Absence Of Malice Script - Dialogue Transcript

Voila! Finally, the Absence Of Malice script is here for all you quotes spouting fans of the Paul Newman and Sally Field movie.  This script is a transcript that was painstakingly transcribed using the screenplay and/or viewings of Absence Of Malice. I know, I know, I still need to get the cast names in there and I'll be eternally tweaking it, so if you have any corrections, feel free to drop me a line. You won't hurt my feelings. Honest.

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Absence Of Malice Script








- Carlyle.

- He's dead since June, boss.



The man... Santos Malderone.



And here comes our boy.

Michael Colin Gallagher.



43 here, 47 now.



Tommy Gallagher's only kid.

Nephew of Santos Malderone.



Occupation: Wholesale liquor.



- Duck, Waddell!

- Where were you when I needed you?



- Hi, Donna.

- Hi, Meg.



- Did somebody rob a bank?

- I wish somebody would.



Anything new on Diaz?



Sure, lots.

We're just not ready to discuss it yet.



So where is everybody?



They're all up watching the movies.

Surveillance film. Gallagher's funeral.



It's pretty funny.

Bob Waddell gets slugged at the end.



- Who's Gallagher?

- A bad guy. He died before you got here.



All the crooks showed up; we took some

pictures. Ask Bob if you can see it.



- He's still crazy about you.

- He's a nice guy.



I've been here three years.



Why are they interested in a guy

that's been dead that long?



That stunt got him busted for assault.

That's all we got on Michael Gallagher.



For those of you who are new in town,

his old man -



- handled liquor,

did a little loan-sharking -



- and kept the longshoremen out of Miami

for damn near    years.



If he'd been alive,

he'd have been suspect number one.



Since he's dead, he can't be involved.

Big Tommy had a stroke in '   -



- and brought Mike down

to run the family store.



Word is little Mike's clean.

I don't buy it. I want to find out.



Meersma, IRS gets his last six years.

Work it like it was a net worth case.



I want to know every nickel he's got.



I want to know his mortgage

and his car payments.



Mac, you crawl over his union stuff.

Bob, the bureau gets the rest.



Friends, neighbours, the butcher's shop.



I want to know where he was, when Diaz

went away. Let him know we're in town.



Hi, Bob. How come the streets aren't safe?



- Youths. Disadvantaged youths.

- You spent all morning at the movies?



What movies?



The Gallagher funeral.

Donna said you might show it to me.



- Donna's on her way out.

- Take it easy. She didn't do anything.



- What are you doing for lunch?

- Sorry. I've got a date.



- Browsky's under arrest.

- What for?



- I sent him to a homicide.

- Did you hear them yelling at me?



Rosie! Line four!



- It's the electric company.

- Why do they talk in my teeth?



It's the only way they can reach you.



- Apalachi cola.

- A-P-A-L-I...



There's a story in here on a Michael

Gallagher. I'd like a copy of it -



- and make sure this is on the son.

Michael Gallagher, not Tommy.



Thank you.



Bob Waddell's office, please.



- Hi. Sorry I'm late.

- It's okay.



- I got hung up on a rewrite.

- I'm glad you called. What's up?



A vodka martini, rocks.



I just wanted to make sure

that Donna didn't get into any trouble.



She's gotta learn to be more careful.



She just said that you were

looking at the Gallagher film.



- Well, let's forget it, okay?

- Okay.



- I'm buying.

- No, no. Put it on mine.



Did you know he has a son?




- I called you last night, I thought...

- I got in very late last night.



- How did you know he had a son?

- I met him once. At a party.



Oh, you cut your hair.

It looks terrific.






- He seemed nice.

- Who?



- Gallagher.

- I'll tell you something out of school.



You don't want to have anything to do

with Mike Gallagher. Not ever.



- Especially not now.

- Why not now? You gonna bust him?



- He's already been busted.

- For what?



For assaulting a federal officer.

Are you getting off on gangsters now?



What's the matter with you?



Let's talk about something else.

Can I buy you dinner?



I'm busy. I just wanted to make sure

you didn't send Donna off to Siberia.



- That's all, huh?

- Come on...



Let me know if you want me

to quit asking. I don't wanna be a jerk.



You're not a jerk.



- The strike force is on to something.

- Must be an accident. What?



A guy by the name of Michael Gallagher.

Son of a bootlegger, Tommy Gallagher.



- What have they got on him?

- I don't know.



It must have something to do with Diaz.

That's all they're working on.



Supposedly he sells liquor.

He's got a warehouse on the channel.



- It makes sense, a longshoreman.

- I haven't got it yet.



Can you work Quinn?



I'm not sure he knows. He's the DA,

but Rosen runs the strike force.



How about Rosen?



Christ, if he said word one,

it'd be the first time.



Yes, sir?



There's a reporter on her way to see me.



When we come in the office,

give me a minute and then buzz me.



- Hey, Elliott!

- Oh, shit.



Michael Gallagher. The guy who hit Diaz.



You solved the crime of the century.

Where did you hear that?



If I revealed my sources, you wouldn't

talk to me. The public has a right to know.



- Where does it say that?

- There's a sign on my desk.



Well, it'll be a dull conversation,

but come on in.



- You want some coffee?

- No, thank you.



Tell me about the Gallagher investigation.



I can neither confirm nor deny any

investigation which may be in progress.



Not for attribution.




- Off the record.

- Off the record? No comment.



- You're a real sweetie.

- I told you it would be dull.




All right, I'll be there in a minute.



Cheer up.

Maybe you'll get lucky.



I gotta go to a meeting.

Take your time. Have a little coffee.



"Under investigation".

Weak. Can't we say he's a suspect?



- I don't know what he's suspected of.

- "Suspected in the murder of Diaz."



- No murder, there's no body.

- "Presumed murder" then.



You're missing six months, you're dead.

"Prime suspect?"



I don't know he's prime.

Maybe they have somebody "primer". Key.



- "The key".

- "A key".



You want anybody to read this?

You keep watering it down.



"Informed sources"...

"Well informed..."



If he wanted to leak the story, why

didn't he just tell me off the record?



Instead of talking out of school, he has

you snooping through government files.



- "Sources in the federal building"?

- That sounds like the janitor.



"Knowledgeable sources."



"Knowledgeable sources."



- Why did Rosen want it out?

- Maybe he's trying to be a nice guy.



Maybe he wants us to owe him a favour.

Maybe he likes your legs.



If we try to figure out why people

leak stories, we'll publish monthly.



Davidek better read this.



Now then, madam, you propose to say

that Mr Michael Colin Gallagher -



- is the proximate cause of the demise

of the esteemed Mr Diaz.



It only says he's under investigation.



Mr Gallagher will think we make him out

a murderer, as will his friends.



Let us assume he is neither a murderer,

nor the subject of investigation.



Let's suppose that your story proves

to be false on its face.



It's true.



If newspapers only printed the truth,

they needn't employ attorneys like me.



- I read the file.

- I'm only concerned with the law.



The only question is: What protection do

we have if it proves to be false?



Mr Gallagher is not a public official.

Nor is he likely to become one.



Pity. Is he a public figure?



He's not going to sue! What does it take

to make him a public figure?



If I knew that, I should be a judge.

They never tell us till it's too late.



I'd be more comfortable if he were

a movie star or a football coach.



Football coaches are very safe indeed.

Have we spoken with Mr Gallagher?



- We don't call the mafia for comment.

- Please, make the attempt.



If he talks, we'll include his denials

to create the appearance of fairness.



If he declines to speak,

we can hardly be responsible for errors.



- If we fail to reach him, we've tried.

- What are you telling me?



That as a matter of law,

the truth is irrelevant.



We have no knowledge the story is false,

therefore we're absent malice.



We've been both reasonable and prudent,

therefore we're not negligent.



We can say what we like about him;

he can't do us harm. Democracy is served.



- Theresa?

- Yes, mother?



What are you doing? You've been away

from the office for an hour.



- Are you ill?

- I'm not feeling well, mother.



- Shall I send for the nurse?

- No, no, mother. I'll be all right.



If you're coming down with something,

perhaps you should go home.



- Don't get the whole school infected.

- Yes, mother.



- And put out that cigarette.

- Yes, mother.



I'm Michael Gallagher.



- What do you want?

- Where did this story come from?



- What can I do for you?

- Where did this story come from?



- I can't tell you that.

- Who can?



If you want the matter clarified,

speak to the government.



I already spoke to it...

It's not talking.



Were you involved

in Joey Diaz's disappearance?



- No.

- Can you prove that you weren't?



- I don't have to do that.

- Why are you being investigated?



- I don't know. That's why I'm here.

- Have you ever met Mr Diaz?



- You write about everybody?

- Everybody we find out about.



What do you write about when it's over

and the guy's innocent?



They never tell us

when the investigation is over.



To the best of our knowledge,

our story is true.



We appreciate your coming in to talk

to us, but there's nothing we can do.



We have an obligation

to report such things.



- You're obliged to tell the truth?

- Of course.



If you want to know what's true,

how come you don't talk to me?



I tried to reach you.

There was no answer.



- You should have called back.

- This isn't getting us anywhere.



Is there anything else

we can do for you?



- Are we investigating Mike Gallagher?

- We?



The Justice Department, remember?



Where you worked

before you went into politics?



Smart, Elliott.

That's why they move you so much.



It says we're investigating Mike

Gallagher. Says he's a Diaz suspect.



Well, what is he suspected of?



- Stop screwing around.

- I run the strike force, okay?



And I run the DA's office!



I want to know

what the hell you're doing.



- No calls.

- Peters, Committee for a Better Miami



Hi, Jerr. How's the golf?



Listen, I tried,

but I just can't do both. It's too far.



Please tell them, remarks, no speech.



See if I can do cocktails at one,

dinner at the other, okay? Thanks, buddy.



Joey Diaz was an honest guy.

He would run a decent local.



Some creeps made him disappear.

Six months and we're nowhere!



We beat our brains out talking to people

and get zip. We're looking like dopes.



We've got $      on the street

and don't get a postcard. I need help.



- So you're squeezing Gallagher?

- You got somebody better?



He's Tommy Gallagher's kid.

He's Santos Malderone's nephew.



His old man dealt booze to every hood.

They kept the union out for    years.



He knows those people.

He can get to them if he wants to.



Is he clean?



I'm not trying to convict him,

just to get some information.



Gallagher's just getting squeezed a little.



You got him under surveillance too?

You think he knows anything?



He can find out if he wants to.

I'm trying to make him want to.



- I still don't like it.

- Worried about the ACLU endorsement?



- You wanna be a cowboy, go to New York.

- You'll get the credit if we nail somebody.



I want you to talk to him first.

Give him a chance to cooperate.



Then investigate him if you have to,

but no harassment.



If he goes along and we nail the

Diaz people, you might get elected...



Hey, Mike!



Take    Bacardi Silver

and    Bittersweet out to "The Lullaby".



Mike to the office.

You've got visitors.



The fuzz.



- Mike.

- Where's your camera?



This is Eddie Frost.

We'd like to talk to you.



Am I under investigation?



That's not why we're here. Do you know

anything about Diaz that might help us?



- No.

- We'd make some special arrangements.



I don't need any special arrangements.



It might be in your best interest to

cooperate. We'd go a long way...



You know where that story came from?

Call me when you do.



- Where were you May   th     ?

- You got a warrant?!



- No.

- Get the hell out of here.



- What are you doing here?

- I read the paper. What's going on?



Nothing, don't worry about it. I called

the school. They said you were sick.



Oh, no. I was just worried about you,

that's all.



Come on in.

I'll get you something to eat.



How's your dad? What did the doctor say?



He's fine. He'll outlive us all.



- Want a beer?

- No. Michael, tell me what's going on.



- I don't know.

- Is this true? They're investigating you?



I don't know what the hell's going on.

I went to the paper.



- What did they say?

- Did you ever try to talk to a paper?



What are you going to do?



You don't need that.



- What are you going to do?

- I don't know yet.



- How about some spaghetti?

- I don't understand.



The FBI came around this afternoon,

so something's going on.



- What'll they do?

- Snoop around, talk to people.



Might even ask you some questions.



- Oh my God.

- It's no big deal, just answer them.



- Shouldn't we call John and Lena...?

- Don't you remember where we were?






When that union guy went away

or got kidnapped or whatever.



No, what?



We were in Atlanta, Michael.

Don't you remember?



You brought up the papers.

The headlines were all about it.



I'm sorry. I wasn't thinking.



- What kind of questions will they ask?

- I don't know. Do you know me?



- Should I say no?

- Don't say no. Of course you know me.



- Oh my God, Michael.

- Come on, take it easy.



Maybe they will, maybe they won't.



How do you know me? How do you know

Michael Gallagher, Miss Perrone?



I've always known him.

He used to take care of me.



What's your relationship now?



He cooks me spaghetti

and he nags me about my smoking.



He's my best friend.



The week that Joey Diaz

was reported missing, -



- did you see Michael Gallagher

that week?



- Will they ask me that?

- I don't know.



Answer it.



- Yes.

- No.



If they ask you that,

just say, "I don't remember".



I don't remember.



On May   th     .

Did you see Michael Gallagher that day?



I don't remember.



Where were you on that day?



Mike, line four

Mike, line four



Mr Gallagher, this is Megan Carter

from The Standard.



I was thinking about what you said.



My name's on that story.



If there's anything wrong,

I'd like to know about it.



I would like to hear your side.



Don't expect the truth

unless you're willing to tell it.



- You eat lunch?

- Yes.



I'll pick you up in    minutes

in front of the building.



I'll put a couple of stiffs on the hood.



Where's that little tape recorder

you used to have?



What do you want with that?



I'm going out to lunch with Mr Gallagher.



Where's that stickpin you have

with the microphone in it?



- You didn't tell him you'd write this?

- No, he didn't ask.



- I'll send a photographer with you.

- I don't want him sitting on my lap.



- He'll stay in the background.

- Walker's the only one available.



Somebody should know where you are.

This may be the guy who hit Diaz



- If anything weird happens, he'll call.

- Walker knows what weird is?



- Hi. Pretty day.

- How long have you got for lunch?



- As long as I want.

- Good job.



- Where are we going?

- Boat club.



All warmed up and ready to go, Mike.



- Where are you going?

- We can eat on the water.



- What's the matter? Are you scared?

- Of what?



- How old is this thing anyway?

-     .



Who owns a wood boat anymore?

You must spend all your time fixing it up.



- Does it have a name?

- Rum Runner.



- Why Rum Runner?

- My old man was a bootlegger.



How far out are we?



- Was your father really a bootlegger?

- For a while. He did a lot of things.



What else did he do?



Was he crooked? Is that what you mean?



I guess you'd say he was crooked.

Want a beer?



Yes, please.



People say he ran Miami.



- He just had a lot of friends.

- Do you?



Not the kind you mean.






Yeah, once.

A pretty lady, but she was no friend.



I thought

bootlegging went out with prohibition.



My old man was stubborn.

He had this import business.



Daytime bananas, after midnight booze.

No tax stamps.



Same boat, same warehouse.

It used to work pretty good.



- Used to?

- I don't like working nights.



When did you get out?



No, I don't mean jail. I mean,

when did you get out of bootlegging?



- I never got into it.

- Why not? It sounds lucrative.



It's against the law.



- Aren't you hot in that?

- No, thanks a lot.



So you were never in the business?



- That's right. You sorry?

- Are you?



Yeah, sometimes. When business is bad.



- Then you were tempted?

- I had no choice. My old man said no.



When he said no, it was no.

You look as though you're uncomfortable.



No, this is very lightweight.



You have a record.



Yeah. Assaulting a federal officer.



The FBI came to my old man's funeral.

They brought cameras.



They came to the church, they came to

the cemetery, so I slugged one of them.




What else do you want to know?



As much as you wanna tell me.

I really want to be fair about this.



- One of those upfront ladies, huh?

- I try to be.



Who's the guy in the Volkswagen?

And who the hell am I talking to?



Oh, shit.



- What do we do now?

- Eat.



- This is good. What is it?

- It's a Bordeaux. Pontet-Latour.



- What do you call this?

- Salad.



I'm a reporter! What did you expect?

Don't try to make me feel guilty.



You think I had something to do with Diaz?



It's a distinct possibility.



- Why are they picking on you?

- Where did that story come from?



"Knowledgeable sources", you said.

Now who is that?



Somebody's trying to get to me.

Somebody with no face and no name.



You're the gofer. You listen to them,

you write what they say -



- and then you help them hide.

You say you've got a right to do that.



And I got no right

to know who they are.



I'm sorry, Gallagher. I can't help you.



- How old are you?

-   .



How come you're not married?

How come you don't wear a ring?



- Haven't you ever heard of liberation?

- Most of them are ugly.



Is that supposed to be a compliment?



If they clear you,

I'll write about that too.



What page? You say somebody's guilty,

everybody believes you.



- You say he's innocent, nobody cares.

- That's not the paper's fault.



- People believe whatever they want to.

- Who puts out the paper?



If you knew I was going to write

about you, why did you do all this?



- I'm a publicity hound.

- Why the boat, the picnic, everything?



I didn't want you running out of a

restaurant before I got some answers.



- Did you get any?

- Not the ones I wanted, but some.



Are you Megan Carter?



Are you all right?



We'd better get out of here.



I'll catch a cab.



Take care of yourself.



You have no authority here!



Those men belong to the Longshoremen's

Union. The union says they don't work!



It's your union he's talking about.

You know Mike. Make up your own minds.



You wanna keep your cards, you don't

work here. We got other work for you.



And tomorrow the same.



- We have a problem.

- What's going on?



Motormouth from the union. One of

Diaz's guys. He's trying to shut us down.



I know you. You don't like us, we don't

like you. Now you can work without us.



I had nothing to do with Diaz.



That's not what we hear and we don't

work for you. Diaz was a saint for us!



Joey was a loudmouth,

but there was nothing bad between us!



I hope you will be

many years in the prison!



And that goes for you too. I don't want

you guys crossing no picket line.



We've had problems, but it was strictly

business. I had nothing to do with Diaz.



It ain't about Diaz, Mike.

If they pull our card, we don't work.



You pick up at Gallagher's,

you're handling struck work.



Gallagher's is closed.



Jesus Christ!



- Am I out of work?

- Close.



- What are they going to do?

- They ain't working.



- What are we going to do?

- We're going hunting, John.



- Are you just passing through?

- It's a nice joint. Free nuts.



John Orrega, Megan Carter.

You've heard of her.



- Nice meeting you.

- Nice meeting you.



Are you looking for me?



Is that the only thing

you've got on for tonight?



He's gonna be in there all night.



He would lay on the front lawn -



- with all the lights off,

so I wouldn't know he was there.



He was trying to catch me.



One night, I was like on my third date,

and I opened the door to shake hands -



- and I turned on all the lights. There

was my father, laying on the front lawn.




The guy didn't say anything.



Are you finished with your dinners?



We just stared at him

and nobody said anything for a long time.



Ralph said, "Good night, Mr Carter."



I said, "Good night, Dad,"

and I shut the door and locked him out.



Your friend John

doesn't like me very much.



He's kind of scratchy today.

The longshoremen struck us.



I didn't know those guys could read.



- Is your old man still...?

- Oh, yeah, he's still around.



- Does he work?

- Yes, he's an investment banker.



- My old man did that too.

- You're kidding?



Only it was called loan-sharking.



There must be a difference,

because my old man did time for it.



Mine just hasn't been caught yet.



I was    when they sent him up and

during this little extended vacation -



- a couple of kids and me stole a car.




When he got out, he found out about it.

He took me in the woods to a cabin.



It had a dirt basement.



He locked me in and left.

Three days.



Who was he to preach?



He said if I wanted to be a thief,

then I ought to know what it was like.



This guy Quinn, this DA...

What's he like?



- What?

- I see.






You're hustling me.

And you're not even hustling me.



I don't know what you're talking about.



I'm very sorry you got struck,

but it's not my fault.



I will not tell you where that story

came from. It's the truth.



- Okay, quiet down, I didn't...

- That's how you like your women? Quiet?



- Are you getting a little crocked?

- You want me to?



What I want...

I'm not hustling.



I just need you to get to know me fast.







Waiter? Check.



No, no, no. I'll pay.



Unless you think

that will make you impotent.



You got some mouth.



- Where's your car?

- Back at "The Pen and Pencil".



- Are you going to follow me?

- Not tonight.



You said you wanted me to know you.




- You're not interested?

- Maybe I'd like to think it was my idea.



I'd like that too.



I'm    years old. I don't need courting.



I'm from the stone age.

I guess I do.



I'll send you a dozen roses.



I can save you a lot of time.

Tell Santos I'll meet him tomorrow.



At the ball game.



Light's green.



- He's gonna steal. He's gonna steal.

- How are you, uncle Santos?



- You look good, Michael.

- You too.



Everybody asks for you. They wanna know

how you are. How are you?



I'm okay. I've been better.



What've you got guys following me for?



I told you he was gonna steal. Wake up!

Tony, don't fall asleep on me out there.



I don't like to read about you

in the newspapers.



I'm not crazy about it myself.



- Is somebody setting me up?

- What are you talking?



Maybe somebody you know.

You've got a lot of friends.



What are you talking?

You're my nephew.



You're family.

You're looking in the wrong place.



You know what I think?

It's downtown.



They ain't got nobody for Diaz.

They're in trouble. They're embarrassed.



Maybe they think you'll help them,

if they push you hard enough.



That's why your guys are following me?



What are you gonna do?

Are you gonna help them?



- It's not my business.

- They can make you think it is.



Don't sell them short.

They got ways.









Good. A lot you remind me of Tommy.

You're all right.



Buona fortuna, Sonny.

Be well. Take good care.



- I'm Teresa Perrone.

- I guess we know I'm Megan Carter.



Thank you for meeting me like this.



- Would you like a cigarette?

- No, I'm trying to quit.



Michael hates it.

I have a story for you.



Gallagher is innocent, you were

with him the night they got Diaz.



- I'm used to dealing with girlfriends.

- Why do you think I'm a girlfriend?



- Just a hunch.

- I've never been Michael's girlfriend.



I've known him since childhood.

We're friends.



- Of course you think he's innocent.

- No, I know he's innocent.






Because I was with him at the time.

I don't want you to say it was me.



I see. Where were you?



I can't tell you that.



Well, how do you remember this?

I mean, it was ten months ago.



Do you remember where you were

the day Kennedy was shot?



Can you prove it?



I don't know.



You're very loyal, if that's what it is.

But I can't write a story -



- that says someone claims

Gallagher is innocent -



- and won't say how or why

or even give her name.



I am assistant to the principal

at San Ignacio School and -



- the publicity would be...

I just can't.



- Suit yourself.

- You printed that other story!



That was different.

I knew where it came from.



- You don't believe me?

- I've never met you before.



You want me to write he's innocent,

but I can't use your name.



You say you were with him

and won't tell me where.



If I told you... just you,

would it have to be in the paper?






Why? If it has nothing to do with Diaz.

It's private.



I can't promise you anything.

I'll speak to my editors about it.



Couldn't you say you spoke to someone

who was with him the whole time?



I'm a reporter.

You're talking to a newspaper right now.



- You said you could keep it out!

- I said I'd discuss it with my editors.



- You said you could keep it out!

- I said I'd discuss it with my editors.



If you have some information about -



- where Michael was that night

and you want to help him...



You don't understand. There was

this guy... Michael hates him.



Maybe he's not so hot, -



- but, you see, I'm Catholic.



I don't want to be rude, but I don't

understand what you're telling me.



I have to get back to the paper.



I had an abortion.



I got pregnant

and I didn't know what to do.



I got a name in Atlanta.

Michael took me.



It was three days.



He stayed with me every day, every hour

and that's what happened.



That's not such a terrible thing.



Have you told anybody else this?



Oh God... You're not Catholic.



- It's     . People will understand.

- Are you crazy?



Not my people.

Not my father.



- I don't even understand it.

- How old are you?



- You believe me, don't you?

- Yes, I do.



Then don't write this.



You're a friend of Michael's,

he's in trouble.



You've told the truth, it will help him.

No one's going to hate you for that.






Now do you have any ticket stubs or

receipts? Anything that will prove...



Eight and a half cases short

and he drops us after    years.



If it has no bearing on the case,

then why run it? What does it mean?



Let the readers decide what it means.



I'm beginning to feel funny about

mentioning the abortion.



Isn't being with Gallagher

what's relevant?



The only reason I believe the story

is because of the abortion.



Don't tell me it's not relevant.



Are you sure you're right?



I'm never sure I'm right.



She's the alibi witness

for a key suspect in a major crime.



The people have a right

to know the alibi.



Have you got something going on

with Gallagher?



Good night, Mac.



- About this construction worker...

- Meg... there's been an accident.






- It's Teresa Perrone.

- What happened?



She killed herself.

They found her about an hour ago.






Her father woke up and found her.

She was living at home.



- Did she leave a note?

- They don't think so.






- Do you want me to do the story?

- No. I'm gonna do it.



Do you want to go home?









She cut her wrist

with a razor blade.



It turns out

she was seeing a psychiatrist.



People get caught up in things.



Remember the woman in San Francisco

a few years ago, took a shot at Ford?



A guy grabbed her arm,

saved the president's life -



- and was a hero.



It turned out he was also gay.

That's news, right?



- Now the whole country knows that too.

- Did he kill himself?



Meg, let me take you home.



- It was not your fault.

- Why do I have to go home?



You don't want to come in here.



I'm warning you.



- If I could just talk to you.

- Shut up! I don't want to hear it!



What the hell are you doing here?!

Details? Is that what you want?



They found her naked in the tub.

She didn't even want to make a mess.



No water, just naked in the tub.

Are you interested in how she felt?






She picked up a newspaper!

And there it is, for everybody to see!



Everybody to look at her.

She must have felt like...



Just raped!



- She must have felt...

- No!



You know something I didn't know?

When it's suicide, they do an autopsy.



They're gonna get a knife...



They start here...

they're just gonna split her open.



When they get up here,

they use shears. They use shears!



God damn you!

Get away from me.



Excuse me, Michael.



I can't go home like this.

I need something to wear.



I'll have this returned to you.



Couldn't you see what it was to her?



Couldn't you stop scribbling

for a second, -



- just put down

your goddamn ballpoint pen?



Didn't you see her?

Didn't you like her?



It was Rosen. Elliott Rosen.

He runs the strike force.



He's the one that leaked

the story about you. I don't know why.



I have to go now, Michael.

I'm very tired.



- Were they in Atlanta?

- I got them on the manifest.



Either he did it, or he knows who

did it, or he can find out who did it.



- He sure isn't easy.

- See if Meersma got anything from IRS.



You think we should let this cool down?



No. I'm sorry about Perrone,

I got a job to do.



This thing isn't just gonna go away.

I still gotta find who hit Diaz.



That's what they're paying me for.



"The hour has come

for the Son of Man to be glorified.



"The hour has come

for the Son of Man to be glorified.



I solemnly assure you, unless the grain

of wheat falls to the earth and dies, -



- it remains just a grain of wheat,

but if it dies, it produces much fruit.



The man who loves his life loses it, -



- while the man

who hates his life in this world -



- preserves it through life eternal."



Grant her eternal rest, O Lord,

and may your light shine on her forever.






Who is it?



Michael Gallagher.

I need to see my uncle.



Yes, Michael?



I got a job to do. I need information

about this guy, Elliott Rosen.



This is Michael Gallagher.

I'm somewhere else right now.



If you wait for the tone, leave your...

name and number, I'll get back.



How large is the search area?



Can you give me the boundaries?



Are there sharks in the area?



Thanks, lieutenant.

No, I think I'll be working.



Maybe lunch. Bye-bye.



I don't think they'll find them.

It's been two days.



You might wanna go a little easy

on the sharks.



Don't scare the tourists.

The rule is:



It's a shark if it walks

out of the water and bites a cop.



If they're just swimming around,

we call them fish.



Okay. "Fish-infested waters."



- Want some coffee?

- It might keep me up.



It's decaffeinated.



I've been thinking it might be time

for you to come on the desk.



- I'm not over the hill yet.

- You'd make a damn fine editor.



- Do you ever miss being on the street?

- No. Too many people out there.



A lot of news is bad news for somebody.



You stay out there too long,

the somebodies start adding up.



- Ever think about doing anything else?

- Yep.



- But you won't?

- Nope.



Mondays are always different from

Tuesdays. You don't have to lie a lot.



Once in a while you nail the bad guy.



I know how to print what's true.



And I know how not to hurt people.



I don't know how to do both

at the same time and neither do you.



- Maybe you're tougher than I am.

- Yeah.



- That Medicaid arraignment is tomorrow.

- Yeah. You want art?



You betcha.



I think they ought to get

their pictures in the paper.



I want you to think about the editing.

You're a good newspaperwoman, Meg.



And if you delete "newspaper"?



I like you all right.



Your meeting. Your agenda.



I want a deal.



What have you got in mind?



Whatever I find out, you get.

After that you're on your own.



None of this federal witness stuff.

I want to stay in town, -



- I don't want to testify and I don't

want to deal with anybody except you.



- Why with me?

- Maybe I don't trust this guy Rosen.



- What do we do for you?

- The investigation is over. Now!



I want you to make a statement

clearing me and I want it in the papers.



- What can you come up with?

- Well, it's more than you've got.



We don't clear people.



We don't comment

until somebody's been indicted.



Someone sure as hell

talked about this one.



Does Waddell go with that newspaperlady

that wrote about me?



Megan Carter? They used to see each

other. I don't think they do anymore.



- Who knows you're here?

- Nobody.



- What happens to me if this leaks?

- We can protect you.



Oh, yeah. Sure.



Okay. We can call off the investigation,

but I'm not sure about the statement.



Then we've got nothing to talk about.

Here's a number, leave a message.



When I read in the paper what I want,

you get in touch.



Let me think about it.




Would you like to come in?






- Can I fix you a drink?

- Oh, I don't think so.



- You work long hours.

- I was writing a letter to my father.



The loan shark.

You keep in touch?



Yes, we do.



Most people nowadays telephone.



It's not the same. It's easier to phone,

but then, what have you got?



My daughter used to write letters.



I mean, she'd stick crayon to paper,

but she phones now.



- How old is she?

-   .



I was... trying to explain

to my father what happened.



You know, the other day

when I took it all out on you...



It isn't that simple.



It's not an apology,

I just wanted to set the record straight.



That cost you, didn't it?

Telling me about Rosen.



Well, thanks.



- I didn't do it for you.

- I know that, anyway...



It's a new blouse.



I'll get you your sweater.






What I told you about the story...

was it of any help?






- Maybe I'll see you one of these days.

- I'd like that.



- It's not against the rules?

- I'd like it anyway.




I'd like it to be your idea.



The candidate's

coming out of the closet?



Come in, Elliott.

Get everybody down in the courtyard.



You want my endorsement? I'm flattered.



I'm terminating

the Gallagher investigation.



- Like hell you are!

- Okay, let's call Washington.



- And say what?

- You say whatever you want.



I'm gonna say

you're running a bogus investigation -



- and are trying to coerce a private

citizen into becoming a federal witness.



You knew what I was doing.



I should have stopped you then.

I'm going to stop you now.



You want to join me in a statement?



No thanks. They're your cards.

You play them.



I have a very short statement to read.



The Organized Crime and Racketeering

Strike Force has recently completed -



- an investigation of Michael Gallagher

regarding his possible involvement -



- in the disappearance of Joseph Diaz

and has found no grounds -



- to proceed against Mr Gallagher.



Because this investigation was

inadvertently reported in the press, -



- it is the feeling of this office that

it should acknowledge its conclusion.



- I don't get it.

- Quinn blew the whistle on both of us.



- I don't get it.

- Quinn blew the whistle on both of us.



You went after the wrong guy.

I wrote about it.



- What the hell's going on?

- Good question. You should join the FBI.



- I don't know either.

- It doesn't make any sense.



- You got any ideas?

- Sure. Early retirement.



I got a couple.

I want   -hour surveillance on Gallagher.



I want taps on Gallagher's warehouse,

Gallagher at home, Quinn's house.



Wait a minute. Where are we gonna

find a judge who'll let us tap Quinn?



I'm not gonna ask a judge.



- It's no good in court.

- I'm not in court. Not yet.



You really think Gallagher bought him?



I don't know.

Do you think he's for sale?



- Mr Gallagher?

- Yeah?



A letter from The Standard.



What are you doing?

Are you leaving?



- What time is it?

-  .  . I gotta go.



- Why? What happens at  .  ?

- I'll call you.



I'm free every night but Friday.



- How about Friday?

- Okay.



This is Michael Gallagher

I'm somewhere else right now.



If you wait for the tone, leave your

name and number, I'll get back



This is Webb

We'd better get together and talk.



Just keep watching, buddy.



Our boy's getting nervous

He wants a meeting



Then there's one that says, "Our boy's

getting nervous. He wants a meeting."



"Our boy"? Unbelievable.



Matheson Hammock.

Day after tomorrow.



That's Thursday,    a.m.



$     in cashier's checks.



     and      payable to

the Committee for a Better Miami.



Wait a minute.



Anonymous contributions to a non-profit

organisation with political interests.



Specifically Mr James Quinn.

Absolutely legal.



Very nicely laundered. Arranged through

messages on a code-a-phone, -



- so we can't prove he ever got them.

Gallagher's no dummy.



Oh, yeah? Your meeting's arranged.

   a.m. Tomorrow... Matheson Hammock.



Well, it's a professional job.



We know that.



There's talk that it might be

two guys from New Jersey.



We know that too.

The papers said that, for Christ's sake!



Well, maybe they're right.



I got my neck stuck out for you,

Gallagher, and you'd better deliver.



I held up my end. You'd damn well

better start holding up yours.



You've been on this job for six months,

I've been on it for a week.



Now, I need something

and you'd better start delivering soon.



Soon as I know.



- Hey, Meg.

- Hi, Bob. Sorry, I'm late.



- I think you wanna hear this.

- What?



Between us.

They can have my job for this.



What are you talking about?



Gallagher paid off Quinn. That's why

he called off the investigation.



I don't believe you.



Get in the car.



Those are his checks, Meg.

Political contributions to Quinn.



He's under surveillance

and when you're with him you're...



Rosen will bust him if he can.

Get out of it, Meg.



Why are you telling me this?



- I don't want you hurt.

- Thanks.



You can't use this, Meg.



You sure as hell can't tell Gallagher.

It'd mean my job.



Hi. Come on in.



- What did you bring?

- A friendly Bordeaux. Pretty good year.



- You want some right away?

- Sure.



It smells good.



- What?

- The wine.



Is something bothering you?



Quinn clearing you.

Did you know he was going to do that?



- No.

- He didn't tell you?



- No. It was a nice surprise though.

- I bet.



I'm taking the boat down to Bimini

on Sunday. You wanna come along?



- How far away is that?

- Three or four hours.



- What else is around it?

- A lot of water.



What happens if we miss it?



You're gone for a long time.



Why do you think Quinn

called that press conference?



What are you, working?



They don't usually call

a press conference to clear someone.



What do you think you know, Megan?



Would you tell me the truth, Michael?

I'd just please like to know the truth.



- Tell you or the whole world?

- The truth is the truth.



No. You wanna know the truth?



Ask me as a person, I'll tell you.

Ask me as a reporter, I got no comment.



- That's not fair.

- Not fair to whom? Wait a minute!



You don't write the truth.



You write what people say.

What you overhear, you eavesdrop.



You don't come across truth that easy.



Maybe it's just what you think,

what you feel.



I don't need your goddamn newspaper

to decide what they're gonna do with me.



- Or who I am.

- Then you tell me: Who are you?



You mean you're not sure yet?






Well... I guess

you'll just have to decide for yourself.



Who I am and what you are.



Would you just answer me one question?



Quinn's statement...

did you do anything wrong to get it?



- What's wrong?

- You know what wrong is.



That's right. I do.



Well, tell me.



I'm sorry, I won't.



I guess you just did.



Things are not what they seem.

Not always. You ought to know that.



- They usually are.

- Okay.



Mac? It's Meg.



Jim, I'm sorry about this, -



- but I've heard you're suspected of

taking bribes from Gallagher.



- I would like to hear your comment.

- You've got your information mixed up.



Either that or you're fishing.



- Wait a minute, that was off the record.

- My question was on the record.



No comment!

What the hell are you talking about?



- Did you get to him?

- I need someone for dictate.



Okay, go.



This is insert A after the fifth graph

ending xxx clearing Gallagher.



Paragraph. Quinn denied...



What the...?!



Elving, go yourself down the hall there

and collect our friend.



- Hello, Jim.

- Good morning. Angeline, quickly please.



- What are you doing?

- We'll be just a second here, sir.



Have a seat, folks.



Let the record show that I'm James J.

Wells, assistant Attorney-General -



- for the Organized Crime Division of

the United States Department of Justice.



With me here are...



You know who these folks are.

Just write them in.



I've had no conversation with anyone here

prior to the beginning of this record.



I'd like to inform all present

they have the right to remain silent -



- and the right to retain counsel.



I inform them further that anything

they say during the course of this...



This inquiry, may be taken down

and used against them.



- Anybody here want a lawyer?

- No.



Miss Carter, you brought your own.

Mr Gallagher, do you want a lawyer?



- No.

- Good. No more room in here anyway.



Anybody wanna read the paper?



It says, "strike force investigating

a DA suspecting bribes".



It's the damnedest story you ever read.



Nobody in this department

ever read a story quite like that.



I'll tell you what we're gonna do.

We're gonna sit here and talk about it.



If you get tired of talking here,

Mr Elving Patrick there -



- will hand you a subpoena and we'll

go talk in front of the grand jury.



We'll talk all day if you want to.



But come sundown, there's gonna be

two things true that ain't true now.



One is that the United States

Department of Justice is gonna know -



- what in the good Christ, excuse me,

Angie, is going on around here.



And the other's I'm gonna

have somebody's ass in my briefcase.









Elving, hand whichever one

of these fellas you like a subpoena.



We'll go talk in front of the grand jury.



- Gallagher's a government witness.

- Wonderful thing, subpoena.



He's working on Diaz, reporting to me.



Your arrangements include

campaign contributions?



I'm talking about $    .

Cashier's checks. It's all in the file.



- What file?

- Rosen's investigation file.



- No investigation without a file, Jim.

- Let me see that.



It says you met with Gallagher

and didn't report it.



It says Gallagher gives money to some

committee that thinks you're pretty.



We got phone taps, not legal, -



- of you talking

on Gallagher's answering machine.



You son of a bitch!



He doesn't think much

of your investigation.



Jim, why didn't you report that meeting?



That was Gallagher.

Those were his rules.



He said he wanted to deal only with me.

We'd had a leak.



You'd had a leak?!

You call what's going on here a leak?



The last time there was a leak

like this, Noah built himself a boat.



I don't know anything about any checks.

Gallagher said he would listen for us -



- if we quit hassling him.

He wanted a public statement.



And he got it.



Robert, where did you get the authority

to run those taps?



No place. I just did it.



Why would you do a damn thing like that?



We had reason to believe that...



- He was acting on my instructions.

- He doesn't get paid to do that.



He gets paid to

abide by and to enforce the law.



Elliott, how come you're investigating

the DA without telling the department?



It was preliminary.

We had cause but no case.



- You think you have a case now?

- I think so.



- Make it.

- Here? In front of them?



Do you know something that ain't

all over the newspapers?



Go ahead and make your case.

It'll be good practice for you.



Mr Gallagher, you know Mr Quinn?

How do you know him?



He asked me if I would help him find out

what happened to Joey Diaz.



I show you photostats -



- of two cashier's checks drawn on

the Flagship National Bank, -



- made payable to

the Committee for a Better Miami.



- Have you seen them before?

- Yeah, they're mine.



For what purpose

did you make these checks?



- To contribute to the committee.

- Why was that?



Because they do good work.



Are you aware the committee's interested

in the political career of Mr Quinn?



So? That's okay with me.



Let me point out that these checks

were drawn immediately before -



- and immediately after

your meeting with Mr Quinn.



- What do you make of that?

- What do you make of it?



You're trying to say

you just got an urge to contribute -



- to his committee before you met

with him and then right after?



Yeah. I came into some extra money

a couple of days later.



You made these contributions

anonymously. Why?



- I wanted them to be anonymous.

- I'll bet. Tell us why.



I didn't want people

asking for contributions!



You made them anonymously

because you were paying off.



Prove it.



If you in fact told Mr Quinn that you

would act as a government informant...



No. I said

that I'd see what I could find out.



- What are you finding out?

- Nothing. Nobody wants to talk about it.



Son of a bitch! You're trying

to frame me. He set me up!



He arranged the meetings,

he got me on his answering machine, -



- he's got the cancelled checks.

He's trying to frame me!



- What's his motive?

- To get even, you dummy.



You two guys ought to get married.



- Mr Gallagher, are you that smart?

- You're damn right he is.



Miss Carter... you seem to know a lot

about what's going on around here; -



- I'd like to ask you

where these stories came from.






Save your objections, counsellor,

this ain't a courtroom.



Now, Miss Carter, this story about

Mr Gallagher, the first one...



I had reason to believe the strike force

was investigating Mr Gallagher.



- I confirmed it.

- How did you confirm it?



- Objection. You are asking...

- Wait a minute.



I want to answer this.



- I read the file.

- Did you, now?



How did you come to read the file?



I was talking with Mr Rosen.

It was lying on his desk.



When he left his office, I read it.



Did you ask Mr Rosen what he was doing -



- leaving the file on his desk

for you to read it?



- He intended me to read it.

- Why would that be, Miss Carter?



So that I would write a story

that made Mr Gallagher look bad.



This story.



Did Mr Rosen give you that one too?






- Go ahead, Miss Carter.

- I'm sorry, I can't tell you.



I think I know

where we're headed here.



Before we get there,

I want to say something to you.



You know and I know that we can't

tell you what to print or what not to.



We hope the press will act responsibly, -



- but when you don't,

there ain't a lot we can do about it.



We can't have people going around

leaking stuff for their own reasons.



It ain't legal.



And worse than that, by God,

it ain't right.



I can't stop you, but I can stop them.

Where do the stories come from?



Under the first amendment

my client is not required...



That's a lot of horse-pucky.

The first amendment doesn't say that.



Do you understand I can ask you these

questions in front of a grand jury?



And if you don't answer,

you can go to jail.



I know it's possible.



It's more than possible, Miss Carter.

It's damn likely.



I ain't anxious to be locking up

reporters, but I'll tell you something.



- I don't like what's going on.

- May I say something, please?






I don't want to go to jail.

But this has got to stop some place.



A lot of damage has been done.



I'm responsible for a lot of it.

I know that.



I don't know. I keep thinking

there must be some rules -



- to tell me

what I'm supposed to do now.



But... maybe not.



The person who told me about

the Quinn investigation was not leaking it.



They did not intend for it

to be printed. I did that on my own.



I'm scared to death of going to jail,

but if I tell you, -



- then you'll have to do something

about it and someone else will be hurt.



It's really very simple.

I can hurt someone or not hurt someone.



No rules.



Just... me.



I can't tell you.



Mr Gallagher...



I seem to want to ask

if you set all this up.



If I do,

you ain't gonna tell me, are you?






I'll tell you something,

you're a smart fella.



Don't get too smart.

I'm pretty smart myself.



Everybody in the room is smart.



Everybody's just doing theirjob.



And Teresa Perrone's dead.



- Who do I see about that?

- Ain't nobody to see.



I wish there was.



You're excused now, sir.



Miss Carter, you can go too. Later today

I'll have a statement for the media.



You ain't gonna like it.



It's gonna say Mr Quinn may not be

the smartest DA we've had, -



- but there's no evidence

suspecting him of anything.



And that you were suckered by Mr Rosen

here who has some peculiar ideas -



- on how to do his job. It's gonna say

it was premature and real wrong -



- that these investigations

ever got reported in the first place.



You don't have to print it,

but it's gonna wind up in the paper.



Angeline, you and Elving go on ahead.

Robert, you can go too, -



- I'll be along in a minute.



You're in a bad place, boy.



I could talk myself blue clearing you,

but wouldn't nobody believe me.



You got a hell of a publicity problem.



- I could sue.

- Who? You can't win.



Absent malice. What can you prove?



You saying I should resign?



The president appointed you.

I ain't the one to be kicking you out.



But I'd suggest it.



I'll talk to you later.



That's really too bad. I'm sorry.



He's a nice guy.

He just forgot about the rules.



What will you do

after government service?



- I'm not quitting.

- You ain't no presidential appointee.



The one that hired you was me.

You got thirty days.



Would you excuse me

for a moment, please?



- You got us all, didn't you, Michael?

- You got yourselves.



How did you know I'd get the story?



I knew somebody would.

I'm sorry it was you.



How did you know I'd print it?



It's news, isn't it?



We're not gonna retract anything,

but we've got a lot of explaining to do.



Sarah's gonna write the story

and we'll handle it the best way we can.



I need to know how to describe

your relationship with Gallagher.



Mac said to quote you directly.

You can say whatever you want.



Just... say we were involved.



That's true, isn't it?



No. But it's accurate.



Hot, huh?



Not so hot, really.



There's a "For Sale" sign by your house.



Yeah, it's sold.

I got a good price.



- You got some sun.

- Yeah, I've been sitting on the beach.



We were pretty famous for a week.

Did you read the story?




You want a beer?






Where are you headed?



I don't know. I guess I've got

a couple of moves left in me.



But you don't know where?



I'm not sure.

People are going south and west.



I think I'll go north and east.

You can go clear to the Hudson River, -



- I mean, clear to Canada,

on the inland waterway.



The north-east.

I was raised in the north-east.



I had my firstjob there the summer

when I was    on the Berkshire Eagle.



I wonder if they'd have me back.



Feeling sorry for yourself?



I know you think

what I do for a living -



- is nothing.



But it really isn't nothing.

I just did it badly.



Why do I get the feeling your going

north-east has to do with your daughter?



You probably are a hell of a reporter.



Not yet.



Have a good trip.



I get the feeling I wanna say...



Could I write?

But I'm afraid to hear your answer.



Maybe I'll see you one of these days.



I'd like that.



- Be well.

- You too.


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