|The Deliberate Stranger|
|Based on||The Deliberate Stranger|
by Richard W. Larsen
|Screenplay by||Hesper Anderson|
|Directed by||Marvin J. Chomsky|
|Theme music composer||Gil Mellé|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Executive producer||Malcolm Stuart|
|Producer||Marvin J. Chomsky|
|Cinematography||Michael D. Margulies|
|Running time||188 minutes|
|Production company||Lorimar Productions|
|Distributor||Warner Bros. Television|
|Picture format||Color (Metrocolor)|
The Deliberate Stranger is a book and miniseries about American serial killer Ted Bundy.
Bundy: The Deliberate Stranger was written by Seattle Times reporter Richard W. Larsen and published in 1980. Larsen covered politics for the Times and had interviewed Bundy in 1972, several years before he became a murder suspect, when Bundy worked as a volunteer for the re-election campaign of Gov. Daniel J. Evans and had been seen trailing the campaign of Evans' Democratic opponent with a video camera.
Larsen would go on to cover the "Ted" murders in 1974, when Bundy was first identified as a suspect in Seattle area homicides, and then cover the Ted Bundy story up until Bundy's execution in 1989. Bundy: The Deliberate Stranger was published in paperback in editions as late as 1990 but has since gone out of print.
The Deliberate Stranger was adapted into a two-part television movie originally broadcast on NBC on May 5, 1986. The film, based on Larsen's book, starred Mark Harmon as Bundy. Parts of the film were shot in Salt Lake City and at Utah State Prison as well as Farmington, Utah and Seattle, Washington.
The film omits Bundy's childhood, early life, and first six known victims (five murders and the first victim who survived), picking up the story with the murder of Georgann Hawkins and following Bundy's further crimes in Washington, Utah, Colorado and Florida. Frederic Forrest starred as Seattle detective Robert D. Keppel, and George Grizzard played reporter Larsen.
During the second part's broadcast, a few NBC affiliates (including WPXI channel 11 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and KPRC channel 2 Houston, Texas) were interrupted by a frozen scene and a static sound until placing their own technical difficulties tel-op graphics for less than 30 seconds before returning to its fixed program.
Bundy's lawyer Polly Nelson, in her book Defending the Devil, characterized the film as "stunningly accurate" and said it did not portray anything that was not proven to be factual. She singled out praise for Harmon's portrayal of Bundy, noting how Harmon reproduced Bundy's rigid posture and suspicious expression. According to Nelson, her client, still on death row when the program aired, showed no interest in seeing the film.
Ann Rule, who had known Bundy before the murders when they worked together on a suicide crisis hotline (Jeannetta Arnette played a character based on Rule), felt that Harmon's portrayal missed the insecurities that lurked under Bundy's confident facade. Harmon was nominated for a Golden Globe for his portrayal of Bundy.
According to The New York Times, the two shows ranked seventeenth and sixth in the Nielsen ratings. Howard Rosenberg of the Los Angeles Times described it as "taut, suspenseful, scary".