Ken Tucker
January 17, 1992 AT 05:00 AM EST

She Woke Up

TV Show
Current Status
In Season
Lindsay Wagner, David Dukes, Ben Savage, Frances Sternhagen
Mystery and Thriller

We gave it an A-

This is as good as schlock TV-moviemaking gets. Lindsay Wagner stars as Claudia Parr, a ridiculously rich California woman who, before the opening credits of She Woke Up roll, is attacked in her ridiculously large bathtub. A black-hooded intruder leaves her for dead, but Claudia survives, going into a 14-month-long coma only to emerge from it (”Fourteen months? You mean I’ve lost more than a year of my life?”) petrified that her would-be murderer will try again.

Whodunit, and who wants to dunit again? Is it Claudia’s sneery, polo-playing second husband, Sloan (David Dukes, wearing a notably poufy hairdo and a mustache that looks like two sardines kissing)? Is it her chilly stepmother (Frances Sternhagen), a stuffy grouch who can introduce herself to a stranger as ”an Egyptologist and private museum curator” with a perfectly straight face? Is it her sister, Alix (Maureen Mueller, late of Doctor, Doctor), a spoiled-brat sculptor who was playing hide-the-polo-stick with Sloan while Claudia was in her coma?

She Woke Up, written by Claire Labine and directed by Waris Hussein, manages the near-impossible: It’s campy and nerve-rattlingly convincing at the same time. Wagner is serenely good in this superior soap opera thriller, one that doesn’t so much transcend as revitalize the clichés of its genre. A-

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