Plot: After his son was kidnapped and killed, John Walsh (Daniel J. Travanti) refused to sit idle and took action, seeking out leads, drumming up coverage, and drawing attention to the woeful state of child protective services. As he was such a public figure, others reached out about their own children being missing and Walsh would provide insight and support. But while helping others, he was still suffering deeply from his own loss, especially since his son’s murder was still unsolved. He would push on and focus on a bigger picture goal, to have the government establish a center for missing children and police agencies to cooperate with each other. As he travels to lend his expertise, his home life begins to break down and his own health wears down as well, as he nears exhaustion from his efforts. But he refuses to stand down and ups his involvement, though it could cost him more than he imagined.
Entertainment Value: The true story of Adam Walsh’s murder was turned into Adam, a made for tv movie about the crime and the investigation that followed. In Adam: His Song Continues, the focus shifts to John Walsh and his effort to help other parents and push for the establishment of a center for missing children. As we all know, Walsh would become consumed with justice and not only achieved that goal, but countless others and would go on to host America’s Most Wanted. This is a solid drama, one that sheds some light on the process Walsh went through both in his work to advance children’s causes and his own personal life. I appreciated that he was shown as a noble, but normal man driven to extraordinary lengths by the love of his son and the fears of others having to endure the same fate. I also liked that it doesn’t drop into melodrama often and overall, seems to be a fairly faithful take on the real life events.
If you’ve seen Adam, then you’ll be glad to know some of the key cast members have returned for this sequel. Daniel J. Travanti has the lead as John Walsh and while he doesn’t look or sound like the real person, his performance is solid, though not as aggressive as Walsh in real life. But he softens some of those rough edges, as real life adaptations often do. JoBeth Williams is also back as Walsh’s wife and her performance is good as well, especially as the narrative examines the toll Adam’s death and Walsh’s endless dedication to the cause has taken on their marriage. Also on deck here are Richard Masur, Martha Scott, Elaine Taylor, and others. While a little basic and not all that memorable, Adam: His Song Continues is a suitable tribute to the tireless work of Walsh and a solid made for tv movie.