Episode Number: 101
Episode Title: Pilot
Original Air Date: Sept 28, 1996

Detailed Synopsis - SPOILERS ABOUND:

Gary Hobson, a stockbroker at Strauss & Associates, arrives home with a bouquet of roses for his wife on their anniversary. But, much to his surprise, the locks have been changed, and his wife, Marcia, has tossed his belongings into a suitcase, which she throws out of the window to him. A devastated Gary takes up residence at the Blackstone Hotel, where he plans to wait for his wife to ask him to come back home.

On Monday morning, Gary's best friend and coworker, Chuck Fishman, stops by to visit and to see how his buddy is doing. While there, a copy of the Chicago Sun Times arrives at the door. Sitting on the newspaper is a cat. Gary reads the paper while getting ready for work, finding nothing odd about it, except for the fact that it came with a cat and that he didn't ask for any papers to be delivered during his stay at the Blackstone. Gary is still hoping to patch things up with Marcia, and jumps at every phone call, hoping that it will be her. Chuck heads off to work while Gary broods.

Gary arrives at Strauss & Associates - late, of course. He greets his friend Marissa Clark, the receptionist at Strauss & Associates, and they discuss her efforts to acquire a seeing-eye dog. She tells Gary that they have put her on a list, but jokingly notes that if she's lucky, maybe she'll win big at the track and be able to just buy one instead.

Towards the end of the day, Chuck observes that the price of Winter Wheat is rising rapidly. Gary warns Chuck not to buy into it, because it "went up 30 yesterday" so it's bound to drop again. Chuck reminds Gary that "yesterday" was Sunday and the markets were closed, so he must be mistaken. Gary insists that he knows what he's talking about - after all, he read about it in the paper that morning. This is Gary's first indication that the paper he received that morning might be... special. Gary and Chuck rush back to the Blackstone to check, but the paper has already been thrown out with the trash.

Over drinks at a neighborhood bar, Chuck tests Gary's knowledge of the sports scores that he read in the paper vs. the scores that are just now being broadcast on the TV. Gary gives the correct score each time. After discussing the paper a while, and contemplating whether it was a one-time thing or if it will come again, Gary decides he's going to go talk to Marcia to see if they can work things out. But almost before he can turn around, he is served with divorce papers.

[In a scene that wasn't aired, Gary goes to Marcia's with the divorce papers to talk things over and to find out *why* she wants a divorce. Marcia informs Gary that she left him because he's not ambitious enough for her. She wants to live the high life, but Gary is holding her back.]

Tuesday morning, Gary hears the sound of the newspaper and the cat again and, to his delight, he sees that the paper did, indeed, arrive again! Still unsure about the validity of it, he takes it to work with him and buys one share each of a number of stocks. Gary's boss, Phil Pritchard, threatens to fire Gary when he finds out he was only in for one share each, but Gary quits instead.

Gary takes Marissa out for lunch at the track - her usual place. She makes a $2 bet every day, hoping that one day she'll win enough to buy the dog. Gary notices that the race results in the paper are correct, so he places a few bets of his own, winning at least $15,000, which he gives to Marissa to buy herself a good guide dog.

Gary and Chuck meet again at the bar. Chuck is upset that Gary won so much money and then gave it all away. He feels that Gary should be using this "powerful tool" for making lots of money. They continue discussing the paper while walking back to the Blackstone and happen across an accident site. An out-of-control car ran into the corner newsstand, sending the owner, Sherman, to the hospital. Gary realizes that, had he even bothered to check, he could have prevented this accident. Gary spends the night thinking about what he *could* have done.

Gary arrives back at the Hotel to find Marissa and her new dog, Spike, waiting for him in his room; and the cat and newspaper waiting for him outside the door. Marissa senses something is wrong, and gets Gary to confide in her about the paper. She tries to help him understand that the paper is a gift - a chance to do whatever he can to help others. But Gary would rather the paper didn't come to him at all. The headline for today indicates that 10 people will die in a bank robbery. Gary, Marissa and Chuck go to the police station to report the robbery, but are only successful in arousing suspicion.

Over breakfast, Gary and Marissa discuss what they could do to prevent the deaths, while Chuck makes every effort to get a peek at the financials or the sports - anything to help him make a quick buck. Marissa thinks Gary should actually go to the bank, but Gary declares there is nothing else he can do. Marissa leaves in a huff, Chuck takes off (after snatching a page of the paper that had fallen onto the floor), and Gary stays behind. Until he glances at the headline again and sees that it has changed to 11 people dying. He concludes that the 11th person must be Marissa.

Gary rushes to the bank (after first hunting down Chuck and retrieving the missing page of the paper) and creates a diversion, thereby preventing the would-be robber, Frank Price, from his intended deed. Gary chases Frank into an elevator, where Frank pulls out a gun. He and Gary head to the roof of the building, where they end up discussing Frank's life and the underlying causes of his decision to rob the bank. Gary successfully convinces Frank to give himself up. When they go to do so, the police arrest Gary instead.

After being released by the police, Gary heads back to the Blackstone with the intention of checking out and going somewhere where the paper can't find him. He hands his room keys to the bellman, Boswell, and Chuck grabs them back. Gary goes to a secluded cabin in the woods, but in the morning, the cat and newspaper are again just outside his door. Chuck, who has spent the night in Gary's old hotel room, opens *his* door expecting to find the paper, but it is an exterminator instead.

Gary resigns himself to the fact that the paper will follow him wherever he goes, so he comes back to the City to look for a more permanent residence. A place that takes cats.


CREDITS

Starring:

  Kyle Chandler (as Gary Hobson)
  Shanesia Davis (as Marissa Clark)
  and Fisher Stevens as Chuck Fishman

 

Guest Starring:

  Milo O'Shea: Sherman
  Ron Dean: Detective Zeke Crumb
  Felicity Huffman: Detective Tagliotti
  Marc Vann: Phil Pritchard
  Tom Noonan: Frank Price

 

With:

  Michael Bacarella: Fan
  Maury Cooper: Homeless Guy
  James "Ike" Eichling: Shaunnessey
  Neil Flynn: Cop at Newsstand
  Don Forston: Exterminator
  Marianne Hagan: Marcia Hobson
  Tracy Letts: Marksman
  Malcolm Rothman: Guard at Bank
  Jeff Still: Cop at Bank
  Bill Visteen: Charlie
  Alan Wilder: Friendly Guy
  Linda MacLennan: Newscaster
  Jim Fierro Police Stunt Driver #1
  Randy Popplewell Police Stunt Driver #2

 

Developed by:

  Bob Brush

 

Created by:

  Patrick Q Page
  Vik Rubenfeld
  Ian Abrams

 

Produced by:

  Three Characters, Inc.
  Angelica Films
  CBS Productions
  TriStar Television,
a Sony Pictures Entertainment company
  All rights reserved

 

Technical & Production Credits:

Music by: W G Snuffy Walden
Edited by: Randy Roberts, A.C.E.
Production Designer: Guy Barnes
Direct of Photography: Rene Ohashi C.S.C.
Co-Producers: Patrick Q Page
  Vik Rubenfeld
Co-Executive Producer: Ian Abrams
  Richard Heus
Teleplay by: Bob Brush
  Ian Abrams
Story by: Patrick Q Page
  Vik Rubenfeld
  Ian Abrams
Directed by: Michael Dinner
Executive Producer: Lillah McCarthy
  Michael Dinner
  Bob Brush
Associate Producer: Steven Heth
  Dan McCaffrey
  Julia Rask
Casting by: Steven Jacobs
Unit Production Manager: Harvey Waldman
First Assistant Director: Matthew Carlisle
2nd Assistant Director: Aimee Kohn
Stunts Coordinator: Rick LeFevour
Costume Designer: Kaye Nottbusch
Costume Supervisor Susan Kaufmann
Camera Operator: Garrit Dangermond
Production Sound Mixer: Curt Frisk
Gaffer: Gino Crededio
Key Grip: Don Miller
Set Director: Joe Bristol
Props Master: Kim Lange-Bolanowski
Locations Manager: Paul Marcus
Construction Coordinator: Ron Kane
Production Supervisor: Patti Small
Production Coordinator: Debra Oyer
Supervising Sound Editor: Brian Risner
Music Editor: Allan K Rosen
Re-Recording Mixers: Rusty Smith
  Greg Orloff
Assistant Editor: Marta Evry
Assistant to Bob Brush: Rob Montgomery
Assistant to Michael Dinner: Liz Carranza
Assistant to Lillah McCarthy: Tom Daniels
Telecine and Electronic Assembly: Encore Video, Inc.
Presented in: Dolby Surround where available
Re-Recorded at: Sony Pictures Studios,
Culver City, CA
Main Title Design by: Nina Saxon Designs
Copyright (c) 1996 TriStar Television, Inc
  CBS Inc

TriStar Television Inc, and CBS Inc, are the authors of this film/motion picture for purposes of Article 15(2) of the Berne Convention and all national laws giving effect thereto.

This Motion Picture is protected under the laws of the United States and other countries, and its unauthorized duplication, distribution, or exhibition may result in civil liability and criminal prosecution.

The characters and incidents portrayed and the names used herein are fictitious, and any similarity to the name, character or history of any person, living or dead, is entirely coincidental and unintentional.


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