DECEMBER 14th, 1987 6.22AM
(Mary Beth is putting the final touches to a cake with HARVEY on top of it. Michael comes rushing in. Mary Beth grabs the cake)
MARY BETH: Sweetheart, what are you doing up so early?
MICHAEL: Mum, I'm always the first one up.
MARY BETH: Shut that door.
(she puts the cake back down)
MICHAEL: (having opened a cupboard) Mum, there's no Corn Cherries in there.
MARY BETH: Well, have some Shredded Wheats then.
MICHAEL: That's honey, Mum. (pointing to the cake) Is that cherries?
MARY BETH: Yeah, well he got be eighteen pretty nice, huh? What do you think, Michael? Does that look like your regular, everyday cherry cake?
MICHAEL: Yeah. Mum, I always eat Corn Cherries and there's no Corn Cherries in there.
MARY BETH: I'm sorry. I forgot. (pointing to the cake) Now, Michael, don't you dare tell your brother about the very special, cherry filling that's in there. OK? Don't even mention the cake.
MICHAEL: Don't worry,
MARY BETH: I'm hiding it in a vegetable drawer, all right? Secret?
MICHAEL: Mum, I don't care! I'm starving!
MARY BETH: How about some toast?
MICHAEL: Mum, I want what I want, and that Harvey's stolen them today.
MARY BETH: Oh, sweetheart, it is your brother's eighteenth birthday. It's a kind of milestone. You know, we're making a fuss over him because he's going to be going away to college very soon and we'll miss him very much. And that does not mean (she gives him a kiss) that I love you any less. Any less than I did before.
(the duo walks past a Salvation Army band playing "The First Noel")
MARY BETH: Once upon a time, Christine, thousands of wooden shoes walked along these same streets. Did you know that the early Dutch settlers invented Santa Claus? They renamed St. Nicholas.
CHRISTINE: By order of the State. (to a Santa Claus ringing a bell who she nearly bumps into) Ho, ho, ho to you too, Buster.
MARY BETH: Do you know, Chris, I've keep having this dream where you say to me one day, 'Gee, Mary Beth, what I wouldn't give for a nice, quiet case'.
CHRISTINE: This isn't a case, Mary Beth, it's a joke! Old people. Dinosaurs. Fossils wandering round a retirement home. They probably think TV 's real life.
MARY BETH: Forty-eight hours is a long time to sit in front of a TV.
CHRISTINE: You're right, Mary Beth. They're probably sky diving over the Atlantic, nude. Or I don't know, living it up in a casino.
MARY BETH: (going towards a shop window) Oh, look at this. Look at this!! Look at that little train set. Harve Jr. always wanted a train set.
CHRISTINE: I think he's a little old for that. Maybe a VIA Rail pass.
MARY BETH: Eighteen,. He turns eighteen today.
CHRISTINE: Today?! ...Really?
MARY BETH: Well, we're not doing a big deal, like we did with Alice. It's just family. That means that Muriel is not even going to be there.
CHRISTINE: Oh, sure. Doesn't worry me.
MARY BETH: I would have invited you, Christine, but the way he's been acting recently, I figured you've got more buns in your oven. (Chris stays silent) You hated Alice's party. ...You hate me now, right?
[Retirement home office}
NUNZIO: I don't understand what happened. They disappeared. Kaput! Now I can't figure it out. Ask anybody about it.
MARY BETH: We will, sir. What about the families?
NUNZIO: Well, there was a niece around but I couldn't reach her.
CHRISTINE: That's terrific follow up. You have people disappearing at will here.
NUNZIO: No. Wait a minute! These people are old, OK? They're not criminals. They're not incontinent. They don't drool on themselves. Once in a while they forget to sign out. Their memory's not perfect. How's yours lately?
MARY BETH: You're telling us that Mr. and Mrs. Hoff had not one single complaint. Life was just a bowl of cherries. They were in the peak of health.
NUNZIO: Not exactly.
CHRISTINE: Well, what exactly?
NUNZIO: The usual pet beefs, OK. The Democrats on Capitol Hill. Myrtle's blood pressure. Salt and pickles. Missing jewellery. You get old, you get a little paranoid. You're entitled.
[Retirement home staircase/hallway}
MARY BETH: Everybody has a theory. Late mid-life crisis.
CHRISTINE: Very late.
MARY BETH: Amnesia. Kidnapping. Suicide. Murder.
CHRISTINE: It's a really thrilling detective novel. Do you wanna hear the gem I picked up?
MARY BETH: Sure.
CHRISTINE: (reading from her notebook) 'You can make a deadly poison from geranium leaves'. (in the hallway, Mary Beth points) Well, where we going then? The dungeons?
MARY BETH: No, the housekeeper. Jerry Wickes. According to a Mrs. Ness, he has quote A terribly nice set of buns, unquote.
[Retirement home lounge]
JERRY WICKES: If I were you, I'd just hang a little. They're probably on some tropical beach, engaged in a long, hot kiss.
CHRISTINE: Mr. Wickes.
JERRY WICKES: Jerry.
CHRISTINE: Mr. Wickes. How do you know...
MR. ARNOLD: (reading from "Variety") Would you believe this? Swinger, Sammy Kaiser, dies. The world's worst singer. Huh! No wonder he's dead.
CHRISTINE: (to Jerry Wickes) Did you get a postcard with palm trees on it?
JERRY WICKES: No, not yet. But Mr. Hoff, he's always down at the track. He's quite a man about town. The jury's not still out on those plaid pants though.
MR. ARNOLD: Hey, you start doing medleys, you know your career is in trouble.
MARY BETH: How long have they been married, Mr. Wickes?
JERRY WICKES: I don't know. They've both been married before. You see, they keep the joint jumping. Myrtle, she's always running around, playing canasta, schmoozing with her friends. The older generation. I mean, you really know when it's there.
(Chris decides she's had enough)
[Detectives' Squad room]
MARY BETH: (into phone) Thank you.
(she rings off)
CHRISTINE: What did you get?
MARY BETH: That was the niece. According to her, Mrs. Hoff cancelled dinner plans the same night they disappeared. She never gave a reason.
CHRISTINE: Proves they didn't have a case of sudden amnesia. So we're left with suicide, kidnapping and political assassination.
MARY BETH: Do I know? The out-of-state relatives haven't heard a thing. The Uniforms are still circulating pictures.
CHRISTINE: Have you seen any evidence of foul play? Two empty beds. Big deal.
MARY BETH: (putting her coat on) Christine! Every case is a big deal until we, as professional detectives, find out it simply happened.
CHRISTINE: Fine. That's why I hate these lectures on the dignity of old age. When I start drooling into my slippers, shoot me.
ISBECKI: (coming up) Me. I'm gonna stay young forever.
CHRISTINE: (taking a file from him) Well, thank you, Peter Pan.
CORASSA: (with Esposito who is looking at the file) Personally I'm looking forward to maturity. (asking Mary Beth for the details sheet) Here.
ESPOSITO: Ha! I'm gonna be one of the slickest old dudes in town. Cruising around in my spacemobile. Hitting on all those Martian ships.
COLEMAN: (coming up) You know, if you ask me, you two have overrated all those sweaty palms and simple...
VERNA DEE: My Mum, she's hot. She can dance me off the floor. I can't wait. She's coming for Christmas.
MARY BETH: Oh, that's great. I'd like to meet your mother, Jordan.
VERNA DEE: You know, Christmas ain't Christmas without family.
MARY BETH: You got that right.
(Chris looks sad and then jumps up with a wrapped gift)
CHRISTINE: Hey! Tell Junior I forgot his birthday.
MARY BETH: Chris! What is... How did you...
CHRISTINE: Last week. (to Corassa) She still can't believe he's leaving town.
(Chris leaves with Mary Beth still standing there holding the present with the others looking on)
CHRISTINE: Charlie said that nobody would ever love me. I cheated. Father went crazy. My thoughts are in turmoil as I turn all this stuff over. I said 'God, don't do that, Charlie'. ...And I'm trying, because I want to remember the good parts. I do. When we were pals, you know.
AA LEADER: How are you doing with your faith?
CHRISTINE: I'm not. ...When I was a kid we drove. We'd go riding in the car, and I'd look at his hands on the steering wheel. It sounds dumb, but... They were big and they had... They were full of freckles. And whenever I'd look at them, you know, (clenching er fist) I knew they wouldn't let me down if anything ever happened to me. ...We'd go uptown I'd select a big tree. Every year we'd go. It was just a ceremony, you know. Ever since Charlie died.... Oh, God. With Christmas all around, everywhere. I hate everything more now . Every beard and every red suit on every corner. I want my Dad. It's just not Christmas without him.
[Laceys' dining room]
(Mary Beth, carrying a pile of presents, and Harvey, carrying the cake with eighteen lighted candles on it, come in from the kitchen)
MARY BETH: Ta da!
MARY BETH: Happy
HARVEY JR.: No, don't sing!!!
HARVEY: All right, yeah,...
MARY BETH: Happy birthday, Harvey.
HARVEY: Happy birthday, kid.
MICHAEL: (to Harvey Jr.) Boy, are you bossy.
HARVEY: Come on, blow out the candles.
HARVEY JR.: That's kid's stuff.
HARVEY: Be one.
(he blows out the candles. They all cheer and laugh except Harvey Jr.)
MICHAEL: Are you going to let us eat that?
HARVEY: OK by you? All right!!!
MARY BETH: Christine sent you this present. She wanted to be here. But this year... And there's a couple from us. And your grandmother will give you hers when you see her.
MICHAEL: She doesn't want to be here.
MARY BETH: Michael! This is from Michael. And this is from Alice. Go ahead. Open you baby sisters'. (Harvey takes out a huge coffee mug) Do you like it? It's for all those late night cram sessions at the dormitory. Does it fit your hand?
HARVEY JR.: Yeah. Thanks, Alice.
HARVEY: (giving Michael a present while he sorts the cake out) Here, this is for your brother.
MARY BETH: Go ahead, open the next one. (she lifts Alice so Harvey Jr. can kiss her) Open Christine's first. Come on! You used to go through wrapping paper when you was a kid like it wasn't there. What is It? Open, open, open, open!
HARVEY JR.: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah!
MARY BETH: What did you get?
MARY BETH: (as Harvey Jr. unfolds a huge sweater) Harvey, look what Christine got for Harve Jr.
HARVEY: It's a little big, isn't it?
HARVEY JR.: It's supposed to be. It's pretty OK.
HARVEY: OK, er listen, Michael, why don't you put your sister in the playpen, huh?
MARY BETH: (handing Alice to Michael) Momma take you upstairs in a minute, sweetheart. Thank you. (standing up and closing the kitchen door) It's kind of a little kid's birthday party, huh? I mean, you're eighteen years old. A man really. But all I ever had was little kids to give birthday parties for. I mean, except you father, you know. We'd go dancing or something. (as Mary Beth strokes his hair) We couldn't really do that. Anyhow, next birthday, when you er, come back from college, Christmas break, we can have type of party you want. (shaking his shoulders) Didn't my first baby grow up!
HARVEY [OC}: Oh, oh, oh!!
MARY BETH: (opening the kitchen door) What
HARVEY: (he comes in with overflowing glasses) It's not Champagne but the cork is the same.
MARY BETH: This way Michael can have some too. Michael!
MICHAEL: Alice is playing with her rattle.
MARY BETH: Open Michael's present now.
HARVEY JR.: Pens. ...Thanks.
MICHAEL: If you don't like them, I can use them for my Earth class.
HARVEY: All right, everybody! A toast to the new man in the Lacey family. We all love you, Harvey. (kissing his hair) Mmm!!!
(they all chink glasses and drink)
MARY BETH: OK. OK. Time to open the last present?
HARVEY: Last present.
HARVEY JR.: I really like the cake, Mum. I liked the cherries.
MARY BETH: Open it!!
HARVEY JR.: (holding up a huge, button-up, woolly jacket) It's real nice.
HARVEY: Like it?
HARVEY JR.: Yeah. Thanks.
HARVEY: Excuse me, what is that?
MARY BETH: What?
MARY BETH: In the pocket there! Oh, Mary Beth, I think they snuck something in there when we weren't looking.
MARY BETH: I wonder what it is?
MICHAEL: It sure is a coincidence.
MARY BETH: Drink you cider!
HARVEY JR.: It's a gift certificate for a computer!
HARVEY: This way you can pick out a couple of the particulars yourself.
MARY BETH: Amber screen or green.
HARVEY: Different keyboards.
MARY BETH: Everything is covered. The man in the store said it was compatible to the ones in major colleges.
HARVEY: So what do you think?
MICHAEL: Does it play video games?
HARVEY: Shut up!
HARVEY JR.: Er, thanks Mum. Thanks Dad. The news... I'm not going to college.
MARY BETH: Of course you are.
HARVEY JR.: It's not what I wanna do. I always told you I was never that hot on it.
HARVEY: Yeah, sure, Harve, that was last year. We figured you'd matured a little bit. Maybe started thinking about your future.
MARY BETH: Harvey, this is Harve Jr.'s birthday party. We could discuss this decision later.
HARVEY JR.: No, we can't.
HARVEY JR.: I've been thinking a lot about my future. And today, I made a decision as an adult.
HARVEY: Yeah. So?
HARVEY JR.: I've enlisted in the Marine Corps.
[Bin area at the back of the retirement home]
(Mr. Hoff is face down on a stretcher. Uniformed police and detectives are searching through the rubbish)
JERY WICKES: I can't believe it. I mean... he wasn't a kid. I mean, a stroke, heart attack, you expect that. ...But this.
MARY BETH: How exactly did you discover the body, Mr. Wickes?
JERY WICKES: Are you kidding? I mean, take a whiff. Whew!! You know, I'm used to smelling the garbage, but this. I mean, how long has he been down there?
CHRISTINE: A couple of days. Where is Mr. Nunzio?
JERY WICKES: Er, they called, and he's away at conference. What do you think happened?
CHRISTINE: Have you or anyone else heard from the victim's wife?
JERY WICKES: Victim?! So you don't think it was a suicide?
CHRISTINE: The wife's good friend that you mentioned. A Mrs. ...Minton. Where can we talk to her?
JERY WICKES: She's in eleven F, but she's spends the morning sunning up on the roof. And Conrad, her husband. Take a guess where he is. He's probably out jogging.
CHRISTINE: If you er, hear from Mrs. Hoff, would you call us straight away?
JERY WICKES: Do you think she did it?
CHRISTINE: Do you?
JERY WICKES: Of course not. It was probably an accident, wasn't it?
CHRISTINE: Thank you, Mr. Wickes.
[Retirement home roof]
WILMA MINTON: (a very frail lady) Have you found her? I've called and called...
MARY BETH: Did Mr. Hoff have any reason to commit suicide?
WILMA MINTON: What?! Was he despondent?
MARY BETH: Did he express such feelings to you or your husband?
WILMA MINTON: They loved life!!
MARY BETH: And Mrs. Hoff. Did she mention any problems with their marriage?
WILMA MINTON: Myrtle? I don't know. It was fine.
MARY BETH: You described her as your best friend. Is that correct?
WILMA MINTON: She is!
MARY BETH: So Mrs. Hoff confided in you?
WILMA MINTON: Yes!
MARY BETH: But she left with no warning. Without so much as a word.
WILMA MINTON: (she nods) I'm sorry. ...I ...don't understand...
[Retirement home lounge]
CONRAD MINTON: What about the jewellery thefts? What about my wife's cameo broach?
CHRISTINE: You don't know how they got along or even if they got along? Do you have any idea where Mrs. Hoff might be?
CONRAD MINTON: Here. (pointing to his bicep) Feel that. (Chris declines) Go ahead. Feel.
(Chris looks around and then tweaks the muscle)
CHRISTINE: Definitely an arm.
CONRAD MINTON: One word, honey. Isometrics.
(he pumps his fists apart and elbows backwards)
CHRISTINE: You should have seen Mr. Universe. Say, it's a sad day when your the biggest thrill is having all your own teeth. What was the wife like?
MARY BETH: Very emotional. Her two dearest friends are dead or missing. You know? That type of thing.
CHRISTINE: I do have a laugh for you. A Mrs. Kranz told me something. That Mr. Hoff was very alert and very happy. In her own words she said, quote, He could cope. With so many women, so little time, unquote. Ha, ha.
MARY BETH: Old people get horny too.
CHRISTINE: There's old and there's ridiculous.
MARY BETH: Harvey's mother bought this gigantic bottle of My Sin before she went off on that cruise.
MARY BETH: That's how Mrs. Potts found out that her husband was fooling around on her.
CHRISTINE: A seventy-year old crime of passion?
MARY BETH: Stranger things happen.
(they get in the Squad car)
CHRISTINE: Mary Beth, relax, Harve Jr. can't enlist until he graduates.
MARY BETH: Yeah, that's what we thought too. On top of everything else, he snuck around behind our backs and took a High School Equivalency Test. He's got his diploma. Signed his papers. Leaving Saturday.
CHRISTINE: Are we talking about the same Harvey Jr.? The one who yelled bloody murder because he had to have the flu jab! Well, he'll be lucky if he lasts the bus ride to boot camp.
MARY BETH: I did listen to him. I did respect his opinion. Now he's making his own pace, Chris.
CHRISTINE: Don't you think you're being a little hard on yourself?
MARY BETH: His whole life, Christine. He's throwing his whole life away.
[Detectives' Squad room]
(everybody is involved in putting up Christmas decorations)
CHRISTINE: (standing back, sucking a barber pole stick, admiring a pillar she has decorated) Hm. There. Now looks like my candy.
MARY BETH: Then there's Tiffany Rinaldi. She was fed up with him. That's why he's doing it.
CHRISTINE: I thought you ran away to the Foreign Legion if you had a broken heart. ...Just kidding.
MARY BETH: Why the military? Why couldn't he ...sign up for the Peace Corps? Take a trip around the world.
CHRISTINE: It runs in the family, I guess. You know? Police. Ranks. Uniforms. Procedures.
MARY BETH: Oh, that's nice! go ahead! Blame it on me!
CHRISTINE: I'm just trying to bring a little perspective here!
MARY BETH: Save it for your meetings, Christine!
COLEMAN: What's the problem? It'll be good for him.
ISBECKI: Yeah, and it'll make him a real man.
MARY BETH: Real man. Gee! I did not raise my son to march around like a moron.
VERNA DEE: Huh? It's OK for somebody else's son? Someone who isn't going to college. Maybe someone poor should march instead.
MARY BETH: I meant anybody's kid.
VERNA DEE: I've got a son in the Air Force and I think that's fine.
(Mary Beth goes and slumps in her chair)
CHRISTINE: Mary Beth, if you'd rather go home...
MARY BETH: What do you think on Mr. Hoff? Murder or suicide?
CHRISTINE: Maybe he just fell.
MARY BETH: And maybe he had help. His wife takes off when he dies. What's that? Coincidence?
CHRISTINE: Well, what about the jewellery thefts? Let's just pull the old case file.
MARY BETH: Do you think Mr. Hoff is the thief?
CHRISTINE: Maybe someone caught him at it, ...or maybe he caught the thief at it.
MARY BETH: (getting up) Do you wanna run this past the Lieutenant?
CHRISTINE: What?!! Are you crazy?
MARY BETH: All right. So we'll run the missing jewellery descriptions around the local pawnshops tomorrow.
CHRISTINE: I can hardly wait.
[Laceys' dining room]
HARVEY JR.: I'm an adult. I signed a contract.
HARVEY: Well, there are things that can be done about that, Harvey.
MARY BETH: We can contact a lawyer. We can explain to the Marines that, although your intentions were good, you acted hastily.
HARVEY JR.: You'd hire a lawyer to wheedle me out of a promise, made on my honour, to my Country...
HARVEY: Get off of it, Harvey!!!
HARVEY JR: You get off of it!! I'm saying what I believe!
HARVEY: You don't know what you believe!
HARVEY JR.: Oh, I get it, it's because I don't think like you, I'm stupid. Right?
HARVEY: It's got nothing to do with thinking. This has got to do with guns and blood.
MARY BETH: Harvey, please.
HARVEY JR.: What do you know?
HARVEY: Oh, I know. I was in the Army. Remember?
HARVEY JR.: You never left the States!
HARVEY: So you wanna go out and get blown up in some province to prove your point!!
MARY BETH: Will the both you stop it! What I am saying is, that there are still options here and that we are willing to help you.
HARVEY JR.: I made a pledge on my honour and I'm not gonna squirm out of it. I don't want to!! I wanna be a Marine! And if you two hate me for that then too bad.
MARY BETH: Honey, does this have anything to do with Tiffany? And things not working out the way that you had hoped.
HARVEY JR.: Breaking up with Tiffany has nothing to do with serving my Country.
MARY BETH: It's that man, isn't it? Your old pen pal. Filling you with a lot of nonsense. Making up a lot of stories about the Navy.
HARVEY JR.: Grandpa doesn't think I should go either.
HARVEY: Then why are you gonna throw four years of your life away? For what?
HARVEY JR.: You don't get it. (getting up) You don't wanna hear it .
MARY BETH: Honey, if you don't wanna go in college right away, that's OK. Just take some time off. Think. Travel round the country a little bit. We'd be happy to help.
(Harvey Jr. walks out)
HARVEY: Harvey, come back! We're not finished talking!!! (following his son) Harvey!!!
CHRISTINE: Mrs. Hoff, we've been looking for you for four days. Why didn't you go to your niece?
MYRTLE HOFF: Brenden liked to bet the ponies. My niece didn't approve. Lindsay said he should be more frugal. She and I fought sometimes.
CHRISTINE: So you went to a friend 'cos you didn't wanna stay with her?
MYRTLE HOFF: I didn't wanna fight.
MARY BETH: You remembered to cancel dinner with your niece but you forgot to sign out of the home.
MARY BETH: Oh, that wasn't necessary.
MARY BETH: Well, maybe you were in a hurry?
MYRTLE HOFF: Brenden knew where I was. If anybody...
MARY BETH: Brenden was dead.
MYRTLE HOFF: (she hesitates) Wha... What do you know about it?
MARY BETH: Who murdered your husband, Mrs. Hoff?
MYRTLE HOFF: Murder?!!! Oh, dear God! Oh. ...Oh. ...I'm sorry, but nobody told me. Why are you asking me all these questions? My Brenden is dead ...and there's nothing left.
CHRISTINE: We know this must be difficult, Mrs. Hoff.
MARY BETH: Did you kill your husband?
MYRTLE HOFF: What?!!
MARY BETH: Well let's quit kidding each other, Mrs. Hoff, it was no secret about your husband...
CHRISTINE: Detective Lacey!!
MYRTLE HOFF: What are you talking about?
MARY BETH: We know about your husband's other women.
MYRTLE HOFF: What other women?!! I don't understand!
MARY BETH: You knew that he was having affairs.
MYRTLE HOFF: That's a lie!! (standing up. To Chris) You make her stop!
MARY BETH: You knew and you didn't like it. A man freaks around and it makes his wife mad.
MYRTLE HOFF: You shut your mouth!
MARY BETH: So you had a fight and you pushed him out the window. Isn't that what happened, Mrs. Hoff?
MYRTLE HOFF: No!!! No, I will not stand for this. You have no right. You call yourself ...police. What do you know about decency? (Mary Beth turns away) What do you know about respect? Nothing!! You... I'll tell you one thing, young lady. You don't know anything about love. You tear people's lives apart. (she sits down and starts to cry) My husband was murdered. ...Murdered. He's not some piece of tripe for you to spit on.
[Detectives' Squad room]
(the duo comes down the stairs from the interview room)
MARY BETH: How about her disappearing act?
CHRISTINE: We've got nothing to hold her on.
MARY BETH: What about motive?
CHRISTINE: Give me a break, Mary Beth. You're going about this like somebody at war.
MARY BETH: I did kill somebody. And Brenden Hoff betrayed his wife.
CHRISTINE: I think we should concentrate on him. That lady doesn't need your grief.
(Chris walks away)
CORASSA: (coming up showing her a leaflet) Duty calls, Lacey. Do you want to sponsor...
MARY BETH: (shouting after Chris) I don't understand what your problem is here, Sergeant!
(Corassa walks away. Chris comes back to confront Mary Beth)
CHRISTINE: Today my problem is you. No why don't you take some personal time? Get some rest. Then talk to Harvey Jr.
MARY BETH: (following Chris as she walks away again) I was interrogating a murder suspect.
CHRISTINE: Fine. I will check out her alibi. Unless of course you would like to condemn her right now!
COLEMAN: (coming up) Ladies. The ME's report on Brenden Hoff. (Mary Beth grabs it) You're welcome.
CORASSA: (coming up to Chris) What time does Samuels get back?
CHRISTINE: I don't know, Detective, I'm not his secretary. (to Mary Beth who is reading the report) Well?
MARY BETH: Cause of death. 'Severed vertebrae consistent with a fall from forty feet. Multiple bruises on both upper arms appear inconsistent with fall'. Looks like there was a struggle.
CHRISTINE: Guess that rules out an accident. Any forensic evidence?
MARY BETH: Size of bruises. 'Indicates injuries caused by large hands. Probably male'.
CHRISTINE: Also rules out the little woman. Excuse me.
(Mary Beth looks up the stairs towards the interview room)
[Retirement home bedroom]
JERRY WICKES: (who is making up a bed) If somebody fought with Brenden, I didn't hear. Is Myrtle OK?
MARY BETH: Who do you think would have reason to kill him, Mr. Wickes?
JERRY WICKES: I don't know.
CHRISTINE: Well, take a guess.
JERRY WICKES: Well, Brenden was a flashy old guy. Maybe he er, rubbed somebody the wrong way.
MARY BETH: But you got along with him, right?
JERRY WICKES: Yeah, that's right. Brenden never gave me any trouble. Not like some other people I know.
CHRISTINE: We understand that he may have been, how shall I say it, less than faithful.
Brenden? No kidding. Good man. Listen, ladies, I'd love to hang around, but I've got a lot of work.
CHRISTINE: All right, just one more question, Mr. Wickes. There's been numerous complaints about stolen pieces of jewellery.
JERRY WICKES: Whoa, whoa, wait a minute! Wait a minute. I mean, that's the end of murder? And now we just switch over to petty theft?
MARY BETH: Is there anything to these complaints, Mr. Wickes?
JERRY WICKES: Hey, Look, look, half the time these people find this stuff the next day in a sock drawer.
MARY BETH: You're saying it doesn't happen?
JERRY WICKES: I'm just saying, somebody bumped off old Brenden. I'd be a little more concerned about that.
CONRAD MINTON: (coming in) Oh, you again.
CHRISTINE: Oh, Mr. Minton! This my partner, Detective Lacey.
CONRAD MINTON: To think I go alone all week around here, if you don't mind, Detective.
MARY BETH: Excuse us, Mr. Minton.
CONRAD MINTON: (taking Chris by the arm) Yes, I think you came back to see this.
CONRAD MINTON: (showing her a display of shells and other war memorabilia) Pretty impressive, eh? Friday, August seventh, nineteen hundred and forty-two.
CONRAD MINTON: Ah ha.
CONRAD MINTON: You really don't know? Guadalcanal. Bayonets, bullets and Banzai.
MARY BETH: (who has stood looking at the display) We have to go, Mr. Minton.
CONRAD MINTON: I took this baby off a youngster. (he picks up a Samurai sword) Thought he could run it through old Connie. We showed Jojo what we were made of.
MARY BETH: Sergeant Cagney!
CONRAD MINTON: (to Mary Beth) No time for an old soldier, eh?
CHRISTINE: It's just that we have other people that we need to talk to.
CONRAD MINTON: That's OK. My kids don't wanna hear my stories either. Wait! I bet you've never seen one of these. It's a Purple Heart. I caught a piece of shrapnel right (indicating his midriff on the right) right ...about here.
MARY BETH: Mr. Minton, we have a death to investigate. Brenden! No backbone. Probably killed himself.
MARY BETH: We have reason to believe he was murdered, sir.
CONRAD MINTON: Who'd waste the time.
CHRISTINE: Did you hear anything unusual the night he disappeared?
CONRAD MINTON: Wasn't a real man anyway. (taking down a picture) Not like my buddy, French. (pointing to the top of his nose) He took one right in the face ...for me.
MARY BETH: Sergeant, we're wasting our time here.
CONRAD MINTON: All Brenden cared about was partying and womanising.
CONRAD MINTON: Open your ears, girlie. Fornicating.
CHRISTINE: Do you think he had affairs?
CONRAD MINTON: The man had no honour. Didn't serve his Country. Oh, they said I was too old even then. I've rubbed out my share of Commie tykies.
MARY BETH: And now you all wanna be a TV star. (to Chris) I'll meet you in the car.
CHRISTINE: Would you excuse me, please, Mr. Minton.
(Chris has comes in and has a peek under the WC doors to see if Mary Beth is in there)
CHRISTINE: Samuels says we should check the employees. Maybe we'll get lucky. ...Are you taking up residence in there? ...Mary Beth?
MARY BETH: I'll be out in a minute.
CHRISTINE: Are you crying? (folding her arms and going and standing near the WC door) Mary Beth, I'm not gonna leave.
MARY BETH: (coming out) All rightee.
CHRISTINE: Are you gonna talk to me?
MARY BETH: I'm fine.
CHRISTINE: All right.
MARY BETH: I think we ought to run a check on Conrad Minton.
CHRISTINE: Mary Beth!
MARY BETH: Did you hear the way he talked about Mr. Hoff?
CHRISTINE: Yeah, I'm running him to. But I think you're wrong about him. Just because he was a soldier, doesn't make him a murderer.
(Mary Beth starts to cry and sits down. Chris sits down beside her)
CHRISTINE: Harvey Jr.'s gonna be all right, you know. ....He'll be coming home.
MARY BETH: He won't be a boy anymore.
CHRISTINE: Well, you'll still be his mother.
MARY BETH: (a big sigh) I woke up this morning, first thing I did ...was go rush over and look in the mirror. (she gets up and looks in the mirror) And there was a person looking back at me. Oh, Chris. 'You look so old'.
CHRISTINE: Mary Beth.
MARY BETH: I mean, I turn around and he's walking out the door. It's ...some young man I don't even know. And I can't stop him.
CHRISTINE: He's got to grow up.
MARY BETH: Oh, it's crazy. It's crazy. My firstborn child is marching off to war, maybe. And all I can think about is that he's not gonna be there for Christmas dinner.
(she begins to cry)
CHRISTINE: I don't think it's crazy.
MARY BETH: Well, (wiping away the tears) he likes to help me make the stuffing. He's probably gonna be eating those ...fake potatoes. You know, the kind that they make up on those lousy plates. (sitting back down) He'll hate them.
(Mary Beth nods to herself)
CHRISTINE: Ha. (they laugh) The other day I was passing by Macy's. And er, I looked in the window and they had these gloves in there. The deerskin ones, you know, with the fur lining. And I thought, those would be perfect for Charlie. And was halfway through the door ...before it hit me. ...So I bought 'em anyway. ...There's a big, empty hole that nobody else will ever fill. But I have to believe that it will get easier.
MARY BETH: We want you with us for Christmas, OK?
CHRISTINE: I didn't tell that story so you'd invite me over.
MARY BETH: I know that! I was planning to invite you. We want you over for Christmas, OK?
MARY BETH: You'll probably stay with David anyway.
CHRISTINE: Christmas Eve.
MARY BETH: Oh. So?
CHRISTINE: So ...I'll be there. Christmas Day.
MARY BETH: Oh great. Oh, that's great! We'll overdo it, super-special, Christine. We will. Open packages and sing songs. The whole bit.
CHRISTINE: It sounds nice.
[Precinct House front desk]
COLEMAN: (who is putting up taking directions from Josie, the bag lady, on positioning an Advent calendar on the pillar) You can blow out the candle this year. I'm giving the lot to JVL.
(Josie is still not happy with the position. Coleman puts the calendar down on a desk and walks away in disgust)
MARY BETH: (banging the candy machine) Stupid, darn machine. Stupid...
BASIL: Got a minute, Lacey?
MARY BETH: (giving Josie a candy bar) Go ahead, Josie. I wish it was a turkey sandwich. (to Basil) What?
BASIL: (giving Mary Beth a printout from the computer) I've got the background info on your senior citizen names? There's not much. Some PMB problems. A few minor misdemeanours.
MARY BETH: So which have not paid parking tickets? Ah! Conrad Minton's the heavyweight here. Fined for disorderly conduct. Nineteen seventy-five. Probably threw an egg at an anti-war protester. Nothing on Nunzio?
BASIL: Er, near the bottom.
COLEMAN: (holding a phone receiver) I've just put Nunzio through to Cagney on three.
MARY BETH: Thank you, Sergeant. Thank you, Basil.
BASIL: A pleasure.
[Detectives' Squad room]
(Mary Beth comes in)
CHRISTINE: (into phone) Did you talk to her niece? ...All right, we'll be in touch, Mr. Nunzio. Listen, give me a call if she shows up or if you hear anything. ...Yeah, thanks. (she rings off) Myrtle Hoff's gone. She packed up and left without a word to anyone.
MARY BETH: Not the niece?
CHRISTINE: So Nunzio said, It was news to her. Why did Myrtle leave now?
MARY BETH: (giving Chris the printout) Here's the background checks. Everybody's clean. (getting out her handbag) Hard to figure out why she'd go.
CHRISTINE: Do you recall the ME's report, Mary Beth. It was probably a man.
MARY BETH: I'm not saying that. Who'd wanna go back to a canasta game knowing her partner's maybe slept with her husband? Somebody did that woman a big favour, huh? (at the board) Chalking out early, Chris. Personal time.
(Chris comes in a bows to the altar and then goes to the candle table)
PRIEST: May I help you?
CHRISTINE: Oh. ...Hello, Father. I'm here so I can ...light a candle. ...For my Dad. ...He passed away this year. ...I've come to light a candle for his penance. ...You see, every Christmas... ...I'm missing him.
(the priest puts a reassuring hand on her shoulder)
(Harvey is cleaning the fridge. Mary Beth comes in, opening the kitchen door, which knocks the fridge door on to Harvey)
MARY BETH: Sorry.
MARY BETH: Where's Harvey Jr.? I have good news.
HARVEY: We were having a discussion when ...suddenly he had to get away from all the hot air.
MARY BETH: Is he coming home to dinner?
HARVEY: Who knows. He's an adult. Maybe he'll spend the night at the Rotary.
MARY BETH: (pointing to the fridge) Harvey, I did that last week.
HARVEY: Yeah! I know! But I knocked over Colonel Hathi's Super Twister when I was grabbing for a beer. That stuff, it reeks, Mary Beth.
MARY BETH: (holding up a brochure) I went to talk to a Marine recruiter, Harvey.
HARVEY: You joining up too?
MARY BETH: There could be a compromise here. This lieutenant tells me that there's all kind of options for today's soldier. I mean, he doesn't have to be in combat. He'll get his education, and there's computers, there's business skills and there's...
HARVEY: You know, Mary Beth, I can't believe that you bought into this (pointing to the brochure) crap.
MARY BETH: He can specify his training in his contract.
HARVEY: Once you're in, Mary Beth, forget it! Besides, our boy just told me he wants to be a grunt. A fighter, crawling through the mud with a knife between his teeth.
MARY BETH: Harve, if we tell him that we're not against his decision...
HARVEY: Mary Beth!! Forget it, it's smoke!!! It's the military, Mary Beth! It's about death! It's about men sending boys to blow each other up!
MARY BETH: Honey.
HARVEY: You know, I can't believe it. Our son is waiting for another Grenada. He's waiting to join in. He is waiting to die for his Country!
MARY BETH: Shut up, Harvey. Shut up! Don't you say our child is gonna die! (picking up the brochure) How dare... How dare you say that! Don't you (shouting) ever say that again! Ever!!!
HARVEY: Mary Beth, I'm so sorry. I'm just scared for him, that's all. I'm ...scared for him.
[New York Delicatessen]
MURIEL: Harvey Sr. was a bull-headed boy himself.
MARY BETH: Yeah, he still is.
MURIEL: Ha, ha. So, ...like father like son.
MARY BETH: What did you do when your Harvey joined the Army?
MURIEL: Oh, I put his picture on the mantle. I was so proud of him.
MARY BETH: Times are changing, Muriel. When the women stop being proud of stuff like that, maybe the men will stop going to war.
MURIEL: You know, there are some things that you and I disagree about, Mary Beth.
MARY BETH: So, how did you live with the empty room? ...Muriel, I hate what he's doing.
MURIEL: You gonna stop mothering him too?
[Detectives' Squad room]
VERNA DEE: (into phone) Trust me. I'll be at the gate. Will you look for me, dear? Hold on. (Chris has come in. To Chris) Sergeant, the jewellery turned up in a pawnshop. The details are on your desk.
CHRISTINE: Thanks. Is Samuels in?
VERNA DEE: Coleman said he's downtown again.
VERNA DEE: (into phone) Mother, please don't bring any preserves. I bought a special dress for New Year's Eve and I mean to fit into it. ...Yeah. ...Yeah. ...Be careful, Mom. (she rings off. To Mary Beth who has just come in) Detective, I think yesterday we punched each other's sound buttons. No hard feelings?
MARY BETH: No! I'm sorry too. I started it. Is your son coming home for the holidays?
VERNA DEE: He's in Greenland. Maybe ...in January though.
MARY BETH: Well, Happy New Year.
VERNA DEE: Thanks.
(Chris has the report in her hand. She watches as Mary Beth hangs up her coat. Mary Beth comes towards her)
CHRISTINE: Good morning, Mary Beth.
MARY BETH: Good morning, Sergeant.
CHRISTINE: (as Mary Beth feels her forehead) Can I get you anything?
MARY BETH: The pills are in my desk. Remember?
CHRISTINE: Two of the stolen pieces of jewellery from the scene have turned up. Does the description of the guy who pawned them sound familiar to you? 'Caucasian. Twenty-five to twenty-nine. Sandy hair. Well built'.
MARY BETH: I guess we 'd better drag Wickes in, huh?
CHRISTINE: I'll handle it.
MARY BETH: I can do my job.
CHRISTINE: Mary Beth, I'd like to help you if you'll let me.
MARY BETH: Will you make it all go away?
CHRISTINE: No. But I can get you coffee.
JERRY WICKES: I told you. I never killed anybody.
MARY BETH: (holding up an evidence bag) For the two lockets underneath your pillow. You're too stupid to play dumb, Wickes.
CHRISTINE: Maybe he's just slow. Prove me right, Jerry, huh? Where did you get the jewellery?
JERRY WICKES: I found 'em. ...I swear.
MARY BETH: Where?!
JERRY WICKES: I can't answer that. Ain't I got a right?!!
CHRISTINE: You win, Detective. He is stupid. Jerry, watch my lips. Either you answer or go in the slammer for forty years to life.
MARY BETH: And if you survive, you're gonna learn a thousand new ways to wear your hair.
CHRISTINE: (getting up) Last chance.
JERRY WICKES: Between the track and all his old lady friends, I always thought that Brenden was the thief. So after I found ...his body, I er, searched his room. And I found the jewellery in the frame of his bed. Then I dialled nine-one-one.
MARY BETH: Well, your IQ has improved but you're still the best thing that we've got for this murder.
CHRISTINE: The DA's a lot nastier than we are. Take an educated guess.
JERRY WICKES: It wasn't me.
MARY BETH: Who had a reason to do it?
JERRY WICKES: I don't know.
CHRISTINE: (she goes and opens the door. To the uniformed officer) Get him out of here.
JERRY WICKES: (turning back) If you think I did it, you're both crazy.
MARY BETH: Probably Brenden robbed Myrtle.
CHRISTINE: Why would they throw him out of a window?
MARY BETH: And who'd be strong enough to do it except for Wickes?
CHRISTINE: How about a killer soldier?
[Retirement home kitchen]
CONRAD MINTON: That is a filthy, rotten lie!
MARY BETH: No lie, Conrad. You knew that Brenden was sleeping with Wilma.
CONRAD MINTON: Don't you say that!
CHRISTINE: Conrad, you just got old. You got tired and you just slowed down.
MARY BETH: So your wife takes a lover.
CONRAD MINTON: Absolutely not! Absolutely not!
WILMA MINTON: (coming in with a brown bag of groceries) Detectives?
CONRAD MINTON: Get out of here, Wilma.
WILMA MINTON: What's wrong?
CHRISTINE: Do you wanna tell us what happened?
MARY BETH: Mrs. Minton, let's find some place private.
CHRISTINE: (as she moves to leave ) We're gonna talk to your wife.
CONRAD MINTON: No!! You do not talk to her.
CHRISTINE: We're gonna get the truth from somebody, Conrad. You did kill him, didn't you?
CONRAD MINTON: He was scum!
(Wilma Minton begins to cry. Conrad puts her arm round her)
WILMA MINTON: I'm so sorry.
CONRAD MINTON: He didn't touch you.
WILMA MINTON: I'm sorry.
CONRAD MINTON: He never touched Wilma!
[Detectives' Squad room]
MARY BETH: (at the coffee table) Do you wanna a coffee?
CHRISTINE: No thank you.
MARY BETH: (putting down a cup) I really don't think I need it.
CHRISTINE: (as Mary Beth gets her coat) I always thought that life got simpler as you got older. Hell of a Christmas, putting an old man in jail.
MARY BETH: It's the job, Chris. ...I'm out of here.
CHRISTINE: See you tomorrow.
(Mary Beth leaves. Chris gets a box out of her desk, which she opens. Inside are the deerskin gloves. They are men's. She tries one on)
MARY BETH: (to Harvey Jr.) Look at this? I bought some of your Super Twister Kind of Superman...
HARVEY JR.: Oh, that's nice. So I can take it with me. I'm sure they'll let me drink it.
MARY BETH: After you mix up a quart, what are you gonna do with it? They're not gonna issue you a little refrigerator or anything, you know?
HARVEY JR.: I'll work something out.
MARY BETH: Well if they give you any problems, tell 'em, call your mother. I like my boy healthy. ...Healthy and happy.
HARVEY JR.: Sure. I'll miss you, Mum.
MARY BETH: I love you. ...You couldn't have waited till after Christmas?
HARVEY JR.: I'm sorry.
MARY BETH: (giving him a motherly pat on the face) You could have waited till after Christmas.
(Harvey Jr. hugs his mother. She hugs him)