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The city of Atlanta, Georgia, is terrorized by a rash of child murders occurring in its black community. When a black photographer is arrested for the crimes, controversy erupts over whether he is the actual killer or a scapegoat offered up by the city's mostly black leadership. Based on actual events. Written by
These murders prompted the first extensive use of serial killer profiling and forensic fiber analysis. See more »
We've got ourselves a black mayor, we've got ourselves a black commissioner of public safety, black councilman, we've got everything black from top to bottom! We got everything! But protection for our black children.
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When the "Atlanta Child Murders" first aired in the mid-'80s, it didn't raise too many eyebrows - even though Abby Mann's script intimates in the concluding minutes of the miniseries that convicted culprit Wayne Williams may NOT be the murderer of dozens of young men and boys in a horrifying crime spree that held Georgia's biggest city spellbound with fear three decades ago. Given Mann's film-making track record - "Judgment at Nuremberg," "King," etc. - nobody was going to accuse him of being a conservative. In fact, most of his work has always seemed philosophically bound by a boilerplate leftism and a near-obsession with black/white race relations in America. It wasn't too much of a surprise that he would spring his unique - and frankly bizarre - theory on network television. For Mann, Williams was the victim of incompetent police work, corrupt city government and that old devil, racism. OK. Sure.
But now, it's 20 years later. Wayne Williams is still in prison. While the serial killings of Atlanta's young have not continued (in fact, they stopped with Williams' arrest in 1981), Williams still maintains his innocence. So, where's Abby? Shouldn't he be working for William's freedom? Or, if he's changed his mind, repudiating his own theory? I mean: We're stuck with a 1985-vintage "J'accuse" that seems to have been conveniently forgotten by its own creator. Where's Abby? Is he sitting up in Beverly Hills with the rest of the Hollywood Chardonnay proletariat, reading the Daily Worker and ordering the Third World servants around?
If Wayne Williams is innocent, shouldn't SOMEONE be trying to free this poor victim-of-the-system from prison? And if, indeed, he's guilty, why did Abby Mann ever say he was innocent? Real mystery, huh?
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