Not long after leaving her job as a Fulton County prosecutor, Nancy Grace began writing a book loosely based on her experiences. “I was in withdrawal,” Grace said. “I missed the office.”
Hailey Dean, the protagonist in her novel “Eleventh Victim” is also a former prosecutor who moved from Atlanta to New York. Like Grace, she has lived through the violent death of her fiancé. Dean’s life diverges from her creator’s when she becomes a therapist unjustly accused of murdering her patients.
On Saturday, the small-screen adaptation of Grace’s book appears on Lifetime. The Lifetime Original Movie “Eleventh Victim” airs at 8 p.m.
“I still can’t believe it really happened,” Grace said. “A lot of times I was in New York all by myself I would be watching Lifetime. I never imagined I would have a movie on Lifetime.”
The HLN host serves as executive producer for the film and played a small cameo role. It stars her fellow “Dancing With the Stars” alums Jennie Garth as Dean, and Metta World Peace as a detective.
“I had a blast doing the movie,” Grace said. “I’m just so thrilled.”
As her fans (and detractors) know, Grace is not one to mince words when discussing sensational cases and how they’ve been handled. She refers to Casey Anthony as “Tot Mom” and reacted with indignation when Anthony was found not guilty of murder in the death of her daughter Caylee. Grace’s reaction to Michael Skakel’s defamation lawsuit against her? “I really don’t know how a convicted killer can claim his reputation’s been hurt.”
Convicted in 2002 of murdering Martha Moxley, Skakel filed suit just before a parole hearing last month, saying Grace “defamed him in comments about evidence in the 1975 murder of which he was convicted,” Courthouse News Service reported.
“That’s quite the coincidence that he brought that up on the day of the (Board of Pardons and Paroles) hearing,” Grace said.
It’s no spoiler to say that “Eleventh Victim” reveals Grace’s lack of love for some judges and defense attorneys she’s known.
“In our justice system I wouldn’t put anything past anybody. I’ve seen judges who were political appointees, who didn’t know the law, that really should not have been on the bench,” she said. “Then on the other hand there are judges who are the finest people I know.”
And defense attorneys? “Come on, you lay down with the dog, you get up with fleas,” she said.
No one who’s encountered Grace in a courtroom should look for him or herself in “Eleventh Victim,” though.
“I will say that while no character is an actual person, they are all patterned after people that I know,” Grace said, then added, “It was a little bit of a get-back. Not that they care.”