by Ron Nyswaner.
Draft, September 21, 1992.
More info about this movie on imdb.com
VARIOUS SHOTS OF PHILADELPHIA EXTERIORS (EXT./DAY) ...
which may include the Liberty Bell, the Italian Market,
scenes along the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers,
Independence Square, the Russian Orthodox neighborhood, the
ghettos of North Philly.
MAIN TITLES PLAY OVER THIS SEQUENCE which culminates in a
PHILADELPHIA'S GLORIOUSLY ORNATE CITY HALL (EXT./DAY) ...
TITLE: "Philadelphia City Hall."
CITY EMPLOYEES, JUDGES, COPS, LAWYERS, CRIMINALS, TOURISTS
pour into City Hall, into...
TWO STORY HIGH CORRIDORS THAT REEK OF HISTORY (INT-DAY).
Young lawyer JAMEY COLLINS darts through the crowd, carrying
an accordion file under his arm like a football.
Jamey elbows his way through a JAPANESE TOUR GROUP.
Jamey trots up a marble staircase, two steps at a time
JAMEY RUNS LIKE HELL DOWN A THIRD FLOOR CORRIDOR, FOOTSTEPS
making a racket...
Jamey rushes toward a door marked "JUDGE TATE."
RAISED VOICES from inside Judge Tate's chambers:
JOSEPH MILLER (OS)
This construction site is
causing mortal and irreparable
harm to an unsuspecting public!
ANDREW BECKETT (OS)
My client has one of the finest
and most respected safety records
in the business, Your Honor!
Jamey shoves open the door, REVEALING TWO LAWYERS (BACKS TO
CAMERA) STANDING BEFORE JUDGE EUNICE TATE: ANDREW BECKETT
(in conservative gray) and JOSEPH MILLER (in pinstripes).
One at a time. Mr. Miller?
Your Honor, since Rockwell Corp.
began construction, the
neighborhood has been enshrouded
in a cloud of foul-smelling,
germ-carrying, pestilent dust.
My client is being forced to
breathe known carcinogens daily!
Other residents are coming forth
on a daily basis to add their
voices of outrage!
Your Honor, I submit there were
no complaints until Counselor
began knocking on doors,
drumming up business. And the
dust, which Counselor refers to,
has appeared on only three
occasions. Each time it has
been examined and the results...
Behind his back, Andrew wiggles his fingers. Jamey stuffs
a document into Andrew's hand.
Limestone. Messy, but innocuous.
Andrew submits the report to the Judge.
Defined by Webster's as harmless.
I know what it means. Your
Honor, imagine how the children
in this neighborhood have been
made to feel. The pounding of
construction ringing in their
ears as this skyscraper, a
tribute to mankind's greed,
grows daily, casting an ominous
shadow over their lives, filling
them with dread even as they are
surrounded in a black, toxic
fog, blocking out the sun while
poisoning their lungs! And
Counselor calls it harmless?!
His back turned momentarily to the JUDGE, Andrew mouths to
Jamey: "Not bad." But he whips around, serious again:
Your Honor, Counselor is
attempting to portray my client
as a hideous manifestation of
evil and corruption. But
nothing could be further from
the truth. Rockwell has
generously contributed ten
thousand dollars to this
neighborhood's schools, clinics
and youth centers! Granting a
restraining order on the
construction site will throw
hundreds of Philadelphians out
of work, and will lend
validation to this contemptible
and groundless nuisance suit,
which speaks directly to the
kind of greed and treachery that
today is threatening the very
fabric of our society.
Judge Tate looks skeptically at both lawyers.
Let's not go off the deep end,
gentlemen. I thought we were
talking about some dust.
A MAN ON CRUTCHES HOBBLES INTO A COURTHOUSE ELEVATOR AND IS
joined by Andrew and Joe, crowding inside (INT./DAY) ...
As soon as the doors close, Andrew whips out a micro-
cassette recorder, making notes, and Joe, in the opposite
corner of the elevator, does exactly the same thing.
... plaintiff seeks to re- ... whereas decedent had
strain defendants from con- pre-existing asthmatic
tinued improper use of trade condition and ride on
name without... Ultra Loop caused sub-
Andrew and Joe stop at the same time, look at each other...
And turn toward the corner, seeking privacy.
ANDREW (CONT.) JOE (CONT.)
... plaintiff's permission or ... complainant seeks
There's a PERSISTENT BEEPING, Andrew and Joe pull out their
portable telephones at the same time.
They look at each other: which phone is ringing?
Andrew resumes his telephone conversation.
The ELEVATOR OPENS: Andrew breezes past the MAN ON
CRUTCHES, saying to Joe:
Client of yours?
Andrew hurries down the corridor. Joe waits a moment... then
pursues the MAN ON CRUTCHES.
Excuse me..? Sir? Yo!
ANDREW EKERGES FROM CITY HALL, ONTO DILWORTH PLAZA BUSTLING with
PEDESTRIANS (EXT./DAY) ...
... DARTS into the street, hailing a cab.
THE CAB PULLS UP TO A BROWNSTONE ON A RESIDENTIAL STREET,
Andrew hopping out, stuffing papers into his briefcase
RUSHING to the door marked "Dr. Roberta Gillman, Internal
Coming out is a YOUNG ASIAN MAN with a cotton ball taped to
the inside of his elbow.
CLASSICAL MUSIC (INT./DAY) ... AS CAMERA PANS PATIENTS
(MOSTLY YOUNG MEN) in a cheerful room... some, like a UPS
DELIVERY MAN, are attached to IV's, some sit with arms
extended, waiting to be hooked to an IV by TYRONE, a BLACK
CAMERA FINDS ANDREW sitting quietly, with an IV drip running
into his arm. Andrew is wearing a Walkman, the source of
the CLASSICAL MUSIC, and he's reading a legal brief. Most
of the people in the room look SICKER than Andrew.
DIALOGUE CAN BE HEARD under the CLASSICAL MUSIC (although
MUSIC dominates the SOUNDTRACK).
(slapping a thin
Gonna have to start looking for
veins in your feet, sweetheart.
DR. ROBERTA GILLMAN, passes through, speaking to Andrew:
Andy. Can you stop at my office
on your way out?
Andrew is distracted by A HISPANIC MAN across the room,
rolling up his sleeve for an IV -- his bare arms, hands,
face and neck are marked with PURPLE BLOTCHES.
Andrew closes his eyes, concentrating for a moment on the
CLASSICAL MUSIC... then goes back to work.
ANDREW HURRIES OUT OF THE DOCTOR'S OFFICE, HAILING A CAB
ANDREW HOPS OUT OF THE CAB, IN FRONT OF AN IMPRESSIVE
skyscraper in downtown Philly, at the end of the work day
Andrew pushes through glass doors into the plush "Wheeler
Building," pressing through the tide of WORKERS headed home.
A BLACK PARALEGAL, ANTHEA BURTON, LEADS A YOUNG, BLACK LAW
CLERK (in suit and tie) to the elevators, at the sedate,
expensively appointed offices of Wyant Wheeler Hellerman
Tetlow and Brown (INT./DAY) ...
... up to Tax, on fourteen, and
get right back, I need you.
Andrew BLASTS out of the elevator, flashing Anthea a four-
star smile. They stride down the corridor together.
Just the dazzling paralegal I
wanted to see.
I know what that means, and the
answer is no. I have a class
tonight. Exploit someone else.
And since you've asked ...
They pass a silver-haired partner, KENNETH KILLCOYNE.
Solid work on the Rockwell
situation, Andy. Top-notch.
Thank you. 98. I gotta go...
Andrew reaches the secretaries' station. A cheerful
secretary, SHELBY, shoves documents at him.
Conference call's up. They just
started the roll call. Here's
the settlement agreement, the
red-lined copy's on your desk.
Need me in there?
No. Great. Thanks, Shelby.
(checking his watch)
It's 6:30, go home.
Andrew passes a colleague on her way out, RACHEL SMILOW:
I'm late, I have to pick up Amy
from her afterschool but I want
to talk to you about that Hansen
Catch me later, I'll be here.
And tell Amy, I love her
painting, it's on my wall.
Andrew SAILS toward his office.
CONTINUOUS CUT TO:
ANDREW ENTERS HIS OFFICE, KICKING THE DOOR SHUT (INT./DAY).
... DROPPING the documents on his desk, SCANNING them.
... ADMIRING a child's painting taped to the wall.
... PUNCHING into the speaker phone on his desk.
The SCREEN SPLITS, REVEALING A TELECONFERENCE OPERATOR:
... Karen Hargreave, representing
Lloyd Management Corporation?
The SCREEN SPLITS INTO THIRDS: Andrew, the OPERATOR, and
HARGREAVE (a sharp, California lawyer.)
As the OPERATOR continues the roll call, the SCREEN
CONTINUES TO SPLIT and HARGREAVE is replaced by a SERIES OF
LAWYERS in offices around the country, (MOSTLY WHITE MALES)
saying "Present" while in Andrew's section of the screen...
... Andrew dials a number on another telephone line,
Andrew Beckett, representing
Andrew punches into the conference call
The MULTI-IMAGE SCREEN is now joined by SARAH BECKETT, a
suburban, 60ish American MOM, in her backyard garden,
answering a portable phone.
Hi, Mom. It's me.
The LAWYERS are into the conference, in their portions of
the screen, (their VOICES HEARD underneath Andrew's
conversation with his mother).
Andy! This is a nice surprise.
How are you, hon?
What's Dr. Gillman say?
Hold on, Mom.
(punching into the
There's no way my client will go
along with that.
Andrew Beckett. Hi, Karen. I'm
sorry I interrupted...
He punches out of the conference, back to his Mom (glancing
over his shoulder to make sure the door is shut).
Gillman says I'm fine. My blood
work is excellent. T-cells are up.
Just a sec ...
Yes, I think that would alleviate
most of our concerns.
(back to Mom)
My platelets look good too.
Are you on one of those conference
calls? I hate when you put me on
CUT ON ANDREW'S LAUGHTER TO:
THE MOON ABOVE THE WHEELER BUILDING LATE AT NIGHT (EXT.)
TITLE: "One-thirty a.m."
ANDREW AT WORK IN THE FIRM'S LIBRARY (INT./NIGHT) ...
Andrew's fingers FLY across the keys of a notebook computer.
Needing a reference, he shoves his rolling chair away from
the computer... opens a reference book... grabs a carton of
Chinese food... (NOTE: The library may be equipped with a
computer terminal which Andrew uses for reference, rather
than a book.)
Andrew eats sauteed string beans with chopsticks, finding a
Ah hah! Yes!
(chewing a string bean)
Rentworth v. Pennsylvania...
court of appeals affirms jury
award of punitive damages for
wrongful interference with
A SHADOW falls across Andrew. He IGNORES IT.
ANGLE: TWO MEN IN SILHOUETTE. WALTER KENTON says:
Look at this fucking guy. He's
Andrew's hands DO NOT LEAVE the keyboard.
The SECOND MAN steps forward, a silhouette becoming visible
This is BOB SEIDMAN. He and Kenton wear tuxedos.
Are we interrupting, Andy?
In a word, Bob...
Charles is right behind me.
ANOTHER SILHOUETTED FIGURE APPEARS. This image has a
horror-film feeling to it.
Andrew WHIPS AROUND to face them.
I was just about to take a
break. Good evening, Charles.
CHARLES WHEELER, also in tuxedo, remains in shadow.
Andy? Could you step into my
office for a sec?
I feel like firing someone
Andrew throws an arm over Seidman's shoulder.
We're gonna miss you around
CUT ON LAUGHTER TO:
THE RECEPTION AREA (INT./NIGHT): A DOMINO'S PIZZA DELIVERY
MAN, waiting for clearance from a SECURITY GUARD, on
Andrew's dim and quiet floor, WATCHES AS...
Seidman, Kenton and Andrew follow Charles Wheeler up a wide,
carpeted staircase. Wheeler finishes a story and everyone
A BOX OF CIGARS BEING HANDED AROUND (INT./NIGHT) ...
Andy's expressed a keen interest
in the Kronos Inc. situation,
Charles. Is that correct, Andy?
The lawyers have gathered in Wheeler's spacious office, with
its floor-to-ceiling view of the Philadelphia skyline.
The fate of the participants
interests me, yes sir.
Wheeler, Kenton and Seidman proceed with the male ritual of
preparing cigars to be smoked: snipping the ends with a brass
clip, rolling them over their tongues to wet them, sliding the
cigars in and out of their rounded mouths.
Andrew, holding a cigar but NOT preparing to light it, watches
with a not completely concealed twinkle in his eye.
Wheeler leans back in his chair, swirling a brandy snifter.
He exhales cigar smoke with a great deal of pleasure.
It's good to be King, hey
Kings are out of fashion. I'd
rather be thought of as a
It's an anti-trust action.
It is, and it isn't, Charles.
Macrosystem's new software
copies all the best-known
elements of Kronos' spreadsheet
program. If they're allowed to
sell it, Kronos will get undersold
right out of business. For me, the
legal principle, involved is
Bearing in mind that Bill
Wright, the chairman of
MacroSystems, is a close, personal
friend of mine... which side of
this mess would you desire to be
on, Andy? And don't allow my very
tight, personal relationship with
Bill to influence your answer in
Andrew knows this is a test. And he loves it.
Sorry, Charles, but...
Andrew is distracted -- BY A LIGHT FALLING ACROSS HIS FACE.
I'd like to see Kronos win.
Walter Kenton has shifted a lamp, so that its LIGHT FALLS
ACROSS ANDREW'S FACE, REVEALING: a faint purple blotch
about the size of a quarter, much like the blotches we saw
on the HISPANIC PATIENT in Andrew's doctor's office.
Because they deserve to, Walter.
Andrew lifts his hand, finding that his hair has been pushed
back, revealing the blotch.
He stands, nonchalantly running a hand through his hair to
cover the blotch.
If MacroSystems wins, an energetic,
young company will be destroyed,
five thousand Americans will be
out of work. Moreover, the laws of
copyright and anti-trust were
enacted to prevent exactly the
kind of bullshit Macrosystems is
trying to pull.
Andy, do you know who reps Kronos
Get with the program, Andy. As
of this evening, about 8:05 this
evening, right after the soup
course... Kronos Incorporated is
represented by Wyant Wheeler
Hellerman Tetlow and Brown. Or,
more specifically, senior
associate Andrew Beckett.
A moment before it sinks in, then: Andrew clenches his fist
in a victory salute.
You'll have to get right on it,
Andy, we're up against the
statute of limitations.
An ASSOCIATE LAWYER in shirtsleeves taps on the office door.
Tokyo on four, Bob.
Great. Excuse me, fellas.
(picking up a phone,
Connichiwa. Itsumo osewa ni nari
mashita. Arigato gozaimasu.
Andrew offers his hand to Walter Kenton.
What's that on your forehead,
Whacked with a racquetball.
(taking Wheeler's hand)
I appreciate your faith in my
Faith, Andy, is the belief in
something for which we have no
evidence. It doesn't apply to
(slapping his shoulder)
Go home. I mean, get back to
Andrew and Wheeler are eye-to-eye, an intimate moment.
(with a father's
No sweat, buddy.
Smiling, Andrew exits the office.
CLOSE ON WALTER KENTON, THINKING...
CONTINUOUS CUT TO:
ANDREW STEPPING INTO THE EMPTY CORRIDOR, TAKING A FEW STEPS
away from Wheeler's office (INT./NIGHT), then...
... DOING a JOYFUL END ZONE DANCE, running in place the way
football players do when then score a touch down, saying
"Yes! Yes! Yes!" to himself, soundlessly.
The SOUND OF CLANGING METAL interrupts Andrew: HELENA, a
maintenance worker is emptying a trash can. She's seen his
little dance and starts to laugh.
Smiling, Andrew puts the unlit cigar into his mouth, WINKS
at Helena and says:
(in a funny, kind of
It's good to be King.
ESTABLISHING: ANDREW'S LOFT BUILDING (EXT. DAY)
TITLE: "Ten days later."
CLOSE ON ANDREW'S FACE MARKED WITH FOUR BLOTCHES (WE'RE IN
Andrew's loft -- INT./DAY)
It's a mirror image. The BLOTCHES vary from the size of a
dime, to the size of a half-dollar. He looks awful.
A YOUNG, BLACK WOMAN'S FINGER applies makeup to Andrew's
face, trying to cover the blotches. This is his friend
You want to apply the foundation
as evenly as you can, Andy. You
don't want to look like you've
thrown it on with a spoon.
CAMERA PULLS BACK REVEALING Andrew sitting at a table in his
loft, a towel around his neck, protecting his shirt from makeup.
Chandra applies the makeup gently, supervised by another friend
named ALAN. (Andrew's loft has been turned into a lawyer's
command post: stacks of books, documents, etc.). A third friend,
BRUNO, sits in the corner, flipping through channels on the TV.
Okay. You try.
Andrew tries applying makeup to his face.
Chandra? Don't you think this
color's a little... orange for me?
Tahitian Bronze works best on
Think of it as the "I just back
from Aruba" look.
IN THE BACKGROUND: Andrew's fax machine receives a fax in
Andrew's "work area": desk, personal computer, etc.).
I got it.
Bruno removes the fax from the machine, walking it over to
Andrew, handing Andrew the fax, while munching an apple.
(giving the fax
a quick scan)
(to Alan and Chandra)
I've been out of the office four
days. I don't want them to
think I've been to the beach.
(searching for something)
Okay. Check this out.
Andrew puts on a pair of big glasses with tortoise shell
frames, meant to help conceal the blotches.
Hides everything, right? What
do you think?
You know who you look like,
Andy? That actor, in that
movie. Not the one where he was
autistic, the one where he
dressed up like a lady on a soap
You want to try Light Egyptian?
Suddenly, Andrew winces, gripping his gut.
(clearly in pain)
Excuse me a sec...
Andrew starts out of the room -- suddenly HAVING TO RUN.
Just like my cousin Fredo.
CAMERA HOLDS ON Chandra, Alan and Bruno. SOUND OF BATHROOM DOOR
Bruno saunters across the room and knocks on the bathroom
You okay, Andy?
CONTINUOUS CUT TO:
TIGHT SHOT ON ANDREW, FACE TWISTED IN PAIN (INT./DAY) ...
Andrew rests his head against the wall, sweat covering his
face. A storm of fire has passed through him, and he's hoping
it's over for now.
I think I need to go to the
MIGUEL ALVAREZ RUNS URGENTLY DOWN SPRUCE STREET, DODGING
traffic as he crosses Eleventh Street, toward Jefferson
Hospital (EXT./DAY). He hustles up the ramp toward the
MIGUEL SHOVES THROUGH GLASS DOORS, INTO THE BUSTLING
Emergency Room (INT./DAY), FINDING
ANDREW sitting on a gurney, holding a cotton ball against
his arm, where blood has been drawn, wearing a blanket over
his shoulders, fighting chills.
Chandra and Bruno are waiting with Andrew. They exchange
quick hugs with Miguel and Andrew, ad libbing greetings and
Thanks, you guys.
Yeah. Thanks, guys.
Miguel puts his arms around Andrew.
Gillman's out of her office today.
I told her to take a day off, and
she did, can you believe it? Did
you get someone to cover your
Miguel touches Andrew's face, checking for fever.
Don't worry about it. They took
blood? A specimen?
Andrew holds an empty specimen cup.
Aren't you giving an exam?
I said, don't worry about it.
Miguel places a gentle kiss on Andrew's sweaty forehead.
You got a fever, baby.
Suddenly, the facade cracks and TEARS STING Andrew's eyes.
I almost didn't make it to
the bathroom, Miguel. I almost
lost control right in front
So what? It's nothing to be
ashamed of. You have nothing to
be ashamed of, okay?
Andrew pulls himself together, brushing aside tears, in
control of his emotions once more.
Wait, here's my guy... Hey!
Andrew catches the attention of a harried INTERN, whose
surgeon's greens are covered with blood.
Mr. Beckett, I'm sorry...
About my blood work?
Miguel opens a small notebook, making notes.
... meanwhile, I'd like to
prepare you for a colonoscopy,
so we can take a look inside.
Why do you need to do this?
Who are you?
Who are you? Doctor... ?
This is my partner. We keep
records of hospital visits.
It's not a pleasant procedure,
but if the KS is causing the
diarrhea, we ought to know right
It could be parasites, an
A reaction to AZT...
That's possible, but.
He's not going through some
painful procedure until we've
cancelled out everything else.
I'm trying to help your
"partner." You're not a member
of his immediate family, I could
have you removed from the ER.
(to the Intern)
He's upset, he's sorry.
Don't apologize for me.
He's not sorry, okay, fine.
Why don't we see what we find
out from the blood work? I'll
work on getting a specimen, I'm
sure hospital food could help in
that direction. Maybe, by then,
we'll hear from my doctor, and
we'll go from there. Okay?
Allright. I'll get on the lab
about the blood work.
(to the Intern)
The INTERN walks away. Andrew's BEEPER BEEPS.
That's the third time. I better
call the office.
(smiling at Niguel)
Would you relax, please?
I am relaxed.
Andrew HOBBLES toward a pay phone, outside a VISITOR LOUNGE,
where weary relatives are watching TV.
Andrew drops a quarter into the phone.
JOE MILLER'S VOICE
"If you or someone you know..."
ANDREW'S POV ON TELEVISION: Joe Miller on the screen, with the
words "Negligence... Malpractice... Auto accidents"... and in
the background, PHOTOS of MAIMED, BURNED, INJURED CLIENTS.
"... has been injured through
the fault of others, you may be
entitled to legal remedy...
Andrew LAUGHS. Then, his call is answered:
Shelby? It's me. Jamey's been
beeping me, I... Okay, okay,
calm down. Put Jamey on.
FIRST YEAR ASSOCIATE JAMEY COLLINS, SITTING AT ANDREW'S DESK
(INT/DAY), GRABS THE PHONE when Andrew's intercom BUZZES...
Andy?! This is a disaster! We
can't find your revisions on
the Kronos complaint!
Slow down, Jamey, for Christ's
I went down to Word Processing
to pick up the corrected copy,
but they said you haven't
delivered the corrections.
I told them you've been working on
it at home, and...
Andrew forgets his physical pain, this is more important.
I brought it in last night, around
midnight. It's in my computer.
What did you file it under?
Jamey puts his hands on Andrew's computer keyboard.
Jamey types the file name.
Jamey, I don't have to mention,
do I, that we're up against a
statute of limitations on this
complaint which runs out in...
(checks his watch)
Jamey stares dumbfounded at the computer monitor.
It's not here, Andy.
Andrew closes his eyes. He can't believe this.
You go down to Word Processing
and tell those motherfuckers
they better come up with that
complaint, now! Or they are
fucking dead! You tell them that
comes from me!
Andrew SLAMS the phone into its cradle.
He pauses, takes a deep breath, and says to himself:
Every problem has a solution.
Every problem... has... a...
Calmer, Andrew returns to the gurney, putting on his shirt.
Every problem has a solution...
Miguel approaches with tea purchased at the canteen.
Why are you getting dressed?
You're not going to like this.
Please try to smile...
Andrew puts his arms around Miguel.
Thanks for leaving school, and
coming here, and...
(pulling back, putting
on his jacket)
I will be back. An hour, tops.
You're going to the office?!
You're not smiling.
Andrew rushes toward the exit doors.
You're leaving the hospital?
You're going into the office
looking like that? Are you
CONTINUOUS CUT TO:
ANDREW RUSHES TO THE STREET, HAILING A CAB (EXT./DAY) ...
ANDREW STEPS OUT OF THE TAXI IN FRONT OF THE WHEELER
Building, heading for the entrance (EXT./DAY) ...
But he changes his mind, darting to the corner of the block.
Andrew stops to buy a baseball cap from a VENDOR.
He trots down an alley, past bags of garbage, entering the
building through a garage door.
FROM A HIGH FLOOR, ANDREW CAN BE SEEN CLIMBING THE STEPS OF
an emergency stairwell (INT./DAY) ...
Andrew passes CAMERA, out of breath. He's wearing the ball cap
PULLED TO HIS EYEBROWS to hide blotches on his forehead.
ANDREW OPENS THE FIRE DOOR ON HIS FLOOR AT WYANT WHEELER, removing
the ball cap, baring the purple blotches. (INT./DAY)
He walks quickly down the hall. Passing a COLLEAGUE, Andrew
pretends to scratch his face, attempting to hide the blotches
as nonchalantly as possible.
He dashes past an office, ignoring Anthea.
Didn't expect to see you... ?
He ducks into his office.
CONTINUOUS CUT TO:
SECRETARY SHELBY AT ANDREW'S DESK, FRANTICALLY SEARCHING
through papers (INT./DAY) ...
Startled when he sees Shelby, Andrew spins toward the wall.
I'm looking through the files but...
Call the messenger service, have
someone standing by...
(she reaches for the phone)
Andrew keeps his face averted, until she's out of the room. He
goes to his computer, the monitor already glowing.
Think. You brought the discs in, you
Rachel comes into his office.
I thought I was supposed to be
covering for you.
God, Andy, you look awful.
Fucking Word Processing lost my
Kronos complaint. Which must be
filed by fucking five o'clock!
If it's late, there's no case...
Every problem has a solution.
What can I do?
Get down to Word Processing.
Help Jamey look.
She rushes out.
Andrew begins shoving floppy discs into the slots on his
computer, bringing up each disc's directory.
He throws the disc to the floor. Shoves in another.
Shoves in another, bending it in half.
He pulls open a file drawer, dumping legal briefs onto the
floor, frantically spreading them around with his foot.
Andrew THROWS a document across the room, takes a breath.
He picks up the telephone.
Bob? Something's come up. With
Kronos. I don't want to
upset Charles, but...
(letting down his guard)
Oh, shit, Bob, the complaint's
due in forty minutes and I can't
No, you don't have to come...
(hanging up the phone)
Great. Fucking great.
Andrew rubs his eyes, this is a nightmare.
He switches off the overhead light. He slants the window
blinds, filling the room with shadow
Bob Seidman comes into the office, typically cheerful.
C'mon, Andy, you didn't lose
Seidman is struck by the mess in the office, and Andrew's
I don't know what to do, Bob.
You'll never find it in the dark.
Seidman FLIPS ON the overhead light. Andrew flinches.
Seidman approaches. Andrew gives up trying to hide the
purple blotches, facing his mentor straight on.
What in God's name... ?
What's wrong with your face?
What's wrong with my face? You
want to know what's wrong with
my face? I've got a skin
condition. Next question, Bob?
No more questions? Fine. Now
can you help me find the complaint?
Allright. Calm down.
Seidman sits in front of Andy's computer.
What was the file name?
Maybe you mistyped the name when
you were saving it. We'll try
combinations of those letters...
Seidman goes to work. Andrew leans over his shoulder.
You're right, I probably just
Walter Kenton is standing at Andrew's door. His demeanor is
casual. So casual it seems a little forced.
Some sort of problem?
Andrew has kept his face averted. But now he TURNS DIRECTLY
TOWARD CAMERA, showing his face to Kenton.
Yeah, Walter. Yeah. Some sort of
HOLD ON THIS CLOSE UP OF ANDREW...
SOUND OF A BABY CRYING CROSSES THE CUT TO:
A NEWBORN BEING LIFTED INTO A DOCTOR'S HANDS (INT./DAY) ...
There she is, okay. You can relax
LISA MILLER has just given birth to a baby girl. She
collapses on her pillow, gasping for breath, moaning in
pain, quietly crying a little.
TITLE: "One month later."
The NURSES and the (FEMALE) DOCTOR move professionally
around the bed, doing their jobs.
At Lisa's side, Joe fumbles with a camera while darting
amazed looks back and forth between Lisa and the baby.
Oh my god... a girl... oh my
god... Lisa... oh my god...
You load the film... ? No, on
this side... or this side?
Don't move the baby!
Give me the camera, Joe.
Lisa pops the film into the camera, hands it back.
Thanks, hon. Oh my god...
With wildly trembling hands, Joe begins SNAPPING PHOTOS.
Oh my god... oh my god, look at
her... oh my god...
JOE, WALKING THE HOSPITAL CORRIDOR, STILL WEARING SURGEON'S
greens, SPEAKING INTO HIS PORTABLE PHONE (INT./DAY) ...
Go to Famous Fourth Street and
buy a pound of Nova. No! She
likes Scotch salmon better. Ah
heck, get a pound of both! Get
a dozen onion rolls. Get some
bagels. Get a dozen. Get a
bottle of champagne. Dom
Peringon... A hundred bucks a
bottle?! Better get a good
Passing a PATIENT IN TRACTION, ROLLING BY ON A GURNEY, Joe
drops a business card into the PATIENT'S broken hand.
(to the PATIENT)
Give me a call.
(into the phone)
Get everything over here as soon
as you can, she's starved. No,
not the baby! Lisa! ... Iris,
listen: any calls I should know
about? ... Uh huh... Uh huh...
Beckett? Who's Andrew Beckett?
Turning a corner, Joe comes face to face with HIS RELATIVES,
who charge at him joyfully:
JOE'S MOTHER/AUNTS/UNCLES, ETC.
Congratulations! How is Lisa?!
When can we see the baby?!
QUIET... JOE, LISA AND THEIR BABY CUDDLED TOGETHER IN
Lisa's hospital bed, surrounded by debris from a party,
paper plates, empty champagne bottle (INT./NIGHT) ...
The relatives have gone. It's late at night.
Lisa holds the baby. Joe holds them both.
AN INTERSECTION IN THE HEART OF OLD, DOWNTOWN PHILLY: A
movie palace (now a six-plex) across the street from the
Peter Pan Coffee Shop, PHILADELPHIA WORKERS going about the
business of the day (EXT./DAY) ...
TITLE: "One week later."
Above the Peter Pan Coffee Shop is a string of large
windows, each of which is painted with a question:
HEART ATTACK? ACCIDENT? MEDICAL MALPRACTICE? DOG BITE?
In bigger letters, across several windows:
D I A L 1 8 0 0 A - L A W Y E R
We hear JOE MILLER'S VOICE-OVER:
How big was this hole you fell
CONTINUOUS CUT TO:
A HALLWAY BULLETIN BOARD ANNOUNCING THE VARIOUS DEPARTMENTS of
"Macready and Shilts Legal Services" (INT./DAY), including
"Auto/DUI/Collisions with Deer... Product liability... Medical
malpractice... Pet bites..."
The bulletin board stands at the entrance to a warehouse of
lawyers' cubicles formed by office dividers and plastic ferns...
PHONES JANGLING... INJURED CLIENTS LIMPING ABOUT...
JOE (OS) (CONT.)
And this hole was right in the
middle of the street?
CONTINUOUS CUT TO:
JOE IS IN HIS OFFICE, A BOX OF CIGARS ON THE DESK WITH PINK
bands announcing "It's a girl!" (INT./DAY). On the walls are
photos of INJURED CLIENTS (the same photos we saw in the
background of Joe's TV commercial)...
A FEMALE CLIENT (MRS. FINLEY) faces Joe, her arm in a sling.
Why didn't you cross at the
Why should I?
CONTINUOUS CUT TO:
ANDREW IS SEEN FROM BEHIND, SITTING ON A SOFA IN THE WAITING
area. Very little hair shows beneath a Phillies ballcap...
A MAN WEARING A NECKBRACE, sitting next to Andrew, RISES,
MOVING to a seat opposite Andrew. From this new position the
MAN WITH THE NECKBRACE STARES at Andrew.
MAN WITH NECKBRACE'S POV:
The PURPLE BLOTCHES on Andrew's face are beginning,to recede,
not as angry looking as before, thanks to chemo therapy.
Andrew is dressed casually, in jeans and a softball jacket
(from the Wyant Wheeler team) with "Andy" embroidered over the
Joe's assistant, IRIS, approaches.
Andrew rises, following Iris past office dividers, HARRIED
SECRETARIES and overflowing file cabinets.
Iris cannot look at Andrew as she walks beside him.
(Outside Joe's door is a sign: "Beware Mad Dog" with "Mad"
written by hand.)
CONTINUOUS CUT TO:
ANDREW STEPS INTO JOE'S OFFICE (INT./DAY). ANDREW GLANCES
at the photos while Joe wraps up...
(to the FEMALE CLIENT)
Explain this to me like I'm a
six year old, okay? The entire
street is clear except for one
small area under construction,
with a huge hole that is clearly
marked and blocked off, and you
decide you must cross the street
at this spot. You fall into the
hole and you want to sue the
city for negligence? ...
Yeah. Do I have a case?
Of course you have a case! Now,
I want you to go with my
assistant, Iris, and fill out
some forms. She'll tell you
about our fee arrangement.
(as they're leaving)
Mrs. Finley? Any back pain
since the accident? Dizziness?
Now that you mention it...
Tell Iris all about it.
(leading her out)
Take good care of Mrs. Finley,
Beckett, come in.
Joe offers his hand, getting a look at Andrew's face.
Jesus Christ, what happened to you?
I have AIDS.
Joe WITHDRAWS his hand, before it touches Andrew's.
It's okay. Can I sit down?
Andrew hesitates. Joe doesn't sound sure.
Andrew sits, Joe returns to his desk. (Joe finds himself
acutely aware of where Andrew places his hands.)
One week old.
Little baby girl.
Kids are great.
Thanks, Beckett. I'm real
excited about it.
(glances at his watch)
What can I do for you?
I was fired by Wyant Wheeler. I
plan to bring a wrongful
termination suit against Charles
Wheeler and his partners.
You want to sue Wyant Wheeler
Hellerman Tetlow and Brown?
Correct. I'm seeking
I misplaced an important
complaint. That's their story.
Want to hear mine?
How many lawyers did you go to,
before you called me?
I was diagnosed with AIDS eight
months ago. During a bout of
pneumonia. I recovered quickly
and was back at work in ten
days. Since I was doing so well
on the AZT, we decided against
telling anyone about it.
My lover and I.
Miguel Alvarez. We've lived
together for nine years.
I dove back into work,
everything was fine. Until the
SUDDENLY PICTURE CUTS TO:
TIGHT ON ANDREW WAUKING THROUGH THE LOBBY OF THE WHEELER
Building (INT./DAY). He's wearing MAKEUP, which sort of
covers the blotches. (NOTE: PICTURE and ANDREW'S VOICE OVER
do NOT match up. This is no ordinary flashback) ...
ANDREW (VO) (CONT.)
First on my leg. Then my
forearm, my back. Then... my
face. For a short period, I
avoided the office during the
day, waiting for the chemo
therapy to clear up the
IMAGE: ANDREW RIDING THE CROWDED ELEVATOR ON A WORKDAY.
ANDREW (VO) (CONT.)
But I never let anything slide.
I made all my calls from home.
I worked sixteen hour days on a
complaint for a 350 million
dollar copyright infringement
IMAGE: JOE IN HIS OFFICE, ABSORBED IN ANDREW'S STORY.
ANDREW (OS) (CONT.)
But the day the complaint was
due, it disappeared. Erased
from my computer. I thought I
was losing it, mentally...
IMAGE: ELEVATOR DOORS OPENING, ANDREW STEPPING INTO WYANT
WHEELER OFFICES. NOW HE SPEAKS DIRECTLY TO CAMERA:
That can happen, it's called
AIDS dementia when it gets into
your brain. But miraculously, a
copy of the complaint was
located at the last minute, and
we got it to court on time...
IMAGE: ANDREW'S POV OF COLLEAGUES, STAFF IN THE OFFICES,
GIVING HIM LOOKS, WHISPERING. ANTHEA BURTON NODS HELLO.
ANDREW (OS) (CONT.)
The next morning, I was called
to the office for a meeting with
the managing partners. Walking
down that corridor was strange.
Felt like everyone was staring.
REVERSE ANGLE ON ANDREW AND JOE WALKING AT ANDREW'S SIDE.
Hell, they are staring. What's
that shit on your face?
ANDREW'S POV: RACHEL OUTSIDE HER OFFICE, SAYS "GOOD LUCK."
The partners were waiting for me
in the main conference room.
CONTINUOUS CUT TO:
CAMERA TRACKS INTO THE CONFERENCE ROOM, GIVING US ANDREW'S
POV as he enters the room where Wheeler, Kenton, Killcoyne,
Bob Seidman are waiting (INT./DAY) ...
Sit down, Andy.
Wheeler's secretary, LYDIA, takes notes.
Thanks for coming in.
Bob Seidman CANNOT look directly at Andrew.
Andy. Before we begin, I'd just
like to say: everyone in this
room is your friend.
You're in trouble.
(NOTE: Joe IS SEEN IN HIS OFFICE, or LEANING AGAINST A
WINDOW IN THE CONFERENCE ROOM whenever he speaks.)
I know that, Charles.
More than your friend. Family.
Charles, I must apologize again,
for the Kronos mishap.
It was a scary few minutes
around here. Wow. But thank
God, the complaint was found.
And no damage was done.
This time. What about next time?
There won't be a next time, I
Andy. It seems that something
has come over you, lately: A
kind of... stupor, a fogginess,
a lack of focus... Earth to
Andy. Anybody home?
That's right, Andy. The last
four, five months you've seemed
really out of it...
At least... different, somehow.
(keeping it positive)
Perhaps... you're right. I've
certainly been busy. With the
Kronos complaint, a preliminary
injunction hearing and the
Saunders trial all falling at the
Some people think you have an
attitude problem, Beckett.
Really? Who thinks that, sir?
Wheeler seems very grave.
I had no idea there was a concern
in that area. Hey:
I'll get to work on it right away.
NO ONE else smiles.
We've been talking it over, Andy.
Your future that is... We feel that,
because we respect you so much, we
have to be honest with you.
Honesty is always best.
Do you really think so, Andy?
Yes, Bob, I do.
(to the group)
Excuse me? Am I being fired?
Let's put it this way, Andy:
your place in the future of this
firm is no longer secure.
In a word, yes.
We don't think it's fair to keep
you here, where your future is
limited. But we wish you luck,
Andy, all the luck in the world.
Wheeler rises, wearing a friendly smile.
And I hate to rush you out of
But he's got lots of other
people's lives to ruin...
... we've got a committee meeting.
Excuse me, Charles. With all
due respect... this is...
preposterous! It doesn't make
any sense, it sounds as if we're
talking about someone else.
Pardon the lack of humility, but
I've had the distinct impression
I was kind of... one of the
rising stars around here. And I
feel that wasn't just my
imagination. And I also think I
deserve to know what's really
going on here, Charles.
Oh, you're right, Beckett, you
don't have an attitude problem.
Take it easy, Walter.
If you'd lost confidence in me,
why did you give me the Kronos suit?
I hoped the challenge would
improve your performance. You
could say it was a carrot.
I buy that.
As in, the vegetable?
Andy, you nearly blew the case,
for God's sake! That alone is
inexcusable. It would have been
catastrophic for us. Put
yourself in our shoes, Andy.
There's no coming back from an
error like that, regardless of
who you are!
I'm sorry, Andy.
Andrew FREEZES -- the full nature of this situation hitting
home. He looks each of the PARTNERS in the eye...
Uh huh... Okay... I see...
... at last LOOKING DIRECTLY AT Wheeler's secretary Lydia,
whose pen is poised above her notebook, waiting for someone
to say something.
Wheeler breaks the silence.
Good luck, Andy.
Wheeler, Kenton, Killcoyne, Seidman and Lydia file out.
Andrew doesn't move.
A SECURITY GUARD enters the room.
Who are you?
I'm here to escort you to your
office so you can organize your
CAMERA PULLS BACK FROM ANDREW, WE'RE IN JOE'S OFFICE (DAY) ...
Okay. Explain to me like I'm a
two year old, because there's an
element to this I can't get
through my thick head: Didn't
you have an obligation to inform
your employer you had this
dreaded, deadly, infectious
Andrew removes his ballcap -- his hair is cut short, to
disguise the effects of chemo.
The law says people with
disabilities cannot be
terminated, so long as they can
perform the duties required by
Okay, okay... They discover you
have this horrible, disgusting,
terminal illness, and they
panic, for any number of
perfectly valid reasons.
They're frightened for
themselves, their families...
Maybe it's the homo angle.
Maybe they don't want to rub
elbows with someone who's just
popped out of the closet with a
terminal case of acne. And how
do they explain your status to
the client for Chrissake?
Joe, from the day I arrived to
the day they fired me, I
thoroughly and with absolute
excellence. And if they hadn't
fired me, that's what I'd be
Okay... They want you out. It's
against the law to fire you for
having AIDS, so they make you
look like a fuck up. Which
leads us to the mysterious, lost
They sabotaged me.
I knew you were going to say
that. I don't buy it, and I
don't see a case.
Look. I know I have a case. If
you don't want to take it for
Correct. I don't.
Andrew rises, thoroughly business-like.
Thanks for your time.
Beckett? I'm sorry about...
what's happened to you. It's a
fucking kick in the head.
Don't send flowers, Joe. I'm
not dead yet.
CONTINUOUS CUT TO:
ANDREW LEAVES JOE'S OFFICE, MOVING DOWN THE CORRIDOR
as Andrew's leaving)
Have a nice day.
Andrew nods, passing one of Joe's colleagues, a hustler
named FILKO, who STARES SHAMELESSLY.
Joe approaches Iris's desk.
Find out if Armbruster can see
me this afternoon.
What the hell's wrong with him?
THE STREET: ANDREW EMERGES FROM THE LAWYER'S BUILDING
(EXT./DAY). CLOSE ON ANDREW, standing there as an endless flow of
people passes by. He watches them go, thinking...
A SUBURBAN DOCTOR'S OFFICE IN A MIDDLE-CLASS NEIGHBORHOOD
DR. ARMBRUSTER (OS)
You had contact with someone who
has AIDS, and you're worried.
CONTINUOUS CUT TO:
A DOCTOR UNRAVELLING A BLOOD PRESSURE GAUGE (INT./DAY)
I'm not worried. What are you doing?
Joe sits in his shirtsleeves on the examining table.
Checking your blood pressure,
The DOCTOR wraps the blood pressure unit around Joe's arm.
I didn't have contact. What do you
consider "contact?" We were sitting
in the same room, three, four
feet... What if you shake hands?
Wait. I know the answer. Only sex,
or sharing needles. I know that.
We didn't shake hands, anyway.
Dr. Armbruster squeezes the blood pressure pump,
The HIV virus can only be transmitted
through the exchange of bodily
fluids, namely blood and semen.
Joe begins rolling down his sleeve.
Yeah, but Doc, isn't it true they
keep finding out new things about
this disease? So you tell me, today,
there's no danger, and I go home,
and I hold my baby, and six months
from now I hear on the news: "whoops!
We were wrong.' You can carry it on
your clothes, your skin, and now I've
got to worry about my kid. What
are you doing?
Dr. Armbruster has been preparing a syringe.
We're going to draw blood.
Why are we going to do that?
Joe. I don't care a whit about your
You want to give me an AIDS test?!
Joe HOPS off the table.
The guy sat in my office! You can't
get AIDS that way, right?
It doesn't travel through the
air, by breathing, or touching,
Not by touching, or shaking hands,
or hugging, using the same toilet...
Even kissing someone with AIDS is
safe. But it there's something in
your past you're worried about...
Thanks, Doc, but I don't need an
AIDS test. Are you crazy? But
thanks for the information. Really.
Joe throws on his jacket, opens the door... then TURNS BACK:
In my past?
IV drug use.
Joe shakes his head.
DR. ARMBRUSTER (CONT.)
A homosexual encounter.
Unprotected sex with a prostitute.
(thinking it over)
Uh.... No. Not really.
Or unprotected sex with someone you
didn't know very well, any time
during the last twelve years.
Joe returns to the examining table, and rolls up his sleeve.
ESTABLISHING: JOE'S HOUSE IN THE SUBURBS (EXT./NIGHT) ...
LISA (VOICE OVER)
You have a problem with gays,
CONTINUOUS CUT TO:
JOB CRADLES HIS BABY AGAINST HIS CHEST (INT./NIGHT) ...
Lisa eats standing up, at the stove, while Joe walks the
BABY in their modern kitchen.
How many gays do you know?
How many do you know?
Karen Berman. Aunt Teresa. My
cousin Tommy who lives in
Rochester. Eddie Meyers from the
office. Joe Cantwell, he's one of
the partners. His lover, Greg.
Stanley, the guy who's putting in
our kitchen cabinets.
For a moment, Joe is struck dumb. Then he says:
Your Aunt Teresa is gay? That
beautiful, sensuous woman is a...
Probably since she was born.
Allright. I admit it: I'm
prejudiced. I don't want to work
with a homosexual. You got me.
I mean, two guys, doing the
horizontal thing? I don't get
it. Don't they get confused?
"Is that mine? I thought it was
yours." Hey, call me old
fashioned, call me
conservative... I think maybe
you have to be a man to get just
how nauseating the whole basic
idea really is.
And the way they work out,
pumping up, so they can be macho
and faggot at the same time... I
can't stand that shit. Now I'm
being totally honest with you.
That's perfectly clear.
CLOSE ON JOE, LOOKING DIRECTLY INTO CAMERA:
Would you take a client if you
were constantly thinking: "I
hope this guy doesn't touch me.
I don't even want him to breathe
THE STREETS OF PHILLY ARE DUSTED WITH SNOW, STORE WINDOWS
decorated for Christmas. Joe steps out of the Famous 4th
St. Deli, with a package (EXT./DAY) ...
TITLE: "Two weeks later."
JOE SITS AT A TABLE IN THE PUBLIC LAW LIBRARY, SURROUNDED BY
books and legal pads, hard at work. He's eating a pastrami
sandwich which he hides behind a reference book when a LIBRARIAN
saunters by (INT./DAY) ...
A CHAIR SQUEAKS and Joe LOOKS UP TO SEE:
Andrew taking a seat across the room (the blotches have been
reduced by chemo, but he's struggling with a cold). Andrew
removes notepads and pens from his briefcase. He takes out a
package of tissues, blowing his nose.
(under his breath)
Joe slides to the far end of his table, stacking seven or
eight HUGE REFERENCE BOOKS in front of him.
JOE'S POV, PEERING THROUGH THE REFERENCE BOOKS:
Andrew opens a book, taking notes. Rubs his eyes. Writes
A LIBRARIAN delivers a book to Andrew.
This is the supplement. You're
right, there is a section on...
(lowers her voice)
... HIV related discrimination.
Andrew takes the book from her -- but she remains.
We have a private research room
I'm fine, thanks.
Andrew BLOWS HIS NOSE. Now other PATRONS are watching.
Wouldn't you be more comfortable in
a research room?
No. But would it make you more
The LIBRARIAN turns away, shrugging to a PATRON, indicating
she's done all she can do.
As Joe continues to watch: one of Andrew's NEIGHBORS picks
up his books and moves away.
Joe rises, gliding down an aisle of books, keeping one eye
on Andrew, who concentrates on his work.
Joe approaches, nonchalantly, as if he just happens to be
sauntering by. Suddenly he "notices" Andrew.
Oh, Beckett. How's it goin'?
Andrew goes back to his work.
Who'd you get?
Find a lawyer?
I'm a lawyer. How's your baby?
Huh? Oh. Great. She's great.
What's her name?
Rayisha. Very nice.
Andrew focuses on his work. Joe steps away.
Joe comes back.
How did they find out?
(a second, then:)
One of the partners spotted a
lesion on my forehead.
Nearby, a CHINESE PROFESSOR looks up, startled, when she
hears the word "lesion."
Andrew concentrates on his work once more.
How do you get from one lawyer
spotting a lesion, which could
have been a bruise, to the
partners deducing you had AIDS
and basing a decision to
terminate you on that
The CHINESE PROFESSOR moves away.
Andrew removes a legal pad with "KENTON" written in big
letters across the top, and lots of notes underneath.
The partner who spotted the
lesion, Walter Kenton, used to
work for Benton, Myers, in D.C.
There's a paralegal there, Maria
Torres. She's had lesions on
and off for three years. She
says it was common knowledge
around the office that her
lesions were caused by AIDS.
They didn't fire her?
No. They didn't fire her.
Andrew goes back to his work. Joe stands there.
So Kenton connected the... lesion,
and whatever suspicions he had about
your personal life... to this
woman, Maria... and blew the
whistle on you. Suddenly you're
losing files, and it's time to
let you go. But, up to this
point, you've been their Golden
Boy, their rising star... Their
behavior is... inconsistent.
Andrew goes back to work.
There is no relevant precedent.
(not looking up)
Arline decision. Supreme Court.
Andrew SHOVES the legal book toward Joe.
CLOSE ON ANDREW'S HANDS (with one blotch) on the book's white
The book is still facing Andrew. If Joe wants to read it,
he'll have to turn it around.
Joe looks at Andrew's hands. A MOMENT.
Joe turns the book around, begins to read:
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