‘A Season In Purgatory’: True Story Lifetime Movie Loosely Inspired By Martha Moxley’s Murder


A Season In Purgatory,‘ based on Dominick Dunne’s book by the same title, was inspired by the true story of Martha Moxley and Michael Skakel. It premiered on television as a CBS mini-series in 1996. A Season in Purgatory stars Patrick Dempsey, Brian Dennehy, Sherilyn Fenn and Craig Sheffer. In a recent turn of events, Michael Skakel’s conviction was overturned, according to The Crime Report.



Plot: When a pretty, blond teen disappears from her home after spending time with two male friends in 1975 and is later found only yards from her Greenwich home, police believe a golf club might be the key to solving the crime.



Movies Based on True Stories: A Season In Purgatory

Directed by David Greene and written by Robert W. Lenski, ” A Season In Purgatory” is a dramatic account that follows the case of Harrison Burns, an attractive man who knows a horrifying secret: A young teen was murdered one night long ago, and the person responsible is a family friend from a prominent, political family. The movie weaves through a complicated cover-up that deeply disturbs Harrison Burns. Will he keep the family secret or will he break?




At the time the novel was written, and at the time the movie premiered in 1996, few people knew it was based on the Michael Skakel-Martha Moxley case.

Unsolved for decades, Michael Skakel was eventually arrested and convicted of the murder. A judge overturned the conviction in May of 2018. There is another movie based on this same case entitled “Murder In Greenwich.


[Main Image via Lifetime/Permission Use Granted]

Traciy Curry-Reyes

Traciy Curry-Reyes is the founder and editor-in-chief of TV Crime Sky. She began her career as a true crime & entertainment freelance writer in the 1990's for her website, The Movies Based on True Stories Database/Archives. She has contributed content to other websites, such as Examiner.com and Inquisitr.com. Traciy also appears as a true-crime expert and commentator on TV One's Fatal Attraction, For My Man, and Justice by Any Means; Investigation Discovery's Murder Calls and Scorned; Oxygen's Snapped; FOX's Crime Watch Daily; and Lifetime Television's Killer Kids.