Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Fatal Attraction Murder Case

The Movie

Fatal Attraction poster
Fatal Attraction poster

Every married man in America who had ever thought of dallying with a woman other than his wife must have trembled in his socks when he saw it. The film Fatal Attraction debuted in the summer of 1987 and became an immediate commercial success. It was directed by Adrian Lyne, of Flashdance fame and starred Michael Douglas as Dan Gallagher, the beleaguered and unfortunate husband. Dan was married to Beth Gallagher, the attractive, loyal wife played by Anne Archer. The maniacal mistress, Alex Forrest, so perfectly played by actress Glenn Close, was every Lothario's worst scenario come true.

They first meet at a corporate party where Alex was a guest of a mutual friend. Luckily, Gallagher's wife is away on a business trip of her own. They hit it off from the very start and by the end of the night, Gallagher takes Alex to her apartment. In her kitchen, they have an intense sexual union, which leaves them both wanting more.

But soon, things begin to go wrong. Alex becomes possessive, vindictive and demands more of Gallagher's time, which he is unwilling to give. She continually calls him at his job and engages him in long conversations, which usually end in screaming matches. Dan Gallagher attempts to break off the relationship but Alex doesn't cooperate. She carries on as if they are still a couple, calls him at home and makes her one-sided plans for the future. Gallagher finally goes to the police when he realizes that she is out of control.

Finally, Alex manages to get into Gallagher's home where she attempts to murder his wife with a huge kitchen knife. A few minutes later, Beth Gallagher shoots Alex as she is about to kill her husband. When the film ended, America's married men breathed a little easier. Until January 1989, when a real life "Fatal Attraction" broke into the headlines. Only this time, it was no movie.

This time, it was all too real.

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