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The Movie Network to broadcast Russell Williams drama

An Officer and a Murderer Gary Cole stars as “Colonel Russell Williamsâ€ù in the all-new Lifetime Original Movie, An Officer and a Murderer, premiering Saturday, July 21, at 8pm ET/PT on Lifetime.

Stephen Scott

A Canadian television station will run a movie based on the crimes of former colonel Russell Williams this week, almost a year after delaying the broadcast following an airing in the United States.

An Officer and a Murderer is a drama based on the rapes and murders committed by Mr. Williams, commander at Canadian Forces Base Trenton.

Mr. Williams was arrested in 2010 and pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder and sexual assault, and 82 counts of break-ins involving the theft of women's lingerie. He was stripped of his military distinction and is serving two life sentences as a civilian for the crimes, which took place in Tweed and Belleville, Ont.

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The Movie Network will air the drama on Wednesday at 10 p.m. (ET).

Scott Campbell, a spokesman for TMN, said the broadcast was delayed to "create some distance with the actual events."

"While we fully support the creative team behind the project, we delayed the broadcast in Canada to create some distance with the actual events," Mr. Campbell said in an e-mail. "Airing the film in prime time before September is an obligation that fulfills a requirement of the funding agencies who co-financed the production."

The movie, a Solo Films production, made its debut on the Lifetime Movie Network in the United States last July. Gary Cole, who stars as Kurt McVeigh in The Good Wife, plays Mr. Williams.

A New York Daily News review gave the movie two stars and criticized it for focusing too narrowly on the former colonel. "Rather than painting a broader picture of a terrorized small town, or focusing on the unease among people who have this evil force moving unseen among them, it focuses almost entirely on Williams's actions," said the review written by David Hinckley. "In contrast to many films of this genre, it never tries to poke into Russell Williams's head, and Cole never takes us there."

Scriptwriter Keith Leckie said his movie is important because it analyzes what happened in Tweed and Belleville so that these sort of crimes don't happen again.

He added that he was fascinated by Mr. Williams, whom he described as a "classic psychopath."

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Mr. Leckie said his movie goes beyond newspaper accounts of Mr. Williams in providing a beginning-to-end narrative of the crimes in 94 minutes. "Any drama requires a certain amount of filling in the blanks and I did that," he said. "I tried to tell the most authentic story that I can within the confines of a drama."

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