The Good Father: The Martin MacNeill Story (2021 Lifetime)

The Good Father: The Martin MacNeill Story (2021 Lifetime)

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Cast: Tom Everett Scott, Anwen O’Driscoll, Charisma Carpenter,

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Synopsis (via Lifetime)

The Good Father: The Martin MacNeill Story, its latest ripped from the headlines original movie, starring Tom Everett Scott (13 Reasons Why), Anwen O’Driscoll (Left for Dead: The Ashley Reeves Story) and Charisma Carpenter (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) from executive producer Nancy Grace.

The Good Father is based on the true story of Dr. Martin MacNeill, a Utah doctor whose true nature behind his seemingly perfect persona came to light after the death of his wife. Scott stars as Dr. MacNeill; Carpenter plays his wife, Michele. O’Driscoll portrays his daughter, Alexis who idolized McNeill until she began questioning the circumstances of her mother’s death.(2021)

Recap/Wine Thoughts

The movie begins at a fancy gala where medical student Alexis is presenting her father, Martin MacNeill, with a teacher of the year award. Michele MacNeill, the beautiful wife and mother, is by his side, watching proudly. 

Martin MacNeill appears to be a doting father, medical school marvel, gold pro, and even a veteran. Michele opens up to her daughter that Martin is acting strangely, and she suspects that he is having an affair. Alexis tries to reason with her mother and assures Michele that Martin loves her. Michele isn’t buying it and asks Alexis to access his phone records. 

Alexis begins to notice what her mother is talking about and decides to print off her father’s phone records. She gets out the highlighter and tracks down one number that comes up a lot in the middle of the night. (Like A LOT) Michele is upset and demands that Alexis join her to confront Martin about Gillian Willis. Martin claims that she is a nursing student doing her residency who is renting a property that he owns. He also explains that he has foot cancer, which explains his absences because he has been getting treatment.

Michele seems appeased and dances in the kitchen with Martin. She is still insecure and decides to get a facelift. Martin and Alexis take care of Michele while she recovers, and Martin is heavy on the dolling out the pain pills. He also is MIA during the nights, and Michele’s suspicions return. 

Alexis returns to college, leaving her mother to recover with Martin and their adopted twin daughters. She isn’t gone long before receiving a call from Martin telling her that her mother passed away. She “slipped” in the bathtub and suffered a head wound before drowning. Martin cries as he recalls what happened to his wife. Alexis is bewildered and demands to see the body in the morgue. She apologizes to her mother’s corpse for leaving and then has a (well-acted) breakdown.) Hell of a first act!!!!

With Michele deceased, Alexis takes over as the matriarch of the family. She helps take care of the twins, cleans the house, and works on getting the toxicology report to find out what happened to Michele. Alexis notices Martin becoming increasingly paranoid and learns that Martin has been prescribing ADHD medication to himself using his kid daughter’s name. (These are ALL red flags that Alexis is ignoring.) Martin is insistent on hiring a nanny and doesn’t want Alexis to put her life on hold to take care of the family. 

Aunt Linda shows up, and she is NOT messing around. Linda is Michele’s sister and has always had a bad feeling about Martin. She goes to the police station with a pile of files. At the funeral, Aunt Linda tells Alexis that there are things she doesn’t know about Martin. 

Gypsy, an “old patient” of Martin’s, just happens to be a nanny. Alexis and Martin run into her conveniently, and Martin hires her after checking her references. Gypsy is giving off extreme second-wife vibes and has little interest in children. (Think, Meredith Blake from the Parent Trap.) Alexis does her own investigating and puts together that Gypsy has the same number as the midnight phone calls. Gypsy is Gillian. 

Alexis talks with Aunt Linda, who shares that she looked into the foot cancer, and Martin is faking it. He is a master manipulator and forces Michele to marry him by saying he would kill himself if she didn’t. He has a history of stealing tax IDs and has been in federal prison for tax fraud. Aunt Linda tells Alexis that Martin is charming and dangerous. She gives her the folder of incriminating evidence and implies that Martin killed Michele. It is a lot of Alexis to hear about her father, and she tries to rationalize. Aunt Linda won’t let that happen this time. She doubles down to wake Alexis up. 

Alexis confronts her father and demands that Gypsy leaves the house. Martin kicks Alexis out instead and threatens to call the police and arrest her for trespassing. Alexis is shocked at Martin’s sudden shift and vows to get her daughters out of there. She moves in with Aunt Linda and plots how to protect her sisters. Martin cuts Alexis off and ignores her phone calls until she agrees to let Gypsy stay. 

Back in the house, Alexis has confrontations with Gypsy (Who is a straight-up B!). Martin is unhinged and cries about things in the house, reminding him of Michele. Alexis helps him pack up her stuff, and by helping him, I mean she does it for him. He manipulated her again!!! 

The family goes to Disney World, and on the trip, Martin cops a feel while Alexis is sleeping. (Whaaaaa??!?!) Alexis reports her father for sexual assault and goes to a social worker for help. Then she looks into the death certificate and finds medical proof that her mother was murdered by her father. 

Aunt Linda and Alexis go to the police a create a scene. No one listens. Then Alexis finds out that Martin and Gypsy are attempting to send the adopted kids back to their home country. Alexis demands Martin to sign custody papers giving the children over to her. He not surprisingly agrees because he doesn’t want those kids! 

The twins are traumatized because Martin shows up and threatens them in the middle of the night. They are genuinely afraid of Martin. 

Alexis calls her father and gets him to incriminate himself, admitting to the sexual assault. She has enough evidence to make a case, but Martin’s money causes the charges to be dropped. Alexis does get the court to grant her official guardianship of the girls. 

A hot detective finally takes the evidence/files and brings them to an old man to get him out of retirement. He meets with Aunt Linda and Alexis. They find out that Martin used his daughter’s passport to create a fake identity for Gypsy. The police arrest Gypsy and Martin for identity theft. 

The police reopened Michele’s case, and it is opened as a murder investigation. Alexis testifies in court against her father. Nancy Grace shows up and demands justice. That is what we get. Martin is found guilty of first-degree murder. 

Nancy Grace hosts a post-show documentary about the real-life case. 

Side Note

Minority Report: Police Officer, Social Worker, 

A Ripped From the Headline movie, and the real case is just as wild as the movie.

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*** I’ve updated the rating system moving forward start 7/26/2021. Knives represent # of kills. Wine is over enjoyment (NOT a value judgment) on a 1-5 scale.

 I will use the following tags for those who want to know watch or skip: Pour it Up (Would Recommend) or Put A Cork In It (Would Not Recommend)

Overall rating

Number of Kills: 

🔪🔪 ( 2 Knives, because Martin committed suicide in jail shortly after sentencing.)

Enjoyment Level: 🍷 🍷 🍷🍷🍷 (5 glasses of wine)

*Photo Credit: © 2021 Lifetime® | A+E Networks®

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