A Gun in the House
When Stockard Channing agreed to co-produce the made-for-TV Gun in the House, she fully intended to play the leading role of Emily Cates herself. But schedule conflicts intervened, and Channing was forced to relinquish the role to Sally Struthers, who was quite good. Attacked in her home by two male assailants, Emily Cates grabs a handgun and shoots and kills one of the intruders. Alas, the police find no evidence that Emily was in fact attacked--nor do they discern any need for excessive force. As a result, Emily is arrested like a common criminal and charged with murder--targeted as an "example" to other would-be gun owners by politically ambitious DA Lance Kessler (Jeffrey Tambor). The Stephen Zito-James M. Miller teleplay takes an inordinately melodramatic approach to the film's provocative subject matter, offering cut-and-dried hero and villain types and occasionally illogical plot twists. Still, Gun in the House has remained food for thought ever since its February 11, 1981 debut.