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Writer Kay Reindl discusses Anamnesis with The 11th Hour

This article was contributed by The 11th Hour and relates to the episode Anamnesis of Chris Carter's Millennium television series.

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Episode Summary

Catherine Black is called to a Seattle area high school to help understand why a local girl is claiming to have magnificent religious visions of Mary Magdalene. When she arrives, however, she finds her cool psychological findings to be in direct conflict with those thought patterns of another investigator: Lara Means, representing the Millennium Group. The struggle for answers may bring Catherine to a deeper understanding of her husband's work and driving essence.

Main Crew

Written by Erin Maher & Kay Reindl
Directed by John Kousakis
Edited by Chris Willingham, A.C.E.

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A random scene from this Millennium episode Anamnesis.
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Writer Kay Reindl discusses Anamnesis with The 11th Hour

An image from Millennium episode Anamnesis.

Initially criticized for its dark subject matter and graphic nature, Millennium would have undoubtedly taken heat in the post-Littleton era had the series not so thoroughly faded from the public eye. As it was, one episode in particular drew so much scrutiny during the second season that it warranted a disclaimer. The episode was "Anamnesis", written by Reindl and Maher. "There was actually a moment when it looked like it might not air," reveals Reindl. "We had taken the Prayer Circle shootings as a model and wondered what kind of belief would make a kid do that." While the episode‘ larger themes revolve around a group of high school girls who experience a vision of the Virgin Mary, the episode opens with a school shooting set to the tune of Patti Smith‘ "Dancing Barefoot.rdquo; "Anamnesis" originally aired shortly after the 1998 school shootings in Jonesboro, Kentucky, and in light of a censorship-happy America still recovering from the Columbine High School massacre, Reindl does not expect the episode to air in syndication. She is far from pleased: "The thing is, it isn‘t gratuitous violence at all. There are consequences to that action and as a writer, that is my responsibility.

"I find it interesting that whenever we have this sort of tragedy it‘ immediately movies, TV and guns that get blamed," she continues. "Without knowing the specific details of the lives of those kids, I would have to look to the parents first. It seems like there‘ a movement in this country to absolve parents of any kind of blame in these cases, which to me seems ridiculous. The schools, the government and the entertainment industry are not supposed to be raising these children. I see parents taking very small children to violent movies. That is not my responsibility; it‘ theirs." However, far from being unconcerned with the issue, Reindl instead embraces an approach both pragmatic and principled: "I think that kind of responsibility is something that those in the entertainment industry should have on a personal level. I am responsible for what I do but not for the industry as a whole." She adds: "If the audiences didn‘t want sex and violence, it wouldn‘t be out there because it wouldn‘t be making any money. So blaming the industry, which is a business and not an art council, on what they release is hypocritical."

"Anamnesis" also drew notice from Millennium fans due to the fact that it was the only episode not to feature series‘ protagonist Frank Black, instead focusing on the characters of his wife Catherine and Millennium Group candidate Lara Means (Kristen Cloke). Originally conceived as an episode to relieve the busy Henriksen, "Anamnesis" gave Reindl and Maher the opportunity to flesh out the show‘ female leads. "The more we worked on the story, the more apparent it became that Frank didn‘t even need to be there," she says. "We didn‘t want to even give the hint that Catherine couldn‘t do something on her own. After all, she was introduced as a professional, smart woman and we wanted to show her and Lara working together as people and not as women who were subservient to the male lead. We actually got some feedback, from a woman, who wanted Lara and Catherine to personally square off about Frank. I'm glad we didn‘t do that."

From an article with co-writer Kay Reindl. Read the full 3 page interview at The 11th Hour.