Dr. Albert Beck is back!
Albert Beck is the character at the center of one of Lifetime’s most successful franchises, the Stalked By My Doctor films. First introduced six years ago in the original Stalked By My Doctor, Albert Beck is a brilliant surgeon who also has a bad habit of growing obsessed with his patients, especially if they’re teenage girls. Dr. Beck tends to fantasize that his patients are in love with him and then he goes out of his way to “protect” them. This usually means kidnapping them and attempting to murder everyone else in their life. Since his first appearance, Dr. Beck has gone from being a world-renowned surgeon to being a fugitive from justice to being a patient in a mental hospital. Just as surely as you can depend on Dr. Beck to fall in love with any teenage girl with a heart murmur, you can also depend on him to always manage to escape confinement. Along the way, Dr. Beck has also developed an alter ego — Laid Back Beck. Laid Back Beck wears Hawaiian shirts, sips tropical drinks, and is always taunting Dr. Beck about his lack of success when it comes to finding love. Of course, only Dr. Beck can see and hear Laid Back Beck.
Of course, what truly sets Dr. Beck apart from other Lifetime obsessive stalker-types is that he’s played by Eric Roberts. In fact, Eric Roberts has become, late in his career, quite a popular figure with Lifetime movie fans, largely due to his performances as Dr. Beck and his appearances in a number of other Lifetime films. (Most of those non-Dr. Beck appearances have only been cameos but still, any film with Eric Roberts is going to be better than a film without Eric Roberts.) From the very first film, Roberts has been wonderfully over-the-top as Dr. Beck, playing him with just the right combination of mad sincerity, overwhelming self-pity, and self-awareness. Everything about Roberts’s performance, from his nervous smile to the rushed way he starts to speak whenever he meets someone who he feels need to be protected, comes together to make Dr. Beck into one of the most memorable and dangerous villains to ever appear in a Lifetime film. And yet, because he is so painfully needy and so convinced that he’s doing the right thing, it’s hard not to occasionally feel a little bit of sympathy for Dr. Beck. He may be a murderer but, in his mind, he’s only trying to fix a broken heart. Several broken hearts, as a matter of fact!
Just What The Doctor Ordered, the fifth film to feature the good doctor, finds Beck escaping from yet another mental institution. This time, he hides out in what he thinks is an abandoned house. However, it turns out that the house has recently been bought by Maggie Newell (Carrie Schroeder) and soon, Dr. Beck has fallen in love with Maggie’s teenage daughter, Alexa (Grace Patterson). And wouldn’t you know it — Alexa needs a heart transplant! Soon, Dr. Beck is disguising himself as a nurse and taking a very active interest in tracking down the perfect heart donor for Alexa.
And, you know what? It’s fun. Yes, you’ll be able to guess what’s going to happen but, as I’ve said before, that’s actually one of the fun things about watching a Lifetime film. As with the previous Stalked By My Doctor films, the main attraction here is Eric Roberts, chewing up the scenery and having violent fantasies about killing Alexa’s boyfriend while Alexa sweetly smiles and thanks him for protecting her. His search for a proper heart donor takes him to some unexpected places, particularly when he meets a police detective who appears to use her handcuffs for more than just arresting perps. Dr. Beck has been through a lot and he spends a good deal of Just What The Doctor Ordered looking a bit worse for wear. (Setting fire to a mental institution and then hiding in an attic for several weeks will do that to you.) But still, Eric Roberts’s unique charisma shines through. By the end of the film, you’ll eagerly be waiting to see what future adventures Albert Beck and his laid back alter ego have ahead of them!