In 1980, Sidney Sheldon wrote a best-selling novel that would also become a popular mini-series: Rage of Angels.
Focusing on lead character Jennifer Parker, a young assistant district attorney, Sheldon shows a naive woman who as her office is investigating Mafia boss Michel Moretti, makes a mistake to allow him to escape the net of the police.
Parker gets fired and is soon grilled by lawyer Adam Warner, who not only realizes she is innocent of helping Moretti, but that he is attracted to her. Meanwhile Moretti wants to make Parker a mob lawyer and also finds himself attracted to her.
Parker begins an affair with Warner, who is unhappily married, and finds out his wife Mary Beth wants him to run for the Senate. She confronts Jennifer, convincing her that she would harm his career as a politician and tells Warner she is pregnant. Meanwhile Parker breaks it off with Warner and finds out she is pregnant with Warner’s child.
Vulnerable to Moretti, Parker raises her son without Warner’s knowledge and is soon dragged into Moretti’s world, and becomes his lover. But Moretti’s distrust of her despite her use of him to help retrieve her son after a kidnapping leads to the love triangle once again of Moretti, Parker and Warner.
Published by William Morrow, the book’s success and the established career of Sheldon lead to the book becoming a television mini-series in February 1983, starring Jaclyn Smith, Ken Howard and Armand Assante.
Although highly-rated, the mini-series was high drama and cliffhangers, and ended with the protagonist not getting the good guy in the end.
As the King of the Potboiler, Sheldon’s atypical style to focus on a strong female character, her relationships and a healthy dose of drama made for a popular book and mini-series.