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It would be a wonderful surprise to say that an MSNBC documentary titled “I Married the Beltway Sniper” is an unexpected and tastefully executed breath of fresh air. But it’s not.

Instead, the channel has cobbled together a rehash of those events in 2002 that heavily uses reenactments and creepy music to augment the interviews (including one with killer John Allen Muhammad’s ex-wife, Mildred) and archival footage.

Mostly, it’s a sensational title — one that frankly sounds like a 1950s monster movie — in search of an actual documentary to go with it. Indeed, Muhammad’s ex-wife plays such a minor role in the documentary that the title seems especially exploitative, making you wonder why this, why now — other than as an excuse to play lots of harrowing 911 audio.

The two-hour special premieres at 10 p.m. ET on Labor Day. Watch it, if you must, with someone who grieves about the state of TV news.

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