The unsolved Gilgo Beach serial murders will be the focus of a made-for-TV movie on Lifetime, the network announced Thursday.
Kim Delaney, who won an Emmy for her role as Detective Diane Russell on the ABC drama NYPD Blue, will play Mari Gilbert in the Lifetime original movie, The Long Island Serial Killer: A Mother’s Hunt for Justice. Mari Gilbert was the mother of Shannan Gilbert, whose disappearance from Oak Beach led to the discovery of 10 sets of human remains along Ocean Parkway a decade ago. Mari was later killed by Shannan’s sister.
“Mari Gilbert singlehandedly brought closure to families who never knew what happened to their missing sisters and daughters,” said executive producer Deborah Norville, an anchor of Inside Edition. “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.”
Set to premier in winter of 2021 (update: the movie will debut 8 p.m. Feb. 20) as part of the network’s “Ripped From The Headlines” series, the movie will be the second on-screen portrayal of the Gilbert saga in two years. In March, actress Amy Ryan of The Office fame played Mari in the Netflix movie Lost Girls based on the Robert Kolker book of the same name that chronicles the victims’ lives. Suffolk County police held a news conference to release the first new evidence in the case in nine years on the same day that the Netflix trailer came out in January.
In the Lifetime version, actress Katharine Isabelle, whose credits include Hannibal, plays Shannan. The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel actor Eugene Clark is cast as private investigator “Herc” Zinneman. The script is written by John Pielmeier, who previously penned The Capture of the Green River Killer.
“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.
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