Unsolved Mysteries” is successful not because it looks good — it doesn’t — and not because it’s well acted — it isn’t — but because it sometimes gets its man.
“Victim of Love: The Shannon Mohr Story,” an “Unsolved Mysteries” success story turned into a two-hour made-for, is as unsubtle and melodramatic as the half-hour “reality” show it sprang from. But voyeuristic viewers who stick with the cheesy production until the end will be rewarded: It takes 10 years, but the bad guy gets bagged.
The story revolves around the marriage and murder of Shannon Mohr (Sally Murphy), who wed a man two months after meeting him. Her husband, Dave Davis (Dwight Schultz), who wants the insurance money, plans the “perfect crime”: He fakes a horseback-riding accident and shoots Mohr up with a poison that paralyzes the body, but keeps the victim conscious.
The drama lies in the persistence of Mohr’s parents, who are convinced that Davis killed their daughter. When it’s finally proven that he has, Davis flees the country. But almost a decade after the murder, a detective, as a last resort , decides to take the case to “Unsolved Mysteries.”
And so this TV movie features the “Unsolved Mysteries” episode that helped to capture the fugitive — with home viewers watching people watching the show. But forget any sense of irony; under John Cosgrove’s pedestrian direction, this one’s played straight.
The script by Bryce Zabel is equally uninspired, and acting is mediocre, with the exception of Murphy, who manages to make her newlywed less naive and vapid than the facts would suggest.
Because of the series, Davis is found, captured, brought back to the U.S. and convicted. Perhaps in the world of tabloid TV, as in life, the ends sometimes justify the means.