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Jonathan Creek | The American series
The Silen Clown - US script extract
Jonathan Creek Jonathan Creek and the Silent Clown
(Pilot script for CBS via Castle Rock)

SHARP, UP-TEMPO IDENT for a local TV news magazine - "THE BAY TODAY", which WIPES THROUGH TO:

INT. NEWS STUDIO - EVENING

CLOSE on a super-glamorous female newsreader at a desk. Inset alongside her, a photo composite of HECKY and HEATHER HOLIDAY and ALAN BENDRIX. Under her speech we GO WIDE to see BENDRIX seated next to her at the desk, along with his sister SHEILA and the station's star crusading journalist MADDY MAGELLAN.

RIPLEY
Welcome back, I'm Ripley Stevens with more on tonight's main story - Alan Bendrix, convicted in 1993 of murdering the first wife of comedian Hecky Holiday, today walked out of the penitentiary a free man. His pardon was signed at 10.35 this morning, in the light of new evidence assembled by our own Bay Today reporter Maddy Magellan - who together with his sister Sheila has fought a long and tireless campaign for the prisoner's release. (turning to him) Alan, there must have been many times along the way when you were filled with doubt and despair.

BENDRIX
Well you know what, as each day went by actually I became more certain. Of how things would turn out. (quietly intense - in almost spiritually reflective tones) Nine years staring at a wall ... you get to do a lot of thinking. About guilt. And innocence. In a weird kind of way, it helps you find yourself.

There is something eerie in his eyes - as we come off his CLOSE-UP on a monitor in the PRODUCTION GALLERY. Pacing about watching all this with a nervy tension is the show's producer BERNIE BUSSMANN - a short, balding man with a constant air of doom about him. Currently his head appears to be stuck facing right round to the right, making his body movements extremely awkward as he fumbles with a bottle of pills and some water. On screen, MADDY now chipping in, with feeling ...

MADDY
One point I think we should all reflect on here - is that but for a legal technicality Alan Bendrix would have faced the death penalty nine years ago - for a crime he did not commit. In which case, believe me he wouldn't look too good sitting here tonight. His release, finally, marks the end of another sorry chapter in a catalogue of convictions engineered for political expediency. As a society tonight, we have nothing to be proud of.

And we TIME JUMP to:

After the broadcast. RIPLEY and MADDY at the CATERING TABLE. Although they are friends and colleagues we can sense a big difference here - RIPLEY is smart and professional but deep down there is more style than content to her. MADDY, as we shall see, is deeper, funkier, erratic and unorthodox, and altogether more complex.

RIPLEY
Nice work babe - what's next for the one-man Justice League?

MADDY
Well of course there's my campaign to get a posthumous jail sentence for Nixon, but ... not too many takers for that one right now.

Behind her BENDRIX and SHEILA have arrived to say goodbye. The latter is a grave, unforgiving woman, deeply affected by what has happened to her brother. The family bond between them, we can tell, is strong and emotional.

SHEILA
Miss Magellan? The word is inadequate but - thankyou. For restoring some of my faith in what's generally a very grubby profession.

MADDY
Well you know Sheila - hey. So Alan - where to from here?

BENDRIX
Right now? Gonna rent me a cabin up the coast for a few weeks. Away from the press and the media, and locks and keys. Take a boat out maybe, do some fishing. And just ... breathe in the freedom.

MADDY
(with quiet feeling) You've earned it.

As they drift off BERNIE approaches, still with his head angled at 90 degrees, taking a call on his cell phone.

BERNIE
Yes sir! Isn't she just! Colourful and crusading - I'll pass on those exact words to her! Well I'm thrilled that you're thrilled, sir. You bet you. (as he signs off he finds he can move his neck again) Hey you see that Maddy, you just unlocked three weeks of ratings pressure. I swear to God, you keep these stories coming my chiropractor's out of business.

As he flexes his neck about like a turkey, relishing the movement, MADDY remains gazing after BENDRIX, in quiet admiration at what he has been through.

MADDY
Time like this - guess I should feel like a big shot, but ... all I feel is very, very humble.

RIPLEY
(focused on BERNIE) Hey you know what you should try Bernie - seriously? Is colonic irrigation. I'm sure a little detox could work for you.

BERNIE
(as they both walk away) Oddly enough it's never appealed to me cos ... I heard if you fall behind with the payments they come round and put it all back, so ...

RIPLEY
Bernie Bussmann behave yourself...

And we STAY with MADDY - watching fondly as BENDRIX and SHEILA pose for the studio PHOTOGRAPHER, hugging each other emotionally, moist-eyed at the end of their long nightmare.

Check out the UK version
 
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