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The Atlanta Child Murders 

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 ... See full summary »




Nominated for 2 Primetime Emmys. Another 1 win. See more awards »


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Series cast summary:
Jason Robards ...  Alvin Binder 2 episodes, 1985
James Earl Jones ...  Major Walker 2 episodes, 1985
Rip Torn ...  Lewis Slaton 2 episodes, 1985
Morgan Freeman ...  Ben Shelter 2 episodes, 1985
Calvin Levels ...  Wayne Williams 2 episodes, 1985
Lynne Moody ...  Selena Cobb 2 episodes, 1985
Ruby Dee ...  Faye Williams 2 episodes, 1985
Gloria Foster ...  Camille Bell 2 episodes, 1985
Paul Benjamin ...  Homer Williams 2 episodes, 1985
Andrew Robinson ...  Jack Mallard 2 episodes, 1985
Christopher Allport ...  Larry Peterson 2 episodes, 1985
Guy Boyd ...  Mike Edwards 2 episodes, 1985
Gary Graham ...  Ken Lawson 2 episodes, 1985
Bill Paxton ...  Campbell 2 episodes, 1985
Percy Rodrigues ...  Mayor Jackson 2 episodes, 1985
William Allen Young ...  Withers 2 episodes, 1985
Martin Sheen ...  Chet Dettlinger 2 episodes, 1985
Tina Andrews ...  Gwendolyn 2 episodes, 1985
Michael Alldredge ...  Bobby Tolin 2 episodes, 1985
Jim Antonio ...  Gilliland 2 episodes, 1985
Stephen Godwin Stephen Godwin ...  Jerry Heckler 2 episodes, 1985
Ernest Harden Jr. ...  Cool Breeze 2 episodes, 1985
Don Hood ...  McLean 2 episodes, 1985
Kenneth Kimmins ...  Broderick 2 episodes, 1985
Christopher Maher Christopher Maher ...  Dr. Saleh Zaki 2 episodes, 1985
Alley Mills ...  Amy Kennear 2 episodes, 1985
CCH Pounder ...  Venus Taylor 2 episodes, 1985
Veronica Redd Veronica Redd ...  Sharon Blakely 2 episodes, 1985
Henry G. Sanders ...  Judge Clarence Cooper 2 episodes, 1985
Lisa Blake Richards ...  Helen Dettlinger 2 episodes, 1985
Barbara Sammeth ...  Connie Levine 2 episodes, 1985
Essex Smith Essex Smith ...  Robert Henry 2 episodes, 1985
Harold Sylvester ...  Hindsman 2 episodes, 1985
Royce Wallace Royce Wallace ...  Margaret Carter 2 episodes, 1985
Charles Weldon ...  John Bell 2 episodes, 1985
John Wesley ...  Tombe Chorro 2 episodes, 1985
Mark Arnold ...  David Dingle 2 episodes, 1985
Beau Billingslea ...  Commissioner Lee Brown 2 episodes, 1985
Ed Cambridge ...  Mr. Cobb 2 episodes, 1985
Marilyn Coleman Marilyn Coleman ...  Lois Evans 2 episodes, 1985
Noel Conlon Noel Conlon ...  Psychiatrist 2 episodes, 1985
John Devlin John Devlin ...  Cassidy 2 episodes, 1985
Clarence Floyd III Clarence Floyd III ...  J.J. Coleman 2 episodes, 1985
Zero Hubbard Zero Hubbard ...  Patrick 2 episodes, 1985
Barbara Harris Barbara Harris ...  Mary Welcome 2 episodes, 1985
Steve James ...  Policeman #1 2 episodes, 1985
John Lafayette ...  Young Lawyer 2 episodes, 1985
Lawrence Lott Lawrence Lott ...  Dr. Sack 2 episodes, 1985
Felton Perry ...  Rev. Avery 2 episodes, 1985
John Petlock John Petlock ...  Pathologist 2 episodes, 1985
Jack Rader ...  Rackleff 2 episodes, 1985
J.W. Smith J.W. Smith ...  Nathaniel Carter 2 episodes, 1985
Maurice Sneed Maurice Sneed ...  Roommate 2 episodes, 1985
Christopher St. John ...  Baltazar 2 episodes, 1985
Kristoff St. John ...  Sheldon Kemp 2 episodes, 1985
Olga Talyn Olga Talyn ...  Mrs. Sack 2 episodes, 1985
Robert S. Telford Robert S. Telford ...  Polygraph Operator 2 episodes, 1985
Anthony Thompkins Anthony Thompkins ...  Darryl 2 episodes, 1985
Ellen Tobie Ellen Tobie ...  Gloria Patterson 2 episodes, 1985
Myrna White Myrna White ...  Robin Shelter 2 episodes, 1985
Noble Willingham ...  Jerry Armstrong 2 episodes, 1985
Erica Yohn Erica Yohn ...  Ruth 2 episodes, 1985
BJ Davis ...  Atlanta Police officer 2 episodes, 1985


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 Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery


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Release Date:

10 February 1985 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Atlanta Child Murders See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


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Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


These murders prompted the first extensive use of serial killer profiling and forensic fiber analysis. See more »


Camille Bell: 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.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Originally shown on CBS as a two-part mini-series, part 1 ran for two hours and part 2 ran for three hours. The UK VHS version was released (circa 1985) as a three-part mini-series. See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

a good film, but Wayne Williams is guilty!
16 October 2003 | by dtucker86See all my reviews

This was a very gripping and well-made tv film about the real life serial murder case that rocked Atlanta in the early 1980's. A deranged killer held the whole city in the icy grip of fear like the Son of Sam did in New York. This film is like Dragnet in its no-nonsense telling of the murders and the horror that rocked a nation. It has an unusually distinguished cast that all give fine performances. Morgan Freeman, Rip Torn, Jason Robards and Andrew Robinson (who was the killer in Dirty Harry). However, this film falls into an all familiar Hollywood liberal trap after Wayne Williams arrest and its depiction of his trial. It tries to convince you that Wayne Williams was like an innocent little boy who was railroaded and put away. It tries to convince you that he was innocent. To this day, he is appealing his sentence. I want to tell all of you something right here and now. WAYNE WILLIAMS IS WHERE HE BELONGS!!!HE IS THE ATLANTA CHILD KILLER!!!!HE DID IT CASE CLOSED!!!There is a brilliant book that I read recently called Mindhunter by John Douglas who is a retired FBI Agent. Mister Douglas was a pioneer in profiling of serial killers, creating a psychological profile of the monsters who deal in mass murder. He helped the prosecution in the trial of Wayne Williams. First of all, Williams fit the profile of the Atlanta killer like a glove. He was a police buff who tried to get himself involved in the investigation. These sick guys subconsciously want to get caught you know. There were hair and fibers found in his automobile that matched the victims exactly. I mean people, if there is that kind of evidence against you THAT IS IT!!!I will tell you something else from Wayne William's trial that is not generally well known. PLEASE PASS IT ON!!!John Douglas conferred with the prosecutor before he cross examined Williams and he told him how to do it. He said to hit him hard and stand close to him. The prosecutor followed this strategy and at one point, he said to Williams "What was it like when you wrapped your hands around their throats Wayne? What was it like? Did you panic?" Before he could catch himself, Williams stammered out "NO". Did you get this folks? HE CONFESSED ON THE STAND THAT HE DID IT!!!!Then Williams went as and started screaming at the prosecutor. The jury couldn't believe it! They said afterwards that was the turning point. Wayne Williams made a full confession as far as I am concerned. The bastard did it and he is lucky to have escaped with a life sentence CASE CLOSED!!!!However, this is a fine film. Jason Robards gives a fine performance as the defense attorney. He almost reminds me of Clarence Darrow. He was a hero in real life as well. He was in the Pearl Harbor attack and won the Navy Cross for bravery. God bless you Mister Robards and sleep well.

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