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Transcript of Millennium episode "Weeds"

Presented below is an episode transcript of Weeds from Chris Carter's Millennium TV series. These transcripts have been provided thanks to the dedication and time consuming hard work of Millennium fans Libby and Maria Vitale. Millennium - This is who we are is extremely greatful to Libby who has painstakingly checked, updated and edited each one for accuracy to make sure that they are as true to the actual episodes as possible.

 

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Weeds - Transcript


Season:

1

MLM Code:

#MLM-109

Production Code:

4C09

Original Airdate:

1997-01-24



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Weeds

[MLM-109 (4C09)]

 

Written by Frank Spotnitz
Directed by Michael Pattinson
U.S. Air Date: January 24, 1997

[Transcribed by Maria Vitale
Edited by Libby]

 

SUNDAY, JANUARY 19
PIERCE COUNTY, WASHINGTON

[Morning, a small, quiet suburban community. A blue mini-van cruises along the main street through the area. Muzak can be heard playing in the background throughout. No cars are parked on the streets. Several people go about their business. Some children are playing.]

[Perspective shifts to inside the mini-van as it continues along the main road. The music can be heard louder now, coming from the vehicle's radio. The driver's face is not fully shown. His chest and neck are reflected in the rear view mirror. We then see things from the driver's POV.]

[He looks at a couple of children playing catch. The camera pans left and we see his hand on the wheel, then an extreme close up of his right eye. As he drives past the children, he turns his head to look at them. The young boy and girl, presumably siblings, are smiling and laughing as they continue to toss the ball to each other. Beyond them, a young man is using a weed-whacker on the lawn. Then the driver sees the children differently.]

[He sees: a brief, sudden flash of white light and the little girl's face becomes old, decrepit, her flesh seems to be decaying, portions of it are missing; another flash of white light and the boy's face becomes haggard, bluish in color; then they return to normal, still smiling, playing.]

[We sees the driver again, a close up of his right eye as he continues to drive slowly past the children. More visions follow:]

[He sees: the girl closer this time as he drives near her, she is smiling; then briefly her decaying flesh again, a flash of white light, then another image of her face, different angle, still decomposing with exposed areas that show raw flesh underneath the rotting skin; another very brief flash of light and the girl is smiling again, normally as the mini-van moves past her; then more images of the girl, her skin putrefying, some are blurred, others bathed in a bright white light.]

[He then sees: the young man with the weed-whacker who now appears to be in his nineties, nearly bald and what's left of his hair is white, his skin is old and wrinkled; he turns to look at the driver as he passes; a very brief flash of white light; then another brief image of the young/old man looking directly at the driver.]

[The driver then pulls his car over to the curb, brakes, and puts the gear in park. He begins sobbing, resting his head on his hands on the steering wheel. He then regains his composure, raises his head and looks over to his right. Again, we can only see part of his right profile: his eye and nose. He stares at a gray house across the street with a yellow car parked in the driveway in front of the garage. It is a clear winter morning yet it appears another way to the driver.]

[He sees: a flash of bright white light; there are thick clouds moving rapidly over the house which now appears red and the car white (a negative image of how it actually appears, the clouds look like a time-lapse recording which is made to resemble a forceful storm front); another flash of white light; the house, car and sky appear normal again; one more flash of light, and the negative image appears again with the rolling cumulus clouds which last a few seconds, then a final flash of white light.]

[A birthday party is under way in the gray house. The house is filled with guests as Linda Comstock carries out a large birthday cake, decorated with blue icing and on it is written: 'Happy Birthday Josh.' Sixteen lit candles are arranged in semi-circular groups of eight on either side of the birthday greeting. The crowd of guests are singing as the cake is placed on a coffee table in front of a somewhat embarrassed young man, Josh Comstock, who is sitting on a couch in the living room.]

Guests:  Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday, dear Josh! Happy birthday to you!
COMSTOCK RESIDENCE
4:37 PM

[The guests applaud and cheer. Josh leans forward and blows out the candles as one of the guests, a woman, speaks to him.]

WOMAN:  16! Practically a man, huh, Josh?

[She smiles at him and hands him a knife. His father, Tom Comstock, enters the room.]

TOM COMSTOCK:  Hey! Where's my son? Where… Ah! There he is!
JOSH:  Hi, Dad.

[He pats his son on the back. Then turns to his wife.]

TOM COMSTOCK:  Sorry I'm late. (to Josh) Hey, hey! Josh, would you come outside with me? I want to talk to you. We'll be right back, folks.

[Josh gets up and joins his father. They stand before a set of double doors which lead to the back yard. Four blue balloons have been tied to one of the door's handles. His father and one of the guests push the doors wide open to reveal a brand new motorbike parked outside. A helmet rests on one of the handlebars. The guests whoop and cheer at the sight of the gift. The boy goes to look at the bike, running his hands over the handlebar, smiling. His mother seems less than enthusiastic at the prospect of her son riding around on the bike.]

TOM COMSTOCK:  You like it?
JOSH:  (with feigned indifference) It's cool. I'm going to take it out.
TOM COMSTOCK:  Uh, just be home by curfew.
JOSH:  'Kay.

[Josh grabs the helmet, straddles the bike and pulls the helmet over his head. Tom turns around and sees his wife glaring at him.]

[Out on the street, Josh kick-starts his new motorbike and rides off. A blue mini-van - the same one from the opening scene - follows after Josh. The mini-van's tag number is: '100-GZQ, Washington.' It has darkened windows.]

 

[Later that night, Josh is still out riding his bike even though it's now dark and approaching curfew. He rides to an undeveloped area, unpaved and with lots of gravel. The mini-van pulls up to the curb across from the vacant lot, turns off its headlights and parks.]

[We then see inside the mini-van. We don't see the driver but we see his gloved right hand pick up a cattle prod from the seat next to him, pass it to his left hand, then he picks up a flashlight.]

[Josh is having fun, riding around in a circle, kicking up dirt.]

[The driver exits the car and heads toward the boy.]

[We see Josh again, still making tight circles on the vacant lot as the driver approaches him. We see him from the waist down now and from the rear. He's wearing black canvas sneakers. The cattle prod is in his right hand now.]

[Josh pulls up and stops the bike when the driver shines the flashlight into his face. He's blinded by the light and holds up his right hand to shield his eyes. The driver's face is in shadows as he's standing behind the light.]

JOSH:  Hey. It's okay. I'm, I'm going home right now.

[The driver zaps him with the cattle prod. The boy moans and falls to the ground. He gasps, tries to crawl away but is unable to move. He looks up at his attacker. He can only see the man's outline against the night sky. The driver looks down at him but does not see a 16-year-old boy.]

[He sees: a flash of white light, then Josh as an old man, his face lined with wrinkles, his helmet still in place on his head; another flash of white light and the boy appears normal again.]

[Josh begins crawling a few inches away from the man but the driver again sees him differently.]

[He sees: him as an old man, groaning and gasping, still trying to crawl away from him; the cattle prod extends towards the 'old' man, the flashlight illuminates his face, a look of terror appears on the 'old' man's face as he is zapped again; a final flash of white light. Screams and gasps of the boy/man can be heard throughout, as well as electric discharges of the zaps from the cattle prod.]

 

[The next morning, the Comstock residence. An alarm clock on a nightstand buzzes. It reads: '7:00.' Linda extends an arm over her sleeping husband's shoulder and shuts off the alarm before climbing out of bed, slipping on a robe and beginning her day.]

[She enters Josh's room. There is a partial view of the bed. She enters and heads for the window, raising the blinds. On the walls are various photos and drawings of motorcycles and motorbikes.]

LINDA COMSTOCK:  Josh? I don't know how late you were running around last night.

[There is no movement from Josh in bed.]

LINDA COMSTOCK:  Josh?

[Still no movement nor response. She moves closer to the bed and notices a large blood stain on the sheets. Horrified, she pulls back the sheet and more blood. There is a plaid shirt and the left cuff is soaked in blood as is the bed surrounding it but the hand is missing. It has been cut off. She screams.]

LINDA COMSTOCK:  Oh! Oh!

[She looks up at the boy who has the helmet placed over his face. She lifts it up to look at the boy whose mouth is covered with blood.]

LINDA COMSTOCK:  That's not my son! Oh, my God! That's not my son!

[fade to black]

[main titles]

"But know ye for certain... Ye shall surely bring innocent blood upon yourselves and upon this city..."
Jeremiah 26:13

[polaroid fade up]

[A plaque has been affixed to a stone wall which surrounds an enclosed suburban community. It reads: 'VISTA VERDE ESTATES.' This is the same community where Josh Comstock was attacked and where the boy was found dead in Josh's bed. Frank's red Jeep Cherokee can be seen driving up to the security entrance to the community.]

GUARD:  May I help you?
FRANK:  My name is Frank Black. Sheriff Gerlach's expecting me.

[The guard begins looking through various papers in a clipboard in his hands when Sheriff Gerlach calls out to him through the closed gate as he approaches.]

GERLACH:  It's all right, Martin. I got it.

[The guard then steps into the security booth and opens the gate so that Frank may drive through.]

GERLACH:  Park right over here, Mr. Black.

[He walks off to join Frank as the gates are closed again.]

[We then see Gerlach driving Frank in his own vehicle. They drive through the community and talk along the way.]

GERLACH:  I took the call from Seattle P.D. I'm happy to accommodate you, Mr. Black, but, uh, I can't honestly say I know exactly how you can help us.
FRANK:  I work with a group of ex-law enforcement people called the Millennium Group. We bring our experience to difficult cases like this one.
GERLACH:  Then, uh, you've seen cases like this before?
FRANK:  When I saw it on the news, I recognized a certain type of criminal pathology. I think the Group's resources could prove valuable in solving this case quickly.

[They drive past the Comstock house. ]

GERLACH:  Well, I've got to tell you, this thing's got everybody here pretty rattled. We've got walls around all three square miles. 24-hour private security. Everything you can do to keep your kids safe, these folks have done it.
FRANK:  The boy that went missing last night - you found no connection between him and the dead boy returned in his place?
GERLACH:  Well, nothing out of the ordinary. They lived three blocks apart. It's all in the file right there.

[Frank picks up the file on the seat beside him and opens it. Inside are several color photographs from the crime scene. The first few show the dead boy in the plaid shirt in Josh's bed as Linda Comstock found him. In several areas, particularly his mouth and wrists, police markers have been placed.]

GERLACH:  That's, uh, Kirk Orlando. The deceased.

[Frank looks through the contents of the folder. Each of the photos show the boy in closer detail in each succeeding photo.]

GERLACH:  Disappeared three days ago while walking home from the basketball game.

[Frank finds an evidence bag with a brand new one-dollar bills that have been neatly cut into pieces.]

FRANK:  What's this?
GERLACH:  Eight dollars worth of confetti. Kirk's father found it in the mailbox the morning after his son disappeared.
FRANK:  Did you alert the community after he was taken?
GERLACH:  The family asked me to keep it quiet. Turns out, I just made Josh Comstock a sitting duck for that son of a bitch.

 

[Later, they walk through the doors of the morgue and meet the county coroner who can be seen placing several vials of samples into a mailing envelope. A row of vials are before him, as are a pile of other mailers and two large plastic bottles labeled: 'EVIDENCE'.]

GERLACH:  Hey, John. (to Frank) John Tasini, from the county coroner's office.

[The body of the dead boy, Kirk Orlando, is on an examination table in the middle of the room. A blue sheet covers him completely except for his head.]

GERLACH:  This is Frank Black, John - the man I was telling you about.

[He walks over and joins them by the body.]

FRANK:  Did you determine the cause of death?
TASINI:  It's preliminary until I can run some tests but I'd say the boy bled to death.

[Frank looks at the boy's face. His mouth is slightly open.]

TASINI:  (continues) His hands were amputated crudely. Probably by some household tool - garden shears or possibly a hedge trimmer.

[Frank pulls on a rubber glove and pulls back a corner of the sheet exposing a large bruise on the boy's right shoulder.]

TASINI:  I found another subcutaneous hematoma like this on his abdomen.

[This triggers a vision for Frank: Josh Comstock, as an old man, as he was attacked that night by the killer with the cattle prod. He hears moaning throughout.]

FRANK:  (pauses) It's a cattle prod. The kidnapper uses it to subdue his victims.

[Gerlach looks to the coroner for confirmation but he shrugs slightly.]

TASINI:  It could be.
FRANK:  He didn't kill the boy immediately.

[This time Frank looks at the coroner.]

TASINI:  I'd place the time of death within the last 24 hours.
GERLACH:  That means he kept him alive for 48.

[Frank again looks down at the boy.]

FRANK:  There's something else.

[The coroner looks to the sheriff for permission to continue. Gerlach nods his consent.]

TASINI:  I found blood in the boy's mouth and in his stomach - approximately four ounces of it.

[Using the fingers of his gloved hand, Frank pries apart the boy's lips to look inside his mouth. His teeth and gums are still covered with blood. His lips too are stained with blood. This triggers another vision: a flash of bright white light; then a room dimly lit in a bluish color and Kirk in the same plaid shirt, as a very old man, his hands holding onto a pipe above his head, blood can be seen smeared over his face; several images flash briefly, blurred but 'old' Kirk can be seen with the blood coming from his mouth and on his chin with some on his nose as well; another flash of bright light; the image of 'old' Kirk zooms out, blurs, then ends.]

FRANK:  Human blood.
GERLACH:  You think this kid was forced to drink his own blood?
FRANK:  Not his own, someone else's.
TASINI:  I can't confirm that yet.
FRANK:  (to Tasini) Can you send me a copy of the results when you get them? (to Gerlach) I'd like to have a colleague of mine take a look at them.

[Gerlach nods.]

TASINI:  Sure thing.

[He leaves.]

GERLACH:  I assume we're looking for someone with a rap sheet. I'm running a background check on the support staff - private security, gardeners, delivery people - anyone who had access.
FRANK:  People are not going to want to hear this. They think they've created a safe haven. A community free of all the dangers of the outside world. No one's going to want to believe that the killer comes from within.
GERLACH:  Uh, the people that live here are mostly professionals, Mr. Black.
FRANK:  The victims were taken brazenly, in public spaces. The killer knows these neighborhoods. He feels safe here.
GERLACH:  What does this guy want? If it's money, why doesn't he ask for it?
FRANK:  He sees his victim as ugly, decayed. The mutilation suggests that he wants us to see the boy the same way. He's trying to tell us something.
GERLACH:  What?
FRANK:  That he won't stop killing until he makes us understand whatever it is he's trying to communicate.

 

[Inside an unknown location. The kidnapper can be seen walking in the same kind of area Frank saw in his vision. We see the man's feet but he is still wearing the same black canvas sneakers. He walks through a dimly lit area and there is a bluish light coming from somewhere above. There is also the sound of gurgling water.]

[The killer turns, places a cooler he's been carrying on the ground and removes the lid. Inside we see that it is filled with melted water along with some ice and an object at the bottom of the cooler.]

[He bends down, reaches in with his left hand and removes the object: a pint of blood in an IV bag. He cuts one corner of the plastic pouch with a large pair of shears. Blood drips from the opening.]

[He then stands upright, turns and begins walking. His face is in shadows again though it is somewhat visible because of the blue light. He moves over to where Josh can be seen, his hands tied to a pipe above him. The boy is clearly terrified.]

JOSH:  Please! (sobs) Oh, God, please don't hurt me!

[He watches as the killer continues to advance towards him.]

JOSH:  (shouts) Don't hurt me, please! Don't! Oh!

[The killer turns on a utility light near the boy's face. This places his own face completely in shadows and brightly lights up the boy's face.]

JOSH:  Please, don't hurt me!

[The killer pulls back Josh's head by his hair as he continues to scream. He then raises the bag of blood above the boy's head.]

JOSH:  Oh, God, please, please! I don't want to… No!

[The camera pans down to show Josh's chin and chest as the blood is poured into his open mouth and we see it dripping down his chin.]

 

[A gathering of various members of the community. One of them stands at a microphone and expresses her concern about the kidnappings. The scene opens with Tom Comstock pouring himself a glass of water, listening to what is being said.]

WOMAN:  We all feel for what Tom and Linda Comstock are going through and our prayers are with them.
VISTA VERDE ESTATES COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION MEETING
8:14 PM
WOMAN:  But we also have to be concerned for the safety of our own children. I want to know what's being done.

[She crosses her arms and looks down at Edward Petey, who is the head of the community board, seated at a table beside her.]

PETEY:  As some of you already know, the board has voted to move curfew to sundown and to increase security patrols.

[Gerlach and Frank arrive.]

PETEY:  The sheriff has assured me that everything that can be done, is being done.

[A man calls out from the people seated in the room.]

MAN:  Better late than never!

[The rest murmur in reaction. Some of them are holding flyers in their hands with Josh Comstock's photo on it.]

MAN #2:  You got that right!

[Petey rises to his feet to try and restore order to the meeting.]

PETEY:  One child is dead. Another one is missing. Some of us know all too well the pain of losing a child.

[He looks directly at a man seated amongst the others. He is Coach Burke.]

PETEY:  I hope this tragedy can bring us all together - that it can strengthen the ties that bind us, rather than tear them apart.

[A man in the audience stands up. It is Bob Birckenbuehl.]

BIRCKENBUEHL:  With all due respect, Ed, we didn't come to listen to crap.
PETEY:  Wait your turn, Bob.

[The crowd begins murmuring again.]

BIRCKENBUEHL:  We moved our families here to be safe from the kind of tragedies you're talking about.
MAN:  That's right!

[Birckenbuehl turns and faces Gerlach. The crowd continues to murmur.]

BIRCKENBUEHL:  Now, we find out that the sheriff has withheld the truth from us.
MAN #2:  Why?
BIRCKENBUEHL:  I'd like to know what he's doing to find this monster.
GERLACH:  What exactly is it you want to know, Mr. Birckenbuehl?
BIRCKENBUEHL:  Do you have any suspects yet?
GERLACH:  No. Not yet.
WOMAN #2:  Then, what can you tell us?

[The room quiets down as Frank walks past Gerlach, ready to speak. Gerlach nods, then introduces him.]

GERLACH:  This is Frank Black.

[Everyone turns to face Frank. The camera then pauses on the faces of some of the people during the next few moments.]

GERLACH:  Mr. Black's a criminal consultant. He's driven down from Seattle to help us work on this case.
FRANK:  The killer is between 35 and 45 years old. Drives a late-model car, probably a mini-van or a sport-utility vehicle. I believe his parents were divorced when he was a child. If he's married, his wife doesn't know anything about the crimes he's committing.
GERLACH:  In all likelihood, the killer lives here, in the community.

[The crowd murmurs again and gasps. A different man stands up and speaks.]

MAN #3:  I don't believe it. Your description fits half the guys in this room.
WOMAN:  What does he want? Why is this man doing these terrible things?

[The room has quieted again. Frank pauses before answering, looking at some of the people in the room.]

FRANK:  He doesn't want anything.

[He pauses again. More faces.]

FRANK:  He's insane.

[Some of the people then begin looking at one another, wondering just who might be the killer among them.]

 

[Later that night, Tom Comstock drives his wife home in the pouring rain. He looks over at her but she is silent. She seems to be in shock from the recent events and her son's disappearance.]

TOM COMSTOCK:  Wanna talk about it?

[She shakes her head.]

LINDA COMSTOCK:  No.
TOM COMSTOCK:  I know you didn't want him to have that motor-cycle.
LINDA COMSTOCK:  It's not about the motorcycle. It's about you, running away from the family.

[He's not really paying attention to what she's saying. He's looking out through his windshield at something in front of their house.]

TOM COMSTOCK:  Linda...

[She sees it too, now. It's their son's motorbike, parked in front of the door. The number of the house beside the door reads: '13572.']

[Tom pulls their mini-van into the driveway. They both rush from the car to house and enter.]

[Inside, they search for any sign of their son's return.]

TOM COMSTOCK:  Josh?!
LINDA COMSTOCK:  Josh?!

[They both continue to call out his name and they run through each room in the dark house, beginning with the living room. Linda runs to the kitchen and turns on the lights. Then they run up the stairs to the bedrooms. Tom looks into a room at the far end of the hallway as Linda runs into their bedroom and calls out to her husband.]

LINDA COMSTOCK:  Tom?
TOM COMSTOCK:  Yeah. What?

[Inside the bedroom, the covers and flat sheet have been pulled back and written in blood on the fitted sheet covering the mattress is: '331.' There are some other blood smears as well.]

 

COMSTOCK RESIDENCE
11:02 PM

[Tom sits, looking at a framed photo of himself with his family.]

[Linda sits on the couch in the living room. Sheriff Gerlach is with her. His other men are going through the house, dusting for prints, searching. Frank sits at the dining room table with Tom Comstock.]

TOM COMSTOCK:  I just keep asking myself: 'Why me? My family?' I mean, why not the Van Horns across the street? The Trimbles?

[An officer brings Tom a cup of coffee.]

TOM COMSTOCK:  I know that sounds selfish of me but, I just can't make any sense out of it.
FRANK:  The killer knows you, Mr. Comstock. He targeted your son for a reason. The number, three thirty-one - you know what it means?
TOM COMSTOCK:  (hesitates) I met a woman, two months ago, uh, she's a consultant for a firm that does design work for us. Uh, I started seeing her a couple of times a week, at the Hartman Hotel in Room 331.
FRANK:  Have you told your wife?

[Comstock shakes his head.]

TOM COMSTOCK:  About three weeks ago, Josh saw me leaving the hotel with her. We had a huge fight. It was a wake-up call for me. I, I realized I'd been a fool.
FRANK:  Does anyone else know about this?
TOM COMSTOCK:  No. I, I swore I'd never tell anyone - let alone Linda. What would be the point?
FRANK:  You have to tell her.

[Linda can be seen in the other room. She appears to be very upset.]

TOM COMSTOCK:  I know.

[He looks over at her.]

TOM COMSTOCK:  The last thing she needs to hear now.

 

[A television is turned on and the 'Land of the Giants' program is on. The volume is turned up high.]

BIRCKENBUEHL RESIDENCE
11:48 PM

[The Birckenbuehl's son, Charlie, is watching TV in the living room.]

BIRCKENBUEHL:  You have a hearing disorder?
CHARLIE:  No, sir?
BIRCKENBUEHL:  I was just wondering. Didn't you hear me tell you to turn off the TV set 20 minutes ago?
CHARLIE:  Why? It's not that late.
BIRCKENBUEHL:  It's almost midnight. Don't make me come in here again.

[He picks up a book from the table and leaves the room.]

Man on TV:  Put the earthling back in the cage.

[Charlie shuts off the TV with the remote control.]

[He can then be seen entering his own bedroom. He removes his shirt as he gets ready to go to bed. Then he turns and notices that his window is wide open.]

[Feeling cold, he walks over to shut it. Suddenly, the cattle prod appears through the open window, a gloved hand holds onto the boy's undershirt and zaps his with the cattle prod. Charlie falls backwards onto the floor. The killer, again wearing the same black canvas sneakers, climbs through the window and into the room, stepping over the boy's body. The wind can be seen blowing through the curtains of the open window.]

[fade to black]

[polaroid fade up]

[The next morning, at the Birckenbuehl residence. Frank looks at the window in Charlie's room. We see his face reflected in the window's glass.]

BIRCKENBUEHL RESIDENCE
JANUARY 21
9:02 AM

[Various tech members are dusting for prints in the room. Gerlach enters.]

GERLACH:  Mr. Black? There's someone outside. Says she's here to see you.
FRANK:  Cheryl Andrews. She's a pathologist with the Group. I asked her to help us with the investigation.

[Reluctantly, the Sheriff turns to one of his deputies who's standing by the door.]

GERLACH:  Tell her to come in, Jerry.

[Cheryl Andrews enters, carrying a case in her hand to take samples and run her own tests.]

FRANK:  Cheryl, thanks for coming out.
ANDREWS:  Security here is excellent, Frank. I've been stopped twice since I entered the gates.

[She then turns, puts down her case and shoots a glance at Gerlach.]

ANDREWS:  Victim number three.
FRANK:  Charles Birckenbuehl, seventeen. Kidnapper pulled him out of his own bedroom window. Hair and Fibers turned out nothing yet.
ANDREWS:  You'll want to see this.

[She hands him a envelope which he begins to open.]

ANDREWS:  The blood in the stomach of the first victim is that of a white male, type A-positive. It's also the blood used to paint '3-3-1' on the bed clothing.

[Frank pauses, then stares straight ahead of himself, seemingly lost in thought.]

ANDREWS:  Frank?
FRANK:  I spoke at a community meeting last night, trying to draw the killer out with half-truths, saying he wanted nothing. I wanted to provoke him into acting in haste, sending us another message that might help lead us to him.
ANDREWS:  Instead he just took another victim.

[Frank nods, then looks at Cheryl Andrews, listening to her speak.]

ANDREWS:  This was planned, Frank. You didn't prompt him to act. You just didn't disrupt his pattern.
GERLACH:  Why didn't he send another message?

[Frank turns from Cheryl to something else. His attention has been drawn to Charlie's fish tank against the far wall.]

FRANK:  Maybe he did.

[He moves toward the fish tank. Cheryl and Gerlach join him.]

FRANK:  Here it is. Cheryl?

[She looks into the tank and sees that all of the fish are dead and floating on the top.]

ANDREWS:  I'll have the water analyzed.

[She walks over to get a specimen jar labeled: 'EVIDENCE' from her case, returns with it and hands it to Frank.]

GERLACH:  (to Frank) I don't get it.
FRANK:  The two boys, Charles Birckenbuehl and Josh Comstock - did they know each other?

[Frank takes a sample of the water from the tank. He fills the jar, takes the lid from Cheryl, then closes it before handing it back to her. Gerlach looks through some papers on a clipboard for the answers.]

GERLACH:  They were both juniors at the high school. Enrolled in a couple of the same classes.
FRANK:  Nothing more specific - clubs, uh, social groups that they were in together?

[Gerlach again checks his papers.]

GERLACH:  Well, they were both on the swim team.

 

[The high school pool. Scene opens with an underwater view in the pool of a boy who is practicing a dive. He breaks through the surface and enters the water below with his hands leading the way.]

[Above, we see the boy resurface and swim to the side of the pool as Coach Burke, tells him how to correct the dive for his next try.]

BURKE:  Come on, Mike. You've got to keep your chin tucked.

[Frank and Gerlach approach in order to speak with Coach Burke. Another boy can be heard springing from the diving board and into the pool.]

GERLACH:  Coach Burke? This is Frank Black.
BURKE:  (to Frank) Have you had any luck finding this guy?
FRANK:  Not yet, sir. We were hoping you might be able to help us.
BURKE:  Anything I can do. Anything. You can imagine how much this has upset all of us. Charlie and Josh were outstanding kids. For this to happen to two members of the team...
FRANK:  Has there been anyone who's taken an unusual interest - anyone without a child on the team that's regularly attended the meets?
BURKE:  Uh, no, not that I can think of.
GERLACH:  What about the two boys? Had they been acting strangely?
BURKE:  Well, no. They were both good boys. Josh had been having some difficulties at home, trouble with his father. Other than that...
FRANK:  Thank you, Mr. Burke.

[Two boys are in the pool. One has been listening to the conversation and gets the attention of the other boy, whispering to him. Frank and Gerlach turn and begin walking away.]

BURKE:  Mr. Black. Please. Call me if there's anything else I can do. I'm just, I'm just very anxious to find these two boys safe and sound.

[Frank nods and resumes walking away with Gerlach.]

FRANK:  How well do you know him?
GERLACH:  Well enough. He's lived here a couple of years. The kids like him.
FRANK:  He's labile. He's on some kind of prescription medication. He's anxiolytic.
GERLACH:  Well, he's had a rough go of it lately.
FRANK:  What do you mean?
GERLACH:  He got divorced last year. Then, his son died six months ago.
FRANK:  What happened?
GERLACH:  Hit-and-run driver just outside the gate. Carl was only eight.
FRANK:  You never found the man responsible?
GERLACH:  No.
FRANK:  Funeral services for the first victim are being held this afternoon. I'd like to go.
GERLACH:  What for?
FRANK:  The kidnapper might be there, to see the effect of his work firsthand.
GERLACH:  How are you going to know that?
FRANK:  I won't. I just want to let him know I'm paying attention.

[Frank leaves.]

 

[Later that afternoon, Frank drives in his Jeep to the cemetery to observe the mourners who arrive for Kirk Orlando's funeral.]

PRIEST:  When a child dies, we seek meaning from God. 'Why must the innocent suffer?' we ask. And when that death is a violent death, the pain is compounded by images of horror...

[Frank looks at several of the people who have turned up. He sees Petey, Comstock and Birckenbuehl seated with other mourners. He continues scanning everyone's face at the service as the priest continues speaking.]

PRIEST:  ...images that threaten to blot out the memory of the innocence that once was. And yet God offers us no meaning - not in the personal sense.

[The camera pans across the rows of people standing by the grave site as we see Frank looking from one to the next.]

PRIEST:  So we are tempted to struggle with death, angrily blaming ourselves or an unjust universe for the taking of a life for which there seems no possible reason.

[Frank focuses on a group of mourners, two men and two women, all appear to be in their mid- to late-30s. This triggers a vision: a brief flash of bright white light; then the four mourners all appear to be very old, with white hair or balding, about in their 70s or older; another flash of light and a close up of the first man, face lined with wrinkles, nearly bald, what's left of his hair is snow white and grown long to his shoulders; another flash of light and an even closer image of the same 'old' man; another image of him, a bit further away; then an image of the woman standing behind him and off to his right - she too is quite old with wrinkles, white hair and balding - in marked contrast to how she really looks.]

PRIEST:  You never know why...

[Frank hears the priest continuing to speak through part of the vision but the man's voice is warped and deepened during the vision.]

PRIEST:  ...Kirk was taken from us. We can only cherish the innocence that once was, keeping it alive by remembering it...

[Frank looks at several of the mourners who have their heads bowed. Then he looks at the priest.]

PRIEST:  ...and pray for the...

[He has another vision: two brief flashes of white light inter cut with images of the priest, who also looks very old like the others but he has blood on his chin, coming from his mouth and the words he speaks are warped and deepened as Frank heard them before.]

PRIEST:  ...preservation of innocence...

[The priest's voice and look return to normal.]

PRIEST:  ...in the face of evil.

 

[Later that night, outside the Black residence, Frank drives home and parks his car at the curb outside of his house, exits, and heads for his front door. He opens the unlocked door and enters the house. A car pulls up in front of the house. It is only partially visible.]

[Inside, Catherine walks from one room to the other in her bathrobe. As she passes the living room, she sees Frank kneeling on the couch, looking out of the window.]

CATHERINE:  Frank?
FRANK:  I just got a strange feeling -

[He turns and faces his wife.]

FRANK:  - like somebody had followed me home.
CATHERINE:  You think someone did?
FRANK:  No.
CATHERINE:  You want to come to bed?
FRANK:  In a minute.

[They walk towards the dining room, arms around each other's waist.]

CATHERINE:  Something else is bothering you.

[She kisses him on the cheek.]

CATHERINE:  What is it?
FRANK:  I was thinking about this case - an old one I had. Felt a lot like the one I'm working on now.

[Frank sighs and drops down onto a chair in the dining room while Catherine leans on the edge of the table as he goes over the details of the old case.]

CATHERINE:  What happened?
FRANK:  Kidnapper picked up kids at the bus stops, took them to his cabin in the woods, tortured them for seven or eight days. Then he'd return them to the bus stops, as if nothing ever happened.
CATHERINE:  How'd you catch him?
FRANK:  One day he just stopped. We never knew.

[A loud rapping can be heard on the window in the living room. The noise causes both Frank and Catherine to jump and turn around to see what it is. It is Jack Meredith, the Blacks' neighbor. He waves at them, smiling.]

[Frank opens the door.]

JACK:  Oh, I hope I'm not disturbing, I, uh...
FRANK:  That's all right, Jack.
JACK:  I, I saw you were up and I, I just didn't want to run the risk of waking the little one up by ringing the bell.
FRANK:  You need something?
JACK:  Ah, oh, I just wanted to drop this off. Um, somebody knocked on my door, a few minutes ago, and, and, uh, probably got the wrong house by mistake.

[He hands Frank a square gray envelope. His name has been typed on a label in the center of the envelope.]

FRANK:  Did you see the man who left it?
JACK:  No, no. He just took off.

[Frank turns to look at Catherine.]

JACK:  But I figured it must be important though.
FRANK:  Thanks, Jack.

[He turns and begins closing the door.]

JACK:  Oh, good night.
CATHERINE:  Good night.

[Frank continues his motion of shutting the door.]

JACK:  Good night.

[The door shut, Frank opens the unsealed envelope. Inside, he finds a small rectangular color swatch with a number printed in white in the upper left hand corner: '528.' The color is a metallic green. He shows it to Catherine.]

 

VISTA VERDE ESTATES
11:48 PM

[Bob Birckenbuehl and Tom Comstock are in Comstock's car. He is behind the wheel. Both are on patrol in the community, hoping to catch the killer in action. They are parked within viewing distance of Coach Burke's house.]

TOM COMSTOCK:  The coach's light's still on.
BIRCKENBUEHL:  You know, some of the boys said they saw the police questioning him.
TOM COMSTOCK:  So what? The man lost his own son, for God's sakes.
BIRCKENBUEHL:  You never know what people are capable of, you know - even the ones you think you know best.

[A car pulls up to them. It is Edward Petey. Tom rolls down his window.]

PETEY:  You guys all right?
BIRCKENBUEHL:  Yeah. You seen anything?
PETEY:  No, nothing yet. I'm heading on over to the east wall. Got my cell phone, if you need anything.
BIRCKENBUEHL:  We're fine.

[Petey nods and drives off.]

TOM COMSTOCK:  You know, if we do catch this guy, I don't know what'll happen?
BIRCKENBUEHL:  What do you mean?
TOM COMSTOCK:  I, uh, I brought this - just in case.

[He digs into his pocket and brings out a gun.]

BIRCKENBUEHL:  You going to shoot this guy, Tom?
TOM COMSTOCK:  I don't know. I've had that thing in my bedside drawer for six years, unloaded, just in case. (pause) Tonight, it's loaded.
BIRCKENBUEHL:  Tom, take a look.

[A mini-van pulls up in front of Coach Burke's house. The headlights are turned off and the driver exits the vehicle. He's wearing a hood over his head. He begins walking slowly at first towards the coach's house. The two in the car are watching him intently. The figure then begins running.]

TOM COMSTOCK:  Son of a bitch!

[He guns the engine and speeds towards the fleeing figure. His tires squeal as he turns a curve in the road and we see the man climbing over a fence. Comstock hits the brakes, screeching to a halt to allow Birckenbuehl to get out of the car and chase after the figure on foot. Birckenbuehl climbs over the same fence.]

[We then see the figure running through a wooded area. Birckenbuehl follows closely behind. They continue running for a few moments until the figure reaches a wall.]

[We see and hear Comstock's tires squeal again as he tears around another corner heading for the same wall.]

[The figure climbs over and hops down from the wall. Runs across the street and directly in front of Comstock's speeding car. He hits the brakes as fast as he can but still manages to hit the figure, knocking him to the ground.]

[Comstock rushes from the car, gun in hand, pointing it at the figure on the ground, then falls to his knees beside him. Birckenbuehl comes running up behind him and sees the figure's face for the first time.]

TOM COMSTOCK:  My God, it's just a kid.

[The boy has been knocked unconscious but is still alive.]

[fade to black]

[polaroid fade up]

[Later that same night, an ambulance and Sheriff Gerlach's men are on the scene. The boy has been placed on a gurney and is about to be put onto the ambulance. Police radio chatter can be heard in the background. Gerlach walks over to where Frank is waiting, leaning on his Jeep.]

GERLACH:  Name's Richard Draper. Had a little rendezvous planned with his girlfriend. Apparently, he didn't want to get caught violating the curfew.
FRANK:  What's his condition?
GERLACH:  He's got a concussion, a few cuts and bruises. Paramedics think he's going to be all right.
FRANK:  What about the men?
GERLACH:  (sighs) They were on neighborhood patrol. Birckenbuehl's gone home already. Mr. Comstock's right over there. He's pretty shaky.

[Comstock can be seen sitting on the hood of one of the sheriff's vehicles, seemingly in shock.]

GERLACH:  I told him I'd give him a ride home.
FRANK:  I'll take him.

[Then Frank's Jeep can be seen driving through the area as he drives Tom Comstock home.]

TOM COMSTOCK:  It's like a nightmare I can't wake up from. I'm going home, but I don't know why. I can't sleep. The house is empty.
FRANK:  You told your wife about the affair.
TOM COMSTOCK:  She left me this morning.
FRANK:  Kidnapper sent me something earlier this evening - a paint swatch. Does that mean anything to you?
TOM COMSTOCK:  No. Should it?
FRANK:  In all likelihood, it was a message he intended for me to understand.
TOM COMSTOCK:  But you don't.
FRANK:  Not yet.

[Frank pulls up in front of Comstock's house and looks up at it. Some lights are turned on inside the house and a shadow can briefly be seen passing by one of the windows.]

FRANK:  Mr. Comstock. Did you give your keys to anyone - a neighbor or friend?
TOM COMSTOCK:  (shakes his head) No. Why?
FRANK:  I just saw someone inside.

[Tom opens the door and they both enter the darkened house. Frank takes the keys from Tom and walks through the rooms: first, the dining room, then the kitchen. As they turn around, they see Josh sitting on the floor, holding his knees, trembling and crying. His mouth is covered with blood. His father rushes to his side, speaking softly to him.]

TOM COMSTOCK:  Josh! Oh, my God, Josh.

[He wipes his son's tears away with his thumbs, trying to comfort his son.]

 

[Later that night, Cheryl Andrews is looking at Josh, giving him a quick examination, looking at his eyes. Gerlach's men are on the scene, taking photographs, checking for prints. Gerlach walks over to talk with Frank.]

COMSTOCK RESIDENCE
JANUARY 22
3:12 AM
GERLACH:  (whispers to Frank) No signs of forced entry. The guy probably used Josh's keys to get in the house.
FRANK:  How's Mr. Comstock?
GERLACH:  He's in the bedroom on the phone with his wife. She's going to meet him at the hospital. I'd say he's greatly relieved.

[Cheryl walks over, having finished with Josh.]

FRANK:  What's his condition?
ANDREWS:  He's in shock - lowered body temperature, dilated pupils. He has burn marks on his chest similar to the cattle prods on the first victim.

[He turns to look at Josh. His face has been cleaned up. An officer stands beside him taking notes. Another has placed a blanket over his shoulders to warm the boy. Josh stares straight ahead, deeply in shock. This triggers a brief vision for Frank.]

[He sees: a brief flash of light; Josh's face, his head pulled back as someone pours blood into his mouth, dripping it over his chin and face; and images of a man's hand squeezing the blood from the plastic IV bag into Josh's mouth. He hears Josh's screams throughout.]

[Frank turns back to Cheryl.]

FRANK:  He was made to ingest blood like the other boy.
ANDREWS:  That would appear to be the case. Paramedics are going to take him to the hospital now.
GERLACH:  Can we talk to him first?
ANDREWS:  He won't be able to give us a description.
GERLACH:  Why not?
FRANK:  The kidnapper wouldn't have returned him if he could.
GERLACH:  Look, making these kids drink blood doesn't make a lot of sense either.
FRANK:  The kidnapper sees himself as a holy figure - a purifier. He makes the impure ingest his blood so that they can be cleansed.
GERLACH:  What about Charlie Birckenbuehl? He's going to purify him too?
FRANK:  There's a reason the first boy was killed and Josh wasn't.

[He turns in time to see the paramedics escorting Josh out of the room on his way to the hospital.]

FRANK:  Some connection we haven't seen yet.
GERLACH:  Yeah.

 

[Elsewhere, Charlie Birckenbuehl can be seen in the same location Josh was held, but the blue glow of light is absent this time. His hands are tied above his head to a pipe. He looks exhausted. The utility light can be seen near his head.]

[A door at the far end of the room opens. Charlie hears it, turns his head and screams at the man he sees standing in the shadows.]

CHARLIE:  Oh, somebody help me! Somebody get me out of here, please!

[He then realizes it is his captor. He cries.]

CHARLIE:  (mumbling) Why are you doing this?
KILLER:  God did not make death. He doesn't rejoice in the destruction of the living.

[His face cannot be seen. He is approaching Charlie but he remains in the shadows.]

CHARLIE:  (crying) Oh, God!

[The killer turns on the utility light ensuring that his face will not be seen.]

CHARLIE:  (sobbing) Please! Please!
KILLER:  But his justice is undying.

[Perspective shifts to inside the cooler with water from melting ice and a bag filled with blood resting on the bottom. We see the killer's hand reach into the cooler and picks up the bag.]

CHARLIE:  Help me!

[The killer snips off a corner with a pair of shears.]

[Perspective again shifts to inside the cooler where blood drips down from the pouch and into the water and floating pieces of ice.]

[Then Charlie's head is pulled back.]

CHARLIE:  (screams) Please, God! Oh, God, please!

[The blood is raised above the boy's head, ready to be poured.]

 

[Frank is home in his basement office sitting in front of his computer. He looks over at the screen when he notices a box pop up with a message: 'YOU HAVE NEW MAIL.' He clicks the 'OK' button to retrieve the message. The e-mail appears in a new box. It reads: ]

To: Frank Black
From: Cheryl Andrews
Re: Death of Carl Burke

Per your request, here are crime scene photos and police reports relating to unsolved hit-and-run accident 5/15/96.

[There is a close up of the screen as the camera pans across the message header. Then the report replaces the e-mail message. It reads as follows:]

{ Logo } Pierce County Sheriff's Department
Official inquest for hit-and-run accidents
Accident report case number 9283756

[A copy of the report then appears. It is only partially seen on the screen as the camera pans across the document.]

Accident Report 9283756
INVESTIGATIVE REPORT
X ORIGINAL INFORMATION FOLLOW-UP
1 CASE NO - 9283756 T
4 CLASSIFICATION - N HIT AND RUN E
7 LOCATION OF OCCURRENCE D Vista Verde Estates I
12 WHEN REPORTED M D Y TIME C 11-06-96 Nov 06 1996 22:30 N
20 NAME (LAST FIRST MIDDLE OR FIRM NAME) I Burke, J.
24 ADDRESS (HOUSE NO. STREET NAME CITY STATE ZIP) 13572 22A Avenue, Tacoma, . . .
26 BUSINESS ADDRESS (CITY STATE ZIP) N/A

[The phone rings. Frank picks up the receiver.]

FRANK:  Yeah.

[Cheryl Andrews can then be seen calling from a forensics lab as she looks through a microscope while adjusting a knob for a closer view of the sample. Camera alternates between the two during their conversation.]

ANDREWS:  Frank, am I interrupting dinner?
FRANK:  No, I was just looking over your e-mail.

[He clicks the mouse again and brings up some attached photographs from the hit-and-run accident.]

[The first one, briefly shown on screen, was taken at night and shows an officer kneeling beside the boy's body which has been covered by a sheet. He holds a tape measure which is extended from an area outside the range of the photograph to the body on the ground. Behind him are two police vehicles.]

[The second photo is of a close of the small boy's body, still covered by the sheet. The officer can be partially seen still kneeling by the boy's head. The tape measure is still by the boy's body and a traffic cone is near the boy's head. The photo itself has a caption: 'CASE PHOTO 3756-2.']

ANDREWS:  Does it mean anything to you?
FRANK:  It might.

[A third photo appears on the screen. It is of a close up of a metal pole. Someone holds a tape measure up against it, his right hand is visible. There are some paint flecks on the pole from the impact of the car against it. The photo has a caption: 'CASE PHOTO 3756-3.']

[Frank clicks on the photo, moves it to one corner, views it full-screen as he continues speaking with Cheryl.]

FRANK:  We've got one dead boy, one returned alive and one, Charlie Birckenbuehl, still missing. I think the unsolved death of the swim coach's son may be related.
ANDREWS:  Well, I just got the results back from the lab. I thought you'd want to hear them right away.
FRANK:  Go ahead.
ANDREWS:  We isolated the foreign substance that killed the goldfish in Charlie Birckenbuehl's bedroom.

[She hold a small bottle in her hand containing a brownish-yellow liquid.]

ANDREWS:  (sniffs) It was scotch - single malt, I'd say.

[Frank is still looking at the photograph of the pole on his computer screen. He selects an area where some paint flecks can be seen and greatly enlarges it so that it fills the screen.]

FRANK:  You weren't able to pull any prints off the paint swatch.
ANDREWS:  No. It's called 'forest green,' code number '528.'

[As she continues, Frank clicks on 'FILE' on the menu bar, then 'PRINT' and waits for the laser printer copy to be made.]

ANDREWS:  It's a three-step enamel used in late-model ML-750 mini-vans.

[Frank takes the printed copy from the laser printer and looks at it.]

FRANK:  That was the car he was driving.
ANDREWS:  Who?
FRANK:  The drunk driver that killed Coach Burke's son.
ANDREWS:  You think the accident somehow triggered the kidnapper's break?
FRANK:  I think the kidnapper was deeply affected by this. It changed the way he saw people around him. He became outraged, disillusioned.
ANDREWS:  He wants to root out sin - expose hypocrisy.
FRANK:  I'll call Sheriff Gerlach. We should meet at Birckenbuehl's house.
ANDREWS:  What's there?
FRANK:  Something we overlooked.

[He hangs up the phone.]

 

BIRCKENBUEHL RESIDENCE
10:56 PM

[Frank and Cheryl arrive at the house in Frank's Jeep. They go towards the front door walking past Birckenbuehl's green mini-van in the driveway. Both turn to look at it briefly as they continue walking. 'ML 750' can be seen on the mini-van's rear door.]

[In Charlie's bedroom, Frank tries to explain to Bob Birckenbuehl why they need to search through the room again.]

BIRCKENBUEHL:  I don't understand what you're looking for.
ANDREWS:  Of the three fathers, Mr. Birckenbuehl, you're the only one that hasn't received a communication from the kidnapper.
BIRCKENBUEHL:  But wh, what about the dead fish?
FRANK:  I don't think that was directed at you. It was meant for me. I think we're overlooking something here - something that might save your son's life.
BIRCKENBUEHL:  Then you know what he wants - the kidnapper.
FRANK:  He wants you to confess, Mr. Birckenbuehl.
BIRCKENBUEHL:  Confess to what? I haven't done anything wrong.
FRANK:  He believes you have - that the sins of the father are visited on the son. After Mr. Comstock confessed his sin, his son was released alive. The first boy was killed because his father didn't confess his sin - one involving money. He's warning you to confess what you've done in order to save your son.

[Birckenbuehl nods. Sheriff Gerlach has been walking around the room during the conversation and Cheryl finds something underneath Charlie's bed.]

ANDREWS:  Frank.

[He walks to the opposite side of the bed. We see a small football with the initials: 'CB' crudely carved into it. Frank picks up the ball with gloved hands.]

FRANK:  This is not your son's ball, Mr. Birckenbuehl.
BIRCKENBUEHL:  But it has his initials on it.
FRANK:  This ball belongs to Coach Burke's son.

[Frank weighs the ball in his hand. It is a lightweight nerf-type ball yet it seems heavy, weighted - as if it contains something.]

FRANK:  Carl, the boy that was killed by a hit-and-run driver. Do you have an evidence bag, Cheryl? Hold it right under here.

[She gets one and holds it open for Frank who then squeezes the football with both hands. Blood oozes out through the carved letters on the ball and pooling at the bottom of the evidence bag.]

 

[The next morning, still at the Birckenbuehl residence, Birckenbuehl and his attorney are having a private discussion in the dining room. Then they come out and join Frank and Gerlach who are waiting in the kitchen. Frank checks his watch.]

JANUARY 23
11:12 AM
ATTORNEY:  Sheriff Gerlach, my client insists he's absolutely innocent of any charges relating to the death of Carl Burke.
GERLACH:  I don't care if your client insists he's the King of Prussia. I'm bringing him in.
ATTORNEY:  Under these rather unique circumstances, he has agreed to be taken in publicly for questioning but he expects that his cooperation will be taken into consideration.

[Gerlach takes out a pair of handcuffs and places them on Birckenbuehl's wrists, facing him.]

ATTORNEY:  Is that absolutely necessary?
FRANK:  We don't want to have any doubts about what's happening here.

[Gerlach turns Birckenbuehl around, then grabs hold of his jacket and guides him out of the room towards the front door. Another officer follows behind them as Cheryl and Frank look on.]

ANDREWS:  You think this is going to work, Frank?
FRANK:  If it doesn't, I don't know what will.

[Through the open front door, neighbors can be seen gathered in small groups looking on, trying to figure out what's happening as Birckenbuehl is brought out by Gerlach and his men. Near one of the cars, Edward Petey speaks to the woman from the community meeting.]

PETEY:  What's going on?
WOMAN:  It's Bob Birckenbuehl. He's being arrested.
PETEY:  For what?
WOMAN:  Killing Coach Burke's son. They're taking him down to give a statement.
PETEY:  Bob?
WOMAN:  I know. I can't believe it.

[Petey turns and walks back towards his parked mini-van across the street. As he walks, the camera pans down so that we can see that he's wearing the same black canvas sneakers the kidnapper wears. He gets into his car, starts the engine and drives off.]

[fade to black]

[polaroid fade up]

BIRCKENBUEHL RESIDENCE
7:18 PM

[Later that same night, Sheriff Gerlach looks out through the dining room window at two houses across the street. Birckenbuehl is sitting at the table. Gerlach walks from the room to the kitchen where Frank is pacing. Cheryl sits on a stool making some notes.]

ANDREWS:  (to Frank) You have a plan 'B'?
FRANK:  You don't believe he's taken the bait.
ANDREWS:  He's pushing it. The other boys were returned in under 72 hours and it's almost that now.

[Frank checks his watch. Gerlach gets a radio call from one of his men. The transmission is a bit garbled and difficult to understand.]

GERLACH:  A man's just come up the walk. He's approaching the house.

[They all head towards the front door. The door bell rings. A figure can be seen through the lead-glass window panels of the door. Gerlach pauses before opening the door, turning back to look at Frank and Cheryl who stand nearby looking on. When he does open it, we see it is Coach Burke.]

GERLACH:  Coach, what are you doing here?
BURKE:  Found this in my mailbox when I got back from work.

[He removes an audio tape cassette in a clear plastic box from his jacket pocket and shows it to Gerlach. Birckenbuehl steps between Frank and Gerlach to see who's at the door.]

BURKE:  It's addressed to him.

[He looks to Birckenbuehl, referring to him.]

[They then are all gathered in the dining room as Gerlach presses the 'PLAY' button on an audio cassette recorder. The tape runs and Charlie's voice can be heard along with a hollow echo throughout.]

Charlie:  Dad? Dad, I'm scared.

[A sound can be heard in the background - a thump with an echo.]

Charlie:  I'm sick, Dad. I'm really sick.

[Birckenbuehl becomes emotional listening to his son on the tape and begins crying.]

Charlie:  I want you to get me out of here, please. He wants me to tell you - he says what you've done isn't enough.

[Birckenbuehl regains his composure and listens more intently to the tape.]

Charlie:  He says he's merciful but, he says he's just. He says, for my sake, you have to pay for what you've done - that if you've taken a life, then your life must be taken in return.

[The tape ends.]

FRANK:  (to Gerlach) Play it again, please.
BIRCKENBUEHL:  Wait. I can't listen to that again.
FRANK:  Mr. Birckenbuehl.
BIRCKENBUEHL:  Yeah?
FRANK:  We'll find your son.

[Birckenbuehl nods then leaves the room. Gerlach rewinds the tape.]

ANDREWS:  The echo suggests a large, low-ceilinged room - an abandoned building, possibly a basement.

[Frank nods. Gerlach starts the tape again.]

Charlie:  Dad? Dad, I'm scared. I'm sick, Dad.

[The thump sound occurs.]

Charlie:  I'm really sick.
FRANK:  Stop it there. Did your hear that?

ANDREWS:  Yes.

FRANK:  There's a sound, something in the distant background. Rewind it a few seconds. Till after he says 'I'm sick'.

[Gerlach plays the tape again.]

GERLACH:  What is that?
FRANK:  I know.

 

[At the high school's pool. Several kids are walking about. One dives off the lower board and into the pool. The sound of the board is the sound on the tape. Frank and Gerlach run into the area.]

FRANK:  Is there a viewing area under the pool?
GERLACH:  I think so.

[They both stop as Frank points to an area underwater in the pool.]

FRANK:  There has to be an access to it.
GERLACH:  I'll get the keys.

[He runs off in one direction as Frank heads towards the other. Perspective shifts momentarily to the viewing area beneath the pool looking up through the water and at Gerlach's men standing by the pool's edge.]

[Gerlach unlocks the door as he, Frank and Cheryl enter the basement area beneath the pool. Cheryl tries a light switch on the wall but it doesn't work.]

ANDREWS:  We're working in the dark here.
GERLACH:  (shouts) Charlie!

[There is no response. Part of the area can be seen. The blue color in the area is the reflected light from the pool's water above through the viewing panels in the wall.]

ANDREWS:  He may have moved to another location.
GERLACH:  Let's split up. Move quietly.

[They each pick a different aisle and begin walking slowly through the area which is filled with shadows and the blue light.]

[Frank walks along one end of the room past a number of lockers along it.]

[Gerlach walks in the middle aisle, looking around each corner.]

[Cheryl carefully walks through an area near the pool's viewing windows.]

[They each continue moving through the area as they get closer to the far end of the room.]

[Cheryl then stumbles upon something on the floor. She kneels down and sees that it is a cooler. She lifts the lid and calls out to Frank.]

ANDREWS:  Frank?
FRANK:  Over here!

[She reaches her hand into the cooler and brings out an IV bag filled with blood.]

ANDREWS:  I think I found something here.

[He looks around, unsure exactly of where she is.]

ANDREWS:  Follow the sound of my voice.
FRANK:  Cheryl?
ANDREWS:  (shouts) Frank! I've got him!

[She's found Charlie, still tied by his wrists to a pipe over his head. His back is to her. She turns him so that she can look at him.]

ANDREWS:  He's okay!

[She begins trying to free his hands and speaks to him, trying to reassure him.]

ANDREWS:  It's all right, Charlie. You're going to be just fine.

[Charlie's eyes are wide open and he looks past Cheryl as she continues to try to undo the ropes tying his hands to the pipe. A man creeps out from the shadows behind her. It is Edward Petey with the cattle prod in his hand. She notices Charlie's stare, pauses and begins to turn around. As she does, she is zapped by the cattle prod in the chest. She cries out and falls to the ground.]

FRANK:  Cheryl!

[Frank has finally found her location and is nearby, near enough to see what has happened. Frank runs over and tries to talk Petey into surrendering.]

FRANK:  Hey. It's over.

[Petey lunges at Frank, trying to zap him with the cattle prod. Frank moves out of the way behind a column.]

PETEY:  I'm their only hope. The fathers of these boys were all liars. They tried to hide their sins.
FRANK:  You're done here.
PETEY:  You've seen what these men look like.

[He lunges again at Frank but misses as Frank shifts back to the other side of the column.]

PETEY:  You see what they'll do to their children. They'll make them just the way they are - sick and corrupt.
GERLACH:  Drop it, Ed!

[Gerlach has followed the sound of their voices and quietly walked to the area unnoticed. He cocks his gun and points it at Petey. Petey looks over at Gerlach, then back at Frank.]

PETEY:  I tried to help them. I care about these boys. Why am I the only one?

[Gerlach moves closer, still aiming the gun at Petey.]

GERLACH:  Drop the weapon!

[Petey looks at the cattle prod then tosses it down on the floor. Gerlach holsters his gun, grabs Petey, turning him ready to cuff his hands behind his back, as Frank rushes over to check on Cheryl.]

FRANK:  We need an ambulance here, Paul.

[Cheryl is still on the floor, grimacing from the pain and clutching her chest. Frank raises her head as she tries to sit up.]

FRANK:  Cheryl?
ANDREWS:  I'm all right. I'm all right, Frank.

[Frank goes over to Charlie. He frees his hands and the boy collapses into his arms.]

PETEY:  I saved him.

[Petey is being handcuffed. Frank lowers Charlie to the floor and turns to face Petey.]

PETEY:  I made his father pay the price for what he did.

 

[The Birckenbuehl residence. Frank and Gerlach rush back to the house to check on Bob Birckenbuehl. Frank runs up the stairs.]

FRANK:  Where's Birckenbuehl?
OFFICER:  In his bedroom.

[Frank walks over, opens the door to the bedroom and enters. He turns and looks up. Gerlach follows him in and also looks up. As the camera moves backwards, we see what both men are staring at: Birckenbuehl's boots and legs can be seen. He has hanged himself in their absence. Frank walks over and sits in a chair near the body, never taking his eyes off it.]

GERLACH:  How could this happen here?

[Frank finally looks down at the floor. He has no answer to offer.]

[fade to black]

[end titles]

Starring

Lance Henriksen (Frank Black)
Megan Gallagher (Catherine Black)

Guest Starring

Ryan Cutrona (Sheriff Paul Gerlach)
Michael Tomlinson (Tom Comstock)
Josh Clark (Edward Petey)
Terry David Mulligan (Bob Birckenbuehl)
Brian Taylor (Coach Burke)
and
CCH Pounder (Cheryl Andrews)

Co-Starring

Don MacKay (Jack Meredith)
Joy Rinaldi (Linda Comstock)
Paul Batten (Priest)
Andrew Johnston (County Coroner John Tasini)
Fred Henderson (Lawyer)
Karin Konoval (Woman)

Uncredited

Karen Kruper (Mrs. Petey)
Jade Pawluk (Charlie Birckenbuehl)
Betty Philips (Abby)
Rick Ravanello (The Cop)

 

Story Editor: Charles Holland
Music by Mark Snow
Editor: George Richard Potter
Production Designer: Sheila Haley
Director of Photography: Robert McLachlan
Associate Producer: Jon-Michael Preece
Consulting Producer: Ted Mann
Consulting Producers: James Wong & Glen Morgan
Co-Producer: Ken Dennis
Co-Producer: Chip Johannessen
Co-Producer: Frank Spotnitz
Co-Executive Producer: Jorge Zamacona
Co-Executive Producer: Ken Horton
Co-Executive Producer: John Peter Kousakis
Written by Frank Spotnitz
Directed by Michael Pattinson

Executive Producer: Chris Carter