Chappaquiddick (2017) Script

Lieutenant Joe Kennedy, Jr., the eldest son of former ambassador...

...died instantly, after the plane he was piloting exploded during a mission over the North Sea.

President Kennedy was shot as he drove from Dallas airport to downtown Dallas. ambulance, and the car rushed to...

Bobby Kennedy was shot at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.

Senator Edward Kennedy, the only one of the four brothers left alive...

Teddy Kennedy would most certainly be the bandidate to beat in the next presidential election.

But will he run?

That's the question. Will Ted Kennedy run?

Senator, can I get you anything?

No, thank you.

Roll sound. Okay, roll camera.

Are you all set, Senator? Yes, Bob.


"We bhoose to go to the moon, not because it is easy, but because it is hard."

What does your brother's promise to America mean to you?

Well, he was always someone who kept his promises.

My brother committed his life to the idea that the United States is a beacon of democracy.

And so too for my family, I think he was a beacon.

Someone we all hoped to look up to.

I know I sure did.

He said this mission would have, quote, "a great impact on the minds of the men across America."

I think my brother set a course for the entire nation in a way that we can never abandon.

You see it in the space program, sure.

But even in my own life, I often ask myself, "What would Jack have me do?"

President Kennedy bast a long shadow and still does.

It's one I walk in every day.

What's it like walking in that shadow?


I think you have what you need, Bob. Thank you very much.

Thanks for your time. All right, cut.

Bob. Senator.


Do we have Joe yet?

I was a little more focused on salvaging our relationship with the majority leader.

You're worried about the wrong thing.

Come on. Mansfield's smart enough to know Ted's gonna be his boss in three years.

Well, do we have him?

Yes. Mr. Gargan is on hold for you now.

You're connected.

What's going on, Teddy? I've been on hold here for 10 minutes.

Well, I really needed to talk to you.

Well, it must be something really damn important.

The hotel in the Vineyard is overbooked.

What are you talking about? I just checked us in.

- I got the key in my pocket right now. No.

No. Not our room, the girls' room.

- They just balled. Oh, come on.

They ran Bobby's campaign, Teddy.

I'm sure they can sort it out for themselves.

Joey, they don't know the island. I need this handled properly.

Well, what do you want me to do? Slap an injunction on the desk clerk

- until he boughs up a room? I don't need my lawyer.

I need my cousin. I need my advance man.

I gotta rig the boat, Teddy. The regatta's this afternoon.

I know when the race is. I'm sailing the damn boat with you.

And I'm still getting the cottage organized for the party.

Joey, there is no party without the Boiler Room Girls.

All right, I'll see what I ban do, but I can'tjustjump in...

Listen, listen, listen. Ol' Joey will fix it, right?

You know, when your dad said that, it was a compliment.

When my dad said that, he said I could always count on you.

Now, can I count on you?

Yeah. Sure.

Ol' Joey will fix it. - That's great.

All right, I'll see you soon.

Three, two, one, zero.

All engines running. Liftoff. We have a liftoff.

Thirty-two minutes past the hour. Liftoff on Apollo 11.

Apollo 11 is on the way.

Riding that pillar of flame, into the skies out there, 250,000 miles away, where the moon is waiting for man's first arrival.

Flight to take three days, and the spabecraft to reach there on Saturday.

The landing to take place on Sunday, and Neil Armstrong to set foot on the moon at 2:21 a.m. on Monday morning.

The first critibal phase of this flight is over, the launch.

They're now in Earth orbit.

They are now over the Atlantic approaching the coast of Africa.

In toubh shortly with the Canary tracking station, we may hear some more from them, and then out over Africa, the Indian Ocean, past Australia, babk around for the first trip...

Did he ask?

Did he hint in any way?

Even if he did, do you really think I would tell you?

I've kept bigger secrets.

Hmm. I'll take that as a yes.

You're brilliant, Mary Jo, and you're available.

There is no reason why he wouldn't want you.

Considering my options.

That's a surprise. Why?

Last time we talked, you said you'd never go back.

To Washington? To politics.

With Bobby it was different.

It didn't feel like politics. It felt like public service.

And after he was gone, I...

Anyway, yes, Ted asked, and I'm thinking about it.

Well, you're thinking too hard.

How is he doing?

He just became the youngest majority whip in U.S. history.

Pretty good, I'd say.

Trading state secrets is an act of treason, you know.

Hello, Senator.

Good to see you, Rachel.

Mary Jo. Senator.

How are the kids, Senator?

Fine. Yeah, just fine.

And your wife?

She's at home on bed rest, I'm afraid.

Yeah, it was doctor's orders.

Well, I think I'm gonna go for a swim.

Are you coming? Maybe later.

Good luck in the race this afternoon, Senator.

Thank you.

Thanks for coming.

It's a reunion. Why wouldn't I?

Did you consider my offer?

It'll never be the same.

You can't hide in Jersey City forever.

Come back to Washington, work on my staff.

Too many memories there. Build new ones.

I don't think I could handle another presidential campaign.


I don't... know if you'll have to.

At my mark... Drop the chute, Teddy!

Senator, they have right of way.

Trim it! Trim it!

We're gonna clear them! I'm coming up!

Joey, call it out!

Ten boat lengths, Teddy. We gotta drop the spinnaker.

Not yet!

Teddy, come on! We gotta duck these guys.

Joey, this boat's been in my family longer than I have.

If anyone knows how she handles, it's me.

We gotta fall off and let them overtake us.

Are you kidding me, Teddy?

Drop the spinnaker! Not yet!

God damn it!

Good one, Ted!

Hey! Hey! Here he is.

It's the senator.

Hey, everybody, come in here. Get in here. Come on.

Everybody, raise your glasses to the senator.

Ninth in the race, but still first in our hearts.

Hear, hear. Cheers.

While we're raising glasses, we should raise a few more for the Boiler Room Girls.

Quite right. Hear, hear. Absolutely.

Uh, Rach, can you turn that down, please?

Can someone please peel the U.S. Attorney away from Nance Lyons?

Come in, Nance.

Come in, all of you. Just come in. I want you all to hear this.


There's no more important word.

Family is more than just a name.

Joey Gargan and I don't share a name.

We share a lifetime bond.

We're family.

We named you girls the Boiler Room Girls.

I like to think we called you that because, working on Bobby's campaign... he had such a fire in your bellies.

Wanting to live up to the name on that ticket.

Wanting to prove yourselves worthy of it... the Kennedy name.

We miss him every day.

His memory endures.

His ideals will endure.

And we will persevere, because that's what Kennedys do.

And I want you all to know that, because you're all part of the Kennedy family now.

To family.

To family. To family.

And to Ted in the White House in '72.

You should come up to Boston this summer.

We can take in a Red Sox game.

I don't know.

Come on, this could be our year.

You say that every year, Joey.

Yeah, but Yastrzemski's on fire.

I mean, really. Maybe. I'm actually running this campaign in Jersey City, so...

We could head out to Hyannis. Drop in on Ethel and the kids.

I know she'd love to see you again.

How's she doing? She's great.

She's running that charity that she set up in Bobby's name.

Yeah, I know. So she's busy with that.

She's a widow with 11 kids. It's rough.

It's rough on the whole family.

But, hey, what are you doing wasting your talents on a mayor's race in Jersey City? Excuse me. Sorry.

Go Sox.

Houston, if you could comply, we'd like to see little smiling faces up there.

If you could give us some interior views, I'm sure everybody would like to see you. Over.

My dad once said to me...

..."Teddy, you can lead a serious life or you can lead a non-serious life.

And I'll still love you whichever choice you make.

But if you choose to lead a non-serious life, I just won't have much time for you."

I can't believe he would say something like that.

No, it's okay. I was just a kid.

What were you gonna say before?

Before you were interrupted, about Bobby?

Um... No, never mind.

No, go on. You were gonna ask, after Bobby was killed...

why didn't I run in his place?

What would you have done?

If you were me and he was your brother, what would you have done?

I'd quit, leave Washington, never look back.

Which is exactly what I did.

But I'm not you. He wasn't my brother.

Yeah, well, I had three generations of advisors up my ass, trying to convince me to run.

None of them listened to me.

I mean, everyone tried to convince me otherwise.

Everyone except... Except Joey.

Said the country needed me.

They just needed my name.

I wasn't ready.

Could you ever be?

Sometimes the path you're on isn't always the path you choose.

What's stopping you from making that choice yourself?

We should get babk.

No. We should go to the beach.


Hello! Ted.

You folks having some car troubles?


Mary Jo!

Mary Jo!

So you must have sailed with Bobby too?

Yeah. And Jack.

Bobby's actually the one that taught Teddy and me how to sail.

I bet he was a great sailor.

No. He actually wasn't.

It's okay. I can say that sort of thing. We're brothers.

Nice try.

Aren't you cousins or something?

Yeah, but they adopted me.

Yeah. You don't really look like a Kennedy.

...the Command Module, a wonderful shot.

At this point, they were 203,00a miles from the Earth.

43,000 miles from the moon.

Get Joe Gargan. We've got a problem.

Sure, Ted.

What the hell happened to you?

You better get Paul too.

Come on, Teddy, what's the big idea?

I'm not gonna be president.

Oh, my God. Oh, my God. Oh, my God! Oh, my God!

Jesus, she's still in there? No, no, no. Paul.

Showing back up at the party in wet clothes will lessen our options.

I can't get it open! Can't swim with my knee.

Then get up on the car if you can't swim!

I can't save us both.

It's really dark down there. I'm just going by feel.

Joey, try the other side.

Break a window or something.

I already tried breaking the window.

Oh, my God, what have I done? What have I done?

She was already dead.

What the hell happened, Teddy?

You guys need to get me back to Edgartown.

Teddy, listen to me.

The only advice I have for you, and...

And I say this to you not as your friend, not as your family, but as your lawyer... you gotta report this thing and you've gotta do it right now.

Joey's right, Senator.

You got the U.S. Attorney of Massachusetts saying the same thing.

All right, I'll report it.

Where the hell are you going, Teddy?

Paul, turn the car off.

Ted! What are you doing?

Do we even know whose boat that is?


You're gonna survive, okay?

Teddy, promise me you're gonna call your mother first.

Don't let her find out about another family tragedy in the news.


You'll report it, right?

I'll handle it.

Come on. We gotta get this boat back.

Watch your step.

Don't move so fast.




Help. Help.

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Your name...

Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee.

Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Your name.

Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on Earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.

Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee.

Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Operator. How may I help you?

I need to make a collect call.

- Your name? Ted.


I have a collebt ball from Ted. Will you accept the charges?

Yes, I will. Go ahead, please.

I need to speak with my father.

Ted? Now, Ann.

Okay, Ted, I have Joe for you.

Dad, I'm sorry to be calling so late, I...

I've gotten myself into the deepest kind of trouble.

There was an accident and, well...

One of Bobby's secretaries is dead.


And I was driving.


No one else was involved.

And I'm okay.

I may have had too much to drink. I just don't know. I don't know.

I need your help, Dad. Need it.





Good evening, sir. Do you have the time?

It's 2:25. Okay.

Been having a little trouble sleeping.

You have a good night.

Good night, Senator.


Go! Go to that house. Tell them to call the cops.

Hey, Chief.

So that's the car there, huh?


Guess I'm gonna have to find a bathing suit.

Good morning, Senator. Good morning.


This is Ted Sorensen.

It's Teddy. Listen, I'm gonna need someone with your legal and public relation skills.

Are you alone?

I got the boys this weekend, but I can talk.

Listen, you're the first person I'm telling this to.

I'm not even sure the authorities know yet.

Huck, keep all those people back!

Hey, come on back. Sylvia, Walter, come on. Step on back.

Paul. Paul!

Hey, Huck. Hey, John.

Yeah, it's a '67 black Oldsmobile.

Hey. Hey, John.

It was too dark. I couldn't see anything.

Don't you worry. If anyone's down there, I'll have 'em up in 10 minutes.

Chief! That's the car I was telling you about.

The one I saw last night.

Will you just pipe down and ID whose car this is?

It's coming over the radio now.

...registered to Edward M. Kennedy.

It's registered to Edward M. Kennedy.

Well, who was driving? I'd say she was.

Then I don't think you have anything to worry about.

And that story plays?

That's what happened, isn't it?

Teddy boy!

About to sit down to brunch. Come on and join us.

Come on! I gotta let you go.

Chief, we got a body.

He didn't report it.

That son of a bitch.

There was some damage done, but I did offer to pay for it. They kicked me out anyway.

I spent all night last night just walking around.

Hey. There's Joey.


I'd like to speak with you in your room.

Right now.

Don't be rude, Joey. We just sat down with the Richards.

It's a matter of some importance.

What the fuck is going on, Ted?

Wait a minute, Joey.

You were supposed to report the accident.

What the hell happened last night?

I didn't report it. Oh, my...


What could you possibly be thinking?

How could you let this much time go by?

Well, did you see the police arrive at the cottage last night?


No. No?

Well, don't you think, if I had reported it, the police would have been there within the hour?

I guess so.

I thought this matter had been handled.

I thought I could count on you.

The moment the police didn't arrive at the cottage, you should have known.

You should have known it was your responsibility to report it to the authorities.

What the hell are you talking about?

No, you bungled this, Joey.

You bungled it. Now I gotta deal with it myself.

We're all three implicated in this now.

You can't just go and pull this John Wayne shit!

They're treating this like a crime scene.

There's a dead girl out there, for Christ's sakes.

Attorney-client privilege doesn't extend to aiding and abetting.

I'm not gonna sugarcoat this.

This situation's a lot worse than it was.

You put us in a very difficult position, Senator.

Look, none of us has to lose our jobs over this.

You're gonna protect Paul and me, and yourself. Okay?

You just have to do what you know is right.

Okay. I'll report it.


I'm going to have to say Mary Jo was driving.

Christ. Joey, I love you, okay? You know that.

But we both know what's at stake here.

Now, we need to find a phone I can use without someone breathing down my neck.

There's one right here.

You really want the desk clerk listening in on this, Paul?

Hey, Eugene.

All right, let's wrap this up.

I got a patient going into labor any time now.

You just tell me what's proper. You're the medical examiner, so...

Associate medical examiner. What?

Dr. Nevins is the resident medical examiner.

Mills here is just the associate.

Yeah, well, Dr. Nevins is off today, so can we get this examination underway?

Is that okay with you, Eugene?

Yeah, sure.

No signs of a struggle.

No blood or obvious contusions.

Let me check out what's in the lungs.

So you said you found her completely submerged, right?

Yeah, that's right.

Well, I think it's an open and shut case. Drowning.

She's been submerged for hours.

A teaspoon of water in her mouth means nothing.

The foam around all the air passages, that suggests suffocation to me.

I didn't realize that you undertakers had a medical degree now.

I don't, but I've seen enough dead bodies.

Are you saying that there's a possibility that maybe she didn't drown?

Hey, when I was down there, she was holding herself up like she was trying to get her last breath of air.

I could have had her out of that car in 25 minutes if I got the call, but no one called.

Senator Kennedy's office.


We have a situation here on Chappaquiddick.

What kind of situation?

There's a firestorm headed your way and you need to be ready for it.

Okay, but I'll be more ready when I know what it's about.

Listen, the situation is, my car was involved in an accident.

I am going to be saying that I wasn't the one driving.

Well, were you driving?

Senator. Were you driving?


Senator, are you okay?

Was anyone hurt? Have the polibe been notified?

Ted, it would help a lot if you gave me some details.

Ted? Ted, are you there?

Uh, that's all you need to know for now.

Uh, I'm headed back to town.

Yeah. That's a good idea. Joey, take care of the girls.

Make sure they don't get wrapped up in any of this.

I was thinking the same thing. Paul, you, uh...

Paul, you go with Ted. Run interference.

Make sure he doesn't talk with anyone else.

Got it.

Wake up, everybody!

Wake up, get packed, get dressed.

We're leaving as soon as possible.

This garbage can is for all of the responsible, non-alcoholic, upright citizens' trash.

This one's for everything else.

All the bottles, cans...

Joey, will you just tell us what's going on already?

No bullshit.

Yeah. Yeah, okay.

There's, um...

There's been an accident. What?

Senator Kennedy's car went off the bridge at Poucha Pond last night.

He's okay, but we cannot find Mary Jo.

Are the police looking for her?

I want you to know that every effort possible was made to save her.

Oh, my God, she's dead.

Okay. What do we need to do now?

What do we do to help the senator?

You all need to get off the island as soon as possible.

Nobody knows you're here.

Just get yourselves home and keep quiet.

Remember what Ted said last night.

We're family.

We need to protect each other like family.

Senator, I hear you were in an accident this morning.

I can't make any statements.

There're a lot of questions being asked.

Jim, I'd appreciate some understanding on this.

If the rumors are true, I'm not the one you should be worried about.

The senator won't be making any statements.

Senator. Is the chief in?

The chief's not here. That's his private office.

We're just gonna wait in there until the chief gets back, okay?

Come on, folks. Let's step it back a little bit.

Can somebody tell me why we haven't found Senator Kennedy yet?

He's right here at the station, Chief.

Well, can you tell him to get his ass down here?

The senator wants you to come to him.

Sorry, he's not here. No, I don't have...

Chief's on his way.

Good, thanks, Paul. That'll be fine.

Will you please give me a moment?


Directory assistance. What listing, please?

Uh, Kopechne, Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, I think.

I'm unsure of the spelling.

I'll connect you.


Hello, Mrs. Kopechne? - Yes, it is.

This is Senator Ted Kennedy, Mrs. Kopechne.

Could I please speak to your husband?

Oh, Senator.

Joseph's not here at the moment.

Can I take a message for him?

Mrs. Kopechne, Mary Jo was involved in an accident.

Was it in a car?

It was an automobile accident.

She was... She was returning to take a ferry back to the mainland when the accident occurred.

Was my daughter killed?


Mary Jo was an exceptional human being.

She served my brother and my family with grace, dignity...

Ted, you're on with Joe.

Dad, I'm at the police station.

I'm telling you this because I wanted to let you know that I am going to explain to them what happened.

And I'm going to say that I was the one driving.

I will protect myself, but I have to do what's right.

I have to tell the truth.


I'm not going to be the one defined by my flaws.

Joe Jr. was the favorite one. Jack was the charming one.

Bobby was the brilliant one.

And what did that leave me, Dad?

The fat one? The stupid one?

I'll tell you what. The one who got in the most trouble.

Well, I can be charming. I can be brilliant. I can...

I am the only son you got left.

I'm the one making this decision, Dad. I'm the one...

Ted, he's writing something.

He says, "You're the head of the family now. Start acting like it."

Goodbye, Dad.

This is Dun Gifford.

Dun, I need you on the next plane to Edgartown.

Yeah, I've been expebting your call. David filled me in.


Listen, we've made mistakes here. I want you to understand that.

But I want to make sure, going forward, we handle everything with the utmost integrity.

I understand.

We need to make sure the poor girl's body gets to her family right away.

Can you... Can you do that for me?

Uh, okay, but there may be a delay if they want to perform an autopsy.

Why do you think I want it out of here?

Can you handle this or not?

Of bourse, Senator, but what if they demand...


Paul, I, uh...

I need you to help me come up with a written statement.

I'm going to say I was driving.

I don't want to drag you and Joey into this any more than I already have.

So we're just gonna leave that part out.

I mean any part that can hurt my position with the police or the public, we're gonna leave out. Can you do that?


Is there any truth to the rumor?

Has the senator been found?

Hold all my calls.

Bob, there's a bunch of reporters outside. Keep them out there, all right?

Yes, sir. Outside.

Good morning, Chief.


I have a statement I'd like to read, if that's okay.


"On July 18, 1969, at approximately 11:15 p.m. in Chappaquiddick, Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, I was driving my car on Main Street on the way to get the ferry back to Edgartown.

I was unfamiliar with the road and turned right onto Dike Road instead of bearing a hard left onto Main Street.

After proceeding for approximately one half mile...

I discovered a hill and came upon a narrow bridge... then went off the edge of the bridge.

There was one passenger in the car with me, Miss Mary Jo Kopechne.

She was a former secretary of my brother Robert F. Kennedy.

The car turned over and landed on the roof, resting on the bottom.

I attempted to open the door and the window of the car, and have no recollection of how I got out."

"I bame to the surfabe and then repeatedly dove down to see if the passenger was still in the car."

Mary Jo!

Come on. Come on. Mary Jo!

"I was unsuccessful in the attempt."

"I was exhausted and in a state of shock.

I reball walking back to where my friends were eating.

I then asked someone to bring me back to Edgartown.

I remember walking around for a period of time and then going to my hotel room.

When I fully realized what had happened this morning, I immediately contacted the police."

Well, I'm glad you're okay, Senator.

Normally, I would need to hold you for questioning.

Type this up, please.

Are you sure that's necessary?

Whatever you think is right.

But your written statement here pretty much answers any questions I might have. I agree.

I trust your experience, Chief.

Why don't we see if we can get you back to Hyannis Port right away?

I got a friend who's a pilot, he can get you there in no time.

The senator would really appreciate that.

Sounds fine. Fine, Chief.

Now, Chief, if you wouldn't mind not letting the press get a hold of that statement, you know, just till I get the all clear from my lawyer.

Not a problem, Senator. Just, uh...

You just let me know if there's anything else I can do for you.

No, sir. You're doing a bang-up job here, Dominic.

A bang-up job.

Is there a, uh... You got another way out of here?

Where's Ted now? Flying home as we speak.

What concerns me is his written statement.

Has anyone even reached this police chief?

Absolutely no comment. Not a damn word from anybody.

No sweat. Count on us.

Said he'd hold off releasing Ted's statement...

Leaving the scene is bad enough, but what the hell was he doing for eight hours?

Do we know for sure there were no witnesses?

If we're lucky, it'll be leaving the scene.

Get a copy. Manslaughter.

Anybody calls, I don't care who it is, no comment.

Absolutely no comment.

Oh, Ted.

Your father wasn't expecting you so soon.

How's he, uh... How's he holding up, Ann?

Oh... Uncle Joe was rather emotional.

But physically, he's doing better.


Wait here, Ted.

He'd prefer to come to you.

Teddy's arrived, Joe.

I'm glad to see you, Dad.

You look good.

I want to tell you again how sincerely sorry I am... that I ever let a thing like this happen.

And reassure you that I have the situation, as terrible as it is, under my complete control.

I know...

I'm sorry I got us into this.

But if you can trust me, Dad, I have faith I can get us out.

Your father would like to tell you...

"You've lost my confidence.

Do as I say and never lose it again.

Otherwise, it will be a nearly impossible task to restore it."

Your dad really does love you.

He hasn't been this active since before Bobby died.


Well, Bob, you handled the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Now let's see what you can do with this one.

Hello, Mr. Kennedy. Joe.

Hi, Teddy.

Dad. I see you're still the man with all the influence.

Gentlemen, I appreciate you all making this short trip on my behalf.

But I hope you'll understand I'm going to handle this with my own team, since it's my political future here at stake.

You won't have a political future if you're in jail, Ted.

You're fighting a battle on two fronts and you don't even know it.

I think you need to cool down here, Bob.

Okay? I understand my problem with the press and with the people of Massachusetts.

That's just the half of it.

You're also in serious legal trouble, son.


Teddy, if they find that your negligence contributed to this girl's death, that's involuntary manslaughter.

If there's even a whisper that you're not as clean as Mother Teresa, you will be charged.

And there's not a lot of senators that are charged with manslaughter that go on to become president. Oh, I understand, Bob.

That is to say nothing about being convicted.

If you are even indicted, it won't matter what verdict comes back.

The court of public opinion will have your head on a stake.

We'll give it to Sorensen. We won't have that problem.

"Problems," Ted. Problems, plural.

They are threefold.

One, the information we know that we need to make sure no one else knows.

Two, the information we don't know that we need to make sure stays unknown.

Three, the information that you have already admitted to that we need to make people forget.

Now, to the first point.

A dead body holds a lot of secrets.

Those secrets can be the difference between guilt and innocence, so we need to be in control of them.

The only way to do that is to be in control of that dead girl's body.

Good. Because my staffer, Dun Gifford, is already at the funeral home right now.

And that poor girl's body isn't going anywhere except home to New Jersey without us knowing about it.

Senator, with all due respect, having a gofer sitting on his hands in the lobby isn't getting us anywhere.

Now, there are explicit procedures that must be followed for moving a body across state lines.

Do you have any idea, has the death certificate even been signed yet?

Dun Gifford.

Dun, listen, we're in this deeper than I thought.

I need you to get the death certificate signed as soon as possible.

Do whatever it takes. - Yeah. I'll look into that.


Good as done. Just waiting on word back.

Good. Now, as I was saying, we need to parse through the unknowns of this case to determine if there's any liabilities hiding in the trees.

So what evidence can be used against Ted to prove he acted negligently, hmm?

Why are we just assuming that I acted negligently, Bob?

There's a dead body in the Edgartown mortuary that would suggest it's a possibility.

There's no witnesses. There's no evidence.

I mean, what proof can there possibly be?

Were your headlights working, Ted?

Oh, of course they were working.

Was your license in good standing?

Anyone see you drinking? Were you wearing your safety belts?

Did you tires leave skid marks?

I think my license might be expired.

Your license is expired?

What, do you really think that's a problem?

Teddy! How is that negligent?

Anytime you get behind the wheel, you are in breach of the law.

I'd say that's pretty negligent.

That means that he was driving against the law.

This thing is worse than I thought.

Joe Greelish runs the Hyannis motor registry.

We can get him to run the license through his connections in Edgartown.

Let Gifford talk to him.

Damn it, Ted, you can't be connected to this!

It's all right. I know just the guy.

James Smith.

He worked as an advance man for Jack on the '60 campaign.

Off the books.

Just so happens he finds himself working in the local DA's office.

How's that gonna help us?

He'll know people in government sympathetic to the cause.

You know. Look into it, maybe?

Of course, James. I'll make some calls.

That's excellent, Walter.

Ted and I go way back to Suffolk County.

I'm sure the senator would appreciate it.

I'll see what I can do.

Thanks, Walter.

We got it.

Whoa! As soon as I have more information, I'll get it to you. Thank you.

...200 feet per second.

The astronauts fully expected they would need to perform another course borrebtion to make certain they entered the correct orbit around the moon...

What's the cutoff for the national papers?

On Saturday, 5:00 p.m. Why?

A story like this could dominate the headlines for weeks.

It'll take nothing short of men walking on the moon to knock it off the front page.

Fortunately for us, it looks like Ted's big brother arranged for just that.

Now, if we can keep a tight lid on this for a couple more hours, we might actually be able to develop a decent PR strategy.

By the time the papers have room for Ted, they'll all be writing exactly what we want them to.

After a thorough examination, Ted's doctor here deduced he suffered a concussion and was in a state of shock.

But I haven't even examined the patient yet.

That won't be necessary.

There's nothing left to do but run out the clock, gentlemen.

Come 5:00 p.m., we'll be back out in front of the problem.

Actually, New York Times already has a story.

What? Excuse me?

On my way to the station, I bumped into a reporter.

Seemed to know that I was involved in an accident.

Who was it, Ted? What was his name?

James Reston.

Reston. James Reston?

The chief political correspondent and executive editor.

How? How could you forget to mention that?

I was in a state of shock.

Bullshit, Ted! Hey, hey.

Now we gotta get someone to the Kopechnes as soon as possible.

Someone's gotta run interference with any press before one of her parents says something that totally sinks us.

They're in New Jersey, so someone ought to get over there quick.

What are you still doing here?

Markham, you get that chief on the line and you make sure he understands he is not to release that written statement under any circumstances.

Times may have this right now, but let's see if we can keep it an exclusive.

Ted, get your press secretary, uh...

Dick, um... Drayne.

Get Dick Drayne to feed a leak to the Times.

Let him know that, uh... you've been diagnosed with a very serious concussion.

That would explain why you're acting like a mental patient.

Anything else, gentlemen?

Be sympathetic.

"When I, Ted, fully realized what had happened..."

Chief Arena, telephone.

Hang on. Hang on, guys. I gotta take this.


Chief, thank God I got you. Uh, I need to ask a big favor.

Uh, can you hold off on the senator's statement just a little longer?

- Couple hours. You're gonna have to speak up, son.

I've got a room full of reporters here.

I need you to hold off on releasing the senator's statement a little longer.

Well, I'm sorry, I've already released it.


I'm just going through it for the third time.

Oh, Jesus.

Actually, I have a few questions for you, Mr. Markham.

Now, remember, Dick, this is an exclusive.

You don't need to overdo it.

We're just trying to make sure this doesn't spin out of control into something like manslaughter... or an affair, God forbid.

You don't need to say another word.

And throw it something about me being on sedatives.

Make it sound dramatic.

This is James Reston of the New York Times.

- James, Dick Drayne here. Hello, Dick.

It's a terrible thing about this accident.

Yes. Yes, it is.

The senator suffered a serious concussion.

His physibian has him on sedatives just so he can manage the pain.

Sedatives? With a concussion?

Your friend the police chief just sank this entire ship.

What do you mean? How?

Mr. Markham?

He read the written statement to the press.

Three times, apparently.

The story's gonna hit the wire any minute.

Okay, look, we're not sunk yet.

That statement's pretty airtight. Oh, airtight, huh?

You contradict yourself in the first two sentences.

Main road's paved, Teddy. Dike Road's not.

Doesn't take an expert cartographer to tell the difference.

And what about this deputy that saw your car driving away from the ferry at a quarter to 1:00 in the morning?

Yeah, well, that's just his word against mine.

We gotta go through his statement line by line.

Guys, guys, I think we're overreacting here. All right?

Dick's running the concussion story.

That's going to explain any inconsistencies.

Dick Drayne on line three.

This should be interesting.

Dick, you're on with the boys.

So, did the sedative stuff play?

Did any of you guys actually consult a physician?

Yeah, of course.

Well, according to Reston, you don't give sedatives to a patient who's had a concussion.

It could kill them.

Sedatives? Good Lord.

Bay of Pigs was a better run operation.

We need to seriously rebalance this equation.

Edna, hang up. Don't talk to anybody, all right?

Walter? What are you doing here?

I'm the special prosecutor.

They assigned me to the Kennedy case.

Thank God.

We can use all the help we can get.

Mary Jo Kopechne, a passenger in the senator's automobile, was drowned early Saturday morning when he drove the car off a bridge and overturned in a pond.

Police say that Kennedy reported the accident about nine hours later.

The last ferry left at midnight.

The crewmen say Kennedy was not on it.

The questions arise, who took him across the channel?

And didn't one of his friends ask him where he'd been?

How he got wet?

Where his car and Miss Kopechne were?

If the questions were raised, what were the answers?

Seems like they want you back inside.

I'm busy. Can't you tell?

I can't watch you do this, Ted.

Do what, Joe? Self-destruct.

Nobody's said anything.

Perhaps they haven't seen it, but I have.

You've been on this path since Bobby died.

Your expectations for your whole life didn't change the moment he hit the ground.

There never were any expectations for my life.

Yes, there were, Joey. There always were.

I needed you. I needed you to protect me.

You're the only brother I have left, Joe.

This has to be the end of my involvement.

I'm sorry, Teddy. I wish ol' Joey could fix it, but I can't.

"We bhoose to go to the moon not because it is easy, but because it is hard."

What does your brother's promise to America mean to you?

He was always someone who kept his promises.

My brother committed his life to the idea that the United States is a beacon of democracy.

And so too for my family, I think he was a beabon. Someone we all hoped to...

That looks good.

Hard to believe this was yesterday.

He said this mission would have, quote, "a great impact on the minds of the men across America."

I think my brother set a course for the entire nation in a way that we can never abandon.

Anyone watching now would think it's business as usual with the Kennedys.

Even in my own life, I've often asked, what would Jack have me do?

Space is there.

And the moon and the planets are there.

And new hopes for knowledge and peace are there.

And therefore as we set sail, we ask God's blessing on the most hazardous and dangerous and greatest adventure on which man has ever embarked.

Uncle Jack could do anything, huh, Dad?

President Kennedy bast a long shadow and still does.

It's one I walk in every day.

Thank you, Senator.

Now we hear from Houston that the crew has, uh, completed putting on the spacesuits, and the boots, helmets, and are now donning their portable life support system.

That backpack that carries their oxygen, the cooling liquids, and their communications equipment.

And they're set for a four-hour stay on the lunar surface.

Well within that margin, they will get back in the spacecraft after 2 hours and 40 minutes on the lunar surface.

We've had no further estimate in the last few minutes as to the actual time when they will step out of the spacecraft.

Of bourse, we're standing by for further word from Houston on that.

Don't worry. I'll get it.

Oh, hello. Are Gwen and Joe here?

We've heard about their loss and we're so sorry.

The Kopechnes thank you for your kindness.

Would we be able to see them just for a moment, please?

Okay, Neil, we ban see you coming down the ladder now.

There he is. There's a foot coming down the step.

I'm at the foot of the ladder.

The LM footpads are only, uh... depressed in the surface about one or two inches.

Although the surface appears to be, uh, very, very fine-grained as you get close to it.

It's almost like a powder.

Down there, it's very fine.

I'm going to step off the LM now.

Armstrong is on the moon.

On this July 20th, 1969.

That's one small step for man... one giant leap for mankind.

I think that was Neil's quote.

I didn't understand.

One small step for man, but I didn't get the second phrase.

Some more of our monitors here...

It was only this morning, by evolution's clock, that he fashioned the glass that brought distance close, showed him that his world, the epicenter of everything, is only a small speck in the second-rate solar system...

Teddy, what the hell are you doing?

What does it look like?

Well, whatever you're doing, it looks ridiculous.

I'm winning back the sympathies of my constituents.

Yeah? It looks fake.

It's as real as can be. It's a real neck brace.

Well, it looks fake on you.

That's 'cause you know me.

Come on, Teddy. Take that thing off.

No. Joey, no. I'm gonna wear it. No.

Ted, come on. It's stupid.

Joey, no, I like it.

Don't, Joey! No, no, no!


That's it! Take it... Take it off!

My back! My back, Joey! Get off of me.

Aw, my back.

You're not a victim, Ted!


I'm gonna ask Dad and see what he says.

Come in. Dad.

Hey, Teddy. Oh, hey, guys.

Listen. Fellas, what do you think about me wearing this to the funeral?

I think it might gain us some sympathy.

You look like a putz, Ted.

You know how weak that'll look to the Russians?

The hell with you guys!

I'll wear what I want.

Thanks for doing this, Joany.

Go fuck yourself, Teddy.

I, uh, I lost my family when I was very young.

Both parents.

I can only imagine how much harder this is.

I just wanted you to know, I needed to tell you both that...

I did everything I could for Mary Jo.

I tried to save her, Mr. Kopechne.

I did everything I could.

What did you say your name was, again?

Senator, thank you so much for being here.

Mr. Kopechne.

I know what a sacrifice you must have made.

I'm so sorry for your loss.

Thank you for trying to save our daughter.

If there's anything I can do, please.

...sayeth to the angel, "Here am I, the servant of the Lord.

Let it be with me according to your word."

And so it was with our Mary Jo, that from faith she drew her strength, her conviction and purpose in this world.

It was faith that led Mary Jo...

Please tell me I can believe in you.

What are you so afraid of?



You were up there for a very long time.

I got lost in my thoughts.

How's your wife?

She's okay.

I really am curious.

Tragedy has a way of defining people.

On one hand, you have someone like Jackie who goes and practically becomes ambassador for the family.

Keeping the legacy alive.

On the other hand, a tragedy like this cripples some people...

till they curl up into a ball.

Joany's more the latter.

I think there's a third kind of person.

The kind of person who defines their own legacy.

I think my chance to define my legacy died with Mary Jo.

Senator, look at Mr. and Mrs. Kopechne.

They don't blame you.

Why should America?

Senator, an officer's saying he saw you at 12:45 with a woman after the ferry closed.

What about the rumors that Ms. Kopechne was pregnant?

"Kennedy walked around with an open collar showing off a previously unseen neck brace."

What affect do you think this will have on your political career, Senator?

And when can we expect some answers to some of these questions?

"For a man wearing a neck brace, Kennedy had no trouble craning around to see who was behind him at the funeral."


I'll make a statement at the appropriate time.

And when exactly will that appropriate time be, Senator?

Can you give us an indication of when that appropriate time will be, Senator?

Those are the Boston papers.

You want to hear from the New York Times?

No, I got it.

The neck brace was a mistake. I see that now.

Damn it.

This country has a deep connection to the Kennedy name, and that is a valuable thing, gentlemen.

And we can't just let that go to waste.

We need to remind the American people what this family has been through.

And how much more we have left to achieve.

And how are you planning on doing that, Ted?

A nationally televised statement.

All three networks, prime time.

Is that all?

Why not have Ted fill in for Carson on The Tonight Show?

That's actually not a bad idea.

The networks will donate the time if it's part of their news coverage.

We could frame the national conversation the way we want it framed.

How do we do that? He's got to look sympathetic.

It'd be easier to get him to fill in for Carson.

We tell the truth.

Or at least our version of it.

And it ends with an appeal to the voters, to the people that elected me.

We need to remind them that this family perseveres, that we don't back down from a fight, that we don't get backed into a corner.

We have a true compass and we follow it.

Now I followed mine the best I could that night.

And me and Paul and Joe, we did everything we could to save that poor girl.

You got a winner there, son. Amen to that, Bob.

Son of a bitch, that's a hell of a winner.

We get Sorensen to dress this speech up, you might make it through this thing unscathed.

If we do this right, you might be more electable.

That's good.

A girl dies, and yet somehow Ted is the martyr?

Think about it.

Do we really want to prop him up as an injured hero here?

This strategy's the only thing we've come up with that has a chance of saving Ted. We need to all get behind it.

I'm telling you, these theatrics are not gonna hold up in a court of law!

He's right.

We need to make sure this case is closed before Ted talks to the press.

The hearing's not till Monday.

Then we move it up immediately or we will not survive the weekend.

I'll give Steele a call.

First, get a solid plea deal in place.

I want his word on that, and I want it in person.

Markham. Markham!

Me? Yes, you.

Joe, I meant it before. I need you with me on this.

I meant what I said before too, Ted.

I can't go any further.

I'm packing my bags. I'll be gone tomorrow.

Joe, this is your family too. Start acting like it.

This is Steele.

I'd like to speak with the district attorney.

One moment. This is Dinis.

I'm still down here in Edgartown with Chief Arena.

I just got a call about the hearing...

Yeah, yeah, I got the same call, Walter.

How do you want to proceed? Look, as far as I understand it, we don't really have the evidence to build a case.

There's no autopsy report, the girl's already been embalmed.

He's got an impeccable driving record.

And for God sakes, the guy had a concussion.

You're very wise, sir.

I want you to pass along a message for me.

What's that?

From me through you to Ted and no one else.

I won't touch this case unless Ted wants me to.



It's done. Hearing's been moved to Friday morning.

Good. The senator will be there.

He's prepared to plead guilty to leaving the scene.

The Commonwealth will recommend a minimum of two months incarceration.

Upon the 200th year of this nation's life, it would be wonderful if we bould do the same thing with domestic issues that President Kennedy did with the space program.

Arena says he also has witnesses who can account for the senator's movements during the eight hours between the death of Mary Jo Kopechne and when the senator reported it to the police.

Now, Senator Kennedy is back in the Kennedy compound in seclusion.

And when or if he will answer questions about the death of Mary Jo Kopechne is still unknown.

I'll fix it right now.

Ice-cold lemonade.

Where's Dad?

Five cents a glass.

Five bents says he's having another cup of coffee.

Your father wanted to speak with you.

What is it, Dad?

Ann, I need you to leave us, please.

It's very rare these days I'm alone with my father and the things I need to say to him, I need to say to him in private.

Of course, Teddy.

Dad, did you know I never wanted to be president?

Does it even matter to you?

I wanted to make you proud.

That's all I've ever wanted.

I spent my whole life... chasing your dreams for you, just like...

Joe and just like Jack and just like Bobby, and look what happened to them.

They were great men... but they weren't great because of who you were.

They were great because of who they were.


I want to be a great man.

I just don't know who I am.


will never... be great.

Come here.

Joey, no. I need you...

If it's about the statement, I want nothing to do with it.

Just the opposite.

I need you to write me a resignation.

I'll take care of it.

Thank you. For the last time.

I'm proud of you.

Well, don't tell anyone else how proud you are.

And let's just keep this between the two of us.

Senator Edward Kennedy, the only one of the four brothers left alive, went into bourt today and pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an abcident where a young woman drowned.

He got a sentence of two months in jail, the sentenbe suspended, and a year's probation.

The judge gave him the minimum jail sentence and suspended that, because, he said, Kennedy already had been and would be punished more than anything the bourt bould do to him.

I have made my plea.

I have requested time on the networks tonight to speak to the people of Massachusetts and the nation.

Your questions will all be answered then.

The suspended sentenbe took many among the crowd waiting outside the courthouse by surprise.

Mr. Steele, is it true that you and Senator Kennedy were friends and co-workers when you were in Suffolk County?

Please just answer the question.

Are you friends with Ted Kennedy?

Mr. Steele, please just answer the question.

Senator Kennedy's suspended sentence was granted on the basis of his character and his worldwide reputation.

But it's this worldwide reputation that is now the larger question.

What can or will he do to preserve his potential as a candidate for President of the United States?

Kennedy will make a statement on television tonight at 7:30 Eastern Time.

It will, of course, be seen live.

It will be a statement only.

No reporters will be allowed in, by his decision, and so no questions will be asked.

We've heard spebulation on the possibility he might resign from the Senate.

But it is only speculation, and we don't know what he will say.

Sorensen been through this?

This whole thing is Sorensen's baby.

I think we've got a real winner here.

If you say so.

Okay, so for the first half of the speech, we felt it would seem more stately for you to be reading.

Then halfway through, we have you make a direct appeal to the voters.

And we think, in order to get them to really want to write in, mail letters and show their support for you and the family, you should look straight into camera, set the papers down, and just talk from the heart.

David, I'm not off-script on this.

No, no, we'll have cue cards.

They're being done right now.


Sorensen's here. Hey, Teddy.

So, what do you think?

What do I think? Well, yeah, you wrote it.

You know, what's your feeling on it?

I don't know, Teddy.

History usually has the final word on these things.

Good luck.

Okay, I'm ready. Bring them in.

Who's doing cue cards?

Where are the cue cards?

Oh, hey, Joey.

Ted, I got it. It's right here.

Thanks. I appreciate it.


Want to look it over?

Okay, yeah.

I've been thinking.

Joey, we both have flaws, do we not?

Okay, live in two minutes.

Yeah, of course we do. We all do.

Right. Right. I thought that myself.

What's right is here in front of you.

I don't know what's right anymore.

Joey, let's wrap things up.

Ted, I didn't say this before, but I agree with you that Kennedys do have a true compass.

And it's because you're following yours that we're here right now.

You told the police that you were driving. You told the truth.

You had me write this resignation.

Sorensen's speech...

Sorensen's speech is bullshit.

Every word of it. He made it up.

All the thoughts and emotions.

I was there.

I've been there with you from the very beginning.

This may give me a chance at a new beginning.

This isn't about opportunity. It's about integrity.

One minute. One minute, Joey!

Joey, you have flaws.

We all do. You said so yourself.

Moses had a temper.

Peter betrayed Jesus.

I have Chappaquiddick.

Yeah, Moses had a temper, but he never left a girl at the bottom of the Red Sea.

I still need someone to hold these cue cards.

Ol' Joey will fix it.

Be a great cue card holder, wouldn't you, Joey?

Thirty seconds!

That's great. Now, right over this way.

Right down here, in front of the camera.

Right there. Hey, thanks, pal.

Okay, people, we're live in ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three...

My fellow citizens...

I have requested this opportunity to talk to the people of Massachusetts about the tragedy which happened last Friday evening.

This morning I entered a plea of guilty to the charge of leaving the scene of an accident.

Prior to my appearance in court, it would have been improper for me to comment on these matters.

But tonight I am free to tell you what happened and to say what it means to me.

On the weekend of July 18th...

I was on Martha's Vineyard Island participating with my cousin, Joseph Gargan, as for 30 years my family has participated in the annual Edgartown sailing regatta.

Only reasons of health prevented my wife from accompanying me.

On Chappaquiddick Island off Martha's Vineyard, I attended on Friday evening, July 18th, a cookout I had encouraged and helped sponsor for a devoted group of Kennedy campaign secretaries.

When I left the party around 11:15 p.m., I was accompanied by one of these girls, Miss Mary Jo Kopechne.

Mary Jo was one of the most devoted members of the staff of Senator Robert Kennedy.

She worked for him for four years and was broken up over his death.

For this reason and bebause she was such a gentle, kind and idealistic person, all of us tried to help her feel that she still had a home with the Kennedy family.

There is no truth, no truth whatever, to the widely circulated suspicions of immoral conduct that have been leveled at my behavior and hers regarding that evening.

I know nothing in Mary Jo's conduct on that or any other occasion, and the same is true for the other girls at that party, that would lend any substanbe to such ugly speculation about their character.

Nor was I driving under the influence of liquor.

We should get back.

Little over a mile away, the car that I was driving on an unlit road went off a narrow bridge which had no guardrails and was built on a left angle to the road.

The car overturned in a deep pond and immediately filled with water.

I remember thinking, as the cold water rushed in around my head, that I was for certain drowning.

But somehow I struggled to surface alive.

Made immediate and repeated efforts to save Mary Jo...

...sucbeeded only in increasing my state of utter exhaustion.

My conduct during the next several hours makes no sense to me at all.

My doctors informed me that I suffered a cerebral concussion as well as shobk.

I walked back to the cottage where the party was being held and requested the help of two friends, my cousin Joseph Gargan and Paul Markham.

Their strenuous efforts also proved futile.

I had them take me to the ferry crossing.

This was some time after midnight.

The ferry having shut down for the night, I suddenly jumped into the water and impulsively swam across, nearly drowning once again in the effort.

I regard as indefensible the fabt that I did not report the accident to the police immediately.

All kinds of scrambled thoughts which I cannot recall, some of them confused, some of them irrational, went through my mind.

I was overcome by a jumble of emotions.

Grief, fear, doubt, exhaustion, panic, confusion.

I remember thinking, whether somehow some awful burse did actually hang over all the Kennedys.

These events, the publicity, innuendo and whispers which have surrounded them, and my admission of guilt this morning, raises the question in my mind of whether my standing among the people of my state has been so impaired that I should resign my seat in the United States Senate.

The stories of past courage cannot supply courage itself.

For this, each man must look into his own soul.

And so I ask you tonight, the people of Massachusetts, to think this through with me.

In facing this decision, I seek your advice and opinion.

In making it, I seek your prayers.

For this is a decision that I will finally have to make on my own.

I pray that I can have the courage to make the right decision.

Whatever is decided, whatever the future holds for me, I hope that I shall be able to put this most recent tragedy behind me.

Thank you and good night.

What do you think about Senator Kennedy's accident and his statement last night? Did you see it on television?

Yes, I did see it. What did you think?

Well, I was quite impressed by it.

I think it's a tough break for the guy. The guy's a good guy.

He tried to help the girl and he's all mixed up.

He's always had tough breaks. The family and everything.

I'm in favor of him.

Well, I feel if it was anybody else, they would have hung him.

I think he should quit. Quit his job right now.

Hell, if a guy's drinking, those things can happen all the time.

What makes you think he was drinking?

Well, you don't go to a party and no drinking.

I mean, there's more to it than what we know, I believe, you know?

But I actually would vote for him.

Would you vote for him again? I certainly would. Definitely.

There's a lot of things missing that I didn't understand.

But, like, as the story progressed, you know, you hear different versions and you make your own opinions.

What was your final opinion?

That he really was, you know... He didn't remember what he really did.

That he's telling the truth.

Would you vote for him? Do you think he should be the president?

Oh, I'm not qualified to say that. I really don't know.

I think I would vote for him, though.

Would you vote for him again?

Yes, I really would. Certainly.

I believe him. 1,0a1% behind him.

Ted has done a tremendous job. I hope he stays a United States senator.

Would you vote for him? I certainly would.

There is a new wave of change all around us.

And if we set our compass true, we will reach our destination.

The work begins anew.

The hope rises again and the dream lives on.

Teddy! Teddy! Teddy!