On January 13, 2003, Susan Lucille Wyche Wright put on a silk bathrobe and seduced her husband to their bedroom with promises of kinky sex. Setting a romantic scene with candles and champagne, Susan convinced her husband to allow her to tie him to the bed. As he anxiously awaited the fun to begin, Susan pulled a knife from a drawer, where she had stashed it earlier in the day, and stabbed him over and over and over again.
None of the wounds were fatal. The man Susan had promised to love and honor, the father of her children, died a slow, agonizing death as he body simply bled out.
After Jeffrey Wright was dead, Susan drug his body out to the backyard and buried him a hole Jeff had dug with the intent to install a fountain. Then she went to work trying to clean up the blood from the bedroom.
Juggling two small children, a curious dog, and friends and family inquiries about Jeff’s whereabouts proved too much for Susan and eventually she told her mother what she had done.
What possesses a woman to seduce her husband with the intent to kill him so violently?
If you read Eric Francis’ book A Wife’s Revenge, you know Susan’s claims of emotional and physical violence was at the heart of her defense. But because no reports of domestic violence were made with police until after Jeff had died, many question whether this was just part of Susan’s plan to get away with murder and collect on a $200,000 life insurance policy the couple had recently taken out.
On March 3, 2012, Lifetime premiered Blue-Eyed Butcher, a true story movie based on the Susan Wright case. After seeing the previews, I wasn’t too excited. Right away I could tell they’d prettied things up a little too much for me. So I set the DVR and, a few days later, I gave in.
First thing I noticed is the producers really softened Susan by using Sara Paxton for her role. The real Susan Wright suffers from acne scarring and has a longer, harsher looking face than Paxton. But, hey, it’s television – right? Right.
But not only was Susan’s looks softened with a much prettier actor, but so was her personality. In Blue-Eyed Butcher, Susan Wright is dainty, naive, and very obedient of her husband. The real life “Sus” is anything but.
Justin Bruening, playing the role of Jeff, is pretty good at his role. He plays the role of a handsome single guy who falls in love with the blue-eyed blonde then becomes the jackass husband after the babies are born.
Yet the real star of this movie is former House star Lisa Edelstein who plays Kelly Siegler, a no-nonsense female ADA who finds Susan’s story of self-defense to be complete and utter hogwash. Edelstein does a fantastic job of taking on Siegler’s persona and flair for courtroom dramatics, doing everything but outright calling Susan a liar to her face while she’s on the stand.
Okay, characters and roles aside… Blue-Eyed Beauty, as I said, is a prettied-up version of actual events. The overall sense is Susan was bullied and beaten until she had no other choice but to kill – until some of the final scenes, where some of her deviousness comes to light. But, I know first hand how deeply some folks got so wrapped-up in the first portion of the movie that they failed to see the truth revealed at the end. Quite frankly, maybe I was jaded because I’m very familiar with the real story, but I never saw anything to ever indicate Jeff was so brutal that murder, versus divorce, was the only way out – in this movie nor the book.
So let me sum it up like this: Blue-Eyed Beauty is okay for the entertainment factor, but sucks if you want the a movie that depicts everything as it actually was. If the latter’s more your thing, definitely read the book instead.
But, hey, that’s the different between movies and documentaries – right? Right, again.