The Life of David Gale (2003) Script


Stop, please!

In a related story, the high court had also refused to stay Friday's execution of former philosophy professor David Gale.

Gale had sought a review of his 1994 conviction for the rape and murder of his University of Austin colleague, Constance Harraway.

The case has received nationwide media attention because Gale and Harraway were activists for Death Watch, a nonprofit abolitionist organization.

Do you understand how much money taxpayers pay in Texas to put one person to death?

- What do we want? No more executions!

Governor, can't we all admit the capital punishment system in this country is not working?

They're not going to stay Gale. It's on TV right now. Listen.

Defense lawyers had hoped to argue that Gale's former activism against capital punishment unduly prejudiced the Texas judicial system.

The deal was Bitsey would get the interview if the stay was refused.

He'll talk to her for two hours a day, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Can't do Friday. No.

Friday's the day they execute him.

The lawyer said only Bitsey.

Gale's going down. Shh!

Only Bitsey means only Bitsey.

I don't get to make the rules, Joe.

Please, I'm a fat black woman.

What we need is to put her on a plane to Texas.

Why do you get like that around legal?

Hold on, we're coming over.

What's this "Only Bitsey means only Bitsey" stuff?

They asked for you, and no substitutes.

Who's they, exactly? Gale's lawyers.

More exactly, Gale's lawyer. Some good old boy in Austin.

Why do they want me?

You don't want the assignment?

I'm not saying that.

I can't see why a guy about to be executed should suddenly ask for me.

Maybe they liked your kiddie porn piece, and going to jail.

Maybe he saw your picture and thinks you're cute.

So how much access do I get?

Three interviews. No time for more.

By Friday, the guy's a goner.

What exactly is our story?

Rape, murder, death row.

Very intelligent guy. Maybe he's even innocent.

Yeah, right.

No, tell him I'll call him back. Thanks.

So what's your problem?

Hi, Barbara. Morning, Bitsey. Okay, here's my concern.

Setting aside the cost issue, although $500,000 in cash for three days of interviews is not only illegal, it's obscene.

That's market value. The guy's never talked.

Aside from that, I, we are still uncomfortable with the arrangement.


You just spent a very public seven days in jail for a very public contempt-of-court citation.

For protecting sources. If you were uncomfortable with the story, why did you slap it on the domestic and international covers?

What makes us uncomfortable is that a rapist/murderer has asked to spend the last three days of his life giving an interview, his very first, to a reporter who is now famous for protecting sexual deviants.

A reporter who is also a very attractive woman.

This is disparate treatment.

Oh, boy.

I could go if I were an ugly guy?

The agenda issue would be diffused with the presence of a male.

I hear lawyers gleefully saying, "Bloom versus News Magazine Inc."

"Your Honor, I started to notice my assignments

"were being determined on the basis of my sex."

You've got to let her go now.

That's not what I meant.

He's got to let you go.

All right. Enough.

But the intern will be with you at all times.

What? Intern.

No, you've got to be kidding. That's what he said.

He's a jerk. He's the boss.

Not an intern. I always work alone.

Not this time, Bitsey.

I'm not baby-sitting.

Gale's DNA was everywhere. His semen was inside her.

He was seen leaving her house.

His prints were all over the kitchen, including one on the bag.

Half a thumbprint.

Half a thumbprint. That's enough.

He could've touched it before it was a murder weapon.

You fondle your friends' garbage bags?

Yeah, I get very touchy around household plastics.

I'm particularly fond of Tupperware.


I'm just saying the bag could've been sitting on the counter.

He did it. Now he's going to die. And you know something?

Maybe that's exactly what he deserves.

But the murder's way too fucking clumsy.

This guy is an intellectual. Top of his Harvard class, Rhodes Scholar, tenured at 27, two books published.

He's an academic stud.

Look at his wife. A regular Grace Kelly.

Old money svelte. Father was ambassador to Spain.

Shit! The light's on again.

Ignore it, it's a rental.

Do you smell anything?

The guy's a flaming Liberal.

A person's politics has nothing to do with his tendency to commit crime.


Shouldn't it smell if it's overheating?

Seventy-three percent of all serial killers vote Republican.

Throw your cigarette out, so we can smell.

You'll stink up the car. Throw it out.

I'm not going to fucking pollute.

There's definitely something wrong with this car.

This is so irritating.

How far to Huntsville?

I'm going to pull off.

"News Magazine reporters Bitsey Bloom and Zack Stemmons

"entered the rest area with car troubles.

"Little did they know it wasn't

"just their car that was in trouble."

I'm a reporter. You're an intern.


Is it hot?

Jesus, yes! Isn't it always?

What do I do?

Call the office and get the rental road service number.

No signal.

God damn it.

I've got to pee.




Morning. Hi.

A little early for that, isn't it?

The nonsmoking section's over there.

I meant the book.

Dialogical Exhaustion by David Gale.

The guy's a genius.

What time is it?

9:15 a.m.

There are 10 prisons around here.

Death row is in the Ellis unit, but they're moving it to the Terrell unit at the end of the year.

The waitress's boyfriend works there.

Her last boyfriend worked in the Huntsville unit.

The two before that in Walker.

The Estelle unit has the cutest guys.

And I'm quoting, "My butt's too big to get an Estelle guy."

Ellis is 15 minutes out of town.

We've got five and a half hours.

Never eat in a place where the menus have pictures of the food.

We should drive into Austin. Check out the crime scene.

That could be some great stuff for our story.

This isn't our story. It's not even a story. It's an interview.

Most importantly for you to remember, it's my interview.

What do I do for the next five hours?

Drive around. Look for a decent restaurant.

Your reputation as Mike Wallace with PMS doesn't do you justice.

My reputation got us invited here.

I play by the rules, even if my colleagues don't like it.

It's called... Ambition?


What can I get you, ma'am?

Just coffee.

Don't push me, smart ass.

You know you're in the Bible belt when there are more churches than Starbucks.

When there are more prisons than Starbucks.

He's ready for y'all now.

Yes, I am.

I'm not gonna debate with you the rights and wrongs of the situation.

Our job is to run the state prison system.

This is not France. This is not Germany. This is Texas.

And we're gonna follow Texas law.

You're very welcome, ma'am. Goodbye, now.

Thank you, Margie.

Correspondents Bloom and Stevens, I presume?

Yes, hello.


Sorry. Won't happen again.

I'm Duke Grover, TDCJ, Community Relations.

He's usually real good with names.

And these days I always like to ask do you prefer Miss, Mrs., or Ms.?


Bitsey it is.

Margie, I'm stealing your guests.


You ever been in a prison? Yes.

On death row? No.

ID's again, please.

All executions in the state of Texas occur at the Huntsville unit.

But death row is here for the time being.

This is home to all 442 offenders prior to their date.

Average stay on the row is nine years.

Some get commuted, but most get put to death.

It'll put you off your supper, but then, it's supposed to.

New York guests for Mr. Gale.

Can I get your bags?

We have three concerns here, safety, safety, and safety.

The visitation area is entirely secure.

We just ask that you don't touch the glass.

Windex gets expensive.

You're not carrying a weapon, are you, Bitsey?

Sorry. No.

Mr. Stemmons, you packing?

No, sir.

Cell phone?

They're not working.

Then you won't mind leaving them here.

We also have rules against the carrying of large sums of cash and the wearing of open-toed shoes.

Those will do just fine. You want to step on through now?

There you go.

Thank you, ma'am.

That's right.

Open-toed shoes?

Drives them crazy.

Your turn, Mr. Stemmons. Right on through there.


Should anything unpleasant occur in the visitation area, we ask you to stay put.

Please follow the instructions of our fine correctional officers should they see fit to give you any.

Anything you say can be overheard.

Any discussion of criminal activity on your part is admissible.

You're not planning on a jailbreak, are you?

The rain seems to be holding off.

You watch your step here. This cement can get pretty slippery.

This is our Japanese garden.

We ask you not to throw coins in the pond.

Right this way. Almost there.

Here we are. This is our visitation area right here.

All yours, Mr. Belyeu.

That's it for me. You folks have a safe visit.

Thank you. Bye now.

Ms. Bloom? Yes.

Come right on in here and make yourself comfortable.

Did that PR man validate your parking?

He said the gift shop would do it.

She's a smart one.

Braxton Belyeu, Mr. Gale's attorney.

This is Zack Stemmons.

My good pleasure.

And right over here, we have the man of the hour.


Hello. Hi.

Sit down, Gale. Prisoner will not stand.

Why can't they turn that thing down?

My lawyer respectfully requests that you adjust the volume on the speaker system.

Gale, sit down.

They're practicing being cruel and unusual.

I'm sure you're biting at the bit.

It is our understanding that you are to have three two-hour sessions.

Today, tomorrow, and Thursday.

All at 3:00 p.m.

I'm sorry we can't afford you more time.

But contrary to popular rumor, we have not yet begun to fight.

It is our understanding that you will do this alone.

The magazine would prefer that... Alone.


Also, you'll use no recording equipment of any kind.

Correct. Excellent.

I have a few papers for which I need your Jo Anne Hancock.

So if you'd stop by my Austin office at your earliest convenience.

Thursday morning, say?

Expenses and so forth.

Fine. Till Thursday, then. Good luck.

I'll stop by later.

What say you and me partake of a death-defying cigarette in the visitors' parking lot?

Bye-bye, y'all.


Please pull up a seat.

He's quite a character.


He's about the only outside contact I have now.

And a good friend.

Where's your ex-wife?

I don't want you to ask me questions about her or my son.

What I offer you is one thing.

Questions about them are not part of our deal.


Just say, "Off the record," and I'll take it to my grave.

You can trust me on that.

Does this count as recording equipment?

How do we start?

We start with you telling me what I'm doing here.

No one who looks through that glass sees a person.

They see a crime.

I'm not David Gale. I'm a murderer and a rapist.

Four days shy of his execution.

You're here because I want to be remembered as much for howl led my life and the decisions that I made as for how my life ended.

Why me?

Why not?

You've spent some time behind bars yourself recently.

I certainly have.

Because you do take things to your grave.

Protecting sources, even kiddie porn scum, is the magazine policy and mine. I know.

That's your reputation.

I have a hard story for you to tell, Miss Bloom.

It's not going to be easy.

Where do we begin?

I should tell you how I became Head of Philosophy at the University of Austin.

Come on, think.

I want you to reach back into those minds.

And tell me, tell us all, what is it that you fantasize about?

World peace?

Thought so.

Do you fantasize about international fame?

Do you fantasize about winning a Pulitzer Prize?

Or a Nobel Peace Prize?

An MTV Music Award?

Do you fantasize about meeting some genius hunk ostensibly bad, but secretly simmering with noble passion and willing to sleep on the wet spot?

I'll take two! What was that?

I'll take two!

Kimberley will take two.

You get Lacan's point.

Fantasies have to be unrealistic.

Because the moment, the second that you get what you seek, you don't, you can't want it anymore.

In order to continue to exist, desire must have its objects perpetually absent.

It's not the "it" that you want, it's the fantasy of "it."

Desire supports crazy fantasies.


This is what Pascal means when he says that we are only truly happy when daydreaming about future happiness.

It came today.

Or why we say, "The hunt is sweeter than the kill."

Or, "Be careful what you wish for."

Not because you'll get it, because you're doomed not to want it once you do.

So the lesson of Lacan is living by your wants will never make you happy.

What it means to be fully human is to strive to live by ideas and ideals.

Not to measure your life by what you've attained in terms of your desires but those moments of integrity, compassion, rationality, even self-sacrifice.

Because in the end, the only way we can measure the significance of our own lives is by valuing the lives of others.

All right, I'll see you all on Monday.

Sorry about being late.

There was, you know, a thing.

There usually is, Berlin.

I know that I'm not doing too well.

And to torture a cliché,

I would do anything to pass.



Okay, Berlin.

I will give you a very good grade if you would just


The TA's transcribed the Governor's radio and TV comments.

Listen to this gem.

"Journalist, 'Governor, don't you think

"'three executions in one week is excessive?'

"Governor, 'I say bring 'em in, strap 'em down, and let's rock and roll."'

It's good that our governor's in touch with his inner frat boy.

Will you tell me why you're not doing this debate?

Telegenics. You have a cuter butt.

I hadn't noticed. I know.

I didn't mean that.

I've highlighted some stuff.

He'll do the whole down-home wisdom thing.

"Capital punishment is God's law," "An eye for an eye" and all.

Stick to arguments about rational facts and watch your ego.

Don't come across as, "I hate authority because everyone here wears big hats, "and nobody in charge reads The New Yorker."

Anything else?

I'm getting new stats from Amnesty tonight.

Bring them by Greer's party.

I have papers to grade.

If you have a hangover tomorrow...

I'm walking away.

10:00 a.m.

Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed!


Hey, Jamie. Did you mark your calendar yet?

I sure did.

One, two, three, four more days until Mom comes home.

Only four more days? That's great news.

Can I ask you something? It's really important.

Of course you can.

Can we have pancakes for breakfast?

With syrup and strawberries?

We'll have to see.

And chocolate shavers?

No, it's chocolate shavings.

And whipped cream?

Whipped cream?

That's a lot of requests for one little boy.

Why don't you go to sleep?

Do Cloud Dog, too.

Good night, Cloud Dog.

There you go.

You go to sleep.

Good night.

Don't forget to feed the fish.


Don't forget to feed the fish.


I'll be back before midnight.

Here's the number if you have to reach me.

There's chicken in the refrigerator, if you want some.

That's fine. Maybe I'll fix myself something later.

Bye. Bye.

Dad, did you feed the fish?

Yes, I did. Now go to sleep.

He's the Immanuel Kant of the NFL.

He's consistent, accurate, effective, and let's not forget boring.

He is boring.

If you want boring, read William Bennett's Book of Virtues. I'm still asleep.

Someone wake me up.

John, how are you?

Where's your better half?

My wife? She's in Spain.

Again? I am sorry.

John, have you seen Alma? She's been looking for you.

My wife's affair is just this big, open secret.

Hermeneutical bias.

The only fun truths are the ones someone's trying to hide.

She's been to Barcelona four times this year.

I don't think she's trying to hide anything.

Her father is the ambassador.

Yeah, except the embassy's in Madrid.

By the way, Berlin's here.

Pretty livid. Why?

We've expelled her. She got the letter today.

Took the opportunity to throw a fit in my office.

Talking about me?

As a matter of fact, we were.

Did he tell you I said when you were circumcised they threw away the wrong part?

Yes, he mentioned it.

It's called schmuck. What?

The part of the foreskin they throw away after circumcision.

It think it's called schmuck.

Aren't we so fucking clever.

Perhaps I should get another.

Black Bush.

You were a jerk this afternoon.

I didn't know about the expulsion till just now.

Is that supposed to be an apology?


It's more like a conciliation.

Ross! Ross!

All right.

"As the poets have mournfully sung

"Death takes the innocent young

"The screamingly funny The rolling in money

"And those who are very well hung"

Gale! Gale!

"There once was a lesbian from Cancún.

"Who took a young man up to her room

"Where they argued all night as to who had the right

"To do what and how much and to whom"


I'm spent!

I have no more.

Ross! Ross!

Okay, I'm finished. I'm done.

I'm not a student anymore.

I do not think I want to know what that means.

"There once was a girl named Berlin

"Who liked a bit now and again

"Not now and again

"But now and again

"And again"


Yeah. Very cute.

I have a secret.

But I have to come over there to tell you.



You stay back. ...I come.


You should stay...

I wasn't after the grade.

I don't think this is such a...

Now we can talk, analyze, contemplate.

Or you can put your mouth on my body.

Don't reject me.


Rip them. What?

Rip them off.

No. From behind.

From behind.

Do it hard.


Bite my shoulder.

Thanks for coming, people.

I don't care where you go.

Come on!

All right, you guys, it's time to go home! Good night!

It won't work. That's a faulty argument.

Let's say we found an innocent on death row. What would change?

After the retrial, the Governor would go on TV and say, "See? Thanks to the good people at Deathwatch, the system works."

If we had absolute proof that he had executed an innocent, we could demand a moratorium, like in Illinois.

Are you okay?

Sorry. Yeah.

But that won't happen.

Dead men can't make a case, and almost-martyrs don't count.

Got it. So keep it rational.

And stop that!


Active listening. I hate active listeners.

They're too busy pretending to listen to hear what I'm saying.

I can listen and actively listen at the same time. I'm good at it.

Did you bring the Amnesty stats? Yes.

No. I left them at home.

I have a copy.

You want to tell me what's up?



Something profoundly stupid happened last night.

I hope you used a condom.

Jesus Christ, David.

Was she one of yours?

It was Berlin.


That's great.

I can hear the grapevine, "They suspended her so Gale could

"dick her with a clear conscience.

"A power differential equals coercion."

That is great. You're so weak.

You're not my wife, Constance. Thank God.

Don't worry, it's not a position I aspire to. So fuck you!

I didn't mean it that way. Are you okay?

Really? Yes! Let's go.

There are 17,000 murders a year in the United States.

Ten states that have abolished the death penalty have a murder rate lower than the national average.

If he starts with the religious stuff, just say that nearly every denomination in the U.S. opposes the death penalty.

Are you listening? Yes.

All right, 10 seconds.

Count them in, Mac.

Five, four...

Welcome back to Batter's Box.

We continue our special four-part program with Governor Hardin.

And arguing capital punishment with him is deathwatch regional co-director, Professor David Gale.

You are up, Governor.

I always say the same thing and I'm gonna keep on saying it.

I hate killing, and my administration will kill to stop it.

How about it?

Murderers are not deterred by the thought of execution.

You know it. Every single study done on the subject, and there's been over 200, you've read them, has reached the same conclusion.

Maybe you should read your Bible.

Deuteronomy: 19:21. "An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth."

What did Gandhi say about that?

"The old law of an eye for an eye leaves us all blind."

I'm sorry, and with respect, that's fuzzy liberal thinking.

You believe that? Of course.

Interesting, 'cause you said it in a speech in your first campaign.

He got you there, Governor. How about it?

Yes, he did.

"If you're not a Liberal at 30, you've got no heart.

"If you're still a Liberal at 40, you've got no brain."

That's Winston Churchill.


What you're essentially saying is, and this is to choose another quote, "A healthy society must stop at nothing to cleanse itself of evil."

Yes, I'd have to agree.

Did I say that, too? No, sir. That was Hitler.

Governor, can't we all just admit the capital punishment system in this country is not working?

We are condemning people to death based on phony expert testimony on junk science, on jailhouse snitches.

Did you know Texas has the highest per capita incarceration rate in the world, including in China?

Forty-three people, Governor, that you executed were represented by lawyers at one time disbarred or sanctioned.

There are two men on death row right now, on this day, whose lawyers fell asleep during their cross-examination.

I'm not a lawyer.

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled that it was not a basis for a retrial.

Governor, that's just a flawed, insane, crazy system.

And a flawed system will kill innocent men!

All right. Let him answer.

All right, we'll play your game.

Name one.

Name one innocent man that Texas has put to death during my tenure.

Of the 100 or so executions...

That's 131, in case you've lost count.

Let him finish.

Fine. Whatever.

Just give me a name. I'm gonna write it down.

A man that you can prove was innocent, and I'll call a moratorium.

Mr. Gale?

Are we through here, Alan?

We're running out of time.

I'd like to thank my guests, Governor Hardin and Professor Gale from deathwatch.

Roll credits.

I hope you will join me tomorrow.

Your exact words were, "Tell me when my ego's getting in the way of the work."

Now I'm telling you.

I didn't want to do this.

You put up two seconds of protest at the thought of being on a TV debate.

What does that mean?

Deathwatch suffers because you're so anxious to finger authority to publicly prove David Gale is smarter than the powers that be.

Work without an audience. Try squeezing money from the donor list.

Have you licked a single mail-out envelope?

Mr. Gale?

The Governor went that way.

Ramirez. Austin Police. This is Officer Hasermann.

Is debating the Governor a crime now?

No, sir. Rape is.

Berlin had my bite marks...

Gale, time's up. bruises, her clothes were ripped.

My skin was found under her fingernails.

It didn't look like anything but rape.

Then she drops charges and leaves town, making it look like I was guilty, and she was too traumatized to face trial.

My wife read all this sitting in the airport wondering where I was.

Why I wasn't there to pick her up.

Took me almost two weeks to get bailed out.

And the grad student, Berlin? Why do you think she did it?

To poke her finger at authority.

Show the powers that be how much smarter she was.

Grad student's revenge. I don't really know.

Know where I can find her? No.

First year I was in here I got a postcard from San Francisco.

It was signed, "From the student who would do anything."

Did she say anything else?

"I'm sorrier than you can know."

Move it, Gale.

I'm running out of time.

Can you imagine his wife letting him stew in jail for two weeks?

Who can blame her?

Get an address for the Berlin girl from the university.

Still don't think he's telling the truth?

On the Berlin rap? On the whole rap.

Who knows? Anyway, there is no truth, only perspectives.

If you say there's no truth, you're claiming it's true there's no truth.

It's a logical contradiction.

Working on our philosophy merit badge?

With rape, an accusation is as good as a conviction.

It sticks like shit.

That's an appetizing metaphor.

Technically a simile.

I think he's telling the truth.

This you know from sitting in the prison lobby?

It's just my perspective.

Three different courts found him guilty.

That's enough perspective for me.

What? 330... What?




3307. Right there.

Jesus, look at the sign.

Hi. I'm Bitsey Bloom. This is Zack Stemmons.

You want the tour?

There's a $20 mandatory donation apiece.

You get a re-enactment photo packet. It's got five pictures.

Okay. I got to collect first.


I got it.

Got to sign the book. It doesn't have to be your real name.

It says you're here to do research on violent crime.

State requires it for nonprofit shit.

Take a re-enactment photo packet.

If you guys could share one, it would be cool.

The fuckers that do my prints jerk my chain.

That's me. My boyfriend took it.

We also got a video.

It's $50 'cause you can see my tits.

There's a version without tits. It's $35.

Do many people take the tour?

Not so much anymore.

We thought it would be a busy week with Gale getting the prune juice.

So you don't mind living here?

It's better than living with my dickwad parents.

It starts over here.

She let him crash here sometimes.

He was constantly wasted.

Exhibit one.

He drank Scotch religiously.

The rest is in the kitchen.

Here's number two.

This is where the tripod was.

My boyfriend borrowed the one we usually show to folks.

They never found a camera, or photos, a video or anything.

Gale must have buried them.

These serial killer dudes take photos to whack off to later.

He's not exactly a serial killer.


She was totally naked, right here.

The meter man saw her through the door.

Gale handcuffed her, taped her mouth, then taped a bag over her head so she couldn't breathe.

He used housewife gloves so he wouldn't leave prints.

They found sticky stuff from the tape on them.

We ask folks not to touch the exhibit.

The totally sick part is where they found the key to the handcuffs.

We know.

Wait. What? Where was it?

It was in her stomach, dude.

Gale made her swallow it before he bagged her.

That's pretty much the highlights.

Got questions?

I can still smell he cigarette smoke.

It's the barbecue!

Can you imagine?

That key was in her stomach.

That's so fucking cold, man.

Zack? What?

Isn't that the cowboy from the rest area?

The same truck.

Weird coincidence?

Coincidences are always weird. That's why they're coincidences.

Off the record.

Okay. We're off.

Constance was murdered by what's known as the Securitat Method.

You're handcuffed, forced to swallow the key, your mouth is taped, a bag is sealed around your head, and you're left to suffocate.

The Securitat did it to Romanians when they wouldn't inform or confess.

Sometimes the bag was ripped off to give you a second chance.

Otherwise, you died knowing that the key to your freedom was inside of you the entire time.

It's a cheap but effective method.

The problem is

I once mentioned it in an article that I wrote.

Prosecution never knew that.

Someone's framing you?

It's more than that.

There was a tripod.


Facing her body.

Are we back on the record? Yes.

The tripod had no fingerprints on it.

That means somebody brought it there, set it up, wiped it clean, and left it.


It's as if they wanted me to know that somewhere out there is a record of exactly what happened that afternoon.

As if they wanted me to die knowing that the key to my freedom is out there somewhere.

Maybe you're being paranoid.

I used to be the state's leading death penalty abolitionist.

Now I'm on death row! Doesn't that strike you as a little odd?

Any idea who "they" are?

No, but I've got someone working on that.

Someone I'm relying on to prove my innocence.

Belyeu has hired a detective?

A journalist.

She has to help me.

You know I'm innocent.


No, I don't.

Wear me like a fur, Daddy.

Okay, who's your hero?

All right, you go get Cloud Dog.

Hey, Cloud Dog!

Cali me when you land.

Has any couple ever really survived a trial separation?

Isn't it contrary to the idea of trying to work things out?


Get in, sweetie.

See you later, alligator.

After a while, crocodile.

Take it easy, Japa-nee-zee.

Okey-dokey, artichokey.



I sent you an e-mail.

An e-mail?

Just read it.

Come on, sweetie.

Just read it.

You could at least hide the bottle.


Officially, you're on sabbatical.

Unofficially, they want you out of here.

It was four to two.

How did Ross vote?

I'm not supposed to...

Against you.

And you?

For you.

And against my politics.


Madam, atención.

My name is David Gale.

I have phoned before, yes?


What? No, never mind.

Can you please get Sharon Gale?

Yes, Miss Gale!


I wanted to hear your feedback on the idea.

Look, Professor Gale, I could sit here like others have, and plead departmental cutbacks, claim you need more publications, I need a minority.


All bull-geschichte.

Your record's brilliant.

You're an original voice, worth, in today's scarcity-defines-value, capitalist system under which we toil, your weight in gold.

Hell, it's not even your alcohol problem.

It would be nice to have a faculty member whose crutch wasn't Prozac.

But to speak plain, if I were to hire you, in the eyes of the regents, the alumni, and every freshman with an ear for gossip, I'd be hiring a rapist.

Those charges were dropped.

People would say you had a good lawyer.

I was innocent.

You don't get it, do you?

You're not politically correct.

Welcome to the club.

Socrates is sentenced to death.

I bet you didn't know that. He was sentenced to death.

But Athenian law let the condemned come up with their own alternate punishment.

Isn't that a great idea?

Where are the Athenians when you really need them?

So anyway, Socrates...

And he was ugly. Did I mention that?

Did I mention that Socrates was ugly?

Socrates was ugly, Plato was fat, and Aristotle was a prissy dresser.

So anyway, Socrates comes up with this idea.

He says, "What if I pay a fine instead of death?"

He suggests a fine.

All he has to do in order to live is to come up with an appropriately punitive figure.

Guess what he suggested? $30!

Does that make any sense? $30.

That's 30 mina. That was the currency of the day, a mina.

Well, minae.

That's plural. Minae.


Thirty pieces of silver.

And the judges are so pissed that more of them voted to kill him than had voted him guilty in the first place.

That doesn't make any sense.

Thirty pieces of silver.

Just like the Judas guy.

The Jesus-kisser who was also a prissy dresser.

Without a successful completion of an alcohol treatment program, you can forget visitation.

You'll be lucky to get a Christmas card.

That's if there even is a custody hearing.

What does that mean?

If your wife convinces a Spanish court that you're a danger to the child, you'll never see him again.

He just has to come home. He's got to come back.

Pete, can we have another round here?

I'm fine.

I'll just have to go get him then.

Europe's not Mexico, David. They've got real borders over there.

You might be able to get in, but getting out with a 6-year-old?

That's a whole different kettle of crawdads.

You want to see Jamie again?

Then you get your life together.

I'm fine.


Who wants to start?

Hi, my name is David, and I am an alcoholic.

Hi, David.

So, Mr. Gale, tell me three personal qualities that you feel you have that would make you a successful Radio Shed manager.



I'm sorry.

I'm sorry. Welcome back.


You look good. I feel good.

There's something that you've got to see.

Betty Sue Johnson has been rescheduled.

Her execution date is set for the eighth.

I have a call with Washington tonight.

If the national director commits to emergency funds...

She gets commuted and you prove the system works.

But I'll save a life.

Where did you get that bruise?

Just doing chores.

Is your cowboy getting rough with you?

There he is.

Dusty, does she ever invite you over and not put you to work?

All right, tell me her story.

She was sentenced at 17.

I really want to get behind this one. She's so articulate.

Who did she kill?

She'll put a face on the death penalty.

Constance, who did she kill?

A cop.

You're crazy.

Not just your medium-range, thinks- she's-Roosevelt's-bath robe, but I mean stark-raving, screws-loose, in-the-belfry insane!


Four years before she could legally drink a beer.

But she killed a cop, Constance.

Will you help? Of course.

You're burning up.

Hi, Mr. Gale.

How are you? It's good to see...

Caffeine jolt. We deliver.

Howdy, David. Howdy, folks.

Hello. My, this is service. Thank you.

Gladly. Latte on the left there for you, John.

Mocha. Thanks.

She's on the phone to Washington.

Sinclair, new National Director.

I'm sure we can get some pulpit time, maybe some cable.

Cable's good. Listen, I need to run.

I agree the first press release should focus on the woman's youth.

I'll have Washington look into counsel competency.

Though I'm almost sure she's exhausted this on appeal.

See what resources... David's going to go.

I almost forgot. Gale's not around, is he?


Good. Keep it that way.

His relationship with Death Watch is over.

Last thing we need is this rape thing coming back to bite us.

These guys don't stay on the wagon for long.

I'm serious, Constance.

Ban him from the premises. I realize the two of you...


Sharon, pick up the phone. I'm begging you.

He's my son, all right?

He's my son, too, and I want to talk to him.

You've not let... Hello?

Jamie, is that you?

Hey, little moose horn.

I miss you so much. It's Daddy.

Jamie, wait. Don't hang up the phone!

God damn it!


You scared me.

My sheep needs a manager.

A manger.

My sheep needs a manger.

Are you okay?

I fell off the wagon, and I hurt myself.

Come on inside.

Do you know why St. Jude is the patron saint of lost causes?

'Cause his real name was Judas.

Judas! There were two Judases.

Judae, who was the saint guy, and then the other one, Judas, who was the bad one.

He's the one who ratted out Jesus and tried to kiss him.

In medieval times, they would never pray to the good Judas for fear of getting the bad Judas on the line just by mistake.

Ergo, they never really gave him business unless absolutely desperate.

That's why. And then they changed his name.

Your mail is blowing.


Are you the doctor? What's wrong with her?

She'll be fine.

How do you know? Calm down.

She was opening her mail and fell over. I don't know what's wrong.

Please. Is there a doctor?

Wait here.

I have to go with her!

Hold up, Professor!

You want to get arrested again?

How do you know who I am?

I watch the news. Now go wait.

How're we doing? Fine. How's Constance?


A leukemia patient's condition is very susceptible to external stress...


Constance's illness requires a degree of regularity.

Constance has leukemia?

You didn't know?


No, I didn't.

It's funny how selfish we can be, isn't it?

When I first heard Constance was dying, I was so mad at her.

I thought, "How can you do this to me?

"I mean, you know how hard it is for me to need other people."

Why hadn't she told you?

She said she was too busy.

I guess since death was chasing her, she wanted to help other people avoid it.

That's what she did with her life.

Constance left this world a better place than she found it.

It's a small but difficult thing.

Let's go. So, what'd you get?

I talked to the Austin prosecutor. Belyeu's a joke.

Actually, the exact phrase he used was, "Big hat, no cattle."

He was sanctioned twice. What?

Seriously fucked up the penalty phase.

He could have got life on mitigating factors.

Despite major pro bono offers from some of the top lawyers in the country, Gale stuck with him all through the appeals process, which by the way, Belyeu continued to screw up.

So, Belyeu's a joke. Great.

Anything else? Nothing on Berlin.

We pick up the payola money in Houston tonight.


That's what the head office said.

Overheat light came on twice...

Come on.

Oh, man, I never knew $1 million could weigh so much.


It's still heavy.

But $1 million sounds better for our...

Excuse me, your story. $1 million.

No, wait. $1 million in cash.

Just relax, Zack. It's only money.

So you coming in?

Excuse me?

You want to come in?


What? I thought you were into guys with money.


What? It's open.

Well, maybe the maid forgot.


We got to call somebody.


What is that? I don't know.

This is not good.

I'm gonna check the bathroom.

No, Bitsey.

Wait there.

Bitsey! What?

Zack, there could have been prints.


The lady at reception says no one asked for you.

All the keys are different. She and her husband have masters.

What'd you tell her?

You have a jealous boyfriend.

How about the VCR?

She didn't ask.

I think she assumed it had something to do with why he was jealous.

You sure we shouldn't call the cops?

Whoever got in here without a key in broad daylight, was smart enough not to leave prints. I have the remote. Here.

You sure you want to see what's on here?

Try three.

I hope this isn't what I think it is.

Oh, my God.

Is it her?

That's her.

Belyeu said to bring the tape first thing tomorrow.

He also said you were right about not calling the police.

You gonna be all right?

He deserves it though, probably.

There's a lot of sick people in this world, and if they done wrong and found guilty...

All right, let's just say Gale's telling the truth.

Maybe some right-wing fuck set him up, arranged the perfect murder.

Why would you send a magazine journalist proof a few hours before you'd won?

It does not make sense.

No, it's perfect.

Whoever this is knows how hard it is to get a retrial in Texas.

They know the magazine can't give this any substantial play before the execution.

We'd have to give it to a daily or a network. That won't happen.

But mostly, they know I'll tell Gale today.


What if Constance's murder was just a means of getting at Gale?

Not only to get rid of him, but to make abolitionists look crazy.

Of course, he sympathizes with murderers. He is one.

They make sure he sits six years on death row for a brutal rape and murder, then they let him die.

Die knowing everyone will remember him with disgust.

They destroy his life, his work, his memory. And they make him watch.

That's a lot of hate.

Well, then why release it?

Hate's no fun if you keep it to yourself.

We got company.

Who? The cowboy?

And doing a lousy job of hiding.

He must think we're idiots.

Is he gaining?

No. He's just sitting back there.

Get a license plate number.

God, I'm sorry.

He's turned off.

What does this guy want?

Fine. Bobbi, could you make a quick copy of that videotape and bring in Miss Bloom's original when that's done?

I don't blame you for not watching that twice.

I couldn't sleep afterwards.

I understand.

I tell folks I'm no more afraid of the Grim Reaper than I am of a Presbyterian on Mother's Day.

But watching that tape, I had to keep telling myself, "That's not Constance," just to get through.

Unfortunately, others may argue the same.

But it's in her kitchen. In her house.

But currently home to Weirdoes Incorporated.

Arguably, that tape could've been made by anybody with $20 and a tolerance for vulgarity.

Will it get us a postponement?


This ain't my first rodeo, Miss Bloom.

Now, I got to tell you that there's a machine a-running.

And come tomorrow night at 6:00, that machine gonna want to be fed.

All here, Mr. Belyeu.

Thank you, Aaron.

Now, to add to our troubles, your own credibility may come into question.


You've been fraternizing with the condemned.

I've been what? In the court's eyes, he's the most likely candidate to have put you onto that tape.

He's a persuasive man. You're an out-of-state woman.

That don't look good.

Mr. Belyeu, someone put the tape in my room.

That's a fact for which we have no evidence.

Thank you, Bobbi.


Let's not throw a pity party and sit around reading Kafka.

Could be we find a sympathetic judge.

Now, I'll file within the hour.

You going to see Gale? Yeah.

Fine. I'll give you a call over to the motel later with an update.

My coat. Shoot.

What? You saw him?

Who? The cowboy.

He was here?

He's in the lobby! See if his truck's out front. Tail him.

Get a license number. Find out who he is.

Don't screw it. It's important.

But how will you get to the prison?



You're not being straight.

I walk out of Belyeu's office, the guy's in the lobby!

Maybe you should calm down.

Visitor needs to stay seated.

Maybe you should sit down.

His name is Dusty Wright.

He's the local deathwatch director before Constance.

He's a bullhorner.

He's a zealot who thinks that a good demonstration has to end with riots and arrests.

Deathwatch fired him because he punched someone at a rally.

But Constance kept him in the organization.

He adored her. They were close. Real close.

He testified at my trial.

Testified to support you, or to oppose the death penalty?

He testified against me.

Against you?

He testified about the drinking.

Alcohol is a mitigating factor in capital cases.

I always told myself that he did it in some sick way to try to help me get a reduced sentence.

I guess he believes I really killed her.

Dusty's a man easily blinded by hatred.

Maybe he hated you because you were seeing Constance.

I wasn't seeing Constance.

She had your semen inside her.

I know. Look, it's a little more complicated than that.

Respect for life means every life.

When you kill someone, you rob their family.

Not just of a loved one, but of their humanity.

You harden their hearts with hate, you take away their capacity for civilized dispassion, you condemn them to bloodlust.

It's a cruel and horrible thing.

But indulging that hate will never help.

The damage is done.

And once we've had our pound of flesh, we're still hungry.

We leave the death house muttering that lethal injection was just too good for them.

In the end, a civilized society must live with the hard truth.

He who seeks revenge digs two graves.

They're bringing Betty Sues people out.

Thank you, Dusty.

Just look. Look at those losers.

Rednecks, ghetto hustlers, drug addicts, schizophrenics!

They're murderers! And who cares if they die?

Who cares if the cycle just goes on and on?

Hey, did you make it to your meeting today?

Yeah. But I think I have to find one less guru-like.

Did you take your medicine?

Feel better?

You know those stages of Kubler-Ross?

The ones the dying go through?

Anger. Denial.



Depression. Acceptance.

Which one are you? Denial.

Denial's good. That's a good one.

The whole idea of there being a process makes me tired.

I'm not up to the job of dying person.

Marveling at blades of grass, lecturing strangers to relish every moment.

Mending bridges.

Confessing regrets.

What? No regrets?



I take that back.

I wish I'd had a child.

Yeah, so do I.

I'm sorry, David. No.

I guess I just wish I had risked more.

And not enough sex.

I should have had more sex.


How many lovers did you have?

Including college?

Including college.

Sex is really... It's not all it's cracked up to be.

It's so overrated.

You should have had more sex.

You work so hard not to be seen as a sex object.

Before long, you're not seen at all.

I see you.

You want to make it five?

Complete the hand?

What? A pity lay?

No, thanks.

It wouldn't be pity.

Are you okay?

Yeah, don't worry.

No, it's good.

Just talk to me. Let me hear your voice.

I'm here. I'm so happy.

Hold me tight. God, I'm so scared.

It's okay.

No, don't stop. Just...

No, stay in me, please.


I need just to feel you inside.

I'm right here.

I'm so tired.

I'm so tired of being so afraid.

I know. I'm here.

Help me. Please.

Just make it go away.

I'm right here.

I'm not going anywhere.

Can I help you?


I'm leaving. I'm sorry. Thanks.

It was Dusty.

He had a motive. He knew you both. He visited that morning.

If I could answer that for sure, we wouldn't be having this conversation.

It's what I need you for. It's why I chose you.

Now I've told you everything.

But I still don't know.

I need more time.

You'll find time.

You should have done this earlier.

You're not here to save me.

You're here to save my son's memory of his father.

That's all I want.

You're gonna let them kill you?

Bitsey, we spend our whole lives trying to stop death.

Eating, inventing, loving, Praying, fighting, killing.

But what do we really know about death?

Just that nobody comes back.

But there comes a point in life, a moment, when your mind outlives its desires, its obsessions.

When your habits survive your dreams.

And when your losses...

Maybe death is a gift.

You wonder.

That's it.

Let's go, Gale.

All I can tell you is that by this time tomorrow, I'll be dead.

I know when.

I just can't say why.

You have 24 hours to find out.

Goodbye, Bitsey.

Miss Bloom? Yeah.

Thought I'd return your coat. It's getting kind of chilly.

Any news from our video intruder friend?

No. Any word on the appeal?

Denied. Tape went to a federal judge two hours ago.

Now what you got was definitely a snippet.

Could be your video supplier friend has more nasty previews scheduled.

Best you not get into too much sightseeing right now.

Just stick close to your motel room.

How's David? He's holding up.

Gonna be a hard night.

Will you tell him I'll take care of it?

About his son, I mean.

I'll do that.

You staying for the execution?

Then I'll see you tomorrow. Watch yourselves.

Were Dusty Wright and Constance close?

Yeah. Thick as thieves, those two.


Whoa, now.

You're plowing a little too close to the cotton.

That was just a rumor. Nothing more.


Wake up! Did you throw the towel on the floor?

What? This towel was on my bathroom floor.

Did you throw it there?

I guess. What? It's a motel.

Would you do that at home? No.

It's not like we're staying in the frigging Four Seasons.

Come on, get the TV. We're taking it with us.

What are you talking about? Where are we going?

Austin. Get the TV.

All right.

Hold on.

Want to make $100?

What do I got to do?

We're going over the crime scene.

Put the TV on the bed, Zack.

Now, for the next hour, I want you to do exactly what I say when I say to do it. If I say, "Jump," you jump.

You want me to jump? A figure of speech.

Your boyfriend put the tripod back.

He's not my boyfriend anymore.

Still have the video camera? Yes.

Good. Get it. I got to collect first.

Zack, give her the money.

Can you move that stuff off the counter for me?

By the lamp. Yeah, thanks.

Put the gloves on the dish rack.

I don't have a dish rack.

Zack, could you...

Turn them inside out.

Put the duct tape on the floor.

By the stove.

Could you... What's your name?

Nico's fine.

Nico, I want you to lie down facing the counter.

We can imagine that part.

Zack, put her in position.


Move this way.

All right. Now forward.

There. Okay. On her side.

Right. Her top leg out a little.


Now look at this.

She moves her foot.

I noticed this back at the motel.

She moves her foot. Quite deliberately.

And then she's still.

For another 15 seconds she's still.

And then she starts to struggle.

That doesn't make sense. If this was a murder, she'd just be struggling and then she'd be still. She'd be dead.

Maybe she was faking. Hoping he'd go away.


We've got to bag her.

We're going a bit too far here.

I'll do it.

Thank you, Bobbi.

Supreme Court death clerk gave the go-ahead.

Give the keys to Zack and stand over by the tripod.

Wait three minutes before you take the bag off.

I'm not sure about this. It's too dangerous.

Three full minutes. Stand over there with her.

Keep your eyes on your watch.

Twenty-two seconds. She shouldn't be doing this!

Oh, my God.

This isn't cool!

No more experiments, all right?

Just tell me what's going on.

Are you okay?

She did it herself.

She used the gloves to keep her fingerprints off the tape and bag.

Then she put them back on the dish rack.

But upside down and inside out. A housewives' habit.

A murderer would've tossed them aside like you do with a towel in a crap motel.

All right, maybe.

But why wear these?

They threw me. But she needed them.

She knew she would instinctively try to rip the bag off.

And she swallowed the key so she couldn't get to it.

She made sure there was no way out.

Why not hang yourself or take pills? Why take your clothes off?

Why make it look like a murder?

I don't know. It's so calculated.

She's handcuffed, taped at the mouth.

The gloves. The damn tripod.

Why fake your own murder? It doesn't make sense.

The woman's a bleeding-heart abolitionist.

Why frame an innocent man?

Why send Gale to the chair...


She had to know some innocent jerk would take the fall.

Oh, my God, Zack.

That's it.

That's why! To prove it happens!

To have absolute proof that the system convicts innocents.

Get out of here!


That's how she thought.

Think about it! This woman lived for deathwatch!

If she's gonna die anyway, why not die for it?

That's why the tripod was here.

To record proof. Undeniable proof!

That's why we got the video!

A dead woman put the tape in your room?

No, of course not. I mean, she needed help.

Someone to keep it, release it.

Someone dedicated to the cause. Someone she could trust.

What a dump. The guy's a freak.

Dusty's a bullhorner.

A zealot who's OD'd on too many good causes.

You know, the original plan was probably for Dusty to release the tape after Gale's conviction.

You know, after a year or so.

It'd force him to dry out, give him back his dignity.

So Dusty Wright is sitting on this tape, waiting.

And he's the only one who knows about it.

So Dusty starts to think that an erroneous execution is a lot more politically useful than a last-minute save.

Because a last-minute save would only prove the system works.

Almost-martyrs don't count.

Dusty's thinking, "What's one murder if it stops thousands?"

So, he'll release the whole tape only after the execution.

Which means he must have the original somewhere.

What time is it?

It's 4:50.

Bitsey, Jesus.

I want to talk about your tape.

No, meet me down the hill at the gas station in 15 minutes.

So, don't move from the phone.

Call the second you see his pickup. Let it ring once.

Then get into the woods.

I know. Go.

Into the woods, Zack. Go!

Oh, shit.

Details of Gale's last meal were released today... and they included pancakes with maple...

All executions in the state of Texas take place at 6:00 p.m.

Four pancakes! Maple syrup! fresh strawberries... after completion of last words, the injection is administered.

Fresh strawberries, large!

Fresh strawberries. sodium thiopental for sedation purposes.

Reddi-wip whipped cream.

Puts you to sleep... Reddi-wip whipped cream. pancuronium bromide... Chocolate shake. to collapse the diaphragm and lungs.

Potassium chloride to stop the heart.

Chocolate shavings, extra chocolate. and chocolate shavings.

The whole cocktail costs the state of Texas approximately $86. 08 per elimination.


- What do you miss most? Food.

talk to her in horse talk?

Shit. No.


Come on, cowboy, where are you?

At 8:30 p.m., we checked the next hotel on the list.


Come on.



Fuck! He didn't show! Come on!

Please, Bitsey, come on!

Call everyone!

The Governor, the warden, New York, the Supreme Court death clerk!

How far is it? You've got eight minutes, maybe more. Okay, we'll make it.

You can do it. Go!

Shower. Go.

Oh, my God.

Give me the time.

...on that big pileup on...

Give me the goddamn time!

Oh, no. Not now.

Not fucking now.



Stop executions!

Get the fuck out of my spot, all right?

How tight are you?

One, two...

How's my light?

A little shine. Right there. Yeah?

I think he's doing Larry King Live at 8:00.

Can I get some powder?

Opinion polls conducted over the weekend show that 66 percent of all Americans are in favor of the death penalty.

Maybe you can get a shot of the protestors.

You can see over here that they're equally represented.

About 50 percent pro and 50 percent anti-death penalty.

Hi-dee, hi-dee, hi-dee-ho. Time for David Gale to go!

When Cain killed Abel, God cast him out. He didn't kill him.

He raped and killed that poor girl. I think he should die.


They said on TV that he raped her, then he strangled her.

I think he deserves to die.

They stick that thing in his arm, he goes to sleep.

If you ask me, they should use a goddamn pickax.

You're the murderers!

He should die.

A little bitty pinprick...

The state of Texas has executed David Gale.

He was pronounced dead at 6:12 p.m. strapped to the gurney at 6:02 p.m.

David Gale was officially pronounced dead... at 6:12 this evening.

Texas has executed David...

Gale was pronounced... dead at 6:12...

Death was pronounced at 6:12 p.m., at the Walls Prison, Huntsville.

There was no final statement.

Since none of the victim's relatives was in attendance... there will be no statement from the victim's family.

Here's what we know so far. Last night, News Magazine posted on their website a video obtained by reporter Bitsey Bloom.

The footage appears to show...

Constance Harraway committing suicide.

Bloom reports that she received the tape Friday morning in a motel in Huntsville, where she was staying while conducting Gale's last interview.

The tape has been in the possession of former Death Watch employee, Dustin Emil Wright.

As you can see, police have been in and out of his cabin all morning, looking for clues to his whereabouts.

Ever since his 1994 conviction... been on death row, awaiting execution.

Blacks and Latinos are five times more likely to face the death penalty than whites.

A fanatic in the movement to stop the death...

It's all there? actively seeking a Dustin Wright.

It appears Wright withheld a tape to make... a political point about the potential for error in capital punishment cases.

Passport and ticket as well.

Dana, what everyone here is asking...

It's a terrible tragedy. There 'II be an investigation.

I assure you that this man, Dusty, will be caught and shown justice.

Justice, for Christ's sakes! Ever since this world...

The people of Texas are not deterred.

We're behind the death penalty because it works. The system cannot be blamed for the acts of a deranged individual with an ax to grind.

People have been put to death in the name of justice.

Let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater, folks.

Of course, the ultimate irony is that David Gale... a man who became an unwitting martyr... may achieve in death what he worked for... but could not accomplish in life.

This is A.J. Roberts reporting from Bastrop, Texas.

This just came.

"Key to your freedom"?