(1986)4Brian J. DillardVeteran TV director Marvin J. Chomsky brings a sense of restraint to The Deliberate Stranger, which stars slick, handsome actor Mark Harmon as crafty, all-American serial killer Ted Bundy. Chomsky eschews much overt violence, instead using copious point-of-view shots and cutaways to build a suspenseful tone that's unfortunately undercut by Gil Melle's shrill, largely electronic score. Still, Harmon acquits himself admirably, using his piercing eyes to chill as well as charm and getting inside his character's solipsistic amorality. The script, based on journalist Richard Larsen's best-seller Bundy, The Deliberate Stranger and written by Children of a Lesser God scribe Hesper Anderson, spends lots of time presenting Bundy's relationship with his girlfriend as a sort of absurd soap-opera facade to the man's disturbing nocturnal activities. Unfortunately, Glynnis O'Connor must play the girlfriend, Cas Richter, like a self esteem-challenged dingbat who should have known what was going on. The film doesn't portray the cops much better; in one scene, the '70s detectives are seen rooting for budget approval for a new-fangled computer to help them piece together the theory they can't come up with themselves. Ultimately, it was mere chance that ended Bundy's career -- though not for long, as the rushed presentation of his two escapes and the attendant "Sorority Murders" attest. Like many TV movies, The Deliberate Stranger suffers from its share of cut corners and corny moments, but overall it's a lively and multifaceted account of the murders that helped turn serial killers into modern American bogeymen.