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113 The Thin White Line

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The Thin White Line

[MLM-113 (4C13)]

Written by Glen Morgan & James Wong

Directed by Thomas J. Wright

U.S. Air Date: February 14, 1997

[Transcribed by Maria Vitale

Edited by Libby]

[polaroid fade up]


8:43 PM

[Pouring rain. A man, Jacob Tyler, sits in his car, listening to his radio - The Bee-Gees, "How Deep is Your Love". He reaches into the glove compartment for a deck of playing cards. He looks through it until he finds the Jack of Spades. He tears the card in half. He envisions himself ringing the doorbell of a house. A woman, Anne Rothenberg, opens the door.]

WOMAN: Hello, can I help you?

MAN: It's not personal, but you did open the door.

WOMAN: I beg your pardon?

MAN: Certain people will have to be sacrificed. I made a promise.

WOMAN: It's important to keep promises. (The man nods.) In fact, I think it's so important I want to volunteer as your next sacrifice.

[The vision ends. Now the man rings the doorbell for real. She opens the door.]


[The man smiles at her, opens a knife, grabs her right hand - she begins to scream - slashes it across the palm and pushes his way inside, closing the door behind him, as she continues screaming.]

[A hospital emergency room with the usual activity associated with it. Frank Black approaches a doctor on call.]

DOCTOR: Hello, can I help you?

FRANK: I'm looking for Catherine Black. She's working tonight in Child Counseling.


FRANK: Thank you.

[The doors behind him burst open with a paramedic hurriedly giving the vital statistics of the patient in their charge - the victim from the opening scene, as she's wheeled into a cubicle of the ER.]

PARAMEDIC: We've got multiple stab wounds, front and back. BP's 60 palps. It doesn't look good.

[Frank turns to watch the commotion.]

DOCTOR: She's crashing! Get her in the trauma room. We need a second line in her.

2ND DOCTOR: She's in respiratory distress.

DOCTOR: Let's intubate her, now! (Frank follows after them to see what's happening.) She's in EMD. Hypovolemic. Pour the fluids into her. Start the CPR.

2ND DOCTOR: I already got two lines in her.

[The monitor begins beeping faster as Frank watches from the doorway.]

2ND DOCTOR: She's in defib!

DOCTOR: Let's defib at 200. Give me a milligram of epi.

[she injects the epinephrine into the woman's IV.]

DOCTOR: Okay, clear!

[The others respond that they are clear. She uses the paddles to stimulate the patient's heart causing her arm to slip from the table revealing her bloodied right hand. The doctor continues issuing orders.]

DOCTOR: Second charge to 300. Clear!

[Again the others respond that they are clear. Frank steps closer to stare at the wound on the woman's hand. Then looks down to his own right hand - at the scar along the inside of the palm - as the heart monitor signals a flatline.]

DOCTOR: She's gone.

2ND DOCTOR: Time of death - 10:35 PM.

[fade to black]

[main titles]

"A man's past is not simply a dead history... it is a still quivering part of himself, bringing shudders and bitter flavours and the tinglings of a merited shame."

George Eliot

[polaroid fade up]

[An abandoned warehouse with debris scattered everywhere. Movement through a hallway, flashlights lighting the way, checking each room as it's passed. A man, FBI Agent Riley, comes out of one of the rooms, pointing a gun at Frank, a much younger Frank, frightening them both.]

RILEY: I nearly blew a new hole in you, Frank.

YOUNGER FRANK: I'm sure he's here.

RILEY: Johnson and Clark are working the third floor.

[Riley heads towards the stairs with his gun drawn before him. Frank stands where he is, sensing that something is somewhere behind him. He looks to his left, then turns to watch Riley climbing the stairs off to his right.]

[He nearly calls after him but turns instead to his left again and proceeds down the hallway. At the open doorway, he checks out the room, gun drawn and flashlight in hand. He walks through the room, throws down a mattress that leans against the wall to reveal rats, even more debris and a crumbling wall. He hears a floorboard creak and turns to face a closed door.]

[As he reaches to open it, he sees a hand being slashed - and awakes from his nightmare to find himself in bed next to his wife, Catherine.]

[Rising quietly, so as not to disturb her, he picks up a sweatshirt and heads to his office down in the basement. He sits, smiles faintly at the screensaver on his Macintosh computer which consists of his daughter Jordan's picture and a hand-scrawled scan of: "I Love Daddy."]

[He again looks at the scar on his palm, clenches his fist and reaches to log on to the Millennium Group, entering his User I.D. and Password. Accepted, he is welcomed and the start-up screen begins loading. Message onscreen reads: "Group Database Access Approved."]

[upon entering, Frank selects a scar tissue database with a hand outline. He uses a stylus pen to trace his own scar, entering the data into his computer and requests: "Find Match." The database searches all scars on file for 1996 to 1997.]

[As it continues to look for a match, Catherine comes downstairs looking for Frank.]


FRANK: Couldn't sleep.

CATHERINE: Something affected you at the hospital. (She takes his hand in hers.) You want to talk about it?

[Frank looks at her but doesn't answer. She kisses him. The computer signals it has completed its task. Both look at the screen to see the results: "No Match Found." Catherine, seeing the hand outline onscreen and the scar drawn there, looks to Frank's hand, lightly tracing his scar with her finger. He clasps her hands, rises and they both return upstairs together, holding one another as the compuer screen is shown again.]

[street traffic across from the Public Safety Building in Seattle. Inside, Lt. Bob Bletcher's office, as Bletcher reads to Frank from the police report of the dead woman that Frank saw at the hospital the night before.]

BLETCHER: Anne Rothenberg, 32. Her husband found her when he came home from work. He said some cash and some jewelry were missing. Poor woman probably surprised a burglar.

FRANK: Similar M.O.'s in any recent break-ins?

BLETCHER: No, we've been on a hot-streak. No homicides as a result of break-ins in the last two months.

FRANK: Subject leave anything, anything at the scene?

BLETCHER: Anything like... ?

FRANK: Like anything.

BLETCHER: No, but if, uh, any 'like anythings' turn up, uh, you'll be the first person I'll call.

[Frank smiles at Bletcher.]

[Tyler steps out from his car and walks towards a liquor store. Inside, the store clerk is sitting at the counter watching a basketball game on TV, as Tyler enters.]

[Tyler again envisions the exchange with his victim prior to living it. He grabs a bag of chips and tosses it on the counter.]

CLERK: Anything else?

TYLER: I was never a religious person. But I've been troubled by what I've done.

[The clerk rings up the chips.]

CLERK: You need some help finding something?

TYLER: Do you know why I'm here?

CLERK: Certain people have to be sacrificed.

TYLER: Then you understand - you accept this?

CLERK: God says if you're repentant, you'll be forgiven. You've made your peace. I must

make mine.

[End of vision, Tyler enters the scene for real this time, grabbing and tossing a bag of chips onto the counter. The clerk reaches for a bag.]

CLERK: Anything else?

[Tyler pulls out a gun, points it at the clerk and fires four shots. As he leaves the store with a bag filled with money from the cash register, a sign on the door is shown which reads: 'Smile - You're on Camera!']

[Again in Bletcher's office, Bletcher is showing the surveillance tape from the liquor store to Frank. Date on the lower left-hand corner reads: "2 12 97" and the time code begins at: "10:12.53"]

BLETCHER: Well, our streak is over. This came in just a couple of hours ago.

[The tape shows Tyler entering the store and approaching the clerk at the counter with the bag of chips. It cuts back and forth to Bletcher explaining to Frank why he wanted to show him the tape.]

BLETCHER: It's probably not connected to the Rothenberg robbery/homicide - different weapons, circumstances, totally incompatible M.O.'s - but there was just something weird about this I wanted you to look at. Listen to the way he talks to the victim.

[back to the running videotape. ]

CLERK: Anything else?

TYLER: I was never a religious person. But I've been troubled by what I've done.

[The clerk rings up the bag of chips.]

CLERK: Seventy-five cents.

TYLER: Do you know why I'm here?

CLERK: I don't know - a good time? I got a special on malt liquor in the back.

[Frank envisions the exchange Tyler had with the victim and begins to echo the clerk's words as Tyler heard them in his mind.]

FRANK: Certain people have to be sacrificed.

TYLER: Then you understand - you accept this?

[bletcher can only hear the exchange as it occurs on the tape and stares at Frank's narration.]

FRANK: God says if you're repentant, that you'll be forgiven. I've made my peace, now you must do your duty.

BLETCHER: What the hell are you talking about?

[back to the tape. Tyler is seen shooting the clerk to death.]

BLETCHER: The b******* didn't even ask him for the money before he killed him.

FRANK: He gave his permission.

[back to the tape. Tyler is turning away from the counter after taking the money from the register, as Bletcher is about to stop the tape.]

FRANK: Oh no, let it run.

[Tyler can be seen tossing something down towards the dead clerk's body on the floor. Frank rewinds the tape a few seconds to watch Tyler's action again. As Tyler tosses something down to the ground, Frank points to the screen.]

FRANK: An 'anything.'

[The liquor store crime scene. Frank finds some items strewn on the floor behind the counter, lying in a puddle of the dead clerk's blood. Frank crouches down, pulls on a rubber glove, reaches for a pocket knife and picks up a portion of a playing card from the blood-soaked floor. It is the torn half of the Jack of Spades. Turning it reveals a back image made up of skulls which causes Frank to relive several harried flashbacks from a time in his distant past. He turns and speaks over his shoulder to Bletcher.]

FRANK: I'd like to examine the Rothenberg crime scene.

[The Rothenberg residence. Everything has been cleaned up. The living room is neat and ordered as several detectives search through the house. Frank is kneeling on the floor, also searching. Bletcher is holding an evidence bag with the bloodied torn playing card.]

BLETCHER: Frank, forensics have already been through this place. They didn't find anything. Mr. Rothenberg spent all night cleaning up. In his state of mind, he might have destroyed the evidence and not even remembered.

[Frank continues to search. Bletcher kneels next to him.]

BLETCHER: Why is it so important we find this card? (He shows the evidence bag to Frank.) If these two murders are related, we've got the surveillance camera footage from the liquor store. We should be with a sketch artist building a composite instead of this.

FRANK: Something I need to know.

[Frank stands and walks across the room to an upright piano while Bletcher continues to look at the card piece in the bag. Frank looks at some dried flowers in a pot on the floor beside the piano. He pulls the pot away from the wall and finds the other half of the playing card.]

[This triggers more images, flashbacks for Frank. He again sees a bloodied hand with a slash cut across the palm. He also sees another torn playing card covered with blood: the King of Clubs.]

[back to the present, the torn playing card beside the piano is face down.]

BLETCHER: You found it! (Kneels beside Frank.) Is it a Jack of Spades?

FRANK: I can't. (Shakes his head, unable to turn the card.) I can't do it, Bletch.

[bletcher reaches over, picks up the card. A close-up shows that the card back has the same skulls the other torn half had and the words: "58th Airborne. Expect No Mercy." Bletcher turns the card to reveal that it is also a Jack of Spades and then places it next to the evidence bag to confirm that they are both halves of the same card.]

FRANK: He always kills in pairs.

BLETCHER: You know this guy.

FRANK: Twenty years ago. I was almost a second of a pair.

[Frank shows Bletcher his right hand, running his fingers over the scar on his palm.]

[fade to black]

[polaroid fade up]

[The Black residence, Frank's basement. Frank is showing a case file to Bletcher on his computer. Image onscreen is a mugshot photo.]

FRANK: Richard Alan Hance, born February 17th, 1953, to a Josephine Hance. Father unknown. When he was six he was sent into foster care, where for the next ten years he lived with nine different families.

[Frank continues to speak as the computer screen is shown. A copy of Hance's file is visible and reads as follows:]

Washington Correctional Center 4600 Monitor Road Shelton, Washington 98402


Name: Hance, Richard Alan Race: White Sex: Male HT: 6'3" WGT: 185 Lbs. Eyes: Brown Complexion: Medium D.O.B. 02/17/1953 SS# 010-09-2011


Father unknown, remanded into foster care at the age of 6. Remained in welfare care until the age of 16.




FRANK: In county social-welfare parlance, he was labeled irredeemable. When Hance was seventeen he was sent to live with his grandparents on a farm in Montana. They were self-sufficient people living in rural isolation. Six months after Richard Hance moved in, his grandparents' decomposing bodies surfaced on Flathead Lake. Murder charges were dropped for lack of evidence. Hance was encouraged to join the military. Did two tours in Viet Nam. Discharged in 1977.

[He picks up several crime scene photos and hands them, one at a time, to Bletcher.]

FRANK: That same year on the outskirts of Tacoma, Sandra Bishop's body was found dead at her house, apparently from surprising a robber.

[The first photo is of Bishop, lying on the carpet of her floor, covered with blood. The second is a close-up of her bloodied right hand with a two and a half inch slash across the length of her palm.]

FRANK: Half a death card, used by soldiers in Viet Nam to designate their kills, was discovered at the scene.

[Third photo is of a torn playing card, with blood splatters: the Queen of Diamonds.]

FRANK: The other half was found three days later, on a jogger, killed returning to his car.

[The last photo is of the other half of the torn card, back face with the words: "58th Airborne. Expect No Mercy."]

BLETCHER: You think Hance is responsible? (Frank nods.) Then we should put a warrant out for Richard Alan Hance. (Frank shakes his head.)

FRANK: He's presently at the Washington Correction Center, serving seven consecutive life sentences.


FRANK: The week after the first two murders, two more bodies were found.

[What follows is a flashback that intercuts with Frank description of the events which took place twenty years earlier. It was raining heavily.]

FRANK: After the second pair of victims, there was a lull. We thought he went away. Then Seattle PD received an anonymous call regarding the whereabouts of the Death Card Killer.

[several Seattle uniformed officers, detectives and FBI agents, in designated jackets, are standing in the downpour in a alley behind an abandoned building.]

FRANK: They found evidence he might have squatted in an condemned building but was long gone. We came in after the operations to see if anything more could be learned from his abandoned belongings.

[The FBI agent in charge speaks to Frank before they enter the building.]

AGENT: Do you get any feelings about this one, Frank?

YOUNGER FRANK: Abandoned building in an industrial park. It's isolated enough at night to be an urban version of Grandpa Hance's farm in Montana. I think it's a good tip, sir.

AGENT: All right. The building's been swept by the Seattle PD. But there's plenty of hiding places.

[All of the agents, including Frank, check their weapons.]

AGENT: So, be careful in there. All right, let's go.

[They enter the building, in pairs - Frank and his partner Riley, followed by another team of Johnson and Clark. All have their guns drawn and are carrying flashlights, checking every corner as they go.]

[Johnson and Clark head upstairs. Frank and Riley continue searching the first floor, room by room, with Frank leading the way.]

[upstairs, Johnson and Clark are following the same procedure. Back downstairs, Frank finds the remains of some food, including a can of Smeat, a canned meat product. He turns to his partner.]


[He holsters his weapon, kneels down, picks up the can and smells it. The odor is pungent.]

YOUNGER FRANK: It's decomposing. I'd say he'd been here less than forty-eight hours.

RILEY: You must be great at parties.

[Frank again pulls out his gun and they continue searching.]

[upstairs, Johnson and Clark do the same. Johnson finds some blood splatters on a mattress and scrapes some samples into a vial, while Clark continues on without him. Johnson then find a magazine, 'Police Stories: Sex Freak Drank His Victim's Blood,' with a bloody thumb print on the cover.]

JOHNSON: Hey, Clark? Looks like we got a partial thumb on this magazine. (No response.) Clark?

[still no response, so Johnson goes off in search of Clark. As he goes from one room to the next, he finally spots his partner on the ground.]


[He kneels by his side, reaches over to feel for a pulse at his throat and finds his fingers covered with blood.]


[Johnson, still kneeling, begins looking around the room with the flashlight. Hance is hiding in the shadows with greasepaint covering his face for camouflage. Beside Clark's body, Johnson finds a torn half of a playing card, covered in blood. As he picks it, Hance comes out from the shadows, creeps up and kicks him, knocking him down. Frank and Riley hear the noise from below.]


[They both rush up the stairs.]

[Hance stands over Johnson, takes out his knife, uses his foot to hold down Johnson's right hand and slashes it across the palm. Hance then grabs and pulls Johnson by the shirt collar into another room. Frank and Riley begin searching for their colleagues.]

RILEY: Johnson? Clark?

[He motions for Frank to continue searching while he heads on down the hall to do the same. Frank opens the door to a room, enters and begins looking. Then he is walking down a hallway, checking each open doorway with his flashlight for any movement. As he reaches the next door, Riley appears, pointing his gun at Frank - the same moment Frank had relived in his nightmare earlier.]

RILEY: I nearly blew a new hole in you, Frank.

YOUNGER FRANK: I'm sure he's here.

RILEY: Johnson and Clark are working the third floor.

[Riley heads towards the stairs with his gun drawn before him. Frank stands where he is, sensing that something is somewhere behind him. He looks to his left, then turns to watch Riley climbing the stairs off to his right. He nearly calls after him but turns instead to his left again and proceeds down the hallway.]

[At the open doorway, he checks out the room, gun drawn and flashlight in hand. He walks through the room, throws down a mattress that leans against the wall to reveal rats, even more debris and a crumbling wall. He hears a floorboard creak and turns to face a closed door.]

[As he reaches to open it, a dead Johnson falls on top of him, pinning him to the ground. Hance appears out of the shadows again, places his foot over Frank's right wrist, and slashes the palm with his knife. Frank tries to get up but is unable to because of Johnson's body. Hance then drops the other torn half of the playing card near Frank.]

HANCE: Joker.

[He kneels down close to Frank's face.]

HANCE: Can you see what I see, FBI? Can you see your fear? Can you see what you really are?

[There is an image of Frank's face becoming someone else's but the identity is unclear.]

[Hance raises his hand to stab Frank as Riley enters the room and fires, wounding him. Hance returns fire, hitting Riley. Riley manages to get off one more round but not before Hance fires off more shots, killing Riley.]

[Hance continues to pull the trigger but the gun is empty. Frank finally manages to free himself of Johnson's body and reaches for his own gun on the floor. Frank, using his left hand, points the gun at Hance.]

YOUNGER FRANK: Drop it! Drop it, you son-of-a-bitch!

[Hance continues to point his gun at Frank. Frank pulls the hammer back, cocking the gun.

YOUNGER FRANK: Come on! Give me a reason!

[Hance finally lowers the gun and places it on the ground, surrendering to Frank.]

HANCE: You get me an ambulance. I'm hurt.

[Frank finishes telling his story to Bletcher.]

FRANK: If he follows Hance's pattern, the current subject will take two more victims. The second pair before a period of unknown activity. Whatever Hance did, whatever happened to him during that lull in 1977, made Hance more aggressive. It was only a lucky tip that allowed us to catch him at all.

[Frank begins wringing his hands, rubbing the scar on his palm, and squeezing his hands together. Bletcher notices this.]

FRANK: And the loss of three lives. We have to stop the subject before he gets there.

BLETCHER: Maybe, uh, someone should talk to, uh, Richard Hance.

FRANK: Someone?


[He hands Frank Hance's file. Frank takes it and drops it on the desk.)

FRANK: After killing a prison guard, Richard Hance has been isolated from human contact for three years.

BLETCHER: You've already spoken with Washington Corrections?

FRANK: I've never taken my eyes off of him even though for all intents and purposes he's dead.

BLETCHER: Then, uh, how is it possible that he's, uh, responsible for these recent murders?

FRANK: Hance's cellmate, prior to being placed in isolation, whom the guards referred to as 'Mrs. Hance,' has been released from prison. He's broken parole. His whereabouts are unknown.

[He turns back to his computer and calls up Tyler's file from the Washington Correction Center.]

FRANK: Jacob Tyler. He is the living reincarnation of Richard Alan Hance.

[Tyler is shown walking down a crowded street, picking up on conversations around him but twisting them in his mind, personalizing them to fit his own interpretation. He sees a meter maid and turns away, worried that he might be recognized. As he passes people on the street, he thinks he can hear them talking to him.]

1ST WOMAN: They're everywhere.

[He turns to stare at her as she continues walking past him. Another woman, walking with a friend, turns to look at him.]

2ND WOMAN: They're on to you, it's just a matter of time.

[And then goes on walking and talking with her friend.]

2ND WOMAN: And he had a little tie...

[Tyler turns and begins to follow the two women when a street evangelist points to him.]

EVANGELIST: You, who have sinned, shall endure the tortures of the Devil! For each condemnation, ten lashes with a red-hot wire! The flesh will be flayed from your body and salt poured over the wounds! And your screams of mercy shall fall on deaf ears! And those who screamed in vain, under your hand, shall rejoice in your suffering!

[Tyler walks away from the man as he continues to offer his street-corner sermon to anyone who will listen.)

EVANGELIST: The Lord has sent me to prophecy against this city - all the words that ye have heard. Therefore, mend your ways.

[Tyler passes a newsstand and, in his mind, sees his face on the cover of every single magazine, with headlines that read: 'Captured.']

[it is night, raining, several police vehicles are already at a crime scene when Frank pulls up in his Jeep Cherokee. He climbs out and walks over to meet up with Bletcher. There are two bodies on the ground, covered with plastic as Bletcher describes the situation to Frank.]

BLETCHER: Motorist looking to relieve himself stumbled over the bodies.

[He holds an evidence bag in his hand and shows it to Frank.]

BLETCHER: Queen of Hearts. Half here, half on the other body.

FRANK: We're too late.

BLETCHER: Too late? This couple was murdered at least three weeks ago.

FRANK: That means that the liquor store owner completed the cycle. He's gotten there.

BLETCHER: Period of unknown activity. There's no way to stop him, until he acts again.

FRANK: There is something.

[Frank has a short flashback of images from his encounter with Hance.]

FRANK: I have to speak to the dead.

[fade to black]

[polaroid fade up]



[Hance is in a large cell, standing on a table, slamming a food tray against the ceiling of the cell toward the fluorescent lighting above, trying to silence its constant hum. Frustrated with the tray, he tosses it down and begins slamming his own shoulder against the ceiling by jumping on the table.]

[Four guards approach his cell. One of them is carrying a tray with shackles on it.]

[Another part of the prison - an interrogation room, without bars, but with steel walls. The room is well-lit and silent. Frank is speaking with the prison warden, trying to convince him to grant him a private interview with Hance.]

WARDEN: I think you're making a mistake.

[Frank repeatedly rubs his right hand.]

WARDEN: This man has been convicted of three additional killings while incarcerated, including the guard, whose bloodied body he paraded up and down the cellblock like some kind of trophy.

FRANK: He has information that can help us save lives.

WARDEN: Yeah, well, maybe we could set up a chair between the cells. You can conduct your interview there.

FRANK: In order to get what I want, I have to gain his trust. He won't give us anything from behind those bars.

WARDEN: There's no surveillance set up in this room. You'd be on your own in here. (sighs) When you're done, press this button.

[He places a remote switch on the table.]

WARDEN: The guards'll come get him. And, uh, you're going to have to sign this before we bring him in.

[He hands Frank a sheet of paper.]

WARDEN: It's just a statement acknowledging that you understand that if you're taken hostage, the prison administration will not negotiate for your life.

[He signs the paper and hands it back to the warden.]

[Frank faces the locked door. As it opens, he comes face to face, with Richard Alan Hance, accompanied by the four guards. Frank looks at the guards.]

FRANK: Remove the cuffs.

[The guards hesitate and look from Frank to the warden.]

FRANK: Please, remove the cuffs.

[The warden nods and the cuffs are removed. The shackles on his legs remain. The warden indicates that the guards are to leave and he follows them out the door. Then it is shut, leaving Frank and Hance alone.]

[Hance looks up at the lights and the humming begins again. They both sit down at the steel table, across from one another, the remote switch near Frank's hands.]

FRANK: My name is Frank Black. I'm not part of the prison or the FBI or any other law enforcement agency. I assure you that anything we talk about will not be passed along to the prison authorities. You're not being taped or monitored in any way. I'm asking for your cooperation in freely talking about your childhood, your life, your crimes.

HANCE: Make them turn off the lights. In my cell, they keep them on twenty-four hours a day, every day. Fluorescent lights. It's the hum. You hear it? (Frank nods.) 60-cycle hum. Constant. It's like you're aware of your own heart beating. Pounding. Even when my eyes are closed and I'm sleeping, I can see the light right through the eyelids.

[Frank stares at him throughout.]

HANCE: I used to hate living in the darkness. Now I would kill just for a second of black.

[Frank stares more intently at Hance.]

HANCE: Well, you know, figuratively.

FRANK: There are no rewards for cooperation.

HANCE: Well then why the hell would I talk to you?

FRANK: You can go back to the hum.

[Frank takes the remote switch and places it between them.]

FRANK: This interview can be ended by either one of us by pressing that button. I'll go my way, you'll go back to your cell. Sandra Bishop, let's start there.

HANCE: Ah, no! A good story you have to start at the beginning. Sandra Bishop would be like walking into a play after the intermission.

FRANK: What's the beginning of the story?

HANCE: First though, you wanna make a movie about my life, I want Gary Busey to play me. I think he'd be perfect for the part. Is he still popular?

FRANK: I don't get cable.

[Hance gestures with his fingers, as if they were the lens of a camera.]

HANCE: We open on my grand-parents' farm in Montana. I was, uh, seventeen. It was February and Valentine's Day. There was this girl that I was sweet on. Oh, and I want Ally Sheedy to play her.

[Frank looks as though he's beginning to lose patience with Hance.]

HANCE: Okay, where was I? Oh! I had saved my money all winter long so that I could buy her the biggest box of chocolates in one of those heart-shaped boxes. I sent her a card. Wouldn't let my grandma see the card 'cause I knew she'd just go on and on about how much I spent. So I just asked her to address it 'cause I couldn't read or write. Anyway, February 14th comes and I'm walking up to her house and I got that box of chocolates under my, under my arm and I'm walking up the driveway and, and all of her, all of her folks, they're outside and they're laughing at, at me! And she's, she's crying, she's just bawling her eyes out. And she says to me, 'They say you can't read!' Then she shows me the card I'd sent her, you know. It's, uh, it's a Father's Day card. I just dropped the box and I turned around and walked away. Been walking away ever since.

FRANK: Willie Lloyd Turner. That's his story. He was executed May 25th, 1995 in Virginia.

[Hance begins to laugh.]

HANCE: Something borrowed, something...

[Frank interrupts him.]

FRANK: John Barnes.

HANCE: The jogger, hmmm.

FRANK: 1977. The matched pair.

HANCE: They all asked for it.

FRANK: Asked?

HANCE: You just gotta listen. You gotta feel the vibe. And the meat, as I call 'em, they'll volunteer their lives up.

FRANK: Is that what you call the FBI agents - the meat?

HANCE: No, no, no, no, no. They're like me - meat-eaters. That's what made them so fun to kill. (He laughs again.) The hunters become the hunted.

[images from Hance's memories of killing Clark, attacking him from behind.]

HANCE: The first one, practically offered himself up to me, like Ophelia offering herself to Dracula.

[More images from Hance's memories of luring Johnson to his death.]

HANCE: And Ophelia became my bait. And the second one, after witnessing my power, just surrendered.

[images of the attack on Johnson and the slashing of his palm.]

HANCE: I mark 'em, on the palm. That's my trademark. That makes them my property - my meat.

FRANK: And the third?

HANCE: The third one was a coward. I ate his fear up like it was a Thanksgiving meal. His sweat was the cranberry sauce. His breath was the stuffing. And those frozen eyes? They were the dark meat.

FRANK: You marked him - but you didn't kill him.

[He bends back his hand to show Hance his scar.]

HANCE: The joker! You think you're safe in here with all these guards all around and me shackled. And this little panic button at your fingertips? Takes them 33 seconds from the moment you push that button to the time they open that door. I counted. You know what I can do to you in 33 seconds, Meat?

FRANK: You're the one who has to decide when to push that button.

[Frank pushes the remote switch towards him.]

FRANK: I thought about how I should have ended your life, the way you ended my friends and the others. If I had pulled that trigger, no one would have given it a second thought. There would have been no doubts, by anyone - except me. And now I'm beginning to wonder if I made the right decision. I was afraid to come here. Not because of you, but because of me. I'm not so sure I should have given myself the chance to make that decision again. Make it for me. Give me a reason.

HANCE: (Puts his hands up as if quitting.) No, I've already eaten you. May I be excused?

FRANK: Jacob Tyler. You finished eating him?

HANCE: Now, I would never hurt Jacob.

FRANK: Tyler came into this prison - he was a bank robber, with no history of homicidal violence. Now he's following your pattern, your exact signature. You killed him and made another Richard Hance.

HANCE: Look, you ever share your life so completely with another human being that you, you, you eat, you sleep, you, you breathe everything the same. I touched his life like no one else can because I was in here with him! I mattered and he mattered! I lived as Jacob and he lived as me. We are as one.

[He points to the fluorescent lights above him.]

HANCE: They're trying to torture me with these lights. (He chuckles.) But for every second these lights burn, that tells me that's another second that he's out there. That's not murder - that's love.

FRANK: And if you truly love him, he'll do as you've done. He'll take two pairs of two and then rest, gathering his strength and resources for the test. The test where the hunters become the hunted. The anonymous tip - the trap - you called it in!

[Hance doesn't answer but simply stares at Frank.]

[Night. Tyler, driving a different car, stops at a phone booth.]

OPERATOR: Crime-Stoppers Hot Line.

TYLER: I have some information, information regarding the, uh, the guy in the papers?

OPERATOR: Could you be more specific, please?

TYLER: The guy who killed the liquor store guy? You know, with the drawing in the papers.

OPERATOR: Yes, sir. Have you seen someone who matches the composite?

TYLER: Yeah. I think I've seen him around this abandoned building on, uh, 30th and Hope. I think he crashes there at night.

OPERATOR: Thanks for the tip, sir. You may be eligible for a reward...

[Tyler hangs up the phone.]

[fade to black]

[polaroid fade up]

[sound of thunder and pouring rain as once again the setting is the abandoned warehouse twenty years ago. Movement through a hallway, flashlight lighting the way, checking each room as it's passed. A man, this time it's present day Frank Black, comes out of one of the rooms, pointing a gun at the younger Frank Black.]

OLDER FRANK: I nearly blew a new hole in you, Frank.

YOUNGER FRANK: I'm sure he's here.

OLDER FRANK: Johnson and Clark are working the third floor.

[The Older Frank moves off to echo Riley's steps while the Younger Frank continues as before. He senses that there's something close by and turns to consider calling after the Older Frank who is climbing the stairs, but does not. Instead, he turns and investigates the room at the far end of the hallway.]

[The Older Frank takes the stairs, two at a time, and cautiously enters the room in front of him, calling softly for Johnson and Clark.]

[He can hear some sounds, mumbling, and goes further into the room to find that part of the floor is missing giving a clear view of the floor below. He sees the Younger Frank on the ground, Agent Johnson on top of him and Richard Alan Hance standing above Frank, dropping the torn half of the Joker near his head.]

[The Older Frank kneels down on the floor by the hole's edge for a closer look. He sees Hance kneel beside the Younger Frank.]

HANCE: Can you see what I see, FBI? Can you see your fear? Can you see what you really are?

[The Older Frank is becoming more anxious. He hears a shot fired. Looking, he sees Riley enter the room. He's hit Hance but he's still able to return fire.]

[The Older Frank then holds his head, blocking his ears with his hands and shuts his eys, unwilling and unable to bear witness to the unfolding events yet again. When he opens his eyes he sees the Younger Frank pointing his gun at an unarmed and wounded Hance.]

YOUNGER FRANK: Drop it, you son-of-a-bitch! Come on! Give me a reason!

[Hance continues to point his gun at Frank. Frank pulls the hammer back, cocking the gun. As Hance leans down to surrender his weapon, the Older Frank can sense what is about to happen. He even pulls out and points his own gun down at the Younger Frank, shouting.]


[The Younger Frank opens fire on Hance, firing nine shots - from a six-cylinder revolver.]

[The nightmare awakens Frank, who sits up in bed in the early morning hours and manages to wake Catherine up with his movement.]

CATHERINE: Frank? (sighs) You haven't slept through the night for a week.

[she takes his right hand in hers.]

FRANK: Sorry I woke you.


FRANK: I've been questioning myself on my actions. We think we're doing our job putting these guys away. All we do is put them in jails and prisons. We're hiding them from sight.

CATHERINE: You've taken away their ability to harm any others.

FRANK: You think so? Four people have died because of my inaction.

CATHERINE: Your inaction? (Frank nods.)

FRANK: Twenty years ago I could have destroyed a cancer. Instead of killing it, I allowed it to spread.

CATHERINE: Richard Hance. (Frank nods again.) That cancer was a man under your custody. You could no more kill him than you could kill Jordan or me. (sighs) Frank, I believe in the goodness that's in you. You have to find a way to believe in it again.

[she kisses him on the cheek and rests her head on his shoulder.]

[That night, outside of the building at 30th and Hope, the police are in full force, watching the building for any movement. Frank and Bletcher are watching as well. Frank looks a pair of binoculars. There's a light in a third-floor window.]

FRANK: You got the anonymous tip last night?

[He asks Bletcher who is standing behind him. Bletcher nods.]

FRANK: Well, if he stays with the pattern, that'll be the trap. He'll be in the building, waiting.

BLETCHER: Undercover officers kept this under surveillance since early this morning. If he moves a hair, we're gonna nail him.

FRANK: I think Jacob Tyler has lost all contact with his own personality. We can't count on his survival instincts to surrender, even against overwhelming odds.

BLETCHER: Maybe in this case it's better just to end it. Here. Now.

[Frank looks at him but doesn't respond. Bletcher picks up his radio and issues the order.]

BLETCHER: Okay, it's a Go!

[sirens wail, police cars pull up as teams of SWAT members and canine squads approach the abandoned building. A radio dispatcher can be heard giving instructions and relaying messages when shots are fired, hitting several police officers. Everyone dives for cover. Frank looks through the binoculars trying to locate the shooter. He points to a building under construction across the street.]

FRANK: There he is! Third floor!

[bletcher again gets on the radio.]

BLETCHER: Third floor! The northeast building! The one under construction! Go!

[They both head for the building and enter it. Tyler is using a high-powered rifle and continues firing several more rounds. Then he begins to move around the empty floor of the building as Frank and Bletcher begin searching for him. Bletcher goes off on his own while Frank hangs back.]

[While Bletcher climbs up a flight of stairs, Frank goes off toward his left. He finds the empty shell casings as Tyler comes up, hitting him from behind.]

TYLER: I just want you to know it's not personal.

[Tyler has his rifle pointing at Frank, who is kneeling at his feet.]

FRANK: We answered the call.

TYLER: Do you know why I'm here?

FRANK: You made a promise - a promise you have to keep.

TYLER: You understand?

FRANK: Certain people have to be sacrificed.

TYLER: Then you accept this?

FRANK: No. I've already been sacrificed.

[Frank holds up his palm and shows Tyler his scar. While distracted, Frank grabs the rifle and kicks Tyler's legs out from under him. Scrambling, Frank ducks behind some steel barrels as Tyler pulls out a handgun and begins shooting at the barrel, hoping to hit Frank. He continues pulling the trigger even after he empties his gun. Frank then rises, points the rifle at Tyler.]

FRANK: You are not who you are!

[Tyler begins to lower his gun.]

FRANK: You're Jacob Tyler!

[Frank lowers the rifle and looks directly at Tyler.]

FRANK: And you'll have to find a way to believe in that again.

[bletcher enters from behind Tyler, unseen and unheard.]

BLETCHER: Drop it!

[Tyler turns around and points the empty gun at Bletcher.]

BLETCHER: Drop it now!

FRANK: (Screams.) No!!

[bletcher shoots Tyler dead.]

BLETCHER: (Into his radio) This is Bletcher. Third floor - suspect's down. Send the coroner.

[Frank stares at him as he picks up Tyler's gun, opens it and finds nothing but empty shell casings.]

BLETCHER: Couldn't take the chance, Frank, for now or later.

[both men stare at one another.]

FRANK: How did we get to this place where the only thing we're good for is notifying the loved ones?

[The prison, Hance's cell. He's lying on his cot, trying to sleep through the humming of the fluorescent lights above when they go out, first two by two, then the rest. Now in silence, Hance begins to weep.]

[fade to black]

[end titles]

Bill Smitrovich (Lt. Bob Bletcher)

Guest Starring

Jeremy Roberts (Richard Alan Hance)

Scott Heindl (Jacob Tyler)


Ken Tremblett (Agent Riley)

Allan Harvey (Agent Johnson)

Mark Holden (Agent Clark)

Nancy Sivak (Anne Rothenberg)

Larry Musser (Warden)

Tom Heaton (Store Clerk)

Music by Mark Snow

Editor: Stephen Mark

Production Designer: Mark Freeborn

Director of Photography: Robert McLachlan

Associate Producer: Jon-Michael Preece

Consulting Producer: Ted Mann

Consulting Producers: James Wong & Glen Morgan

Co-Producer: Ken Dennis

Producer: Chip Johannessen

Co-Executive Producer: Frank Spotnitz

Co-Executive Producer: Ken Horton

Co-Executive Producer: John Peter Kousakis

Written by Glen Morgan & James Wong

Directed by Thomas J. Wright

Executive Producer: Chris Carter

Edited by Libby
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