"The Quality of Mercy"
(Original Air Date: April 25, 1998)


A former prisoner whose life Gary once saved is determined to kill the prosecutor who put him away.

Early Edition
April 25, 1998 "The Quality of Mercy"
Written by David T. Levinson
Directed by Fisher Stevens

*~*~*~*~*

G = Gary Hobson
C = Chuck Fishman
M= Marissa Clark
Z = Zeke Crumb
H = John Hernandez
R = Rachel Stone
Dr = Dr. Richardson
L = Leon
S = Sarah
T = Tom

*~*~*~*~*

(Camera follows Rachel Stone down the steps of the El platform. John Hernandez follows her down the street.)

C: (voice-over) They say things happen for a reason.

(Gary races down the street, paper in hand.)

C: But what if you knew certain things were going to happen, and you changed them? Would that be for a reason, too?

(Gary looks at a headline: "Pedestrian Mowed Down By Truck".)

C: It's the kind of thing you think about when you get tomorrow's newspaper today.

(Hernandez is still following Rachel; Gary's running. Rachel crosses a street, Hernandez starts to follow. Gary pulls Hernandez out of the path of an oncoming truck. They both fall to the sidewalk and Gary drops the paper.)

G: (standing) Hey, buddy, you all right? You gotta watch where you're going.

H: You idiot!

G: Huh? (Hernandez walks off.) Hey, pal! You're welcome!

(Gary picks up the paper and sees a new headline: "Ex-Con Kills Prosecutor: Wounds Three". Hernandez's picture is with the article; he's going to kill Rachel Stone at her office. Gary looks for him, but he's disappeared.)

*~*~*~*~*

OPENING CREDITS ROLL

*~*~*~*~*

(B&W scene unfolds as Gary reads the corresponding article.)

G: In an apparent act of vengeance, John Hernandez, a convicted murderer released on parole last week, opened fire in the Chicago State's Attorney's office yesterday, killing the prosecutor and wounding three others, including a police officer. Police have no leads as to Hernandez's current whereabouts.

(Scene dissolves to color; interior of McGinty's. Chuck, Gary, and Marissa are seated at a table in the otherwise empty restaurant.)

C: What can I say, buddy? You blew it.

M: Chuck!

(Crumb enters)

C: What? I call 'em as I see 'em.

Z: Call what as you see 'em?

G, C, M: Nothing.

Z: Okay, okay, I can tell when I'm not wanted.

G: Listen, Crumb...

Z: Forget it, Hobson. I know that look. You want privacy? You got it.

G: No, I--

Z: Besides, half the time the lemons and the limes around this joint got more sense than the two of youse. And I am not pointing a finger at you, young lady. (He leaves.)

G: So why--so why would the paper have me save a killer?

M: Well, maybe we don't know everything. Maybe there's more to it.

C: Like what? The guy's obviously a psycho.

G: It says here Hernandez has an arrest record a mile long: assault, robbery, there's twelve other things here. Then ten years ago he gets into a fight; he picks up a bottle and he crushes in someone's skull.

C: Charming.

G: So why would the paper have me go to this particular traffic accident?

C: Look, you save the prosecutor's life, score is even.

G: Now all I gotta do is save the prosecutor's life.

*~*~*~*~*

(Hallway in prosecutors' office; Rachel is talking to another woman.)

R: ...and tell Miller we are not pleading out the Vanucci case. He wasn't crying for mercy before we turned that witness, now it's a little late. His client's going *away*.

(She enters her office, the phone is ringing and she picks up.)

R: Rachel Stone.

S: Hi Mom.

R: Sarah? Is everything all right?

S: Yeah, everything's fine. Um, well, they canceled volleyball this afternoon, and I was wondering if I could go home with Wendy after school

R: Sure, if it's all right with her mom. Just be home before dinner. And use the extra time to finish your homework.

S: Mooommmm...

R: Love you.

S: Me too.

R: Bye-bye.

*~*~*~*~*

(Chuck's car pulls up to the Courthouse.)

C: So, this is where all the lawyers hang out?

G: All right, State's Attorneys, this is it.

C: (as Gary gets out of the car) All right, tell you what--I'll wait around the corner and, uh, hey, buddy, if you're not back in ten minutes, I'm gonna send the cavalry in.

G: I thought you said you had things to do. You've been whining all the way over here.

C: That's just my MO. You know me, buddy, in the end, I'm always there for you, aren't I?

G: I'll be back.

*~*~*~*~*

(In the building, the receptionist is talking on the phone.)

G: Excuse me. (Receptionist hangs up.) I need to see Rachel Stone, I believe she's on the third floor.

Rec: Do you have an appointment?

G: No, I don't have an appointment.

Rec: She has meetings all day.

G: Well, listen, this is very important, I need to see her right now.

Rec: Yeah, yeah, the whole world's in a hurry today, everyone wants to see Ms. Stone without an appointment and I--

G: Look, I'm not everybody--everybody? (He runs up the stairs.)

Rec: Hey! Hey Bill!

(A security guard enters)

Bill: What's up?

Rec: Some guy just ran past me!

*~*~*~*~*

(Hernandez is headed for Rachel's office. Gary sees, him, calls his name, a chase ensues.)

*~*~*~*~*

(In the back stairwell, Gary's midway down the stairs, Hernandez is hiding down at the bottom.)

G: Hernandez? Hernandez? Listen to me, I'm just here to help you. Listen, I know you just got out. You got a choice here. But if you go and you kill her, you're gonna lose that choice, you understand that, don't you?

(Guards come into the stairwell.)

Guard 1: There he is! Get him! (They start to haul Gary away.)

G: Wait a sec--the guy you're looking for is down there!

Guard 1: Yeah, right.

G: Look, I 'm telling you, he's here to kill Rachel Stone.

Guard 1: A killer? In the stairwell?

G: Look, I--I chased him down there.

Guard 1: Go check it out.

G: He's got a gun!

(One guard goes down the stairs while the other takes Gary away.)

Guard 2 (into radio): All clear, I'll check the basement.

*~*~*~*~*

Guard 1 (hauling Gary to Rachel's office): I don't wanna hear it, I don't wanna hear it...

G (at the same time): You're making a mistake, I'm telling you, it's Hernandez.

R: Who?

G: Hernandez, John Hernandez.

R: Do I know you?

G: No, but you know Hernandez, you put him away 10 years ago.

R: I put a lot of people away, that's my job.

G: Yeah, well this guy, he's a little bit angry, he's got a gun and he happens to be after you.

R: Are you a friend of his?

G: No, I'm not a friend of his! R: Then how do you know this? G: Look, it's not important how I know him.

R: Well, it is to me. Look, Mr...?

G: Hobson, Gary Hobson.

R: Mr. Hobson. I don't know you. You don't know me. You don't know this man Hernandez. You say he wants to kill me, but you won't reveal your source of information. So perhaps you'll tell me this: Why should I believe a word you say?

G: Because he's in the building right now!

(The guard's radio crackles.) G2 (vo): Basement's clear. There's no one down here.

G1: 10-4.

G: Well, then I suggest you look again, 'cause I'm telling you, he's here.

R: Mr. Hobson, if I paid attention to all the threats I receive in this office I'd never get any work done. Now I assume you mean well, but I have to warn you, if you barge in here again I'll have you arrested. Good day.

G: But, look--

G1 (starts to pull Gary out of the office): I know you heard the lady.

G: No, no, you don't understand--

G1: Let's go.

G: You're making a mistake--

G1: Do you wanna go to jail? Do you wanna go to jail?

G: You don't understand--

G1: Do you wanna go to jail?

G: Hey, take it easy!

(They leave, still arguing. Glancing at the family pictures on her desk, Rachel takes a gun from her desk drawer and puts it in her purse.)

*~*~*~*~*

(Exterior of the building. Hernandez exits from a back door and sees Chuck talking on his cell phone, leaning against the car.)

C: Yeah, Marissa, listen, all right? Look, if I'm not back in ten minutes you have Johnny order the North Star Pilsner all right? Not the ale, but the--

(Hernandez clubs him on the back of the head and Chuck goes down.)

*~*~*~*~*

(Gary comes out the front entrance of the building, sees Chuck's car peeling off down the street.)

G: Hey Chuck! Hey, hey! What are you doing?

(He looks around the corner, sees Chuck lying in the street, runs over and kneels down next to him.) G: Chuck? Hey, Chuck? Chuck?

*~*~*~*~*

<commercial>

*~*~*~*~*

(Scene of doctors draining fluid from Chuck's brain.)

Dr. Richardson: We want to make the tube attachment to the burr hole as clean as possible. Suction. It's draining perfectly. Amount matches the estimate from the emergency CT. I want a percentage of blood content in the fluid.

*~*~*~*~*

(Hospital waiting room. Gary and Marissa are seated. Gary looks dejected and miserable. Marissa puts a hand on his shoulder.)

M: Gary, it's not your fault.

(Crumb enters.)

Z: How is he? They tell you anything yet?

M: Well, they're still in surgery. They've got to drain fluid to keep pressure off his brain.

(Gary looks at his watch.)

G: Only it's taking a lot longer than what they'd said.

Z: (Punches Gary on the shoulder, then sits down.) Hey, he's a tough little guy; he'll be okay. He's a fighter, you know that. Anyway, I got some news. They found Fishman's car; it was abandoned over in Lincoln Park. They ran some prints. John Hernandez. A real sweetheart. Just got out on parole; did ten years on a murder beef. Not--not that any of that's really important right now, uh...uh, did you try gettin' ahold of his parents?

M: Well, they're on a cruise somewhere in the middle of the Mediterranean, and we can't reach them.

C: Hey, Hobson. (He punches Gary's shoulder again.) Don't beat yourself up about this.

G: The thing is, he didn't want to go in the first place, and I made him.

Z: Hey, this Hernandez is a real animal. The guy he killed? He was walking away from him in a bar. Hernandez hit him in the back of the head with a beer bottle. Now that's pretty cold. If he hadn't clocked Fishman, he'd have gotten somebody else.

(Dr. Richardson enters; she kneels down next to Gary.)

Dr: Excuse me, Mr. Hobson? Okay, here's what's going on. We've been able to relieve the immediate pressure on his brain, but I have to tell you that the next 24 hours are going to be critical, so, if anything happens, I'll let you know, all right? All right.

(She leaves. Gary watches her go; Crumb watches Gary.)

*~*~*~*~*

(Shot of Chuck hooked up to equipment)

*~*~*~*~*

(Gary and Marissa are slouched in the waiting room.)

M: I keep telling myself there's got to be a reason for all this.

G: Yeah, well, when you find out what it is would you let me know, please?

*~*~*~*~*

(Time-lapse shot of the Chicago River and Skyline)

*~*~*~*~*

(Hernandez sits in a car in front of Rachel's house, drinking from a bottle in a paper bag.)

*~*~*~*~*

Mr. Stone (knocking on Sarah's door): Sarah, you up yet? Sarah?

S: I'm up, I'm up.

Mr. S: Well, how late were you on the phone with Wendy last night?

S: Not that late.

T: Yeah, right!

S: I wasn't!

Mr. S: Hey, you're up early.

T: Last day for the candy drive. Dave and I are going for the record.

Mr.S: All right. (they slap hands)

R: Hey. Waffles for breakfast?

T: I already ate. I'm going to meet Dave. Later. (exits)

R: Later.

Mr. S: Well, the entrepreneurial spirit lives.

R: Yeah. Waffles?

Mr. S: Sounds good.

R: Good, 'cause they're frozen.

S: And coffee!

R & Mr. S: No coffee!

*~*~*~*~*

(Hospital waiting room; Gary and Marissa are asleep in the chairs. Gary stirs when he hears a meow, looks down to see the paper and the cat.)

M: Is that the--

(Cat trots away; no one else seems to notice it.)

G: Yeah.

M: What are you going to do?

(Gary picks up the paper, folds it, and tucks it under his arm without reading it.)

G: I tell you what we're gonna do; we're gonna go see how Chuck is. (He hands Marissa her cane and helps her up.) Got your cane, okay.

(They walk down the hall.)

G: How'd you sleep?

M: Fine, for what it was worth. How 'bout yourself?

(Gary starts to grunt an answer, but stops when he hears Chuck's doctor, then sees a gurney coming down the hall.)

Dr: ...brain trauma; we operated yesterday.

M: What is it, what's wrong?

G: Chuck--

Dr: Keep an eye on his vitals and keep pumping that bag.

G: Doc--

Dr: (to Gary and Marissa) We're not sure if it's the same build-up or an aneurysm that didn't show in the CT. (to others) Just take him into MRI. I'll be right there. (to Gary and Marissa) We're going to do a full MRI on his head, and if there's a secondary problem we'll find it.

M: Secondary problem?

Dr: Have you been able to reach his parents?

M: No, not yet.

Dr: Well, I think it would be best if they were here.

(She heads for MRI, leaving Gary and Marissa standing in the hall.)

*~*~*~*~*

(Hernandez is still watching the Stone house. Mr. Stone gets the paper, Tom approaches the car.)

T: Hey mister!

H (jumping and reaching into his coat): What?

T: Wanna buy a quality chocolate bar, to send our school band to Champange-Urbana?

H: No.

T: C'mon, it's only a buck-fifty.

H: Get out of here.

T: I know you've got that much.

H: Look, get the hell out of here.

T: C'mon, I can get a mountain bike if I sell enough!

H: I said get the hell out of here! Move!

T (leaving): It's only a candy bar.

*~*~*~*~*

(Hospital corridor: Gary walks down the hall with the paper tucked under his arm and two cups of coffee in his hands. He gives one to Marissa and sits down next to her.)

G: Cream and sugar.

M: Thanks. When was the last time you had something besides coffee?

(Gary doesn't answer; he rests his elbow on his knees and rubs his eyes.)

M: You have to eat something.

G: I'm not hungry.

M: What does the paper say?

G: I haven't looked at it.

M: Look, Gary, I'll stay here with Chuck. There's nothing more you can do for him right now.

(She looks as though she immediately realizes that might not have been the best thing to say--or maybe it's just a bad edit--but Gary opens the paper anyway. The headline reads: "Prosecutor Murdered at Home; Parolee Suspected".)

G: Hernandez.

M: Who?

G: Hernandez, he's going to her house. (Stands) Marissa, I need you to call the police, you understand?

M: Wh--What do I tell them?

G: (already halfway down the hall) You tell them to go to Rachel Stone's house in River Forest, she, she's a State's Attorney, an Assistant State's Attorney, you got that?

M: (standing) Okay, okay, I got it.

*~*~*~*~*

(The Stones are eating breakfast.)

S: If I can't have coffee, can I at least have tattoo?

R: What?

Mr. S: A tattoo?

R: No way.

S: Mooommm. Just a little one? On my butt?

Mr. S: Forget it!

R: Am I having this conversation?

Mr. S (stands): I think I'm going to go walk the dog. Henry!

R: I guess I am having this conversation.

S: Mom, please?

R: A tattoo on your butt. You've been watching too much MTV, sweetie.

*~*~*~*~*

(Hospital hallway, Marissa's on the phone.)

Operator: 911

M: Yes, I want to report a break-in and he has a gun.

O: Address, please?

M: Um, 4321 Marion in River Forest.

O: Are you in the house?

M: I--I'm next door.

O: My computer shows a hospital pay phone.

M: (getting angry) I don't care what your computer says, people's lives are in danger. Get someone over there NOW!

*~*~*~*~*

(Mr. Stone and the golden retriever go out for a walk. Hernandez approaches the house.)

*~*~*~*~*

(Gary's in a cab.)

G: Look, c'mon buddy, can you go a little bit faster here, huh?

*~*~*~*~*

(Stone home, kitchen. Rachel is doing the dishes.)

R: We're late.

S: Where's my backpack?

R: Did you leave it upstairs?

S: Oh, oh yeah. (goes upstairs)

(Rachel pours coffee)

R: Sarah?

S: Just got my books, Mom!

(Rachel looks up and Hernandez is right in front of her.)

H: Remember me?

R: Look, if you want money--

H: What I want doesn't matter. What matters is, I'll be the last thing you remember.

(He raises the gun; Sarah enters.)

S: 'Kay, Mom, I'm ready. (She sees the gun and screams. Gary comes in and tackles Hernandez from behind.)

R: Run, Sarah, run!

(Police sirens are sounding. Hernandez throws Gary off and slams an elbow into his stomach. Gary crumples to the ground and Hernandez grabs Rachel around the neck as two cops come in.)

Cop: Police, drop your gun!

H: Don't move, don't move or she dies.

Cop: Take it easy, just take it easy.

H: Move it!

Cop: Don't do anything crazy; nobody gets hurt here.

H: Yeah, well, you don't do nothing crazy, all right, get out!

Cop: Nobody gets hurt, here, all right? We're backing off.

H: Okay, move! Get out! Get out! (cops leave) Anybody try anything crazy, you dead. You got that? You got that? (He's waving the gun between Rachel--his arm is still around her neck--and Gary, who's sitting on the floor.)

R: Yes.

G: Uh-huh.

<commercial>

CONTINUE TO PART 2


Fanscribed by peregrin anna


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