gets a call and seems frustrated over a man she is trying to end things with. The garage opens, and the woman screams, “Why won’t you leave me alone! You are never going to be my son’s stepfather!” Then she is stabbed.

Ms. Vivica A Fox plays a principal in this “Wrong” movie. She lectures Sarah and her friend Darby for online bullying on a social media site called The Circle. Sarah’s mom is also a teacher at the school, Mrs. Woodley. (Played by Krista Allen.) 

Mrs. Woodley is going through a divorce with her ex, Bill, and the new man she is dating is a college admission counselor named Craig. Craig is in anger management therapy and working through his unusual desire to be a stepfather. (He was arrested for causing a scene at his ex-wife’s funeral.) Sarah’s mother sets up a meeting with Craig, and Sarah is annoyed. She doesn’t care about college or her grades. Sarah tries to manipulate her English teacher, Mr. Crane, into giving her a better grade. He flat out tells her no.

At the meeting with Craig, Mrs. Woodley. (Is Krista Allen getting a name in this movie?) Sarah storms in angry about her conversation with the professor. Mrs. Woodley talks to her daughter while Craig bugs the house. He listens in to their conversation and then stalks Sarah on The Circle. 

Craig confronts Mr. Crane and threatens him and makes a case for Sarah. Craig blackmails Mr. Crane, who was fired from a university for an inappropriate relationship with a teacher’s aid. Then Craig goes home and listens to Sarah and her mother talking. The connection is lost, and he screams, “Noooooo!”

Mr. Crane changes Sarah’s English paper grade and is very apologetic to her. Sarah (in a very 90’s high pony) is surprised he changed his stance. Sarah tells her mother about the grade change, and Mrs. Woodley is very thankful. She even tanks Mr. Crane at school the next day. Mr. Crane decides to look into Craig’s past and learns of his criminal history. He makes the mistake of confronting Craig at his home and is killed by a Buddha statue. (Namaste.)

Mrs. Woodley goes out on a date with Craig, where they drink wine and talk about Sarah. (This man is obsessed.) The date goes so well that she decides to marry him after only knowing him for two weeks. (AND WE DIDN’T EVEN GET A PROPOSAL?!?)

Ms. Vivica is back and SINGING! She is thrilled that Mrs. Woodley is engaged. Then she tells her about a note that was left by Mr. Crane explaining his sudden disappearance. 

Sarah is NOT excited about her new stepfather and continues to act like a brat. (Even if she is correct about him, she is just unlikeable.) Mrs. Woodley tries to get Sarah to bond with Craig, but you know what they say, “You can’t…” (I don’t know what they say.) Sarah sneaks into Craig’s bathroom and takes photos of his medications, and then she looks through files and finds an edited college essay. Sarah screams at Craig, much to the horror of her mother.

Sarah isn’t just freaking out on Craig. She slaps Jason when some information about Sarah is leaked on The Circle. The slap is filmed by Marissa and posted online. Ms. Vivica has no choice but to suspend Sarah from school for two days. Mrs. Vivica tells Mrs. Woodley not to be too hard on Sarah and blame social media. 

Craig and Sarah have a moment together. He apologizes for tweaking the essay and says he was just trying to help. Sarah tells him that it doesn’t matter anymore because the suspension is going to be on her official transcripts. Craig promises to take care of it. 

Sarah is triggered and searches online with her friend Darby. They find a reference of Craig’s, and the person writing recommendation sounds similar to Sarah. On her way home, Sarah is chased by someone. Whatever, it doesn’t matter. The next day Sarah calls the reference who is short with Sarah and asks her not to call again. Sarah talks to another victim and learns that Craig is dangerous and manipulative. 

When Sarah talks to her mother about Craig and mentions, he is on antipsychotic medication. Mrs. Woodley tells her daughter not to be so judgemental. Craig is just trying to help, I mean he rigs Marissa’s car to crash and die because he loves Sarah! No cares when Marissa dies, but Sarah looks into the crash and sees the breaks failed. She finds a similar accident with his ex-wife and knows he is responsible. 

Craig sees the computer that Sarah was working on and knows that she is onto him. That doesn’t really matter because Sarah gets Ms. Vivica on the case. (I know she is just a principal, but Ms. Vivica always handles her business.) 

Mrs. Woodley is concerned about her daughter and tries to call her. While she steps away for a moment, Craig drugs her wine. (Which is rude to wine.) Mrs. Woodley (still unnamed unless I am mistaken no one has said her first name.) starts to feel ill, and Craig lays her down on the couch and “takes care” of her. (Not like killer her, but get her out of the way.) 

Sarah is alone in her room and goes downstairs for a snack. Her phone goes missing. Craig sneaks up behind Sarah with her phone. When she tells him he is crazy. He says he isn’t and only wants a family. The teenage daughter always ruins his plans when they look into his past, and Sarah is no exception. He is planning on staging a suicide for Sarah. She locks herself in the upstairs bedroom and runs to the balcony. Jason just happens to be outside, and they react Romeo and Juliet. (Or she asks him to help her.)

Craig breaks into the room and sees Jason downstairs. He searches the room for Sarah, who is hiding under the bed. Jason runs into the room, hit Craig in the head, and sends him flying over the balcony. Craig falls but disappears. 

Ms. Vivica tells Mrs. Woodley and Sarah, “One things for certain, Craig Green can’t hurt anyone again. He was THE WRONG STEPFATHER.”

He will though—this time in a newsie hat and glasses.

Side Note

Minority Report: Ms. Vivica A. Fox, Sarah, Darby, Trish, Mrs. Christie, Marissa, Susan, 

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Overall rating

🔪🔪 (2 Knives)

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*Photo Credit: © 2020 Lifetime

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  1. Mrs Woodleys name was Karen! Craig said it to Mr Crane. He said ‘I am going to marry Karen Woodley’ don’t think it was said before of after! Love your recaps ❤️

  2. Interesting story. I wish the mom had not been so clueless and quick to rush the relationship and invite this man into their home. And I wish more honor was given to the teacher who was killed, too many of the Lifetime movies never properly remember the victims. And I hate that Craig got away, I find it distressing that in so many of these movies, the villain survives to go on and repeat their crimes. Saying this, a fun movie to watch.

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