Donna Germaine is the main antagonist of the 2005 Lifetime movie The Perfect Neighbor.
She was portrayed by Barbara Niven.
Donna had a close relationship with her father as a child, as evidenced by her many memories of them. However, when her mother began to suspect her father was cheating, it caused a strain in their marriage that led him to leave the house. This devastated Donna and led her to resent her mother, who later died when she slipped and hit her head while drunk.
This trauma spread to Donna's adult life, particularly in her romantic life. It appears she gained a penchant for starting relationship with married men, as when we first see her, she's thinking back to her relationship with a married lover. When he tells her that he plans to stay with his wife, Donna snaps and stabs him to death. After disposing of his body, she moves back to her hometown to "start fresh".
Events of The Perfect Neighbor
When Donna moves back to her hometown, she moves in with her Aunt Grace, who is now living in Donna's childhood home. She reveals on the drive home that she had had financial troubles, which contributed to her return home. When they get to the house, Donna first meets two members of neighboring family the Costigans, Jeannie and her young daughter Trish. Grace also speaks of William, the father and husband of her family, describing him as "smart, charming, and handsome".
When Donna enters the home, she goes to the study and is shocked to see the same furniture from when she was a child. She reminisces to Grace about her memories with her father before scowling and saying her mother had driven him away. Grace tries to defend her sister, but this causes Donna to snap at her, saying she doesn't know anything about it. She immediately apologizes, which Grace accepts. She goes into Grace's office (as she works with the WBGC TV station William operates) and recognizes the desk as well. She opens a drawer and is surprised to find a gun, which Grace bought after insistence that she needed it as a woman living alone.
The next day, Donna and Grace go to the Costigans' home for a barbecue. After meeting up with Jeannie, they take notice of an attractive young woman with William on the patio, who Jeannie identifies as Ashley, William's new co-worker. Donna is instantly taken with William and also strikes up a quick friendship with Trish. She takes Donna to show her her doll collection, and Donna stares at William longingly from the bedroom window as they play.
The two go downstairs to get something to drink and, as Trish looks through the fridge, Donna notices Ashley talking with William, seemingly flirting with him. With Trish distracted, Donna smashes a glass in the sink and cuts herself with a shard. William mends her wound, much to Donna's delight. When she returns home with Grace, they discuss Ashley, with Grace being disgusted at how flirtatious Ashley seemed to be towards William. She also reveals how William and Jeannie went through a rough patch a few years back, with rumors saying it was because William was unfaithful. As Grace gets ready for bed, Donna goes to the website for William's TV station and prints out a picture of him. Grace comes in, almost catching Donna, and reveals that she has a job interview set up for her. That night, Grace has a nightmare about disposing of her former lover, and holds William's picture when she awakes.
The next day, Donna prepares to leave for her interview when Grace mentions how she'll be babysitting Trish that night while Jeannie is out at an appointment in New York. But when Donna gets into her car, she crumples up Grace's directions to the interview, obviously having had no intention to go. She instead sits outside William's TV station for a while before going to a pharmacy. She then goes home and swaps out a bottled tea Grace is drinking with one she dosed with a medication she bought at the pharmacy. Later that night, Grace becomes ill and Donna goes to babysit Trish without her.
That night, after putting Trish to bed, Donna looks around William and Jeannie's bedroom, even going as far as to feel his clothing and look through old photographs. Meanwhile, Grace is finding out that Donna didn't go to her interview as she said she had and also finds out through her computer's search history that Donna looked up William's studio. She also is able to find the picture she printed out in Donna's bedside table. When William comes home unexpected, Donna quickly cleans up and goes out to meet him. They talk for a bit and Donna convinces William to let her fix him some dinner. They eat together and talk, but they are interrupted by Jeannie arriving home. William then walks Donna home, where Donna hugs him goodnight. Grace witnesses this from Donna's bedroom window.
When Donna comes into the house, Grace confronts her about her lies, the photograph she found, and about the hug with William. Donna then becomes furious, telling Grace what she does isn't her business and shoving her out of her room. Grace tries to calm Donna down, but she just becomes angrier and shoves Grace down the stairs, killing her. She then monologues about how her mother drove her father away with her constant accusations and how she came to hate her mother after her father walked out. After she calls an ambulance, William and Jeannie come over and offer to let Donna stay with them for a few days. Donna accepts. She then gets a hug from William, which she greatly reciprocates. Later that night, Donna glares at a sleeping Jeannie and William.
After Grace's funeral, William tells Donna about a job opportunity at WGBC, which Donna accepts. After her first day, she goes to William to express her gratitude, but is interrupted when William gets a phone call and calls Ashley into his office. Later, Donna goes to the station and looks through folders to find out more about a conference she had heard William and Ashley went to together. She finds documents of reservations that seem to indicate William and Ashley were intimate, angering her. She is almost discovered by an employee, but hides before she is found.
While out for dinner with Jeannie and a woman from work, Donna talks about how she unknowingly got involved with a married man, who lied and told her he and his wife were separating, clearly trying to plant seeds of doubt in Jeannie's mind. Jeannie then reveals that she plans to take William to the theatre for his birthday. That night, Donna goes into the office late at night and looks through William's planner. At home, she then goes about faking an online diary for Ashley, making it appear she is attracted to William.
Donna then changes a dinner meeting William had with a client to the night of Jeannie's theatre plans, forcing him to miss them. Donna then goes to Jeannie to talk over tea, where she airs out her concerns with her marriage with William. Donna reveals how William had Ashley come to the dinner, which upsets Jeannie and causes a fight between her and William, in which she reveals the rumors of William's infidelity are true. Elsewhere, Donna is cutting Jeannie out of a photo of her and William.
At work the next day, Donna steals Ashley's house keys and gets a copy of them made at a shop. She then breaks into her condo and plants the faked diary, several framed photos of William, and some of his clothing there to make it appear as though the two were involved. That night, as Ashley arrives home, Donna surprises her in the parking lot and kills her by hitting her in the head with a tire iron. She then takes her wallet to make it look like a robbery gone bad.
After Ashley's death, the police question William, having found the evidence Donna planted that makes it look like William was having an affair with her. William vehemently denies that he ever was involved with Ashley or that she had romantic feelings of him. William then confides this in Donna, who feigns surprise.
That night, William reveals the police's discoveries to Jeannie, who is upset and angered at the implications and the revelation that William lied about not going on a Chicago trip with Ashley. Despite his pleas of innocence, Jeannie decides she can't go through any more pain and leaves with Trish to go stay with a friend. Devastated, William begins to confide more in Donna, much to her pleasure.
One night, after work, Donna hitches a ride home with William after claiming her car wouldn't start. When they get back, Donna invites William over to her house for dinner, which William accepts. Over dinner, Donna acts more openly flirtatious. Jeannie tries to call William on his cell phone, but Donna turns it off. As William sits in the living room after dinner, Jeannie gives him a shoulder massage, now very much open about her desire for him. When William catches on, he tries to leave, but Donna insists he stay. Donna then admits her feelings for William and begins to kiss him, but William refuses and proclaims his love for Jeannie. Donna begs for forgiveness, delusionally believing William was acting this way only because she picked the wrong time to confess her feelings. William then rushes away after getting Jeannie's voicemail saying that Trish was sick, having become worried sick due to her parents' latest falling out.
Later that night, Jeannie and William return home with Trish. After putting her to bed, Jeannie goes downstairs and is shocked to find Donna waiting for her. She scolds Jeannie for coming back and tells her that she didn't belong there anymore, claiming William loved her and that she, William, and Trish were going to be a family now. Jeannie orders Donna to get out, but Donna then pulls out the gun from Grace's office and tries to use it to force Jeannie to leave. William then walks in and Donna tries to get him to tell her about their "affair" and that she has to leave. William tries to get Donna to put the gun, but Donna persists as her delusions become more and more clear. Jeannie tries to play along and act as though she'll leave, but Donna senses their insincerity and tells William she worked too hard for their relationship to let Jeannie tear them apart.
Just as Donna prepares to shoot Jeannie, Jeannie grabs the gun, causing it to go off and shoot William in the leg. Jeannie and Donna get into a brief struggle before Donna throws her to the ground and runs. Jeannie picks up the discarded gun and checks on William before going after Donna. Trish comes out of her room and sees her wounded father, who tells her to go to their bedroom and call 911. Jeannie searches the house and finds the back door open, Donna having seemingly run away. But after she closes the door and turns around, she shrieks as Donna runs at her with a knife. Jeannie shoots her with the gun, causing her to fall the ground. As she dies, she tells Jeannie that William was hers, but that he "didn't love her enough to stay".