Secretary (2002) Script


LEE: I got out of the institution on the day of my sister's wedding.

I had started to get used to the place.

Breakfast at 8:00, classes at 2:00, therapy at 4:00 and asleep by 10:00.

You can call me any time, Lee.

I will always try to be of help to you.

Inside, life was simple.

Thank you, Dr. Twardon.

For that reason, I was reluctant to go.

Bon voyage.





Hi, Peter.

Peter, yeah, who you almost successfully forgot.

No, I did not. WOMAN: Come on, everybody!

Are you happy to be home?

I mean, are you happy to be home?

I don't know.

I know what you mean.


D.J. : Here's a little something for the lovebirds.



You look so beautiful.

Thanks, Dad.

I thought you stopped.

Do you know how much we missed you, pumpkin?

Well, I missed you, too.

You know what?

I don't feel too good.

PETER: Let's go sit down.



Bye! WOMAN 1: Goodbye!

WOMAN 2: Have fun ! WOMAN 3: Goodbye! Take care!

JOAN: What are you talking about?

BURT: You want to treat me like I'm a child. You want to talk to me like a child.

Huh? You think I'm a child? JOAN: You...

BURT: You think I don't know what I'm doing?

JOAN: You act like a child !

BURT: Yeah, right.

JOAN: You don't act like a man. You've been fired !

BURT: Well, I'm glad I'm fired !

I'm glad I'm fired ! Boy, I hated that job!

I don't care that you hated it! You're drunk!

I'm not drunk! Why do you... Why do you... I'm not drunk!

JOAN: Why do you always say that? Get off my back!


Watch this. You watch this.



MAN: Avoid the temptation of placing your fingers on the home keys by sight.

Strike each key so that your fingers bounce with each stroke.

Do not strike without thinking.

Do not even attempt to steal a glance at your paper.

LEE: "My flower’s had just about given up in despair, "so with the exception of a few potted plants from the florist, "we're flowerless for the first spring in years."

MAN: And time!

I'm so proud of you, honey.

Getting out in the world like this.

LEE: When my accident happened, we were in the kitchen and my back was to her.

Upstairs, my dad was just leaving for work at Havis department store.

Because there was a limited amount of time that my mom's back was turned...

Lee! ...I slipped and cut too deep.

I'm not sure how I could have misjudged.

I've been doing it since seventh grade.

Just a precaution.

"Be a leader."


I have never had a job before, but I can assure you that I am very excited about this opportunity.

Thank you.

Well, I don't have any references yet.

But I think that the municipal tax office would be a wonderful place to begin my career.



Hello. I...

Wait! I...


In here.


Are you the lawyer?

Oh. Uh...


I'm sorry. I'll just come back later.


No, stay.

It said "secretary."

That's right.

Are you pregnant?


Do you plan on getting pregnant?



Are you living in an apartment? A house.

Alone? With my parents.


Well, my sister is going to live in the backyard with her husband in the pool house.

Are you married?


Have you ever won an award?


What did you win the award in?



Are those your scores?


"Lee Holloway."

Could you get me a cup of coffee with sugar?



Do you really want to be a secretary, Lee?

Yes, I do.

You scored higher than anyone I've ever interviewed.

You're really over-qualified for the job.

You'd be bored to death. I want to be bored.

I have a part-time paralegal.

All I need is a typist who can get to work on time and answer the phone.

I can do that.

We only use typewriters here, not computers.

That's fine.

It's very dull work.

I like dull work.

There's something about you.


You're closed up tight.

A wall.

I know.

Do you ever loosen up?

I don't know.


I'm not here.

Less sugar in the coffee.

How'd it go?

I got it.


I knew you could do it!





You have reached the office of Mr. E. Edward Grey.

Please leave your message and the time you called, along with your phone number and the best time to reach you,

and we will get back to you as soon as possible.




Type up this letter and send four copies to O'Malley and Barrett.

Right away, sir.

That's good. That's good.

WOMAN: So, you're the new secretary.


Excuse me.

What exactly is a paralegal?

See you.


Oh, um...


Up at the sides. Wide-eyed.


I brought you these.

I think I accidentally threw out my notes on the Feldman case.

Maybe you could...

Go through the garbage?

Yes, Lee. Thank you.




Why are you here?

I'm just waiting for you, honey.

But I'm here for five more hours.

I know.

Excuse me, sir.

It's okay. I found another set.

This needs more sugar.

Sugar? And six copies of these.

Freshen up that trap, Lee.

And put out one more.

Mice like to go behind the chairs, too, Lee.

Just because it's hard to reach does not mean that we don't take care of every possibility.

Here. Give me that.

Thank you.


E. Edward Grey's office. May I help you?

We're very happy with AT&T. Thanks, though.

Is he in?

Could you just wait one moment?

You're right. That is a very good offer.

I'm going back now.

Could you just wait one minute, please?

Yes, I do understand that.


Excuse me?

Edward !

Listen, I have no idea if we make over $40 worth of long distance calls to Chattanooga each month.

Tell him it's Tricia O'Connor.

LEE: Mr. Grey?


Mr. Grey?

GREY: (SOFTLY) Ms. Holloway.

Mr. Grey?

GREY: I'm not here.


I'm afraid he's gone.

Is that right?


E. Edward Grey's office.

BURT: Is that you, honey? It's me.


It's so good to hear your voice.


Where are you?

I'm downtown, somewhere.

Could you please hold?

Do you have a message, Ms. O'Connor?

Tell him to sign the settlement.




Hello, Dad?


JOAN: How's work?


How's Mr. Grey?

He's fine.

Well, Peter called.

PETER: Some people, right, have to wash something as soon as they've worn it, you know, for, like, half a day. LEE: Yes.

And then you got your more laid-back folk who just, you know, maybe they'll wash their stuff when it's dirty.

Which kind are you?

I'm the type of guy who wants to get married and have a kid.

I wash my clothes just when they're dirty.

Me, too, and... And that is what counts in a relationship.


In a relationship?

In a relationship. Relationship.

May I interest you in a little more?

Just a little more? Why not? Okay.

You're different than you were in high school, Peter.

I... I changed.

What happened?

I had a nervous breakdown.

Me, too.

Sort of.

Two items. This and these.

LEE: Peter? PETER: Yes, Lee?

I've read that if you wear that kind of underwear, that it squeezes your things.

Balls. Yes.


My grapes.

LEE: Your grapes?

PETER: My...

Your testicles.

Your sperm gets squozen, and then you can't have babies, and I thought that you said that you wanted to have babies.

There you go. I said it.

To babies!

To diapers.

To diaper rash.

To breast-feeding. And to crying.

Look at it!

Do you see that?


This letter has three typing errors in it, one of which is, I believe, a spelling error.

I'm... I'm sorry.

This isn't the first time, either.

There've been others that I let go because it was in the first few weeks.

This cannot go on.

Do you know what this makes me look like to the people who receive these letters?

I... I'm sorry. I'm...

Type it again and get it right.

You're wasting my time.



Go type up a bill for that woman for $500.

Aren't you going to proofread the letter?


When people come into this office, you are a visual representation of my business.

And the way you dress is disgusting.

I'm sorry.

You're tapping your toe all the time and playing with your hair.

You're either going to have to wear a hairnet or stop playing with your hair.

And another thing, do you realize that you are always sniffling?

I... I'm sniffling?

And what is with your tongue when you're typing?

I'm sorry. I didn't know I sniffled.

Well, you do.

Mr. Grey, thank you so much for your helpful suggestions.

Because I am trying to be the very best secretary that I can be.

For you.

GREY: The sentence should read, "Without proper guidance from a knowledgeable source, "my client would never have made

"these material decisions on her own." Period !

I have repeated the sentence twice.

Why don't you listen, think and then respond.


SYLVIA: Are you sure you wouldn't like some wine?

We make it homemade, don't we, Stewart?

Try it. It's good.

Would you like some, Lee?

No, thank you.

Not right now, Sylvia.

SYLVIA: You know, Peter talks about you all the time.

He says he's found his soul mate.

Did you say that?

I did.

Peter's sister, Lindsey, is getting married this coming winter in Vegas.

Did you know Peter has a very stable job at JCPenney?

They even gave him a cell phone.

Perhaps it'll be a double wedding?



GREY: Ms. Holloway, come into the library.


GREY: "...refer only to slanderous remarks made in print.

"In summation of the events

"in regard to the Rubin Berkowitz libel. Yours sincerely, etc."


The phone is ringing.

Answer it.

I'm sorry...




This is the office of...


You're a big girl.

You can get a much bigger voice out of that tiny throat of yours.


Ms. Holloway.

You told me when I hired you that you were used to answering phones.

I am.

Did you get enough sleep last night?

I... The phone is ringing !


This is the office of Mr. E. Edward Grey.

You see? You see? You see? You see?

That's showing a little spunk.

After all, I'm not running a mortuary.



Mr. Grey.

Come here.

Did you have a date recently?


With whom did you have a date?

Peter. Peter?

Did you have sex?



I don't know.

Are you shy?

I'm shy.

You're not shy.

You're a lawyer.

I'm shy.

I overcome my shyness to...

In order to get things done.

I don't think you're shy.

Lee, I want to be frank with you.

Now, I know I'm your employer, and we have a prescribed relationship.

But you really should feel free

to discuss your problems with me.


What's going on with the sewing kit and the Band-Aids?


I feel...

Shy. ...shy.

Do you want some hot chocolate?


Why do you cut yourself, Lee?

I don't know.

Is it that sometimes the pain inside has to come to the surface, and when you see evidence of the pain inside, you finally know you are really here?

Then, when you watch the wound heal, it's comforting. Isn't it?


That's a way to put it.

I'm going to tell you something, Lee. Are you ready to listen?


Are you listening?

You will never, ever cut yourself again.

Do you understand?

Have I made that perfectly clear?

You're over that now.

It's in the past.


Never again.


Now, you know what I want you to do?

I want you to leave work early.

You're a big girl, a grown woman.

Your mother doesn't need to pick you up every day.

I want you to take a nice walk home, in the fresh air.

Because you require relief.

Because you won't be doing that anymore.

Will you?

No, sir.


Look who's early.


I'm going to walk home from now on.

LEE: I took a shortcut through Hawkins Park, and it was as if I'd never taken a walk by myself before.

And when I thought about it, I realized I probably never had taken a walk alone.

But because he had given me the permission to do this, because he'd insisted I do it, I felt held by him as I walked along.

I felt he was with me.

At the same time, I was feeling something growing in Mr. Grey, an intimate tendril creeping from one of his darker areas, nursed on the feeling that he had discovered something about me.

The next day, I didn't even bring my cuticle scissors and my iodine.

But I did make another typing mistake.

What is wrong with you? That is all you have to do.

Type and answer the phones. Is that beyond you?

I'm sorry. Well, it certainly seems to be.

I'm sorry. Don't apologize to me!

What goes on inside that head of yours?


Come into my office and bring that letter.

Put the letter on my desk.

Now, I want you to bend over the desk, so you're looking directly at it.

Get your face very close to the letter, and read the letter aloud.

I don't understand.

There's nothing to understand.

Put your elbows on the desk, bend over, get your face close to the letter and read it aloud.

"Dear Mr. Garvey, "I'm grateful to you for referring..."



Ms. Holloway, read.

"For referring me to your case.

"The subject of animal captivity has been of interest to me for quite a while.

"And my secretary has prepared research material

"that I think you'll find illuminating.

"If you would be so kind

"as to send me the June 5th letter of which we spoke, "my associates and l will review it immediately."

"Please feel free to call me at your earliest convenience.

"Yours sincerely, E. Edward Grey."


Read it again.

"Dear Mr. Garvey, (GRUNTS)

"I am grateful to you

"for referring me to your case.

"The subject of animal captivity has been of interest to me

"for quite a while.

"And my secretary has prepared research material

"that I think you'll find illuminating."


Now straighten yourself up and go type it again.


Ms. Holloway. Good letter.


The lock can come off the cabinet now.



Replace the light bulb in the hallway to my office.

120 watts.

Mr. Grey. Good to see you again, Mr. Garvey.

You remember my secretary, Ms. Holloway.

I'm sorry about the typo.

It's porterhouse steak, mashed, no, creamed potatoes, green peas, iced tea and ice cream.

Okay. Just a scoop of creamed potatoes, and a slice of butter, four peas and as much ice cream as you'd like to eat, doll.


LEE: Cosmo's advice for getting your man to share his feelings more intimately is to first try some breezy humor.

Whatever you do, don't jump too quickly into relationship talk.


I'm your secretary.

Just one scoop of creamed potatoes, one slice of butter, and four peas.


GREY: How many inches away...

Had you turned off the furnace before you went down to the basement?


Maybe you didn't squeeze it hard enough.

Well, there's always concern about it bursting.

No! God, no. I haven't had time to get to that.

I'm doing as much as I possibly can.

Where was she when you crawled under the house?

And the lockbox? Did you cover it with dirt before you left?

Mud upstairs?

No, I'm confused by that.


All right. This was the overweight child, or your nephew from Baltimore?

On the banister.


I have to work.

Okay. Give me a week and I'll have something for you.

I'm sorry, the office has been


Mr. Grey, I'm going to go home now.

If you need any more typing done, I could come back later.

Thank you, Ms. Holloway, good night.

That'll be all.

Here's just one example.

He asked me out to Red Lobster the other night for a nightcap.

Right. Yeah.

And yesterday, he asked if my hose were control-top, and if they were, I certainly didn't need it.

Your boss? Yeah.

You should sue him for sexual harassment.

I like that idea. Hello.

My lawyer's representing a woman who's suing her boss for sexual harassment.

Is he a good lawyer?

He's the best.

"He's the best."

JOAN: How long will he be there?

Who was that?

JOAN: He checked himself into the hospital.



Yes? Lee?



I just wanted...

I needed you...

I wanted you to...

You need me to what?

I just wanted you not to forget to go over the Lynch papers for tomorrow.

No. I haven't.

That's good.

Thank you, Lee.

LEE: After he turned me away from his house, he put me back at my old desk, and he just stopped doing it.

He threw out all his red pens.

I kept making typos, but he just treated me like a regular old secretary.

Are you coming?

After a while, I began to wonder if that was all I was.

Have we received any checks from Mr. Garvey?

No, sir.

File these.

That's a pretty tie. But I guess you won't be golfing today.


Your tie.

It has golfers on it.


Damn it.



Don't be scared.

I'm not. I'm...

That's not what I meant.

I'm sorry, I just... Look here.

I'm sorry.

Okay, but my clothes get to stay completely on and I want the lights out.




Lee, Lee, Lee.

I didn't hurt you, did l?


PETER: Whoo!



Ms. Holloway.

Yes, Mr. Grey?

Come into my office.

But Mr. Marvel is waiting.

Ms. Holloway, come into my office.

Yes, sir.



Ignore it.


Now, pull up your skirt.


You're not worried that I'm going to fuck you, are you?

I'm not interested in that, not in the least.

Now, pull up your skirt.

(SOFTLY) Lee, Lee, Lee, Lee


I said, pull up your skirt.


I'm not going to be able to come to the diner today, okay?


That's okay. Because... That's all right.

Pull down your panty hose and underwear.

I told you I'm not going to fuck you.





Get these forms filled out, and then you can take your lunch break.

Bring me my sandwich, I'm eating in.

And you'll have the usual.

No mayonnaise this time.

And send in what's his name.


Mr. Grey.


Cock. Place your prick in my mouth.

Screw me.


Shit. Fuck.

Mayonnaise. Orchid.

Mr. Grey.


(WHISPERS) Edward.

MAN: (ON TAPE) Most people think that the best way to live is to run from pain.

But a much more joyful life embraces the entire spectrum of human feeling.

If we can fully experience pain, as well as pleasure, we can live a much deeper and more meaningful life.



Yes, sir?

Bring your typing scores. Okay.

What happened?

Are you pregnant?


Do you plan on getting pregnant? Could I...

Do you plan on getting pregnant?


Are you living in an apartment?

A house.


With my parents.

Are you married?


Are those your scores?


Do you really want to be my secretary?

Yes, I do.

This isn't just about typos, tape, staples and pencils, is it, Lee?

No, sir. What?

No, sir.

I like you, Lee, but I don't think I'm going to offer you the job.


It's your behavior.

What about my behavior?

It's very bad.

I'm sorry. You can collect your things.

Time-out! Time-out?

You're fired. You're fired !

You're fired. Now, Lee, get out!

Why did you get glue smear all over the Ramsey papers?

Because I was fixing your shredder. You saw me.

Are you aware you kick your shoes off under your desk?

I can smell your feet.

Do you ever change your panty hose?

Every day.

Every time you erase, there are little shavings all over your desk.

I told you to take that Walkman home.

I don't want the possibility of your listening to music when you're supposed to be working for me.

I saw it in your desk. I know it's there.

I'll move it.

You have to go, or I won't stop.


I cannot do this anymore.

But I want to know you.

I'm so sorry for what happened between us.

I've realized what a terrible mistake I made with you.

And I can only hope that you understand.

Be assured you can count on me for excellent references.

Get out.

What are you doing... Get out!


LEE: I opened the envelope the second I got home.

It was a check for $680. More than he actually owed me.

It occurred to me to tear up the check, but I didn't.

I felt like I was doing the right thing.

And I didn't tell anybody about any of it.

I pretended to go to work as usual, and watched his office from across the street.

He hired a new girl and changed the locks on the doors.

There was just nothing for me to do about it.

My doctor at the institution once said, "Every journey begins with the first step."

So I decided it was time to meet someone new.

There was one who tried to grab and pinch my nipples before we even made it to his car.


Another guy kept ordering me to pee on his patio, and when I refused, he said...

I thought you were a masochist.

Then there was the one who liked being tied to a gas stove while the burners were on full blast, and I had to throw tomatoes at him.

Thank you.

For a while I just stopped trying and stayed at home, helping Dad adjust to his new sobriety.

Until one day, out of the blue, Peter proposed marriage to me in the basement of JCPenney's.

I think I said yes because I didn't know what else to do.

Well, I guess I was a little lighter than you in those days.


Now, if you hold your breath through the wedding, you'll make it.

Don't move. I'm going to get Stewart.

You're beautiful. You're just too beautiful.


No! I'm not supposed to see you before the wedding !

Sylvia: Where are you going?

I have something to say to you. Lee.

I love you.

Lee, you should not be here.

I love you.

I'm sorry, but I don't believe that to be true.

Well, it is true. It is.

This matter was resolved when I received your canceled severance check.

I love you.

We can't do this 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Why not?

Put both your hands on the desk. Palms down.

I want to make love.

Keep both your feet on the floor until I come back.



GREY: In case you're wondering, your fiancée is at my office.


Lee, I'm very fond of you as well.


Oh, it's you.

What are you... What are you doing?

Lee, I don't... I don't know what the deal is with...

I'm sorry, I'm going to have to ask you to leave.

I'm your fiancée, Lee!

You are trespassing.

You are making an unwarranted incursion, a gradual or stealthy entrance into the sphere of another.

Okay, Lee, Lee, are you doing something sexual right now?

Does this look sexual to you?

I don't know, Lee!

Why don't you move your hands?

Because I don't want to.




Peter, I don't want you.

Now, get out.


Get out.

Get out!


Here you go. Great.

I brought you some peas.

There are no statutes capable of controlling the relations between men and women.

There are other ways to show your feelings, Lee.

More conventional ways.

I expect that dress back, dry-cleaned, in perfect condition.

I'm just going to leave you with this literature.

Why don't you read about women's struggle first?

MAN: You know, Lee, there's a long history of this in Catholicism.

The monks used to wear thorns on their temples.

And the nuns, they wore them sewn inside their clothing.

Two years ago, when it didn't work out between us, that was it.

I let him slip through my fingers.

You are part of a great tradition.

I admire you, Ms. Holloway.

Without question, he is the most isolated man I have ever known.

The worm. Amazing.

Who's to say that love needs to be soft and gentle?

"You are the child of God's holy gift of life.

"You come from me, but you are not me.

"Your soul and your body are your own, and yours to do with as you wish."

Thank you, Daddy.


Take what you ordered.

Now don't take anybody else's drink. What you ordered.

(SINGING) Fifty-seven bottles of beer on the wall Fifty-seven bottles of beer

Take one down

WOMAN REPORTER: We're here on day three of what has come to be known as the Lee Holloway hunger strike.

Now, you may have heard that there are those in the community who wonder if Ms. Holloway is even willing to starve herself to death.


LEE: In one way or another, I've always suffered.

I don't know why, exactly.

But I do know that I'm not so scared of suffering now.

I feel more than I've ever felt, and I've found someone to feel with, to play with, to love in a way that feels right for me.

I hope he knows that I can see that he suffers, too.

And that I want to love him.



LEE: Each cut, each scar, each burn, a different mood or time.

I told him what the first one was.

I told him where the second one came from.

I remembered them all.

And for the first time in my life, I felt beautiful.

Finally part of the earth.

I touched the soil, and he loved me back.

Where did you go to high school?

What was your mother like?

What was her name?

What did it say under your senior yearbook picture?

Who was your first love?

When did your heart first get broken?

Where were you born?

Des Moines, Iowa.

LEE: AII our activities melted into an everyday sort of life until we looked like any other couple you'd see.

Turn that over, yes. Just pull it tight.

Now, these pillows like to be stacked.

Largest to smallest.

We had a June wedding, by ourselves at the justice of the peace.

Then, we honeymooned in the mountains.

We only had the weekend because Edward had to get back to work.