Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Before the hotly contested Presidential Election of 2000, no news story of that year so fully consumed the consciousness of the American public as the saga of Elian Gonzalez. Five years old when he and his mother escaped from Cuba to Florida (an ordeal that claimed his mother's life), Elian (Alec Roberts) was installed in the Miami house of his relatives. Though that seemed to be the end of the story, Elian's father Juan Gonzalez (Esai Morales), still living in Cuba and still loyal to the Castro regime, launched a legal campaign to have his son returned to him. As the whole world knows, the Gonzalez matter was settled by the U.S. government, with a dramatic denouement in the dead of night as Federal agents broke down the door of his Florida family's home and plucked Elian from his bedroom-closet hiding place. Rather than debate or draw conclusions from the issues raised by this volatile incident, Dennis Turner, the writer of this made-for-cable docudrama, has concocted an evenly balanced teleplay in which, true to the complexity of the situation, there are no heroes or villains. Clearly filmed in haste (though compelling in its own slapdash way), A Family in Crisis: The Elian Gonzalez Story premiered September 17, 2000, over the Family Channel.