"Green River Killer"

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Tom Cavanagh played a sweet man known for his romantic gestures in the now-gone romantic comedy "Ed." He plays a very different character in Lifetime's miniseries "The Capture of the Green River Killer."

Cavanagh play the dedicated detective, Dave Reichert, who spent two decades tracking down the notorious killer while others mocked him and gave up the hunt. From the early 1980s to the late 1990s, four dozen prostitutes in the Seattle area either went missing or were found dead along the Green River. The small sheriff department in that area set up a task force, with Reichert leading the group, to search for the killer. While the number of victims grew, the leads and clues didn't.

As the investigation plodded into a new decade, Reichert's boss and the FBI constantly downplayed his evidence and conclusions and eventually disbanded the task force. Reichert, however, stayed at it long enough to see the killer sentenced to prison in 2001.

"The Green River Killer" matches Reichert's story with that of a victim's. Amy Davidson ("8 Simple Rules") plays a girl who grows up with an alcoholic mother and the abusive men whom Mom keeps bringing home. Eventually, the daughter moves into prostitution, and it's her voice that Reichert hears as he keeps on the killer's trail. Davidson, like Cavanagh, turns in a believable performance, but Sharon Lawrence as the abusive mother is a disappointment. Mom is an alcoholic who believes she's competing with her daughter for men, so it's not a sympathetic character, but Lawrence misses the mark in capturing the pathetic woman.

"The Green River Killer" airs at 8 p.m. Sunday and Monday.