The Capture of the Green River Killer
GARY: I’m not a rapist, no. I’m, I’m not a rapist I’m a – I’m a murderer I’m not a rapist. And it wasn’t a hobby. It was my career.
DAVE: If you killed these women back in the ’80’s, why are you crying about it now?
GARY: Well because of how I screwed up. How I screwed up on killing them. Maybe leaving too much, too much – evidence.
DAVE: Do you think there’s something missing in you that other people have?
GARY: Caring. That caring thing.
This is the story of Detective Dave Reichert’s nearly-twenty-year search for the notorious Green River Killer, narrated by one of the victims looking back on her troubled life and death and trying to make sense of it all.
Stan Brooks, the producer I’ve worked with more often than with any other and who has been so supportive of me as a writer, sold this piece in about two seconds to ABC. I flew to Seattle and spent some time with Dave Reichert, and wrote the script as an original, doing my own research. (Later, when it was finally produced, it received a “based on” credit; Dave was writing a book at the time I first met with him, and by the time the movie was green-lighted his book had been published and hence the final credit.) ABC soon decided it was no longer in the MOW business, and the project went into limbo-land. A few years later Stan’s office spoke to Lifetime, which had a division devoted to doing low-budget movies. They’d never done a miniseries in that venue, but were up for a try. And so the piece was made on an astoundingly low budget and shot in thirty days. Stan called in some favors and gathered a collection of incredibly talented actors and, under Norma Baiiley’s helm as director, ended up with a movie that I am especially proud of.
One reason I am so proud of this piece is the performance given by the actor who plays Gary Ridgway, the Green River Killer. Stan had agreed that I could act in the movie (I’d appeared in a small part in Submerged, which I wrote for him) and when he asked me what part I wanted to play I said “Gary Ridgway.” He later told me he was driving at the time and nearly ran into a guardrail. But Stan, being the cool and supportive guy that he is, agreed – and the result brought me back to the thespian field and allowed me once again to fall in love with performing.b