The Confession (1999) Script


Your Honor, I'd like to make an application for bail reduction.

My client, Lieutenant Finello has 12 years in the police department, is married, 14 years, three children.

He has deep roots in the community.

The defendant, Mr. Finello, has been arrested on a serious charge and if convicted, could face a stiff prison sentence.

Your Honor, we don't believe the D.A. has a very strong case, therefore, my client has no reason to run.

Stevie? I called Dr. Gottlieb again today.

He said Stevie's probably got that flu going around.

After considering the defendant's work and home record, I, uh...

I find that he does have roots in the community and I don't find any threat of flight.

We will adjourn this case for six weeks.

Finello had an impeccable record as a police officer.

Two years ago, your impeccable defendant was busted packing a bag and ended up pounding the pavement for taking bribes from drug dealers in his precinct.

You hungry? My treat. Big spender.

-How many? -Four.

Sauerkraut and mustard, please.

Well, if Finello had been taking bribes, -he would have been kicked off the force. -Give me a break.

Are you suggesting that two years ago, your office made a deal with a corrupt cop?

Here you go. Look, Bleakie, this time it's different.

This time Finello was caught with an eight-ball in one pocket and 5,000 dollars in the other.

The pocket of his tunic, for Christ's sake. He was in uniform.

So make a tougher deal.

But make a deal.

When was the last time he had aspirin?

About four hours ago, I'll get some.

If he's still running a fever on Monday, you should bring him back to the doctor.

Yesterday, Herbie came over for a play-date.

Do you want to tell papa what happened?

You tell.

Herbie brought over a toy... a tank.

After Herbie left, I found it in Stevie's pocket.

In your pocket?

Herbie forgot it.

Herbie's got lots of action toys. I don't have any, it's not fair.

Tomorrow you-- you give it back to Herbie, okay?

I'll tell him he forgot it.

Stevie... you tell him the truth.


You think the corruption stops with one precinct?

This is one thread, you pull on it, you unravel the whole fabric.

If they're all guilty, they all should get kicked off the force.

Spring cleaning?

-That's right. -Fifty, 100 dirty cops, nail them all?

-That's right. -With the mayor coming up for re-election?

I didn't hear you, did you say that's right?

Did you say that's right?

Cunningham doesn't give a fuck about embarrassing the mayor, -how about you? -Boy.

Your boss... you think he's gonna be D.A. forever?

You think he's gonna protect you? He's out next November.

-Yeah, who's gonna run against him? -His own party is gonna kill him

-and you are going to be out in the woods. -What am I supposed to do?

You wanna dodge the bullet?

I was a prosecutor, I know what it takes sometimes to track down witnesses.

Look, this is about right and wrong.


It's about the election.

What's the matter?

This is Worth Street, I left my car here. Right here!

-Maybe it was towed. -No, it's a legal spot, why would it be towed?

You son of a bitch.

You goddamn son of a bitch!

The vacation? We'll see.

-The full two weeks? -Two weeks, Sarah!

It's not like when we were first married. I'm the chief financial officer, one of the vice presidents of the company now.

The sun, the beach... it'll be good for Stevie.

It'll be good for you.

Virgin Gorda.

Two weeks.

I'll make arrangements on Monday.

Is it something from work?

It's always something from work.

Some problem.





His coat!

We can get a cab for the hospital. He's burning up!

Here, put this on first.

-We need the doctor. -So does everybody in the room.

Fill out this form. If you have insurance, just write the name of the company and the telephone number.

-You don't understand, mister. -Don't forget to put the area code first.

This is an emergency.

They're all emergencies. Just fill out the form

-and take a seat. -But my son.

Take a seat.

-We'll call you when your turn comes. -But...

-Harry? -They'll call us when it's our turn.

-Did you reach Dr. Gottlieb? -The answering service can't find him.

Who's covering?

A nurse practitioner named Shaw.

She said we should go to the emergency room.

Tell her we did.

Gets his car towed, then all of a sudden it's like...

You still play squash with the guy on Tuesdays?

Yeah, why not? Hey, Clarke knows what's at stake.

He got his car towed, what's the big fucking deal?

And if he doesn't drop the charges?

He'll drop the charges.

You want odds?

This kind of stuff, you wanna be careful.

Doctor Erwin Robinson from maternity.


-Evans? -Harry.

-My son. -You Evans?

-No, but my son-- -Evans?

-Please, Miss Nurse Carrounbois. Please... -Evans.

-...if you'll just-- -Uh, security...

Hmm? Sit him down.

-I have to see a doctor. -Come on.

It's an emergency.

Let's go beat that!


How can you?

How can you smoke?

Oh I'm-- I'm trying to stop.

No, with people dying. How can you smoke?

I'm sorry, it's just we're so worried.

-Mrs.-- -Fertig.

Fertig. My name is Harry Fertig, this is my son.

-Cute kid. -He needs help.

Mr. Fertig, I have been on duty for 32 hours.

I haven't had two hours with my own son in the last three weeks.

Not even when he came down with a flu.

Which is probably--

Please, Dr. Gillett, you're here now, -just look at him. -Mr. Fertig, the doctor's on his break.

Please can't you just look at him? When it's your turn.

I beg you.

-When it's your turn. -He's burning up.

Baruk Hospital.




My God.

Sarah, he's not breathing.

He stopped breathing!


Stevie, Stevie, please!

Stevie, please, please!


Oh, my God!

Parking illegally at a hydrant.

Parking at a hospital zone.

Too close to the curb, too far from the intersection Church zone, school zone.

I spend more time at the pound than I do at my kid's school.

How can you go along with this?

What's with you?

You're sitting here whining to me about a bunch of fucking parking tickets.

I'm trying to tell you you're gonna have worse problems if Finello blows up in the administration's face.

I'll take care of these.

Last weekend, the long weekend.

Wife and kid are in Jersey visiting her sister and our pal Clarke is at loose ends.

You know, I half froze my ass out of that fire escape.

By the time the bimbo arrived, my fingers were so cold, I could barely work the camera.

Your insurance... in case Clarke is thinking of changing his mind.

He's not gonna change his mind.

You know, I figure O'Donnell will be in court making out your report card.

Mayor listens to O'Donnell. I'll make you a bet, next year... you're District Attorney.

You send these things already?

To his office, to his home.

Just like you told me.

You think it's worth it?

Well, let's talk about what's gonna happen if Clarke doesn't play ball.

You think the Mayor is gonna wrap his arms around him and kiss him on the cheek?

If Clarke needs an excuse to do what needs to be done, I'm happy to give it to him.

Fucking guy should thank me.

These pictures.

I don't go in the court to lose.

People of the State of New York versus Louis Finello.

Docket number, 95N427156.

Penal law, 195,00.12.

Official misconduct, bribe receiving in the first degree.

Compounding a crime.

Your Honor, the people moved to dismiss the charges against the defendant, Louis Finello, on grounds of insufficient evidence.

That motion is granted.

Less than ten days.

That's all for today, Miss Baron.

Fist hearing at ten? Fine.

On the, um, Finello matter... quite frankly, I thought the State had a strong case.

You sound unhappy that Clarke dropped the charges.

Not unhappy, curious about why.

Perhaps he didn't think the case was as strong as you do.

You are aware of the penalties for obstruction of government administration, tampering, official misconduct.

If it turned out there was any impropriety...

You've got a real future, Counselor.

Don't jeopardize it.

Because I care about you.

Police still have no suspects in the brutal slaying of Dr. Mason Gillett in the men's room of Clement Hospital, but sources close to the investigation say that authorities are looking into a possible connection with the murders of two other Clement Hospital employees.

Jeanine Carrounbois, a nurse, and Eric Malabar, a clerk, were also shot this afternoon.

Miss Carrounbois, 38, was killed in the compactor room of her east side co-op.

Mr. Malabar, 47, was found dead outside his upper west side apartment.

So far police have ruled out robbery as a motive and investigations are continuing.

When we come back more on the underground...

Congratulations, Roy.

They told me I'd find you here.

I was just leaving.

Oh, look who's here.

The Bobsey twins.

What the fuck's the matter with you?

What the fuck is the matter with you anyway!

Let go of me!

Is that how you get off, Roy? Huh?

Is that how you get your kicks, huh?

Hey, Roy. My wife opens the mail.

My wife found those fucking pictures!


Whoa, what did you do, huh?

I thought Clarke gave up the booze.

He had. Till yesterday in court.

You have the power to change lives, Roy.

Every time I've asked for a favor, like this business with Clarke and Finello, every time I've asked you for something, you've come through.

-What do you want now? -It's what you want, Roy.

-What do I want, Cass? -You want a job.

-I've got a job. -You want a better job.

A job where you can have a real effect. Make some changes.

Did you run that by the Mayor?

Mayor ran it by me.

What do you have in mind?

Three years ago, when Cunningham was running for D.A., some guys mentioned your name.

You said I wasn't ready.

I said you had more to learn.

How are those puppies doing, Sean?

Wife doesn't want them in the house.

Say, you have a dog?

I'm not home enough.

Train them right, you don't have to carry a gun.

A gun's easier to carry than a dog.

Everyone needs an edge.

Sean's right, Roy.

I need a dog?

You need an edge.

Hold this onto your chest. Look straight ahead.

I'm worried, Cass, worried about Clarke.

He isn't happy about dropping these Finello charges.

Eh, jerk off. The way he's hitting the booze, I don't think he cares.

I don't know.

I think he cares a lot.

What are you saying? He's going to ask who wanted the favor?

Are you threatening me?

I'm making a point.

Dean Cunningham is a fucking hard on.

Are you offering me Cunningham's job?

Dean Cunningham is a fucking hard on.

Five minutes late, I'm terribly sorry.

Roy, Jack Renoble. Mr. Renoble, Roy Bleakie.

So glad you could make it, Mr. Bleakie.

Roy. Roy.

-Mr. Renoble, nice to see, sir. -Good to see you, Kevin.

Perrier, no ice.

You gentlemen need more time?

Uh, you like fish, Roy?

Salmon tartars are excellent, three salmon tartars, you'll like it, trust me.

I was tied up in a meeting.

I'm putting together a group to sponsor expanded library hours for East Harlem and Morningside Heights.

When I was a kid, I practically lived in the Bloomingdale branch.

Did you use library much when you were a boy?

The books I read when I was a kid, you couldn't find them in a library.

Well, whatever you read, you obviously got what you needed.

You've done very well for yourself.

You understand how things work but you've kept your conscience.

Better than most.

Some people would consider that liability.

Cass here probably considers that a liability, don't you, Cass?

I need your help, Roy.

You saw the papers this morning? This article about the Clement Hospital murders?

The suspect, the man who surrendered, Harry Fertig.

Apparently, he took his son into a hospital emergency room and felt... neglected by the staff.

Tragically, his son died.

And this crazy Fertig, he goes on a rampage and he shoots a clerk, a nurse, and a doctor.

He's lost his son.

My company is paying for his defense.

He works for you?

He's my chief financial officer. I've known Harry for nearly 20 years.

I would do anything to help.

He needs to be represented by someone who has the capacity to understand a very complex situation.

He shot three people in cold blood.

Not very complex. Gentlemen.

Given, uh, Fertig's motive, the kid's death, I don't think the D.A.'s going for the death penalty.

And here you are.

Prison would destroy him.

He needs help, not punishment.

He pleads diminished capacity, extreme emotional disturbance, he goes to a mental hospital.

Serves two to six, mm-hmm.

How's the salmon, Roy?

You were right, it's excellent.

I'm sorry to interrupt your prayers.

The Vidui.

The confession.

I didn't know Jews had confession.

I'm sorry about your son.

Hope you don't mind if we get down to business.

You must be the lawyer Renoble sent.

You're close with Renoble?

I've worked for him for 20 years.

You know what the charges are?

I've violated the sixth amendment.

In court, it's called homicide in the second degree.

In court, you can defend me.

Before God, there's no defense.

I'd like to leave God out of this for the moment.

That isn't possible.

Mr. Fertig, you plead guilty, you get a life.

You plead not guilty by reason -of diminished capacity--


-I'm sorry? -Crazy.

All right, crazy.

The judge remands you to an institution, you get rehabilitated, you're out in two, three years the most.

They gave me a... psychiatric evaluation.

-I read the report. -The psychiatrist thought I was a...

-Paranoid schizophrenic. -I want another evaluation.

I understand that at your arraignment, you had a court appointed lawyer who perhaps did not take you through this as thoroughly as I intend to.

-Now you say you want another evaluation. -Or another lawyer.

How many lawyers do you intend to go through?

As many as I have to until I find one

-who will represent me... -I'm trying-- I would want to be represented.

-Mr. Fertig, be realistic. -Realistic?

Realistically, what sane man would not want to take revenge on people who caused his son to die?

What sane man would want to serve hard time if he didn't have to?

If I claim I killed because I was crazy... then I'm just another murderer.

You will serve some time, Mr. Fertig.

But not take responsibility?

I want to take responsibility... to honor my son.

They didn't care about my son.

I'm sorry.

My son, Stevie... he was only five years old.

The day before he died... he stole a friend's toy, a tank.

He wanted to return it the next day... to make amends.

He never got the chance.

Do you have children, Mr. Bleakie?

-Mr. Fertig. -Do you have children?


My parents survived Auschwitz.

My grandparents, my great-grandparents survived pogroms...

Egypt, Babylon, Rome.

Over 3,000 years, my line, my blood... we endured.

I wanted to see... my son grow up.

Learn the piano, play ball... watch him read the Torah on his Bar Mitzvah... go to college... get married.

I'll never have grandchildren, Mr. Bleakie.

Now it all ends... with me.

I murdered three people.

I want to make amends.

I want to plead guilty.

This is Judge Crossland.


It's me, I just met this guy, Fertig.


Well, I got a problem.

He wants to plead guilty.

Roy... this is not one to fuck up.


I'm Roy Bleakie, I'm your husband's lawyer.

Come in.

Oh, my cousins.

They were just leaving.

Excuse me.

He was obsessed with justice...

with people who were not brought to justice.

Every day, he'd take the newspaper and find... terrible stories.

Police corruption... political scandal, medical malpractice.

He wanted to know why... people had to suffer.

Why God allowed evil in this world.

He would say, "Why did this happen to Stevie? Why didn't God take me?"

He talked to himself all the time.

The other tenants, they finally got the super to keep Harry away.

Were you afraid of him?

Have you heard from his family?

His mother and father are dead.

He has no brothers or sisters.

What about his colleagues? Have you heard from Jack Renoble?

Mr. Renoble.

He sent flowers.

I'm very, very sorry about your son.

He died of appendicitis.

If the doctor hadn't turned us away...

Can you understand my husband's...



I was going to say despair.

Did you know that your husband had killed them, Mrs. Fertig?

Before he was arrested?

Not until he got home.

We called the police then.

Are you ashamed of what he did?

I'm not like Harry, Mr. Bleakie.

No one's like Harry.

It's hard to live up to him.

He killed three people.

And is ready to pay for his crimes.

A defendant sits in your courtroom.

He's got a shitty lawyer, so he's convicted. He decides to kill everyone on the jury.

Kills you too.

That's nutty, Judy. That's got nothing to do with God.

Do you believe in God?


Do you?

I'll tell you everything I know about God.

There is a God, and he or she is about to give me my shot.

Have you read the newspapers lately?

"Clement Hospital killer weeps for slain son."

Everyone who has ever been ignored or mistreated by a hospital or any bureaucracy, understands what Fertig did.

The defendant is the only one who wants a guilty verdict here.

I get Fertig off...

I'm a hero.

Fertig... the wife... the little boy, the dead doctor.

The nurse, the clerk...

You know what they are?

All of them?

They're the District Attorney's office.

D.A. Cunningham's office. Sorry, he's in a meeting.

Lying in wait, multiple victims - there's every element here of a capital case.

If a Puerto Rican in the Bronx shot up the staff at Montefiore, he'd get the death penalty.

Oh, for crying out loud, Fertig was out of his mind!

If you don't play the death card with Fertig, you will never be able to play it again.

Every Black and Puerto Rican in this city will--

All right, Liz, we've heard this already.

What do you say, Elliot?

They killed his son.


We're here live at the D.A.'s office moments away from an announcement on the Clement Hospital triple murder case.

Harry Fertig...

I say no way he gets the death penalty, man.

Rich Jew, no way.

If he a man of color, they'd fire his ass.

...following D.A. Cunningham, the Mayor will make a statement.

Counsel to meet. Sit your ass down.

Are you okay?

What's the matter? Don't you know what happened?

They're not going for the death penalty.

I heard the guards talking.

I don't understand, I thought that would be good news.

Please go.

The D.A. is not going for the death penalty, Mr. Fertig, because you turned yourself in, you showed remorse.

How long have you been a lawyer?

How long?

Twenty years maybe?

Something like that.

They tell me you're a good lawyer.

What makes a good lawyer?

-You get your clients off. -No matter what?


Have you ever wanted two things at the same time?

You want to be free, be with your wife and you want to serve your sentence.

You think I like being in prison, Mr. Bleakie?

I think you're a complex man, Mr. Fertig.

I'm a very simple man, Mr. Bleakie.

It's the world that's complex, and because we live in a complex world, we are forced to make choices, and sometimes the choices...

the choices...

I wanted to avenge my son's death, I...

did not... want to...

Kill the three people responsible.

Sometimes I think the world is nothing but sorrow.

The District Attorney is surprised that I feel remorse.

Of course I feel remorse, why wouldn't I feel remorse?

I'm sorry for you.

You're sorry for me, why?

You really want to do what's right, don't you?

You really want to do the right thing.

People think it's hard to do the right thing.

It's not hard to do the right thing, Mr. Bleakie.

It's hard to know what the right thing is.

Once you know...

once you know what's right...

It's hard not to do it.

When you shot those people... you knew.

Murder two the death penalty, you knew.

-You knew. -I knew.

I get it.

They killed your son.

You kill them, the state kills you.

Except the state won't kill you, so the state's more merciful than you. Is that it?

Please go.

Is that it?

You want to be a martyr?

I want to be a good man.

You murdered three people.

A good man is not without sin.

He admits... and expiates his sin.

Please go.

Please go.

I'll tell you right now, he's advertising.

You want to sell the American public on something, advertise.

And your client, Fertig, that's all he's doing, advertising.

He's got an idea that he wants to sell, responsibility.

It may be an extreme form of advertising but isn't it in the American tradition?

Oh, yeah.

Going all the way back to John Wilkes Booth.

A little extreme, yes.


well, your client's been on the front page, everyday.

Is he insane?

In fact, given what he wants to do, I'd say he's a genius.

Is that what you're gonna say on the stand?

This retainer you sent me, I assume that... whoever's paying your fee is also covering this.

That's right.

Twenty five thousand dollars.

You run a clinic.

Long term psychiatric care for deprived children.

You receive no federal, state, or... local funds.

In court, I'd like to prove Mr. Fertig not guilty by reason of insanity.

Mr. Bleakie...

you're very persuasive.

Roy Bleakie's office.

-Hey, it's me. What time is Shabbas? -Fifteen, 20 minutes.

I don't think you have time to convert.

What if I just... dropped by?

Just get there before she lights the candles.

Blessed are you, ruler of the universe who has sanctified us with your commandments, and commanded us to kindle the Sabbath lights.

When Stevie died, it was like God had turned away from me... just like Harry did.

Does Harry believe that God turned away from him too?

Harry would never believe that... could never believe that.

Are you sure of that?

If he ever thought God had turned away...

he was waiting for a sign from God.

Silence was the sign.

God telling Harry he had to right the wrong.

So Harry thinks he's God's avenging angel?

I didn't say that.

You care about your husband very much, don't you?

Since Stevie's death, Harry... won't let me near him.

I want to hold him... but he won't touch me.

My aunt thought I should leave him.

Why didn't you?

I went to our Rabbi, Rabbi Gordon, who told me to pray but I couldn't.

When I met my husband, I was only 22.

He wanted a family more than anything.

In all the years before Stevie was born, Harry couldn't understand why we couldn't have a child.

Did you think about adopting?

Harry wanted a child of his own.

There are other ways.

The doctors suggested artificial insemination, a donor but Harry...

When the doctors gave up...

I even thought of going with another man...

to have a child... secretly.

Excuse me.



Could I have a pen, please, and a piece of paper?

I knew that little fucking weasel Cunningham wasn't going to go for the death penalty.

And Fertig, will he be like the others?

The minute they don't get the death penalty, they go for that insanity tap dance.

Who'd want to spend his life in jail?

Yeah, that's the beautiful part, Roy. As your friend walks.

And we get to use the D.A.'s decision against him in November, we're gonna beat him with the stick he gave us.

Works quite well.

Judy, when we out at Bridgehampton, what were you telling me, uh, the legal definition of insanity.

Legally to prove somebody's crazy, you have to show that they did not understand the consequences of their acts.

You mean if he didn't know the people he shot would die?

No, if he didn't know it was wrong.

The Times says he's claiming it wasn't wrong.

Isn't that right, Jack?

It was wrong he get caught.

That's so cynical!

Cynicism is just reality with the volume turned up.

A cynic is just an idealist who's been disappointed.

But he wanted to get caught.

Didn't he, Jack?

You worked with him, Jack. Why would he want that?

Because he killed those people.

I mean, maybe he is sane. As he claims he killed three, he knows it's wrong, he wants to accept the consequences.

What are you saying, Roy?

Fertig isn't crazy? Is that what you're saying?

I hope that's not what you're saying, because if you are--

Cass, Cass, Cass, Roy's just...

Harry Fertig is an extraordinarily decent man.

So, I'm not surprised he feels that way.

He always did the right thing.

After dinner, it was just, um...

Meg Renoble and Cass's wife and me.

Meg started crying.

She has breast cancer.

She needs a mastectomy.

In six weeks, I'll be 42.

It's my birthday.

Don't worry about Renoble.

You'll get Fertig off.

Fertig doesn't wanna get off.

I mean, why-- why is Renoble helping him? What does he care?

What difference does it make to him if Fertig pleads guilty, if he pleads not guilty.

-'Cause they've known each other for-- -I think it's about something else.

Don't complicate it, Roy. This is a no brainer.

Don't rock the boat.

Will you come up?

You don't have to spend the night.

Just an hour.

So I can get to sleep.

I can't.



Where are you now?

Here, it's right here.

He attempted suicide couple of hours ago. Goodnight.

Hence, they brought him here to the hospital about an hour ago.

How is my husband?

He's just down at the end of the hall.

How is he?

They sedated him.

There's a guard with him.

You got to calm down.

Before you go in there and see him, you got to calm down. Listen to me.

What your husband has done, this may sound awful, but it could be the perfect thing for his defense.

Listen to me, you don't want him to spend the rest of his life in jail.

You're the only one who could make him understand.


Harry. Hmm.


Who let her in here?

-Darling. -Out! Get her out!

I don't want you coming here.

A moment of doubt.

A moment of doubt?

-I tried to-- -To what?

Tried to what?

To understand why this happened to me?

To you? Happened to you?

Stevie was my son.

Don't you think I suffered too?

This happened to us.

To us, Harry, to us.

I loved him as much as you did.

And what are we left with, our grief? No.

With each other.

And then you go and do this!

It was a sin against God.

-I meant you no harm. -Against God, meant me no harm!

What is happening to me?

-Mr. Bleakie. -That's right.

-Are you Mr. Fertig's lawyer. -Yes, I am.

They found this in his cell.

Thank you.

I'll make arrangements for him to stay in the hospital until the trial.

I should get us a cab.

Do you mind if we walk a little?

I can't breathe.


In Hartford, where I grew up, whenever a boy wanted to take me out, he'd have to come to the house for dinner first.

This was in the 70s.

I mean, the kids I went to school with were taking drugs, they were going off on weekends together.

My parents were afraid... they were afraid of my friends, they... they were afraid of everything.

I grew up afraid.

Even after my parents died, I was afraid.

When I met Harry at Sheol, he had such... certainty... about the world, about himself.

He made me feel safe.

That's why I married him.

He made me feel safe.

And now...

I don't feel safe anymore.

Are you all right?

I've talked you a year off.

You've been very patient, very kind.

I don't... get a chance to talk like this very much.

Oh, it's been a long night.

Can I come in for a coffee?

I don't think so.

I don't... think so.

I wanna help you.

Coffee's ready.

I'm sorry.

It's all right.

It's tickets to the symphony, the ballet, the theater.

All the shows you've seen?

No. All the shows we didn't see.

Because Harry was too busy, working.

One birthday I... wrapped it up and gave it to him.

Work was very important to Harry.

Work and Stevie.

What about you?

What are you gonna do?

Now that your son is gone.

-Well, Harry thought that we would... -Forget about Harry.

What about you?

What do you want?

I don't know.

-I don't know. -It's all right.

-What am I gonna do? -It's all right.

-What am I gonna do? -It's all right.

It's not your fault.

It's not your fault.


Don't go.

It's okay.

It's okay.

There you are.

So, do we pretend it never happened?

I don't know.

What we did was wrong.


I'm not sorry.

What are you thinking?

I wanna kiss you.

Aren't you rushing the hour a little?

Been home yet?


-Huh? -Bleakie... that's scotch Irish, right?

I don't make you for a catholic so I figured you got to be a Presbyterian.

My parents were.

You were baptized, hmm?

They weren't religious, no.


It's funny, any catholic can baptize anyone.

With anything.

With bourbon, for instance.

If there's no water and... if it's an emergency.

This is an emergency?

Yeah, I think it is.

You're baptized, you go to heaven.

You wanna go to heaven, don't you, Roy?

-No. -Look, I win.

What's the harm?

I mean, if there is no heaven, all you get is a little damp.

Okay. Okay.

You wanna baptize me, baptize me.

Not what I want.

Do you want to be baptized?

Is that your true intention?


Yes, I wanna be baptized.

I baptize thee. In the name of the Father, of the Son, of the Holy spirit.

Oh, uh, I forgot to tell you.

Now that you've been baptized... you can also go to hell.

Roy, are you there? Roy, it's Sarah.

Please call me.

When Stevie was a baby, I used to walk here every day.

Pass the Alice in Wonderland's statue, the dairy.


I've always loved the zoo.

The polar bear, Gus.

All day, he would swim over and over in the same pattern... compulsively.

They finally had to send him to a bear psychiatrist.

It's a true story.

So, we get a bunch of people to testify, you know.


The psychiatrist will say that he's gotta be crazy if he wants to go to jail if he doesn't have to.


What happened last night...

I'm sorry.

Don't apologize.

Look at me.


Look at me.

I'm 38 years old.

I'm not like Harry, I'm not a saint.

I'm a woman.

I'm still a young woman.

I've lost my son, I've lost my husband.

And what do I have left?

I don't want my life to be over.

You should go home.

You don't want this. Really.

You think I want to spend the rest of my life in prison?

Then don't.

If you get me off, everything that happened, everything I did

-has no meaning, it's just murder. -Well, what do you call it?

-Justice. -Revenge!


They were responsible for my son's death. I'm responsible for theirs.

You don't know what's it like.

You think you're the only one that ever lost somebody that you care about?

My father shot himself when I was a kid.

He was younger than I am now.

I was your son's age.

You deny me my right to plead guilty, you deny God.

I don't wanna hear anymore about God.

If you don't wanna save yourself, you don't have to.

I'll get a court order to commitment.

You won't even stand trial but you are going to cooperate.

You are going to plead not guilty and do you know why?

Do you know why? Sarah.

You wanna go ahead and sacrifice yourself, go ahead, -but you're not gonna sacrifice her. -What right do you have telling me what I should or should not do?

If you're in jail, what's gonna happen to her?

What right do you have to judge me?

Don't you think she misses her son?

When my son was born...

he was so small, I held in one hand.

This hand.

This hand.

And he looked up into my face and he smiled.

And I thought that this... this is what I was born for.

To be this boy's father.

What about being a husband?

Your wife... she's lost her son.

And now she's gonna lose her husband.

You are her husband.

My wife...

I never...

It's not that I didn't love her, I loved her, Mr. Bleakie.

It's just that being in love and having a successful marriage are two different things, entirely.

I knew how to be a father.

I didn't know how to be a husband.

Mr. Bleakie, please understand, we go through life.

We have our losses.

And then we all suffer losses.

We all... pray for the same thing.

That we don't suffer the loss that we cannot put behind us.

What happened to my son...

I can never put it behind me.

I wanted to die... because I could never put this behind me.

But if this is what God demands...

Works that way.

What do you want me to do?

Roy Bleakie's office. Get me O'Donnell, would you?


Roy Bleakie's office, can you hold please?

I tracked down that cabby that drove Fertig from the hospital.

Uh huh. Yeah.

O'Donnell, line two.

-He's willing to make a statement. -Really?


Yeah. Fertig agreed.

Right, couldn't be better.

I'll call Renoble. Okay.

Hey, now, come on, congratulate me.

I'm gonna be the next D.A.

-Yeah. Look, Roy-- -Hold that thought I gotta run.

I don't see Jack, I don't see him, he's supposed to be here.

Oh, Cass. Hi, Andy, hi.

Andy Havighurst, Roy Bleakie.

-Roy, good to see you. -Monster State planner, -this guy's a genius. -Nice to meet you.

Fucked my ex-wife big time.

Jacob. This is Jacob. Hi, Cass.

-Roy Bleakie. -Jacob Federman.

-Hi, pleasure to see you. -Excuse us.

Senior partner, Federman...

Oh, hi, hey, Maira, Maira. Oh, hello!

Sandy, how are you?

Uh, Maira, this is Roy Bleakie, Maira is president of the Neil Foundation.

-Pleasure. -Yeah.

-Oh. Very nice to meet you. -Nice to see you again. Okay.

-What's the Neil Foundation? -Fuck, I don't know.

Roy, Roy Bleakie!

Thought you'd never get here.

-Come here. -Excuse me one moment.

I want to introduce you to someone. This is...

Roy. This is your night, Roy.


Stop by tomorrow or the next day, we got a lot to talk about.

Mayor just arrived.

Hi. Hi.

Right in here. I wanna show you...


-Can I have a word with you? -Oh, yeah sure, I'm sorry.

I was a friend to your dad, of his own park, democratic club.

If he could only see you tonight... your dad'll be proud, Roy... real proud.

Yeah? Mel, it's Roy. You got time for a walk?


Twenty, 25 years in prison.

How old's her husband now, 51, 52?

When he comes out, do the math, he'll be 75, she'll be 60, 65 years old.

Is that what she wants? She says to me, "What do I have left, I don't want my life to be over." If her husband goes to prison, her life is over. I'm saving her, I'm saving him, I'm the one who's gonna get him off.

People come at to me at parties, they congratulate me. The mayor wants to meet me.

They want to put me up for office. I'm gonna be the fucking D.A.!

I'm gonna be a good D.A.

I'm gonna be a goddamn good D.A.

What's the matter with that?

What is wrong with that?

Nobody said anything's wrong with that.

Sorry to bother you.

A son of a friend died recently, I don't know any prayers, I'm not Jewish.

I've never been very religious.

I'm just here visiting my wife's grave.

She died 15 years ago.

She was the religious one in the family.

I see.

I'd like to help you.

It's right over here.

That's all I can remember.

That's fine.

Thank you. I appreciate it.

Don't forget, you're one o'clock with Dr. Saperstien.

On the Fertig case.


You okay?


Anything I should know?


What happened to you last night?

I went to Elaine's, looked around for you, you never showed up.

The mayor was there, Renoble, -other judges. -I've got an appointment.

Everyone, my friends, colleagues, they all wanted to talk to you.

We've waited for this.


Oh, oh, I get it.

Now the D.A's office is in your hand, you're gonna cut me loose?

What are you saying?

That I had to deliver Fertig... to get to the D.A's office?

Don't do this to me, Roy.

I got a little surprise for you, I just might plead him guilty.

In here, sir.

Glad you could make it.

My God. Ah!

Quite a view, isn't it?


You like that painting?

By Frederic Church, Hudson River School.

Aurora Borealis, 1865.

My wife found it.

She trained as an art historian at Smith.

When she graduated, she spent a year in Florence.

And the Violetta, length, 71 feet.

She was bought as a racer in 1978.

She seemed to beat--

What are you doing in the middle of May?

We're taking a little cruise.

You know Georgian Scarpatacos? He owns the oil tankers.

They'll be coming along, and Patsy Cobert.

And May Wickmey.

Lovely girl, 26.

Just come out of a terrible marriage.

I'm trying to cheer her up.

Maybe you could help us.

Sounds lovely.

This is for you.

-One hundred thousand dollars. -For your campaign... with District Attorney.

I don't think I can accept this.

You're a good man, man of conscience.

Jack, in the Fertig case...

I heard you're considering a guilty plea.

How did you hear that?

Are you sure it's in Fertig's best interest?

That's what he wants.

He's a troubled man.

Did you see this?

The treasure of my collection.

An unpublished essay by Ferro, the only copy in existence.

Took me six months to check out his problems to make sure it was the real thing.

Ever thought of publishing it?

When I bought it, Colombia university contacted me, said I had an obligation to culture-- No! To civilization... to publish it.

To share it.

But I want the only copy.

When I buy something, I expect it to be as advertised.

-Cass O'Donnell assured me that you were-- -The real thing.


You want your money back?

By the way, this check is drawn on your personal account.

When I buy something, it's mine.

Just like Fertig's legal fees.

To do with what I want.

You're planning to plead Fertig guilty.

That's a mistake.

Jack... I don't think you understand.

A mistake for him and a mistake for you.

I'm paying you 100,000 dollars, plus your regular retainer... for Fertig's not guilty plea.

Not guilty... because he's insane.

You said you wanted me to dig up some shit on Renoble.

Here, this guy.

Some reporter was covering Renoble's highway beautification projects.

A pro bono, up near Katonah.

"An internal memo from the reporter to the editor."

I got a friend at The Times.

But that reporter, he wanted to investigate that project, but suddenly he gets too busy.

Some journalism grant, a Nieman fellowship at Harvard.

Renoble has influential friends.

Fertig knows something, Mel.

Something about that project that could hurt Renoble.

And a murder conviction isn't enough to take Fertig as a witness.

So long as he's sane, Fertig's testimony is acceptable.

A Nieman fellow.

Jack Renoble.

Well, I know what most people know about him.

He liked my work at The Times.

You're back at The Times now, right?

-Yeah, editorial. -Did Renoble do that for you too?

H. L. Mencken.


Great newspapermen.

I.F. Stone, they said he couldn't be bought.

-You got a lot of his books here. -He's one of my heroes.

Renoble's highway beautification project.

Route 684, Katonah.

Why did you drop that investigation?

What investigation?

At the paper, they said you were checking the project out.

Right before you got your... Nieman.

You know fellas...

I'm busy.

You got a lot of awards here, God.

"National Writer's Foundation".

American Society of Science Writers. Hmm.

Nothing since your, um...


I mean, Christ! A Nieman.

A guy with your talent... should have held out for at least a Pulitzer.

Get the fuck out of here.

What kind of shit has he gotten into?

What do you wanna know?

I got a tip from a trucker up in...

He owns his own company.

He saw the filth in Renoble's project.

His name is William Defeo.

But you won't get much.

He's half dead.

When was it? A couple, three years back?

Most of my work was local.

For this once, I got a visit from some lawyer.

I guess he was from the city.

Said he represented some company.

Wanted me to move all this field for landscaping.

Company called.

What was it?

Anyway... two weeks they gave us.

I said that's impossible.

They said it don't matter, we'll cover it.

They were willing to pay a lot. A lot of overtime.

I hired extra guys and never asked myself, "What's the hurry?"

I found out the field was contaminated with toxins, pesticides, P.C.B's.

I saw a print out.

Must've been 15, 16 different kinds.

Five guys working for me, that job.

We were grading the field... breathing it in For eager's sake... dying... me too.

Bone cancer.

Zarus group.

That was the company's name.

Coffee's ready.

And guess what?

The highway this field was being used to landscape, it was right through the Croton reservoir.

And there was a contamination in the water, it's not a lot.

Still. When it rains, all that poison runs into the New York city water supply.

The subpoena documents, they shred 'em.

You get soil samples.

And after three years, even if you find toxins, they say somebody else dumped them on the site.

How are you gonna prove Renoble is responsible?


You don't hear it, do you?



No birds, no sounds.

Everything is dead.

Um, there you go.

Who is William Defeo? Mr. Bleakie, why do you--

Who is William Defeo?

Defeo? Katonah?

-The highway beautification project? -Katonah.

What do you about Zarus group?

Zarus group?

I read that on a piece of paper on your desk.

-What were you doing reading my papers? -"Numbers too high." What did that mean?

What were you doing at my desk?

Numbers too high.

An accounting discrepancy, that's all.

It had to do with fill... for some landscaping on a highway.

It should have cost us 340 dollars but truck loading said we were being paid.

Over 5,000 dollars a load.

Probably somebody punched the wrong numbers into a spreadsheet.

Tell me about Zarus group.

-Mr. Bleakie, I don't understand-- -Please.

Zarus group.

One of Renoble's subsidiaries.

-We ran a few projects through it. -The highway beautification project?

-Mm-hmm. -What else?

Alternate energy.


What else?

Well, uh, Renoble wanted me to do a... feasibility study for a filtration plant.

To filter the city's water supply.

If the city water degrades any further, the federal government mandates filtration.

They don't filter now?

No, they only treat the water.

-They don't filtrate. -Why not?

We don't need it.

It's an extreme measure.

Eight billion dollars to build a system.

Eight billion!

And 500 million a year to operate.

And you would get that contract?

We're the only ones big enough.

And Renoble and the mayor are friends.

So, if the water supply degrades enough, the city is mandated to spend eight billion dollars in contract?

For starters.


You really don't know, do you?

You really don't know.

Let's go.

What's this?

Your suicide note.

To Sarah.

They found it in your cell. They gave it to me.

I didn't give it to her, because if I had...

You all right?

It was what you told me.

People think it's hard to do the right thing.

It's not hard to do the right thing.

It's hard to know what the right thing is.

And once you know...

Once you know... once you know what is right, then it's hard not to do it.

I slept with your wife.

I know.

She told me.

A good man is not without sin.

He admits.

And expiates... his sin.

I need you to do something for me.

What do you want?

All my life I've been certain... that what I've done...

I've been sure that I've done what I had to do.

I guess in some ways I'm like your husband.

In some ways.

I can't help you.

Sometimes in life we want something, we want it so badly.

And we don't get it.

And we get something else instead, we find out that...

-that's what we needed all along. -You better go.

You have to go.

All rise.

Court is in session. The honorable, Seth Dunbar, presiding.

People of the State of New York versus Harry Fertig.

Indictment number 2814-99.

Charges, murder in the second degree.

Mr. Prosecutor, are you ready to proceed to a disposition?

Yes, Your Honor.

Application, counselor.

Your Honor, at this time my client has authorized me to enter a plea of guilty to three counts of murder in the second degree.

Do you understand that a plea of guilty is the same as a conviction after trial?

Yes, I do.

And you are charged to three counts of murder in the second degree.

In at, um, November the third.

With intent to cause the deaths of Mason Gillett, Jeannine Carrounbois, and Eric Malabar, you caused their deaths.

Are these charges true?

Yes, they are, Your Honor.

All right. We will now adjourn this matter for a period of two weeks for pre-sentencing investigation.

Your Honor... my client wishes to waive the pre-sentencing investigation.

Defendant is ready for sentencing?

Your Honor, defense council is free to argue anything he wants

-about sentencing, but... -Your Honor.

...these are horrendous murders for which there can be no rational justification.

-Your Honor. -The defense may try to claim that--

Why don't we hear what the defense has to say, before you object to it.

-Proceed. -Thank you, Your Honor.

Your Honor, my client would like to make a statement.

Wouldn't you rather wait?

Up until this time, you apparently haven't gotten into any trouble.

Maybe the pre-sentencing report, testimony of neighbors, fellow workers, could help you reduce your sentence.

I would like to make a statement.


Your Honor, I killed Dr. Mason Gillett, Jeannine Carrounbois and Eric Malabar.

I killed them because they...

they would not help my son, they were too busy.

They didn't care.

I killed them to show the world that they must care.

I know...

What I did was a crime. No, worse than a crime, it was a sin against...



God's law.

Pick up any children's Bible like the one I used to read to Stevie.

Remember... how I'd sit on his bed... and read from his children's Bible? Mr. Fertig.

Because I wanted him to grow up to be a good man.

A good man! May the defendant please rise.

-Stevie, my son. -Please get up, Mr. Fertig!

And in his children's Bible, remember, Sarah, there were pictures of God... Mr. Fertig.

...making the heavens, parting the waters.

God, an old man, a wife... with a white beard.

Let's go, sir. Make no images.

Remember, a Sabbath?

Honor by father and mother.

Honor by mother. Remove the defendant.

"Thou shall not commit adultery, thou shall not steal, thou shall not bear a false witness"!

Thou shall not commit...

Thou shall not kill.

Thou shall not kill!"

Forgive me, Sarah!

We will adjourn till two o'clock this afternoon for sentencing.

I don't know what to say.

You were magnificent!

You don't say he's crazy, you show he's crazy!

He pleads guilty but he's crazy.

It had me worried.

Now what we do is bring in our psychiatrist to testify.

It was quite a performance.


Not hungry?

You want me to wrap it up, take it home?

I'm fine.

Followed by a shocking scene in court today, when Harry Fertig, the former chief financial officer of Renoble Enterprises, and the defendant in the Clement Hospital murders, of Dr. Mason Gillett, Jeannine Carrounbois, the nurse and Eric Malabar, a clerk, bowed down in court today, falling to his knees and sobbing in front of his wife, as court...


And the toxins seeped into the reservoir so that Washington would mandate filtration.

He'd put eight billion dollars into his pocket initially and then 500 million dollars a year... to run the plant.

Why are you telling me this?

You just handed me the election.

Renoble belongs in jail.

Everything you need to prosecute is in here.

Is the defendant ready for sentencing?

You Honor, I have a statement. Proceed.

Thank you, Your Honor.

As you can tell from this morning's session, my client is distraught with grief.

He loved his son.

It's clear.

He loved his son.

And he talked about his crime.

Crime is a matter of legality.

Something against the law.

Against... human law.

Get a good enough lawyer and you can escape punishment.

I've been a lawyer for a few years now... invariably doing a case...

I end up teaching my client something about the law, small "l".

As a New York state law.

This case has been different, however, in that, I had the opportunity to learn about the law from a client.

Law with a capital "L".

As God's law.

God's law.

The best lawyer in the world, who can't get you off, plead you down.

Cut a deal.

Very often in our work, we satisfy the letter of the Law.

Man's law, but not the spirit of a law.

God's law.

This case provides us with the unique opportunity... these two ideas to come together.

Isn't it odd... that people who want to tell the truth during these proceedings are often viewed as insane.

Usually when someone is arrested for murder, the first thing we expect him to do is to deny it.

We plead insanity.

Anything, but the claimed responsibility would've tell the truth.

My client wants to tell the truth.

He says I shot three people, Gillett, Carrounbois, Malabar, I shot them willfully and deliberately.

I shot them because they killed through their neglect.

My client says... that if you wanna hold the power of life and death in your hand, if you choose to be a doctor or a nurse, if you choose that terrible obligation, you must be responsible.

That's what my client believes.

That's why he killed them.

And he admits it, admits he killed them.

And the moment he says that, the moment he tells the truth, everybody jumps back and says, "Woah, he is crazy!"

He tells the truth, he must be crazy.

By pleading insanity, you claim you're crazy, by telling the truth, you prove it.

-Objection. -Overruled.

Let me take this a step further.

Do I look crazy to you?

What if I would've tell you that I was hired to defend my client in order to persuade him to plead insanity so that any subsequent testimony he might give in the courtroom would be tainted-- Objection, Your Honor!

By his insanity plead!


And what if I told you that if I succeeded and he pleaded insanity, certain people would help me to advance my career to become D.A. Objection!

Counsel... approach to bench.

Your Honor, the defense counsel has already demonstrated that one of the people at his table is insane.

Is he going for two out of three?

Counselor... you seemed to be headed down a... an uncertain path.

Will it take you where you wanna go?

Yes, Your Honor.

Objection overruled.

Thank you, Your Honor.

Your Honor, this afternoon...

District Attorney, Elliot Cunningham will file charges against Jack Renoble, Renoble Enterprises, and Zarus group of Renoble subsidiary in State Supreme Court, under article 71-2714 of the environmental conservation law, "Endangering public health, safety or the environment in the first degree, a criminal charge, a class-C felony, that carries within a sentence of four-and-a-half to 15 years in prison."

My client Harry Fertig will be called upon to testify that case.

Something that certain people have gone to great lengths to prevent.

And because no matter how distraught my client has appeared, he is not insane, his testimony will be valid.

My client knows the difference between right and wrong.

Understands the consequences of his acts and is prepared to pay for his crimes.

As all of us should be prepared to pay for ours.

Thank you.

Please stand.

The court finds you to guilty of all charges.

And sentences you to 25 years to life.

This court is adjourned.

Thank you.


I wanna talk to you! Hey!

Schmuck. Bleakie!

Do you plan to appeal?

Why didn't you cut the plea?

You all right?


Why did you do it?

It's the one thing I couldn't put behind me.

I'll see you.