Written by: Hans Tobeason
Directed by: Susan Siedelman
Episode Number: 104
Original Broadcast Date: October 15, 1999
Guest Stars: Ed O'Ross (Murphy), Robert Hogan (Janus Lucic), Cynthia Harris (Ms. Masters), Patricia Mauceri (Realtor #1), Lisby Larson (Realtor #2), Kit Flanagan (Interviewer)
"Thank you." She smiles. "So are you going to kiss me?"
"I get only one, right?" Lisa nods. "Would you mind? You know the place."
Still smiling, she turns, lifting her hair to bare the nape of her neck. The camera moves in as Michael leans forward, and then Lisa hesitates. "Oh. Wait a second." She turns back to face him, serious. "Maybe there's something you want to tell me. Maybe there's something I should know."
"What do you mean?"
"I mean... you've been gone for eight months now. It's a long time. Things happen, and people change. Is there someone new in your life?"
"No," Michael insists. "There's no one in my life. There's nothing to tell you. Nothing that matters. Just... I've missed you."
Her smile returns, wider than before. "Oh." Again she turns and bares the back of her neck, but turns back even more suddenly than before. "Mr. Wiseman?" she says in Dr. Morris' voice. "Can you hear me? Mr. Wiseman?"
Close-up on Michael's face as he stirs from sleep with a groan, his slight smile fading as he opens his eyes. "Mr. Wiseman?" Morris repeats. The doctor is standing beside Michael's bed, and true to form decides to break into song. "It's a beautiful day in this neighborhood, a beautiful day for a neighbor. Would you be mine? Could you be mine?" He cuts off the Mister Rogers then. "Were you dreaming sweet dreams, Mr. Wiseman?"
In response, Michael groans and rolls onto his side, turning away from the doctor and burying his face in the pillow. "Where's that subway train when you need it?"
Lisa is lying in bed as Heather enters her mother's room. "Mom! I need a check for $158 for the junior class trip to Washington so I could see the monument and buy souvenir t-shirts and if I don't hand the money in by today they won't let me go."
"Oh, good morning to you, too, Heather," Lisa yawns, sitting up in bed. "Hand me my purse." As Heather does so, reality dawns on her mother. "Oh, God. I don't think I have $158 in the checking account."
"Well, I was expecting a dividend to come in the mail but it didn't come yesterday. All I have is $43.11."
"Mom," Heather moans, "this is not funny. No. This is an adolescent rite of passage you're screwing around with here."
"Don't threaten me with adult onset mental illness this early in the morning, darling. I'm not ready."
"I need a check!"
"I'll write you a check," Lisa assures her. "Just maybe don't hand it in until the end of the day or give me a chance to move some money over from the savings account or maybe sell a stock or something?" She gets up and heads down the hall to the study, Heather following.
"I cannot believe you're putting me through this!" Heather cries.
Lisa stops. "Through what?"
"This stress - never knowing from one minute to the next when the next hunk of disposable income will appear!"
"I can't believe I'm listening to this."
"Why? Why can't you believe it? You're the one that brought me up spoiled. It's not like that was a choice I was in on," Heather rants. "How do you expect me to make the adjustment, huh? The same year I have to take my S.A.T.s!!"
"Heather," Lisa snaps, "get a grip!" Heather sighs as her mother continues down the hall.
Michael and Dr. Morris are sitting in the car again, Michael tugging at the collar of the suit he's wearing. "Want to give me a hint?"
"About why I'm wearing this expensive suit."
"You're wearing that expensive suit because you're a successful and accomplished man," Morris answers. "I know that because you're currently in the employ of an even more successful and accomplished man."
Michael nods. "That would be you?"
"That's the brain I know and love."
"So we're pretending to be something we're not because..."
"Oh, we want to look at some commercial space for rent."
He doesn't explain further, and the scene shifts to an empty building where a real estate agent leads the two of them through the rooms, going on and on about the specifics. "Would it be all right if my associate and I spent some time up here by ourselves?" Morris asks. "Soak up the ambience before we make our final decision?" She agrees to about 45 minutes, and he adds, "Oh, uh, I'm expecting another colleague of mine. If you see him on your way out...?"
"I'll send him right up," she says, leaving them alone.
"Soak up the what?" Michael asks, perplexed. "What are we doing here?"
"Needed a place to have a meeting. A place I could be sure wouldn't be bugged or wouldn't be watched."
Michael looks around. "What makes you so sure this fills the bill?"
"If I didn't know I was coming here until an hour ago, how could anybody else?" Someone knocks at the door. "Oh, good. Company's here. Be nice. This fellow's an old friend." He opens it to admit another man, middle-aged, apparently on friendly terms with him. "Let me introduce..."
"Michael, right?" the man finishes, coming up to shake Michael's hand. "I received the birth announcement. I'm part of the family."
"Okay," Michael says uncertainly. "And your name?"
"No one really knows," Morris replies. "Just call him Murphy."
Cut to a few minutes later. Murphy and Morris are reminiscing. "Anna Lee," Murphy remembers. "That was her name. Anna Lee." He continues for Michael's benefit, despite the doctor's protests: "I was 32 years old. The Air Force sends me back to college so I can learn Japanese. So I just walk into the class and I see... Anna Lee."
"I can't believe you're telling him this," Morris sighs.
Murphy laughs. "Oh, man! Did God have a party the night he cooked her up? I mean, one look at her and this gal, man I mean, she just turns my mind to Maypo. So I start doing what you do. I make it my business to bump into her in the hall sit next to her in class and eventually I say, 'Hey... you, me... what do you say?'"
"Excuse me?" the doctor interrupts. "He's showing up at her dorm room at all hours of the day and night, he's intimidating her friends, and we don't know it at that time, but he's got her phone bugged."
"What, you don't find that romantic?" Murphy retorts. "Well, the point is who appears and tells me to lay off or else he's 'Gonna bust my freakin' cranium,' huh? None other than..." He points to Dr. Morris.
Michael almost can't believe it. "Not you, Doc. Did you actually say freakin'?"
"It was a long time ago," Morris defends himself. "I was very young."
Murphy grins. "It was great. Two guys beating the living crap out of each other. And it wasn't until an hour later when we were both laying in the infirmary that we realized that we were both there on a CIA dime, remember?"
"So," Michael asks, "what happened to Anna Lee?"
"I don't know," Murphy says. "Ask him. Six days later I saw this other girl in the library.
Morris smiles. "I heard she works in the trust department at a bank in Providence, Rhode Island. Couple of kids."
"Wow," Murphy sighs. "Anna Lee. Hmm."
Morris suddenly sobers, the conversation abruptly turning serious. "You hear about Davenport?" Murphy hasn't. "Died in Abu Dhabi 14 months ago. Somebody sold a list of agents' covers to the Saudis. Two days later they found him hanging from a bridge." At Murphy's surprise, he continues. "Same thing happened in the Hague six months after that. Four agents. Years of work. All of it gone. Sold for a couple of hundred thousand, we're guessing."
"You're just full of good news, aren't you?" Murphy quips.
Morris takes the opportunity to mention Jimmy Lucic, a.k.a. J.J., and Murphy hasn't heard about him. "Cashed out and bought a huge penthouse in Hong Kong," Morris informs him. "No sooner than he gets there than he's diagnosed with lupus. Can't tolerate the sun. Buys a top-floor apartment in one of the tallest buildings there is and has to live with the shades drawn all the time."
"How's he getting on?"
"Other than his health concerns, very well. Too well, in fact." Morris turns completely serious. "We believe he's developed a lucrative business inducing his old friends to sell state secrets which he then sells to our enemies. That's the reason we called. Can I count on you?"
Murphy nods. "I'm a pro. I know who I am. I know what I do."
"Well, I don't," Michael interrupts. "Who is this guy and what does he do?"
They continue talking, ignoring him. "I don't really expect you to do it. We know he was your friend," Morris says. "Think of it as a training mission for the kid."
Michael is confused and irritated. "I don't mean to seem dense, but am I the kid?" "So he would actually be handling the elimination," Murphy concludes.
Michael gets to his feet, glaring at Morris. "Do you have a minute?"
He pulls Morris aside into the adjacent bathroom, demanding to know what's going on. "Let's stop being coy," Morris tells him. "You know exactly what we mean by elimination."
"You're right, I do. And I won't do it."
"This can't be a surprise. I told you you would be called upon to do those things normal American men would..."
"But you never said anything about elimination!" Michael practically shouts. "I can't do that!" He turns away.
"Oh, yes, you can," Morris says. "Any man can, if he has to. And Mr. Wiseman, you have to. You made a deal just like I made a deal. Now my marker's being called in so that means your marker's being called in. So you will go and do this little job for king, country and Dr. Morris, and you will do it swiftly and you will do it skillfully and in return," he finishes, "you will be allowed to live another day." With that, he turns and leaves Michael standing there.
That evening, Michael dreams again of Lisa, but this time she isn't all smiles. "We need to talk."
"What's the matter?"
"You haven't been completely honest with me," she answers. "About who you are. About what you've become."
Michael sighs. "Lisa..."
"Don't take this the wrong way, but I think I liked it better when you stayed dead."
"Wait a second, don't say that," Michael protests, but she continues.
"It's bad enough being a widow," Lisa scolds, "but being a widow who knows that her late husband is running around with who knows who eliminating people..."
"I haven't eliminated anybody yet!"
She looks at him knowingly. "Come on, Michael, we both know where this is heading."
"Shh." She puts a finger to her lips. "Heather's coming. I don't want her to know her father commits mortal sins for a living." "It's not my living," Michael protests. "It's what I do to live, but..."
He trails off as Heather appears from the shadows to the right. "Hi, Daddy."
"Hi, sweetheart," Michael sighs. "How are you?"
Heather gets right to the point. "Daddy, the kids at school are saying you kill people for a living."
"They're wrong, Heather," Michael insists. "I haven't actually killed anybody... well, not yet."
"Well... if you do kill somebody?" She hesitates. "I mean, could you come into school and talk about it on Career Day?"
Michael awakens abruptly, sitting bolt upright in bed. "Career Day?!?"
That afternoon, Lisa is on the phone constantly, going through the want ads. The first call reveals she has to make an initial investment of $50,000 in order to have her own vending machine route. The second call, her (lack of) previous employment history comes up. The third call is the worst. "No. I'm sorry. I did not know that's what you meant by hostess," she sighs. "No, I'm not purposely trying to waste your time. No, I will not tell you what I'm wearing right now!" She hangs up and flops back on the couch, defeated.
Another building for rent. Morris, Murphy and Michael are being led around by a second real estate agent, and the doctor again asks, with his smoothest smile, if they could take a look around by themselves. "Certainly," she purrs, turning to leave.
Michael smirks. "You are shameless."
"Mmm-hmm," the doctor answers.
Soon, they're going over a blueprint of the high-rise. Lucic is holed up on the top floor of a 46-story building in a penthouse serviced by its own elevator. "What are we doing?" Michael quips. "His rent is probably killing him."
Morris continues with the details: the elevator interior and exterior are monitored by surveillance cameras, as are the fire-escape stairs; the building is extremely high-security. "How do we get in?" Murphy asks.
"Gee, maybe we don't," Michael says. "Gosh, I was really up for this."
The answer is the access tunnels that funnel all the utilities, pipes and cables to the buildings on the block. The idea, Morris tells them, is to get them into the tunnels and have them get into Lucic's basement and into the elevator shaft. "But you said..." Michael protests.
"I said that the elevators were monitored," Theo answers. "I said the outside of the elevator car was monitored. I did not say the shaft was monitored. You see this cable? Every time this elevator goes up this cable goes down. Every time the elevator goes down the cable goes up."
"Whoa, whoa, whoa..." Murphy cuts in. "I think I see where you're going here. You want me to, what? Hold on to a steel cable and have it pull me 46 stories in the air?"
"No," Morris says, pointing at Michael. "I want him to hold on to a steel cable and you to hold on to him." Murphy and Michael exchange looks. Neither one looks thrilled.
Heather comes home from school to find her mother sitting at the computer in Heather's room. Lisa explains that she's trying to write her resume. "The problem is, it only takes up a third of a page. No matter what I do to the margins, there's no font big enough to make up for the fact that my life only fills a third of a page."
"Well," Heather suggests, "maybe you just need to elaborate." She goes on to help her mother make her meager employment record seem to stretch even longer: from waitress to "hospitality consultant," for starters, and then goes on to languages. Lisa protests that she doesn't speak any languages. Heather sneezes.
"Gesundheit," Lisa says.
"You see?" Heather replies. "You're much too modest, Mom. What was that musical we went to see last year?"
"Wow! French, too. You're unstoppable, mom. And what was daddy's favorite breakfast?"
Heather starts typing. "When I get through with you, you'll be the freaking U.N."
On the helicopter taking them to the airstrip, Michael is having serious doubts. Murphy points out that his mother tells people his job is to make sure there's a tomorrow for them to wake up to. "There really are good guys and bad guys in this world, Mike," he says. "And the bad guys are badder than anything you can imagine."
Michael sighs. "I just... I don't know if I can do this."
Murphy chuckles. "If you knew you could do it, I'd be worried."
They board the private plane waiting for them, and Morris suggests they get some sleep... it's a 14-hour flight. He turns and heads off towards the cockpit as Michael and Murphy settle in, seated across from one another. Within seconds, Murphy has dropped off to sleep in his seat. Michael stares at him, not quite finding it that simple to sleep. Curious, he opens the window shade beside him, only to find that he's unable to see outside. Having nothing better to do, he pushes his seat back and tries to sleep.
Lisa is at a job interview, and is dismayed and embarrassed when the interviewer sees right through the elaborations concocted by Heather. "It hardly constitutes a work history," the interviewer, Ms. Masters, tells her.
"I'm sorry that I wasted your time," Lisa sighs, getting up.
"Or, for that matter, even a life history and you will only be wasting my time if you insist on leaving before we finish this meeting." Surprised, Lisa sits back down as Ms. Masters continues. "Thank you. Now why don't you tell me who you are, where you've been, and why are you here?" "I'm Lisa Wiseman. I've been married for 17 years and I have been a mother for 15 years," Lisa answers. "My husband was killed in an accident about eight months ago, and I need a job. I have a worthless degree and no experience to speak of but I am, as they say in the classifieds, 'highly motivated.' And yes, I would be interested in a job in the fashion accessory business. In fact, I would be interested in any business that would have me."
"And why would I be interested in hiring you?"
"Your ad said 'mature.' 'Mature executive assistant.' The truth is, I don't actually think of myself as mature. I think of myself as not exactly immature, so I thought that I would qualify by default."
"It also said '60 words per minute.'"
Lisa gets up to go again, thanking Ms. Masters for her time, but the interviewer isn't done yet. "You've seen my two boys? Attractive, aren't they?" Lisa agrees as Ms. Masters gets to the point. "One day in 1986 their father comes home from work and tells me he's fallen in love with a piano tuner. A 26-year-old piano tuner. I don't even know where the switch is to turn off the oil burner in the summer. I don't know how to fill out my own taxes and I certainly don't know how to make a living. I always used to make these headbands and give them to my friends as gifts. Howie and the boys made such fun of me. and then one day I thought "Why don't I try selling these?" and so I did, to the local beauty parl... no, I mean salon. And then I started selling it to boutiques. Think about it." She pauses for effect. "I'm not going to offer you that job, Mrs. Wiseman."
Lisa nods. "I kind of figured that."
"No, not because you can't type. You can learn to type. But the truth of it is as gratefulas you'd be to me today for giving you that job that's how much you'd resent me six months from now when you were bored to death with it."
"Whatever you say."
Ms. Masters smiles. "You're a smart woman. It oozes out of every pore. So stop pretending you don't know anything. You can't have lived the life you've lived for 17 years - made a home, raised a family - and not have learned something, not be interested in something. Find out what that is and then find a way to make a living at it. That's what the boys do."
Michael's dreaming of Lisa again, and we see it from his point of view. This time, she's wearing a long red dress and standing in the front yard of their home. He follows her into the house, up the stairs to their bedroom, where she lies down on the bed. "Oh, Lisie..." Michael sighs.
Then Lisa folds the bedspread over herself to reveal an array of weapons beneath the blanket, neatly laid out on either side of her. Stunned, Michael retreats into the hallway, only to run into Heather, who is wearing a black beret and ammunition belts. "Hi, Daddy! I just wanted to let you know that speech you made on Career Day - that was the best!"
"I really have to go," Michael moans, moving past her.
But she's still in his face. "And bringing in that dead guy as a visual aid? That was classic!"
"Excuse me, Sweetheart," Michael says, pushing past her and hurrying down the stairs.
"Where are you going, Daddy? Are you leaving?" Heather calls after him. "Good-bye, Daddy. Mommy, aren't you going to say goodbye to Daddy..."
Morris is shaking his shoulder gently, and Michael awakens with a start, his eyes flying open to see the scientist standing beside him. Murphy is still fast asleep. Motioning for silence, Morris sits down next to Michael and starts whispering in his ear.
Scene change, some hours later. The plane is touching down, and Murphy awakens to see Morris sitting beside Michael, yawning and stretching from a long sleep. "Everybody sit tight," Morris tells them. "I've got a scheme to get you boys through customs and to where you have to go."
Cut to the airstrip, where a pair of coffins have been unloaded from the plane. Morris taps lightly on one of them. "You can thank me later," he says quietly, then turns and walks away.
The access tunnels. Two black-clad couriers shove the coffins into the basement, lining them up neatly before leaving the room. A few seconds later, Michael punches through the top of the coffin, breaking off chunks of wood easily until he can sit up. "Aw, gee. You missed my big entrance!" He climbs out and knocks on Murphy's coffin. "Yoo-hoo. Reveille. Come on out. We got to kill somebody in cold blood."
"Kid?" Murphy croaks from inside. "Stop kidding around and open this thing!" Michael obeys, easily opening the lid. Murphy is gasping for air, and says his lung capacity isn't quite what it used to be.
"You need a hand?" Michael asks.
"No, just a minute."
Michael frowns. "You actually going to be able to do this?"
"Why?" Murphy retorts. "You want to do this by yourself?"
Michael sighs. "No."
"I'll take that hand now," Murphy says, and Michael helps him up. "Let's find us an elevator shaft."
They reach the elevator shaft door, which is locked with a padlock. Michael hesitates, much to Murphy's impatience. "Can't you just twist that lock apart with your bare hands?" Michael shrugs, smiles, and grabs the lock, twisting it like a pretzel and yanking it off with one hand. Michael hands the mangled lock to Murphy, who chuckles before turning serious. "It'll all be over soon," he tells Michael. "You know the most shocking part? Twenty minutes from now, after you pull that trigger, your life will be no different. The world won't end, and your nose won't grow longer. The big secret of life: everybody dies, Michael. And you know what you discover when you've been doing this as long as I've been doing it? Nobody's really that damned important anyway. Great men die and the world goes on. Bad men die and the world goes on. We have our work to do. This is mine. It's going to be yours."
They enter the shaft, and Michael reaches into his knapsack and pulls out a pair of metal clamps, which he clamps onto the steel cables. Hanging on to the clamps, he turns to Murphy, his back to the wall of the elevator shaft. "Grab my feet." At Murphy's skepticism, he adds, "Don't argue. The elevator's going to come down any minute now. When it comes down, we go up." Murphy obeys, and soon the cables are lifting the two of them into the air.
The elevator has stopped, and Murphy groans. "Oh, man."
Michael looks down. "How are we doing?"
"Not very well, frankly," is the response. "I don't know if I can hold on much longer like this."
Michael indicates a metal bracing nearby. "Do you see that bracing? I'm going to try and get you close enough so you can grab it."
"How you going to do that?" Murphy asks. For answer, Michael sticks his legs out, easily lifting Murphy's weight to set the other man neatly on the bracing. As Murphy sits there, clinging to a support, Michael whistles. "I really appreciate you telling me that everybody dies eventually and nobody really matters. Without that little bit of sage wisdom what's happening to you now might really upset me."
"I'll make you a deal," Murphy gasps. "You get me through this and I'll take care of the, uh, the other." Michael reaches over and helps pull him up and out of the shaft.
Murphy crawls on his belly into the hallway, and Michael hoists himself out of the shaft as well. At Murphy's signal, Michael reaches into the pack slung over his shoulder and pulls out a gun as Murphy retrieves his own weapon. They get to their feet, and Murphy goes around one room while Michael goes through the other, passing through empty rooms until they reach the bathroom. Michael enters first to see J.J. sitting on the john, engrossed in a newspaper. Behind him, Murphy enters as well. "Hey, J.J.," he greets. "I didn't know they had funnies in that paper."
J.J. looks up. "Murphy?? How did--"
"I had, uh..." here Murphy indicates Michael, "some help."
J.J. pretty much knows why they're here, and that there's no way in hell he's getting out of this. He asks if he can at least finish up and wash his hands. Murphy allows it, keeping his gun trained on J.J. the entire time. "Let me ask your professional opinion about something," Murphy suddenly asks. A cryptographic code book - you know, the kind that contains nuclear launch codes. How much would such an item be worth to you and your friends?"
Michael is astounded. "What are you doing?"
It's exactly what it looks like - Murphy is selling secrets. "If J.J., here can make an old civil servant's retirement just a little bit more bearable maybe I wouldn't have to kill him after all." J.J offers one million dollars for each of them.
"I can't do this," Michael protests.
"What do you mean, you can't do this?" Murphy demands. "Which part of this is making you uncomfortable? Having a million dollars to live on or you no longer being an indentured slave to the United States government?"
J.J. raises the offer to four million, but Michael won't budge. "You can't kill, you can't not kill," Murphy grouses. "You can't do much, can you, kid? I'm giving you a gift. It's not just the money. I'm saving you from the life."
"Doesn't matter to me. I can't do it."
Exasperated, Murphy snaps, "Well, what's the alternative? I mean, it's not like you're going to kill him or anything."
For answer, Michael shoots J.J. point blank in the chest. The spy topples backwards, crumpling in a heap in the empty Jacuzzi. Murphy is absolutely shocked. "What did you do?!?!"
Michael trains the gun on him, aiming for his head. "He's a traitor, Murphy, and you're a traitor, too." Murphy points his weapon at Michael. "Oh, come on, you know better than that. That thing may slow me down a little, but it's not going to stop me."
Murphy lowers his gun, but he tells Michael he's making a huge mistake. "Let's get our code book back before this guy bleeds all over it and we'll make a better deal. A bigger deal."
"You've done this before."
"Well, I know some people. Some big money guys."
Michael's catching on. "In the Hague? In Abu Dhabi?"
"Well, you know what they say about your retirement," Murphy says. "It's never too soon to begin saving."
Michael hesitates, then lowers the gun. "Yeah. That's what I thought."
"Me, too," a familiar voice interrupts, and Dr. Morris steps into view from the adjacent room. At Murphy's shock, he smiles. "Haven't figured it out yet, Murphy?"
Behind Murphy, J.J. gets up, seemingly unharmed despite the bloodstains on his nightshirt. "Kid's good, isn't he, Murph?" he observes. "Admit it. He had you."
Stunned, Murphy fires at Morris several times. The scientist merely looks at him, and Michael covers an ear. "Sorry," Morris says. "I left my blood squibs in my other suit."
It may have been a setup, but Murphy's undaunted. "We're not in America," he tells them. "You have no jurisdiction here."
With that, he makes a break for the windows, pushing the curtain aside and dashing out onto the balcony - only to stop short as he rushes out into the sunlight. The camera pans back and above him to reveal the familiar New York skyline - they never even left Manhattan.
Lisa is at another interview. "And it took me a really long time to understand what she meant. Then it hit me. the one thing I have always had - always taken pleasure in - the one thing I really know something about is homes. I made a home. I bought a home. I can sell homes. I like homes." She sighs. "And I know you have to go to school and I know you have to get a license and I know you don't get paid unless you sell something - until you sell something - and I am fine with all of that."
"That's a very impressive attitude," the interviewer says. "Do you have a resume?"
"No," Lisa answers as the camera pulls back to show the realtor name on the office door. "I'm beginning one. Today."
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