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Believe Me: The Abduction of Lisa McVey

2018 Canadian-American crime drama television film

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Believe Me: The Abduction of Lisa McVey
Written byChristina Welsh
Directed byJim Donovan
StarringKatie Douglas
Rossif Sutherland
David James Elliott
Music by
  • Keegan Jessamy
  • Bryan Mitchell
Country of origin
  • Canada
  • United States
Original languageEnglish
Executive producersCharles Tremayne
Jeff Vanderwal
DistributorLifetime (USA)
Original networkShowcase (Canada)
Lifetime (USA)
Original release
  • September 30, 2018 (2018-09-30)

Believe Me: The Abduction of Lisa McVey is a 2018 Canadian-American crime drama television film, which premiered on Lifetime in the United States, and on Showcase in Canada.[1] The film stars Katie Douglas, Rossif Sutherland, and David James Elliott. It was directed by Jim Donovan. The film recounts the true story of Lisa McVey who was abducted and raped for 26 hours by serial killer Bobby Joe Long in 1984. This was after Bobby Joe Long began his murder rampage, killing at least 10 women in the Tampa Bay area. Lisa McVey was one of two victims to survive Bobby Joe Long after he began murdering women. [2]

In addition to its television broadcast, the film also received a special theatrical screening in Tampa, at the very same theater where Bobby Joe Long was arrested in 1984. The screening of this movie was attended by the real Lisa McVey Noland.[3]

The film was released on Netflix in the UK in June 2021.


17-year old Lisa McVey lives with her neglectful grandmother and her grandmother’s boyfriend, Morris, in Tampa Bay, Florida. Morris regularly sexually assaults Lisa and her grandmother ignores it. Lisa works at a doughnut shop and gets along well with the customers then leaves. During her ride a flashback is shown of Morris going into her bed at night. While riding home, Lisa notices a suspicious car around her and ignores it. She gets home and the next morning Lisa writes a letter stating she is tired and can't keep going anymore. She then gets onto a phone call with her sister (Lorrie), who lives with her mother. They discuss Lisa leaving and coming back home to get away from Morris, as him going into her room at night is a regular occurence. Her mom tells her she can't come back because she's her grandma's source of income and is counting on her to live. Lisa then leaves for work.

On her way home from work, Lisa is kidnapped by Bobby Joe Long (whose name isn't revealed till the end of the movie) who grabs her off her bike at gunpoint and rapes her in his car. He blindfolds her and takes her back to his studio apartment. While in the car Lisa spots the model of his car, Magnum.

Bobby holds Lisa captive in his apartment, keeping her bound and blindfolded while he periodically rapes her throughout the next 26 hours. When they first enter the apartment, Bobby makes Lisa remove her clothes and gives her a shower and rapes her afterward. She's then tied to and brought onto the bed and he puts a gun onto her cheek and tells her "Don't you forget" to demonstrate his power. A flashback occurs of Lisa on a beach with Lorrie and Aunt Carol, in a seemingly dissociative sense. Bobby asks for her name and age and she responds with Carol and says her age is 20.

Lisa's grandmother is then shown to be reporting Lisa missing.

The screen returns to Lisa and there's another flashback of when she first arrived at her grandma's house. She seems happy and optimistic about her situation. Her grandma tells her that there are things she needs to do to keep living in a nice house. Lisa looks nervous as she looks at Morris, standing in the doorway, and her grandma tells her she's gonna know how to treat a man.

When it is revealed that Bobby has been hurt by many women in the past, Lisa uses reverse psychology to gain his trust. She apologizes to Bobby for the way women treat him. While doing so, Bobby is leaning on top of her, so she uses the vulnerable moment to feel his face to get a sense of how he looks. She calls him handsome and in return is given some water.

Bobby makes Lisa a sandwich and gives it to her while the news is on in the background. It states that a teenager failed to come home after leaving her job at a doughnut shop, referring to Lisa. Bobby gets mad that she lied about her age and that she's a teen. In his anger he takes Lisa to the bed and rapes her, during which we see another flashback of Lorrie giving her a panda stuffed animal right before she went to live with her grandma. Afterwards Lisa says she needs to pee so she is taken to the bathroom. She says she can't go if he's watching her so he leaves the bathroom and she locks the door. While alone she takes off the blindfold and takes in as much detail as she can and leaves her fingerprints in various spots of the room. He realizes the door is locked and gets mad, but Lisa tries to nurture him to lower his temper. He tells her to get him water and she notices a phone nearby.

That night she waits for him to sleep and gets up in an attempt to use the phone. He catches her and gets mad so she comes up with a lie to defuse the situation. She says that she was calling her dad because he's very sick and she has been the one taking care of him and that she just wanted him to know she's okay. This appeals to Bobby, as it portrays her as a woman who nurtures men. Another flashback is shown which reveals that Lisa's mom knows about the sexual abuse at her house but thinks her life could be worse. The movie then cuts to Lisa in Bobby's bed and drops a bobby-pin with her hair in it to leave more evidence. Lisa asks him to let her go so she can go take care of her dad. He says no and asks if she has a sister to take care of him, she says no. Then a flashback plays of Lisa and Lorrie together where Lisa says she will protect her against Morris.

Bobby is watching the news and they state the police are potentially looking for a serial killer. He freaks out about what he's going to do about Lisa. Lisa pleads for him not to kill her. They're in the car together and she gets a flashback of her 16th birthday, where she's happily celebrating with her aunt, uncle, and Lorrie. They then stop for gas and she tries to get out of the car. He closes her door and tells her to stop. So she decides to bite her finger until it bleeds and leaves some of her blood on the bottom of her seat.

Bobby then takes her to a big tree and holds the gun to her head, ready to kill Lisa. At the last second he decides not to. He tells her to tell the police a description different than his (a short, muscular black man) and to wait 5 minutes before leaving the spot. A moment after he leaves she runs away, he sees her in the side mirror of his car and realizes he made a mistake. He attempts to follow her to catch her again, but is scared off when he sees a police patrol car nearby.

Lisa memorizes her surroundings and then makes her way home. She bursts into her house telling her grandmother what happened to her, but she and Morris refuse to believe her.

Lisa goes into the police station to answer some questions. She tells the officer what happened to her, but he refuses to believe her. He insists she made it up because she has no bruises and because she says she didn't say no to him. The police bring in two female detectives to speak to her and they also insist she's lying, that she was with a boy but won’t admit it. The detectives try to play on a womanly bond, saying "We are all girls here." This makes Lisa very upset because nobody believes her, and she stops speaking to them.

At the police station, a team of detectives is working on an extensive case involving ten women who have been found dead over the past few months. Sergeant Larry Pinkerton, who specializes in Sex Crime, assigns himself to Lisa's case when other detectives find her story unconvincing, considering how much detailed information she is able to provide. Pinkerton believes Lisa so he takes her clothes into evidence and decides to ask her family for permission for hypnosis in an attempt to get more details from Lisa. Lorrie is then shown to be on the phone with the police getting an update. She tells their mother what happened, who doesn't believe the story. Lisa's mom says that she knew she'd come back.

The movie then cuts to Pinkerton asking for permission on the hypnosis, which Morris refuses and asks when she's coming home because she has chores. The phone call ends and Pinkerton looks displeased with Morris. Next, Lisa is talking to an artist of the PD to draw Bobby, when Pinkerton interrupts to tell her about his phone call with Morris. Lisa looks upset so Pinkerton asks if anything is happening at home. It then cuts to Morris being arrested.

Lisa is then taken to the home of Sergeant Hannah McKinley to stay there temporarily. A quick scene is shown about the serial killer, stating that each victim was found with red car fibers. It then goes back to Lisa sleeping at night, where she has a nightmare that Bobby found her and was running towards her window to kill her. She awakens, screaming in fear. Hannah comes into the room and says Lisa will see a psychiatrist to get prescribed sleeping pills to help her sleep.

The next morning Lisa is talking with Pinkerton about where she left evidence. She tells him the spots she left her fingerprints, the bobby-pin, and the blood on the car seat. She also mentions the stop at the gas station and other details she noticed throughout the time he had her. Lisa also recalls that she might've seen his car before that night, recalling the night before she was taken. Pinkerton then comes to believe Lisa's kidnapper is the serial killer they are searching for. He sends Lisa's clothes for a forensic scan and fibers found on them match fibers found on all ten dead women.

Over the next few days, Lisa takes Pinkerton through her ordeal, starting in the parking lot where she was abducted and recalling the turns she remembers Bobby making on the drive to his apartment. Not long after, she discovers the tree she where she was left and the police set up a two-mile radius search.

Pinkerton's deputy searches the area and spots a car similar to the one Lisa described Bobby driving, and the car had been attempting to pick up a female prostitute. He manages to take a photograph of Bobby with his car by saying there was a robbery nearby and that his picture is needed for ID purposes and that it's just policy. Afterward, it shows Lisa taking a nap on a couch in the police station. She has another nightmare where Bobby comes in and begins strangling her. She wakes up, choking, and Pinkerton begins comforting her.

Afterward, a detective is following Bobby's car and runs his license plate number to find any connected properties. Lisa is then shown pictures to ID her kidnapper and was able to confirm his identity. Forensics later search his apartment and find all forensic evidence Lisa left behind. On November 16, 1984, Bobby is arrested outside a movie theater. The State Attorney and the Public Defender's Office of Hillsborough County reach a plea bargain to which Bobby pleads guilty for eight of the homicides and the abduction and rape of Lisa McVey. Lisa is applauded for her bravery and ability to help with the case.

The movie ends with Lisa packing up her belongings, and while doing so, she throws away her suicide letter from the beginning of the movie and her sleeping pills. Pinkerton offers Lisa a place at his house but she politely declines, and goes to live with her Aunt Carol and Uncle Jim. She tells Pinkerton he hasn't seen the last of her and the two share an emotional goodbye before she drives away. Next, we see Lisa happily celebrating her 18th birthday with her aunt, uncle, and Lorrie. The audio in the background is Lisa reading a letter she addressed to her mother, where Lisa says her mom told her she wouldn't have a good life but that she was wrong.

At the very end of the movie, it is revealed that Lisa lived happily with her aunt and uncle for many years and later became a deputy sergeant in Sex Crime, working to protect young people from situations she was in. Bobby Joe Long was eventually executed in prison via lethal injection in 2019.

Believe Me: The Abduction of Lisa McVey Plot articles: 2



The film won the Canadian Screen Award for Best TV Movie and Best Writing in a Television Film (Christina Welsh), at the 8th Canadian Screen Awards in 2020. It was also nominated for Best Lead Performance in a Television Film or Miniseries (Douglas), Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series or Program (Sutherland), Best Direction in a Television Film (Donovan), and Best Photography in a Drama Program or Series (Sasha Moric).[4]

Douglas received an ACTRA Award nomination for Outstanding Performance by an Actress from ACTRA's Toronto chapter in 2019.[5] The film received three Directors Guild of Canada award nominations, for Best Production Design in a Television Film (Helen Kotsonis), Best Editing in a Television Film (Lisa Grootenboer) and Best Sound Editing in a Television Film (Brian Eimer, Michael Bonini).[6]

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