David Morse, who played the earnest young Dr. Jack Morrison on "St. Elsewhere," is almost unrecognizable as a deranged kidnapper in "Cry In the Wild: The Taking of Peggy Ann" (8 p.m., Ch. 2).
Based on a 1966 incident in rural Pennsylvania, he plays Bill, who's sort of a backwoodsman who's been in prison and mental hospitals and thinks nothing of shooting anyone who gets in his way. After stalking the area for a couple of years, Bill kidnaps 17-year-old Peggy Ann Bradnick (Megan Follows) to be his woman.The movie tells the tale of the following eight days as the kidnapper and his victim are pursued through the back hills of Pennsylvania.
"I wasn't sure I really wanted to do it," said Morse, who is made up to be quite ugly and almost toothless. "It's not that I'm just opposed to violence or whatever. That's part of what goes on in the world.
"But this guy did some terrible things. I mean, killing a guy who has a family.
"I said I can't do this. I just can't."
But as he worked his way through the script, he discovered the actual statement that the real Peggy Ann made after her ordeal: "He was about as lonely as a human being could get and I think he was fighting back in the only way he could figure out, trying to capture by force the human companionship he couldn't get any other way."
And that touched Morse.
"There was such a grace about her and about her experience," he said. "That made it OK."
Eventually, he even found he could sympathize with the man.
"I hate what he did. And probably what's more terrifying is how right he thought he was about it," Morse said. "But I don't think I could have done it without some sort of empathy for him.
"It was not hard to have empathy for this guy. He truly was a result of his upbringing. He was behaving in the way that others had behaved toward him all his life."
- The Haunted (7 p.m., Ch. 13) is still another stupid made-for-TV movie from Fox.
Sort of a low budget "Amityville Horror," Sally Kirkland stars as a housewife and mother whose house turns out to be haunted. (After watching this, it's hard to believe Kirkland was once nominated for an Oscar.)
The only thing dumber than all the ghostly goings-on (which try hard but just aren't very scary) is that this is supposed to be a true story. Right.
- ELSEWHERE ON THE TUBE: Ava delivers her baby on the conclusion of a two-part Evening Shade (7 p.m., Ch. 5) that's also the season finale; Tom Cruise stars in the rather empty-headed Cocktail (8 p.m., Ch. 4); Murphy Brown (8 p.m., Ch. 5) is on the warpath after someone leaks scandalous stories about her to the tabloids; Anthony is invited to join an all-white country club Suzanne wants to get into on Designing Women (8:30 p.m., Ch. 5); and those already rather sexually obsessed denizens of Northern Exposure (9 p.m., Ch. 5) lose control as spring approaches.
- LOOKING TOWARD TUESDAY: Who's the Boss? (7 p.m., Ch. 4) wraps up a two-parter and the season; Frontline (7 p.m., Ch. 7) reports on a North Carolina town torn apart by allegations of child sexual abuse; Shelley Winters turns up as Roseanne's grandma (8 p.m., Ch. 4); the made-for-TV movie Stephen King's Sometimes They Come Back (8 p.m., Ch. 5) debuts; Midnight Caller (9 p.m., Ch. 2) begins at three-parter about homelessness (parts 2 and 3 air Friday); and Hope tries to help a homeless family on thirtysomething (9 p.m., Ch. 4)