Sunday, October 09, 2005

The story of BTK is now a "made-for-tv" movie

It had to happen sooner or later: the story about how Dennis Rader killed 10 people and eluded law enforcement for more than 30 years has been made into a television movie that is supposed to air tonight on CBS (8 p.m. Central time).

Gregg Henry, the man chosen to portray Rader, has an extensive history of acting in made-for-tv dramas based on real events. His resume includes such titles as "Victim of Love: The Story of Shannon Mohr," "When Love Kills: The Seduction of John Hearn," and "The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom." (I guess I must have missed that last story.)

A note to viewers, as told by the Wichita Eagle: Chief Detective Jason Magida and Detective Ellen Bains are not real names of anyone involved in the investigation, although they "are composites of all the law enforcement officers who worked on the case over the decades." (Courtesy The Wichita Eagle, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2005, p. 4E, from p. 1E)

I like one of the paraphrases that was made of something Henry said about his real-life counterpart, Dennis Rader: "Some actors playing bad buys say villains don't think of themselves as villains, so the actors look inside the role for some likable or relatable personality element to build upon. Henry said that wasn't possible with Rader because he couldn't find anything redeemable."

Also, if you watch, keep in mind that none of the call letters for Wichita television stations are accurate: they were all made up for the sake of the movie, which, by the way, was filmed not in Wichita, but in Canada. For the record, our NBC station is KSNW, ABC is KAKE, CBS is KWCH, and Fox is KSAS. I'm not sure if that will help or not because, obviously, I'm posting prior to the program.

The true appearance of Henry is of a blonde-haired, blue-eyed man with thick eyebrows and sideburns, which make his face appear less full than in the television movie. He resides in Los Angeles, a place that also noted correspondences after BTK's reappearance in Wichita. He told the Wichita Eagle that he "became well aware of BTK."

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