37 user 5 critic

The Deliberate Stranger (1986)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Thriller | TV Movie 4 May 1986
Based on a true story, this film depicts the life of Theodore Robert Bundy, the serial killer. In 1974, after having murdered several young women, he leaves Seattle for Utah, where he is a ... See full summary »


Marvin J. Chomsky


Richard W. Larsen (book), Hesper Anderson (teleplay)
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Mark Harmon ... Ted Bundy
Frederic Forrest ... Det. Bob Keppel
George Grizzard ... Richard Larsen
Ben Masters ... Det. Mike Fisher
Glynnis O'Connor ... Cas Richter
M. Emmet Walsh ... Det. Sam Davies
John Ashton ... Det. Roger Dunn
Bonnie Bartlett ... Louise Bundy
Billy Green Bush ... Officer Bradley (Provo detective)
Frederick Coffin ... Jerry Thompson
Deborah Goodrich ... Martha Chambers
Lawrence Pressman ... Ken Wolverton
Macon McCalman ... Larsen's editor
Jeannetta Arnette ... Mrs. Richter
William Boyett ... Aspen Detective


Based on a true story, this film depicts the life of Theodore Robert Bundy, the serial killer. In 1974, after having murdered several young women, he leaves Seattle for Utah, where he is a law student and where other girls disappear. It takes the cooperation of a number of police forces to work efficiently on this case. Soon, but not soon enough, the police eliminate endless possibilities and close in on him. Bundy is tried in the media and his good-boy attitude brings him sympathy but also the hatred of many. Written by Steve Richer <sricher@sympatico.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


He was easy to like. Deadly to know. Tough to catch.


Crime | Drama | Thriller


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Emily Longstreth's character, Susan Delgato, who escapes from Ted Bundy and later picks him in the lineup, is based on Carol DaRonch. See more »


Emily Holds (based on Melissa Smith) is portrayed as a teenaged runway seen hitchhiking a ride on the highway and getting picked up by Ted. In reality, Melissa Smith was abducted by Bundy as she left a local pizza parlor (in her small town) to run home and get clothes for a sleep over (which she never made it to). Smith was not running away. See more »


Det. Bob Keppel: Well, at least they got the animal locked up.
Jerry Thompson: Yeah. Florida won't let him go. They'll fry him down here.
Det. Mike Fisher: I'll drink to that.
Det. Bob Keppel: Richard, you couldn't possibly still have any doubts.
Richard Larsen: No, no doubts. I was just remembering Ted asking me where they execute people these days, and I said, "Maybe Florida". I think maybe Ted Bundy came here to destroy that part that he knows is a monster.
Det. Mike Fisher: You know, it's weird that every time Theodore's been caught, it's because of his lousy driving. They ought to send him to ...
See more »

User Reviews

Harmon Good Choice For Bundy
16 December 2005 | by ccthemovieman-1See all my reviews

A two-part, made-for-TV movie on the life of serial killer Ted Bundy, this was an intriguing, well-done film. Mark Harmon is excellent as Bundy. He has similar looks and is an underrated actor. I doubt if they could find a better actor to play this particular role.

In this day-and-age, it's nice to see a movie in which the cops are portrayed as tough but fair and likable. In this case, the two main ones are played by Frederick Forest (Apocalypse Now )and John Ashton (Midnight Run). Since it was made for television in the 1980s, the movie has little profanity and blood. Most of the time, the violence is implied. It's still chilling in parts. We don't always need CSI-type blood and guts to get the point.

What they missed, however, was WHY Bundy did the things he did. They had time to develop that angle, but never touched it. Supposedly, violent pornography had something to do with his behavior, but nothing was explored in this film. Overall, it was still an interesting story and amazing how many people he fooled and how he could escape twice after being arrested. Good story.

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Release Date:

4 May 1986 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Deliberate Stranger See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Lorimar Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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