EXCLUSIVE: Emmy winner Kim Delaney has been tapped to star in Lifetime original movie The Long Island Serial Killer: A Mother’s Hunt for Justice, the network’s latest addition to its winter “Ripped from the Headlines” slate.
The movie is inspired by the emotional story of Mari Gilbert, played by Delaney, a mother whose daughter’s disappearance led to the discovery of 19 bodies, many of which are believed to have been murdered by an unidentified Long Island serial killer. The film follows her relentless pursuit for answers and the truth. Emmy-winning journalist Deborah Norville, who covered Gilbert’s story as anchor for Inside Edition, will executive produce. The Long Island Serial Killer: A Mother’s Hunt for Justice is scheduled to premiere winter 2021 on Lifetime.
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“Mari Gilbert singlehandedly brought closure to families who never knew what happened to their missing sisters and daughters,” said Norville. “To law enforcement, she was ‘just a mom,’ but her tenacity led to the discovery of a serial killer who may still be roaming free. The incomparable Kim Delaney makes the anguish and anger of Mari Gilbert palpable for the viewer. Watching her performance and that of the entire cast is simply thrilling.”
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Written by John Pielmeier (Agnes of God, The Capture of the Green River Killer), the movie tells the story of Mari Gilbert’s search for the truth behind what happened to her daughter Shannan, a sometime escort who disappeared after a ‘date’ on Long Island. After Shannan, played by Katharine Isabelle, fails to come home, her mother Mari knows something is terribly wrong. Pleading to police to take her concerns seriously, she keeps pushing the police for answers. Mari’s insistence that her daughter not be overlooked eventually leads to a horror hidden on Long Island for more than a decade – 19 bodies of young women discovered buried in shallow graves along Ocean Parkway in the area of Jones Beach State Park.
“Though the search for the killer is still ongoing, Mari’s passionate dedication to giving her daughter and other forgotten women a voice, and the attention they deserve, has kept the case alive with hopes of a breakthrough soon,” the network said.
The movie also digs deep into the murders, including Shannan’s, that have gone unsolved.
In addition to Delaney, Eugene Clark (The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel) also joins the cast as private investigator “Herc” Zinneman.
The Long Island Serial Killer: A Mother’s Hunt for Justice is produced by Lighthouse Pictures, with Sony Pictures Television distributing. Norville and Elizabeth Stephen executive produce.
Delaney, who began her career on ABC’s All My Children, recently returned to daytime television with a role on ABC drama General Hospital. She portrays Jackie Templeton, the character previously played by Demi Moore (1982-1984). Delaney is best known for her Emmy-winning role as Detective Diane Russell on ABC’s NYPD Blue. She also recurs on NBC’s Chicago Fire.
Norville is a two-time Emmy Award winner and anchor of syndicated newsmagazine Inside Edition. She also is the executive producer of the television crime series Executed with Deborah Norville and Exposed with Deborah Norville, both of which air on Reelz. Norville also is the author of several books, including the New York Times bestselling Thank You Power: Making the Science of Gratitude Work for You.
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