Former Joliet Herald-News reporter Joe Hosey spent months with Drew Peterson while writing Fatal Vows (Phoenix Books, 2008). It details the peculiar death (eventually ruled a homicide) of the former Bolingbrook police sergeant’s third wife, Kathleen Savio, and the mysterious disappearance of his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson. Having fed the book through its made-for-TV-movie machine, Lifetime airs Drew Peterson: Untouchable Saturday 21 at 7pm. A few miles from the Will County Adult Detention Center in Joliet, where Peterson is awaiting trial for the murder of Savio, Hosey, now an editor with the online Shorewood Patch, did a little fact-checking of the film.
Lifetime’s version Former Brat Packer Rob Lowe stars as Drew.
Hosey says “Even after nine hours of makeup, Lowe’s still too handsome. Drew’s not a good-looking guy at all.”
Lifetime’s version While still married to Savio, Drew meets Stacy when he heroically responds to a 911 call at the hotel where she works.
Hosey says “Drew’s partner was trying to get with another employee of the hotel—and Stacy was extra incentive to go.”
Lifetime’s version At the urging of his editor, Hosey starts covering the Peterson case.
Hosey says “My editor didn’t care. On a number of occasions, he tried to take me off so I could go cover, like, village board meetings.”
Lifetime’s version Drew is lovingly making eggs for his kids when Hosey first enters Drew’s house for an interview.
Hosey says “I’d say he had total disregard for [his kids] and their feelings. He’d call them in to talk to me, usually to bolster his alibis. Meanwhile, Fox News would be on the living-room TV with Geraldo saying, ‘That murderer!’ and showing pictures of Kathleen and Stacy.”
Lifetime’s version At an ornate cathedral, Stacy meets with her wise, old pastor, Neil Schori, and confides Drew told her he killed Savio.
Hosey says “This happened, but their meetings took place at a Caribou Coffee. And Schori is in his thirties. Drew would accuse Stacy of ‘sexying up’ for the pastor.”
Lifetime’s version A female news reporter asks Drew, “Do you plan on joining the search to find [Stacy]?” He replies, “You are sooo hot!”
Hosey says “I felt I was at a weird advantage as a journalist because none of the women reporters wanted to go inside his house. They’d get inside, and Drew would be so over-the-top with his come-ons.”
Lifetime’s version Drew, a self-proclaimed “media sensation,” is pumped to get a call from Today.
Hosey says “He loved the attention. He’d go to all these crummy bars out in Bolingbrook and act like he was George Clooney, hitting on women.”
Lifetime’s version In the movie’s definitive scene, creepy Drew uses a garage remote to open and close the door of neighbor Sharon Bychowski, Stacy’s confidant. Then he delivers the titular line: “I’m untouchable, bitch.”
Hosey says “Sharon had given an opener to Stacy. When Drew hit it, Sharon’s door went up. But it wasn’t like he was lurking. It was the middle of the day.”
Lifetime’s version Hosey and Drew pal around at a bar. “He’s an arrogant, misogynistic asshole,” the reporter says in the movie, “but I have fun around him.”
Hosey says “Drew would always say, ‘Let’s go out!’ But I didn’t want to be seen having beers with him. So this never happened. But what can you do? It’s showbiz, man.”