April Smith’s Good Morning Killer: The Image of Death

Catherine Bell as Ana Grey
Tonight, TNT Mystery Movie Night airs the penultimate of their first set of movies, Good Morning, Killer by April Smith. Smith writes “California noir,” so you can expect something decidedly dark, though—as with Lisa Gardner’s Hide—the plot for this one has been altered somewhat from its original form. April Smith has written for film and television for years, however, and she adapted her own work for this entry in the series. And where the adaptation of Lisa Gardner’s book added characters from further on in her series, April Smith had to remove a subplot that made the story too complex for a mere two hours.

FBI Special Agent Ana Grey (played by Catherine Bell, well-known to fans of JAG) is on the trail of a serial kidnapper with a nasty prediliction for young girls. Although the girl Ana is originally called in to find is returned to her parents, she has been severely traumatized by her experience with the kidnapper. Ana, too, is traumatized, and her emotional reaction spills into her relationship with her lover and co-investigator, Detective Andrew Berringer (played by Cole Hauser).

As they close in, they discover that their kidnapper is a photographer. This scene in the book is grueling:

It was an ordered sanctuary where time made sense because time had been turned into action that was repetitive and understandable; you could contemplate the passing of the weeks in the razor-straight rows and rows of photographs of sexual assaults.

A movie with a heart of darkness.
April Smith says she was really impressed with how the director handled this.  It’s too vital to leave out of the movie, but how does one get such photos, let alone display them on television?

It definitely sounds as if they spared nothing to get just the look and feel they needed for this particular movie, which makes it appealing to me, even if it is darker than the normal sort of TV movie. (They’ve been headed in that direction, though—in one recent TV movie I watched, the assassin got away at the end.)

So what do you think? Will you be parked on your sofa this evening watching Good Morning, Killer?


  1. Cindy Rankin

    Catherine Bell did very well. Sometimes when we read a book, we picture how the character looks. I did not have a pre-concieved picture in my mind.

  2. Laura K. Curtis

    I was really impressed with the girl who played Juliana. I thought her “traumatized” hit the nail on the head.

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