Credits run in counterpoint through a 7 to 10 minute sequence of
documentary images setting the tone of John F. Kennedy's Presidency and
the atmosphere of those tense times, 1960 through 1963. An omniscient
narrator's voice marches us through in old time Pathe' newsreel fashion.
January, 1961 - President Dwight D. Eisenhower's
Farewell Address to the Nation -
The conjunction of an immense military
establishment and a large arms industry is new
in the American experience. The total influence
- economic, political, even spiritual - is felt
in every city, every statehouse, every office of
the Federal Government ... In the councils of
government we must guard against the acquisition
of unwarranted influence, whether sought or
unsought, by the military industrial complex.
The potential for the disastrous rise of
misplaced power exists and will persist ... We
must never let the weight of this combination
endanger our liberties or democratic processes.
We should take nothing for granted ...
School kids reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. WPA films of farmers
harvesting the Texas plains. Rain, thunderheads, a dusty car coming
from far away on a road moving towards Dallas. Cowboys round up the
cattle. Young marrieds in a church. Hillsides of tract homes going up.
The American breadbasket, the West. Over this we hear Eisenhower's
address. As we move into the election campaign of 1960, we see the TV
debates, Nixon vs. Kennedy, Mayor Daley, Kennedy victorious ...
Against this is juxtaposed other forces: segregation, J. Edgar Hoover,
military advisors, Castro, Marilyn Monroe, Lumumba ... three frames of
the Zapruder film counter-cut ... ending with the Kennedy inauguration
and the irony of Earl Warren administering the oath as he will Kennedy's
November, 1960 - Senator John F. Kennedy of
Massachusetts wins one of the narrowest election
victories in American history over the Vice-
President Richard Nixon by a little more than
100,000 votes. Rumors abound that he stole the
election in Illinois through the Democratic
political machine of Mayor Daley ...
At his inauguration, at a time when American
males all wore hats, he let his hair blow free
in the wind. Alongside his beautiful and
elegant wife of French origin, Jacqueline
Bouvier, J.F.K. is the symbol of the new freedom
of the 1960's, signifying change and upheaval to
the American public, scaring many and hated
passionately by some. To win the election and
to appease their fears, Kennedy at first takes a
tough Cold War stance.
BAY OF PIGS IMAGERY
The beach, the bombardment, the rounding up of prisoners, Kennedy's
public apology, Allen Dulles standing next to J.F.K., both uncomfortable
with the small talk ...
He inherits a secret war against the Communist
Castro dictatorship in Cuba, a war run by the
CIA and angry Cuban exiles out of bases in the
Southern United States, Panama, Nicaragua and
Guatemala. Castro is a successful revolutionary
frightening to American business interests in
Latin America - companies like Cabot's United
Fruit, Continental Can, and Rockefeller's
Standard Oil. This war culminates in the
disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion in April 1961,
when Kennedy refuses to provide air cover for
the exile brigade. Of the 1600 men who invade,
114 are killed, 1200 are captured. The Cuban
exiles and the CIA are furious at Kennedy's
irresolution ... Kennedy, taking public
responsibility for the failure, privately claims
the CIA lied to him and tried to manipulate him
into ordering an all-out American invasion of
Cuba. He vows to splinter the CIA into a
thousand pieces and fires Director Allen Dulles,
Deputies Charles Cabell and Richard Bissell, the
top leadership of the Agency.
SECRET WAR IMAGERY
Cuban rallies, footage of training camps, espionage activities, boats,
cases of weapons, Robert Kennedy ... John Roselli, Sam Giancana, Santos
Trafficante, Richard Helms (the new CIA chief), Bill Harvey, Head of
ZR/RIFLE, Howard Hunt ...
The CIA, however, continues it's secret war on
Castro with dozens of sabotage and assassination
attempts under it's ZR/RIFLE and MONGOOSE
programs - The Agency collaborates with
organized crime elements such as John Roselli,
Sam Giancana, and Santos Trafficante of Tampa,
whose casino operations in Cuba, worth more than
a hundred million dollars a year in income,
Castro has shut down.
CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS
Khrushchev, Kennedy, Castro on television, meetings with Cabinet,
Russian vessels in Caribbean, U.S. nuclear bases on alert, civilians
going to underground safe areas ... the Russian ship turning around, the
country smiling ...
In October 1962, the world comes to the brink of
nuclear war when Kennedy quarantines Cuba after
announcing the presence of offensive Soviet
nuclear missiles 90 miles off American shores.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff and the CIA call for
an invasion. Kennedy refuses. Soviet ships
with more missiles sail towards the island, but
at the last moment turn back. The world
breathes with relief but backstage in
Washington, rumors abound that J.F.K. has cut a
secret deal with Russian Premier Khrushchev not
to invade Cuba in return for a Russian
withdrawal of missiles. Suspicions abound that
Kennedy is "soft on Communism."
NUCLEAR TEST BAN IMAGERY
Closing down Cuban Camps, McNamara speaking, Khrushchev and Kennedy, the
"hot line" telephone system inaugurated, Kennedy with Jackie and
children sailing off Cape Cod ... Vietnam introduction, early shots,
Green Berets, counterinsurgency programs, De Lansdale, leading up to the
Test Ban signings ... then J.F.K. at American University, June 10, 1963.
In the ensuing months, Kennedy clamps down on
Cuban exile activities, closing training camps,
restricting covert operations, prohibiting
shipment of weapons out of the country. The
covert arm of the CIA nevertheless continues its
plan to assassinate Castro ... In March '63,
Kennedy announces drastic cuts in the defence
budget. In November 1963, he orders the
withdrawal by Christmas of the first 1000 troops
of the 16,000 stationed in Vietnam. He tells
several of his intimates that he will withdraw
all Vietnam troops after the '64 election,
saying to the Assistant Secretary of State,
Roger Hilsman, "The Bay of Pigs has taught me
one, not to trust generals or the CIA, and two,
that if the American people do not want to use
American troops to remove a Communist regime 90
miles from our coast, how can I ask them to use
troops to remove a Communist regime 9.000 miles
away?" ... Finally, in August 1963, over the
objections of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the
United States, Great Britain and the Soviet
Union sign a treaty banning nuclear bomb tests
in the atmosphere, underwater and in space ...
Early that fateful summer, Kennedy speaks of his
new vision at American University in Washington.
What kind of peace do we seek? Not a pax
Americana enforced on the world by American
weapons of war ... we must re-examine our own
attitudes towards the Soviet Union ... If we
cannot now end our differences at least we can
help make the world safe for diversity. For, in
the final analysis, our most basic link is that
we all inhabit this small planet. We all
breathe the same air. We all cherish our
children's future. And we are all mortal ...
CONCLUDING KENNEDY IMAGERY
Diplomats at the United Nations ... Adlai Stevenson, Castro ... Martin
Luther King and the March on Washington (a snatch of his "I Have a
Dream" speech) ... Bobby Kennedy and Jimmy Hoffa going at it ... U.S.
Steel Chairman's remarks in the steel face-off, men going to courtrooms
with briefcases, ... Teddy Kennedy, Rose, Joe, the Kennedy family, all
teeth and good looks ... and of course John campaigning, always
campaigning, shaking hands, smiling, that supremely warm smile and sense
of grace and ability to convey to crowds their oneness with him ...
forever ... culminating in the more specific Texas shots ... with Jackie
in San Antonio, and Houston ... then at Fort Worth ... then at Love
Field moving through the clouds toward the Dallas/Forth Worth plain
which suddenly breaks into view as we descend ...
LOUISIANA HIGHWAY - DAY (1963)
A moving car carrying two Cuban males disgorges a rumpled, screaming
woman, Rose Cheramie, a whore in her thirties, lying there bleeding in
the dirt. The car drives off.
HOSPITAL - DAY (1963)
We see Rose, badly cut but quite lucid, trying to reason with a
policeman, Lt. Fruge, and a doctor - in a remote black-and-white
They're going up to Dallas ... to whack Kennedy.
Friday the 22nd, that's when they're going to do
it. In Dealey Plaza. They're gonna whack him!
You gotta call somebody, these are serious
(to the police officer)
Higher 'n a kite on something. Been like this
since she came in.
BACK TO DOCUMENTARY IMAGES'
We see the last close-ups of Kennedy shaking hands on the tarmac at Love
Field, smiling, into the motorcade ... the downtown streets of Dallas,
people packing the sidewalks clear back to the buildings, hanging out of
windows ten stories up, schoolgirls surging out into the street in front
of the car. The President is wildly popular - except for the occasional
posters calling for his arrest for treason ...
More rumors emerge of J.F.K.'s backdoor efforts
outside usual State Department and CIA channels
to establish dialogue with Fidel Castro through
contacts at the United Nations in New York.
Kennedy is seeking change on all fronts. Bitter
battles are fought with Southern segregationists
to get James Meredith into the University of
Mississippi. Three months after Kennedy submits
a sweeping civil rights bill to Congress, Martin
Luther King leads 250,000 in a march on
Washington. Robert Kennedy, as Attorney
General, for the first time ever vigorously
prosecutes the Mafia in American life, bringing
and winning a record number of cases - 288
convictions of organized crime figures including
13 grand juries against Jimmy Hoffa and his
Teamsters Union. The President also takes on
Big Business, forcing back steel prices, winning
45 of 46 antitrust cases during 1963 and he
wants to help everyday taxpayers by ending age-
old business privileges like the oil depletion
allowance and the fees paid to the Federal
Reserve Bank for printing America's currency.
Revolutionary changes are foreseen after
J.F.K.'s assumed re-election in 1964. Foremost
in the political consciousness of the country is
the possibility of a Kennedy dynasty. Robert
Kennedy in '68, Teddy Kennedy in '76. In
November, 1963 John Kennedy travels to Texas,
his popularity sagging to 59% largely due to his
civil rights stand for which he is particularly
hated in the South. Texas is a crucial state
for him to carry in '64. With him is Vice-
President, Lyndon Johnson and Texas Governor
John Connally. On November 21, they visit
Houston and San Antonio. On the morning of
November 22, he speaks in Fort Worth, then flies
15 minutes to Love Field in Dallas, where he
takes a motorcade through downtown Dallas on his
way to speak at 12:30 at the International Trade
Mart. Later, the motorcade takes him through
Dealey Plaza at 12:30 ...
DEALEY PLAZA - THAT DAY (NOV. 22, 1963)
We see a massive overhead shot of the Plaza as it lay then. Credits
conclude under shot - and we have the subtitle "November 22, 1963."
A young epileptic screams and suddenly collapses near the fountains in
front of the Texas School Depository. He has a violent epileptic fit
that attracts surrounding attention. Dallas policemen run over to him.
We hear the siren of an ambulance roaring up.
TIMECUT TO ambulance loading the epileptic man and taking off.
We are en route to Parkland.
BACK TO a montage of the shooting. We see Kennedy, in the last seconds,
waving, turning the corner at Houston from Main ... We see TV footage
and a piece of Zapruder film from before the shooting; fragmented images
CUT TO stages shots of crowd people looking on. The images are grainy
to match the tone of the Zapruder film. People are on rooftops,
hollering. The crowd is wild with enthusiasm. We pan past Jack Ruby
and slam into him in black-and-white. The camera shows a Cuban man with
a radio; a man with an umbrella; subliminals. Through open windows on
the fifth floor of the Criminal Courts Building, convicts watch and
holler from their jail cells. We see the sixth floor of the Texas Book
Depository with open windows and a vague blur of a figure and a rifle.
The clock on the Hertz sign reads 12:30.
We'll be there in about five minutes.
A motorcycle officer paralleling the Kennedy car tries to use his radio.
It's jammed. The sound of the jammed Dictabelt drives the rest of the
We see Zapruder, a short middle - aged man, shooting his 8mm film from
the Grassy Knoll, and then we see Jackie Kennedy - floating on film, her
voice, high, soft:
And in the motorcade, you know I usually would
be waving mostly to the left side and he was
waving mostly to the right, which is one reason
you're not looking at each other very much. And
it was terribly hot. Just blinding all of us
... We could see a tunnel in front of us.
Everything was really slow then. And I remember
thinking it would be so cool under that tunnel.
The camera rests on Jackie for a beat, and then we see the shot of the
little schoolgirl skipping on the grass.
CUT TO the approaching overpass. J.F.K. waves ... Mrs. Connally turns
to J.F.K. The shot is crazy, fractured, surreal.
MRS. CONNALLY (V.O.)
Mr. President, you can't say that Dallas doesn't
No, you certainly can't.
Then we hear the shots: the volley sounds like a motorcycle backfire.
We catch a glimpse of a muzzle flash and smoke. We see a view from the
street of the Texas School Book Depository - all in line with the
"official" version of events. Pigeons by the hundreds suddenly shoot
off the roof. Then the screen goes gray as did CBS TV's first bulletins
to the country.
We interrupt this program to bring you this
flash bulletin. A burst of gunfire! Three
bursts of gunfire, apparently from automatic
weapons, were fired at President Kennedy's
motorcade in downtown Dallas.
We hear voices under this from everywhere, colliding in confusion and
OH NO! MY GOD THEY'RE GOING TO KILL US ALL! Be
still. You're going to be all right. LET'S GET
OUT OF HERE. WE'RE HIT! LAWSON, THIS IS
KELLERMAN. WE ARE HIT. GET US TO THE HOSPITAL
IMMEDIATELY. PULL OUT OF THE MOTORCADE. TAKE
US TO THE NEAREST HOSPITAL.
JACKIE KENNEDY VOICE
Oh, no, they've shot Jack ... I love you, Jack
... Jack ... they've killed my husband ...
CBS BULLETIN (V.O.)
The first reports say that President Kennedy has
been seriously wounded by the shooting. More
details just arrived. United Press say the
wounds to President Kennedy perhaps could be
fatal. Repeating: President Kennedy has been
shot by a would-be assassin in Dallas. Three
bursts of gunfire, apparently from automatic
IT CAME FROM THERE. SECURE THAT AREA BEHIND THE
FENCE. IT'S THAT BUILDING UP THERE.
We hear sirens and screeching tires. The screen is still gray, randomly
intercut with the end of the Nix film showing the car escaping. There
are wildly tracking shots of the crowd running towards the Grassy Knoll.
The camera pans up the little set of stairs. We see more faces.
Someone in a suit stops our camera. Secret Service?
We see the briefest glimpse from the Zapruder film. The camera moves in
on the open umbrella next, then to the freeway sign, then to Mrs.
Kennedy out of the car reaching for help, then to the agent rushing onto
the rear fender. The car finally speeds away. The people on the other
side of the underpass wave at the oncoming hearse from hell. (These are
fragmented, mystifying shots. The main effect is one of blackout - of
not knowing; of being in the dark, as we all were back then.)
CUT TO JIM GARRISON'S OFFICE - NEW ORLEANS - SAME DAY (1963)
Pause. The lovely old china clock on the wall reads 12:35. Somewhere a
car backfires. We see a close-up of the clock moving to 12:36. We hear
the sound of a pen on paper, scratching ... We see a shot of Jim
Garrison as a young air pilot in World War II; hear the sound of
airplanes. The camera moves to framed photos of Jim as a young,
Lincolnesque lawyer ... we hear sounds of political rallies, cheering
... a shot of Jim's grandfather shaking hands with President William
Taft. The sound of bulldozers carries us to a shot of Jim staring at
piles of decaying corpses at Dachau ... a photo of Clarence Darrow ... a
law degree and an appointment as District Attorney of the New Orleans
Parish ... Mother Garrison with young Jim on the desk ... another family
- his own. We look across the thick desk with the chess set, A Complete
Works of William Shakespeare and a Nazi helmet with a bullet hole in it
... to Jim himself writing - pen to paper. We sense the quiet intellect
of the 43 year old man. The clock ticks in the awful suspended silence.
It's as if the air itself has been sucked from the silent room. This is
the last moment of peace before the World will rush through the door in
all its sound and fury - to change his life forever. The camera
haywires into a close-up of Jim as he looks up ... and knows.
Lou Ivon, Jim's chief investigator, is already standing there in the
room. He is burly, in his 30s - his expression universal for that day.
What's wrong, Lou?
Boss, the President's been shot. In Dallas.
Five minutes ago.
Jim is stunned. His look of horror and shock speaks the same language
as on faces all across America that Black Friday.
Oh no! ... How bad?
No word yet. But they think it's in the head.
Jim gets up, heading rapidly for the door.
Come on. Napoleon's has a TV set.
NAPOLEON'S RESTAURANT - THE QUARTER - DAY(1963)
The midday customers all stare solemnly at the TV set high in the corner
of the cafe. The manager, ashen, serves drinks to Jim and Lou.
Apparently three bullets were found. Governor
Connally also appeared to be hit. The President
was rused by the Secret Service to Parkland
Memorial Hospital four miles from Dealey Plaza.
We are told a bullet entered the base of the
throat and came out of the backside, but there
is no confirmation, blood transfusions are being
given, a priest has administered the last rites.
There's still a chance, dammit! Come on, Jack -
I don't believe it. I don't believe it. Here,
in this country.
They all look up, expectant, as Walter Cronkite interrupts on the TV:
From Dallas, Texas - the flash apparently
official, President Kennedy died at 1 p.m.
Central Standard Time, 2 o'clock Eastern
Standard Time, some 38 minutes ago.
Vice - President Johnson has left the hospital
in Dallas, but we do not know to where he has
proceeded. Presumably, he will be taking the
oath of office shortly, and become the 36th
President of the United States.
There are sounds of shock, muttering, some sobbing in the restaurant.
Lou gulps down his drink. Jim sits stunned.
I didn't always agree with him - too liberal for
my tastes - but I respected him. He had style
... God, I'm ashamed to be an American today.
He holds back the tears. The food comes. Lou waves it off. They just
EXTERIOR KATZENJAMMER'S BAR - SAME DAY(1963)
Katzenjammer's is an Irish working class bar across Canal St. In a seedy
area near the Mississippi River, just off Lafayette Square.
INTERIOR KATZENJAMMER'S BAR - SAME DAY(1963)
A variety of loud Irish working men sit on stools watching the TV.
There are a few formica tables with chairs against the walls, and an
unused pool table.
Many arrests have been made here today. Anyone
looking even remotely suspicious is being
detained. Most of the crowd has gone home but
there are still many stunned people wandering
around in Dealey Plaza unable to comprehend what
happened here earlier today.
On the TV, we see the scene at Dealey Plaza. The reporter has several
men, women, and children gathered around him. He puts his microphone in
It's all so terrible. I jes' can't stop crying.
He did so much for this country, for colored
(Bill Newman, with wife and kids)
I grabbed my kids and wife and hit the ground.
The bullets were coming over our heads - from
that fence back on the knoll - I was just so
shaken. I saw his face when it hit ... he just,
his ear flew off, he turned just real white and
then went stiff like a board and flopped over on
his stomach, with his foot sticking out.
CUT TO the picket fence above the Grassy Knoll.
I thought ... it came from up there, that
CUT TO the Book Depository.
I heard shots from over there.
CUT TO the County Records Building.
How many shots?
About 3 to 4 ... I don't know.
I never thought it could happen in America.
Back in the bar, the camera moves to two patrons seated at a table by
themselves, far enough away not to be heard. Guy Banister is a sturdy,
imposing ex - FBI agent in his 60's, steel gray hair, blue eyes, ruddy
from heavy drinking. He wears a small rosebud in his lapel. Jack
Martin is a thin, mousy man in his mid - 50's, wearing a Dick Tracy hat.
They're both drinking Wild Turkey heavily. The TV blares loudly across
the room over their voices.
All this blubbering over that sonofabitch!
They're grieving like they knew the man. It
makes me want to puke.
God's sake, chief. The President was shot.
A bullshit President! I don't see any weeping
for all the thousands of Cubans that bastard
condemned to death and torture at the Bay of
Pigs. Where are all the tears for the Russians
and Hungarians and Chinese living like slaves in
prison camps run by Kennedy's communist buddies
- All these damned peace treaties! I'm telling
ya Jack, that's what happens when you let the
niggers vote. They get together with the Jews
and the Catholics and elect an Irish bleeding
Chief, maybe you had a little too much to drink.
(yells across the room)
Bartender, another round ...
Here's to the New Frontier. Camelot in
smithereens. I'll drink to that.
NAPOLEON'S RESTAURANT - DAY(1963)
Several hours have elapsed. The clientele has grown, drinking, watching
the tube with the insatiable curiosity the event engendered. People
stare in from the street ... There is a silence in the restaurant.
TELEVISION INSERT: image of a Dallas policeman hauling a Mannlicher -
Carcano rifle with a sniperscope over the heads of the press gathered in
the police station.
This is the rifle, it is a Mannlicher - Carcano
Italian rifle, a powerful World War II military
gun used by infantry and highly accurate at
distances of 100 yards.
We see images of the textbook boxes - the sniper's nest in the sixth
story of the Book Depository - and then the view out the window looking
down at Elm Street.
NEWSMAN 3 (CONT'D)
The assassin apparently fired from this perch
... but so far no word, much confusion and ...
CUT TO Newsman 2 at a different location or in studio.
A flash bulletin ... the Dallas Police have just
announced they have a suspect in the killing of
a Dallas police officer, J.D. Tippit, who was
shot at 1:15 in Oak Cliff, a suburb of Dallas.
Police are saying there could be a tie - in here
to the murder of the President.
TELEVISION INSERT: Lee Harvey Oswald, a bruise over his right temple,
is apprehended at the Texas Theatre.
NEWSMAN 4 (CONT'D)
The suspect, identified as Lee Harvey Oswald,
was arrested by more than a dozen police
officers after a short scuffle at the Texas
movie theatre in Oak Cliff, several blocks from
where Officer Tippit was killed, apparently with
a .38 revolver found on Oswald. There is
apparently at least one eyewitness.
TELEVISION INSERT: Oswald is booked at the station. A surly young man,
24, he claims to the press:
No, I don't know what I'm charged with ... I
don't know what dispatches you people have been
given, but I emphatically deny these charges.
VOICE FROM THE BAR
They oughta just shoot the bastard.
The room bursts out with an accumulated fury at the young Oswald - a
tremendous release of tension. On the TV we see the excitement in the
newsmen's eyes; they all sense that this is the break they're looking
for in the case.
Garrison and Ivon watch the TV, and then Garrison stands and pays the
One little guy with a cheap rifle - look what he
Let's get outta here, Lou. I saw too much stuff
like this in the war.
As they leave, the camera holds on the image of Oswald.
MISSISSIPPI RIVER WATERFRONT - TWILIGHT(1963)
The sun is setting through thunderheads over the Mississippi River
waterfront as Banister and Martin wobble out, drunk, down the street.
Well, the kid musta gone nuts, right?
(Martin says nothing, looks
I said Oswald must've flipped. Just did this
crazy thing before anyone could stop him, right?
I think I'll cut out here, chief. I gotta get
(strong - arms Martin)
Get home my ass. We're going to the office,
have another drink. I want some company
BANISTER'S OFFICE - NIGHT(1963)
Rain pours down outside 531 Lafayette Street as Banister opens several
locks on the door and turns on the lights. The frosted glass on the
door says "W. Guy Banister Associates, Inc., Investigators." It's a
typical detective's office with spare desks, simple chairs, large filing
cabinets and cubicles in the rear.
Who'd ever thought that goofy Oswald kid would
pull off a stunt like an assassination?
Just goes to show, you can never know about some
people. Am I right, Jack?
(Martin, frightened now, doesn't
Well, bless my soul. Your eyes are as red as
two cherries, Jack. Don't tell me we have
another bleeding heart here. Hell, all these
years I thought you were on my side.
Chief, sometimes I don't know whether you're
kidding or not.
I couldn't be more serious, Jack. Those big red
eyes have me wondering about your loyalty.
Banister, going to a file cabinet to get a bottle out, notices one of
the file drawers is slightly ajar. He flies into a rage.
Who the hell opened my files! You've been
looking through my private files, haven't you,
You may not like this, chief, but you're
beginning to act paranoid. I mean, you really
You found out about Dave Ferrie going to Texas
today and you went through all my files to see
what was going on. You're a goddamn spy.
Goddammit chief, why would I ever need to look
in your files? I saw enough here this summer to
write a book.
I always lock my files. And you were the only
one here today ...
(stops as he hears Martin)
What do you mean, you son of a bitch?
You know what I mean. I saw a lot of strange
things going on in this office this summer. And
a lotta strange people.
Enraged, Banister pulls a .357 Magnum from his holster, cursing as he
suddenly slams it into Martin's temple. The smaller man crumples
painfully to the ground.
You didn't see a goddamn thing, you little
weasel. Do you get it? You didn't see a
JIM GARRISON'S HOME - THAT NIGHT(1963)
Jim and his wife, Liz, watch the television. She is in her early 30's,
an attractive, quiet southern woman from Louisiana. They live in a
spacious two-story wood house, suburban in feel.
TELEVISION IMAGE: Reporters are jammed in the Assembly Room of the
Dallas Police Headquarters as Oswald is brought through the corridor,
officers on either side of him.
(over the din)
Did you shoot the President?
I didn't shoot anybody, no sir. I'm just a
The camera moves onto Jim with Liz and the children - Jasper, the oldest
at 4, holds his dad's hand. On Liz's lap, Snapper, the youngest, is
asleep. Virginia, the 2-year-old, is pestering the Boxer dog ... and
Mattie, the heavyset black housekeeper, 35, is in tears.
My god, he sure looks like a creep. What's he
talkin' 'bout ... a patsy?
TELEVISION IMAGE: Oswald in front of the cameras, on a platform.
Well, I was questioned by a judge. However, I
protested at the time that I was not allowed
legal representation during that very short and
sweet hearing. Uh, I really don't know what the
situation is about. Nobody has told me anything
except that I am accused of, uh, murdering a
policeman. I know nothing more than that and I
do request that someone come forward to give me,
uh, legal assistance.
Did you kill the President?
No. I have not been charged with that. In fact
nobody has said that to me yet. The first thing
I heard about it was when the newspaper
reporters in the hall, uh, asked me that
You have been charged.
You have been charged.
Oswald seems shocked.
Were you ever in the Free Cuba Movement or
whatever the ...
(a voice in the back)
It was the Fair Play for Cuba Committee.
Oswald looks over and spots Ruby in the back of the room, on a table.
Recognition is in his eyes. The police start to move him out.
What did you do in Russia? What happened to
A policeman hit me.
He seems pretty cool to me for a man under
pressure like that.
Icy, you mean.
He gives me the willies ... come on sugarplums,
it's past your bedtimes ...
Come on, let's go upstairs.
Mattie - get ahold of yourself.
Why, Mr. Jim? He was a great man, Mr. Jim, a
great man ...
Jim is moved by her.
TELEVISION IMAGE: Texas D.A. Henry Wade addresses the journalists.
There is no one else but him. He has been
charged in the Supreme Court with murder with
malice. We're gonna ask for the death penalty.
Jim moves to the phone as Liz starts the kids up the stairs. The TV
cuts to stills of Oswald's life. Two newsmen sit in a studio, smoking,
So several hours after the assassination, a
disturbed portrait is emerging of Lee Harvey
Oswald. Described as shy and introverted, he
spent much of his childhood in New Orleans,
Louisiana and went to high school there. After
a stint in the Marines, he apparently became
fascinated by Communism and in 1959 defected to
the Soviet Union.
He married a Russian woman there, Frank, had a
child, and then returned to the United States
after 30 months. But he is still believed to be
a dedicated Marxist and a fanatical supporter of
Fidel Castro and ultra left wing causes. He
spent last summer in New Orleans and was
arrested in a brawl with anti-Castro Cuban
And apparently, Bob, Oswald had been passing out
pro-Castro pamphlets for an organization called
Fair Play for Cuba, a Communist front he
reportedly belongs to.
And we have Marina Oswald, his Russian-born
wife, who has identified the rifle found in the
Book Depository as belonging to her husband.
And we have ...
TELEVISION IMAGES: Kennedy's casket coming off the plane in Washington
D.C. play under the newsman ... Jackie stands there in her blood-spotted
dress ... we cut to the photograph of L.B.J. taking the oath of office
earlier that day ... and a still photo of Robert Kennedy's reaction ...
(on the phone)
Lou, I'm sorry to disturb you this late ...
yeah, matter of routine but we better get on
this New Orleans connection of Oswald's right
away. Check out his record, find any friends or
associates from last summer. Let's meet with
the senior assistants and investigators day
after tomorrow, Sunday, yeah, at 11 ... Thanks
GARRISON CONFERENCE ROOM - 2 DAYS LATER - DAY(1963)
Jim is with his key players: Lou Ivon, chief investigator; Susie Cox, in
her 30's, and efficient, attractive Assistant D.A.; La Oser, Assistant
D.A. in his 40's, serious, spectacled; Bill Broussard, Assistant D.A.,
handsome, volatile, in his 30's; Numa Bertell, D.A. in his 30's, chubby
and friendly, and several others. They sit around a conference table
with a black-and-white portable TV on a side table showing the current
Sunday, November 24 news from Dallas.
Lee good man ... he not shoot anyone.
Camera moves to Lou Ivon, looking at paperwork.
As far as Oswald's associates, boss, the one
name that keeps popping up is David Ferrie.
Oswald was seen with him several times last
I know David - a strange character.
He's been in trouble before. Used to be a hot
shot pilot for Eastern Airlines, but he got
canned after an alleged homosexual incident with
a 14-year old boy.
(on phone, excited)
Get Kohlman ... he told somebody the Texas trip
... yesterday mentioned to somebody about Ferrie
... find it out.
On the TV we see the first image of the "backyard photos" of Lee Harvey
Oswald holding the rifle.
These backyard photos were found yesterday among
Oswald's possessions in the garage of Janet
William's home in Riving, Texas, where Marina
Oswald and her children are living. The picture
apparently was taken earlier this year. Police
say the rifle, a cheap World War II Italian-made
Mannlicher-Carcano, was ordered from a Chicago
mailing house and shipped to Oswald's alias A.
Hidell at a post office box in March, 1963.
This is the same rifle that was used to
assassinate the President.
The camera moves back to the staff, who watch, obviously influenced.
That ties it up ...
Another nut. Jesus, anybody can get a rifle in
So it seems that Dave Ferrie drove off on a
Friday afternoon for Texas - a source told
Kohlman he might have been a getaway pilot for
Members of the team exchange looks of surprise and disbelief.
Hold your horses. What kinda source?
The anonymous kind, Chief.
I think I remember this guy Ferrie speaking at a
meeting of some veteran's group. Ranting
against Castro. Extreme stuff.
We go back now to the basement of police
headquarters where they're about to transfer
Oswald to County Prison ...
TELEVISION IMAGE: The basement of the Dallas police headquarters -
waiting. Men mill around as Oswald is led out of the basement by two
deputies. Jack Ruby rushes forward out of the crowd - and into history
- putting his sealing bullet into Oswald. Total chaos erupts ...
The camera is on the staff, looking. We hear gasps.
He's been shot! Oswald's been shot!
Goddamn! Look at that ... Look at that ... I
don't believe this ... Right on TV! What is
going on? Who is this guy ... oh Jesus.
Jim is silent.
Seventy cops in that basement. What the hell
were they doing?
Jack Ruby ... Who is Jack Ruby? Oswald is hurt.
We see images of Oswald being lifted onto the stretcher, into the
ambulance, and the newscaster crouching, whispering. Everybody in the
room is stunned still.
Well, no trial now. Looks like somebody saved
the Dallas D.A. a pile of work.
They look to Jim. There's a pause. He is deeply disturbed.
Well, let's get Ferrie in here anyway.
GARRISON OFFICE - NEXT DAY - DAY(1963)
The portable television plays to Jim alone, sitting in his chair smoking
a pipe. We see searing images of the funeral - crowds of mourners, the
casket being driven through the streets, the honor guards, the horses,
the dignitaries walking behind, Jackie veiled ... the faces of De
Gaulle, MacMillan, Robert Kennedy. We intercut briefly to Lyndon
Johnson sitting down earlier that day with the Joint Chiefs of Staff ...
and then a future cut to Johnson in the Oval Office (staged). The shots
are very tight, uncomfortable - noses, eyes, hands - very tight.
As the door opens following a knock, David Ferrie is brought into Jim's
office by two police officers and Lou Ivon. Jim stands up, cordial.
Chief ... David Ferrie.
Ferrie suffers from alopecia, a disease that has removed all his body
hair, and he looks like a Halloween character - penciled eyebrows, one
higher than the other, a scruffy reddish wig pasted on askew with glue,
thrift store clothing. His eyes, however, are swift and cunning, his
smile warm, inviting itself, his demeanor hungry to please.
Come in, Dave. Have a seat, make yourself
Do you remember me, Mr. Garrison? I met you on
Carondolet Street right after your election. I
congratulated you, remember?
How could I forget? You make quite a first
Sharon, could you please bring us some coffee?
(Ferrie laughs; pause)
I've heard over the years you're quite a first -
rate pilot, Dave. Legend has it you can get in
and out of any field, no matter how small ...
(Jim points to the pictures on his
I'm a bit of a pilot myself, you know. Flew
grasshoppers for the field artillery in the war.
Ferrie glimpses the low-volumed TV - and images of the funeral. He
looks away, jittery, and takes out a cigarette. Sharon brings the
Do you mind if I smoke, Mr. Garrison?
(holds up his pipe)
How could I? Dave, as you know, President
Kennedy was assassinated on Friday. A man named
Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested as a suspect and
then was murdered yesterday by a man named Jack
(on each name, watching Ferrie's
We've heard reports that Oswald spent the summer
in New Orleans and we've been advised you knew
Oswald pretty well.
That's not true. I never met anybody named
Oswald. Anybody who told you that has to be
But you are aware, he served in your Civil Air
Patrol unit when he was a teenager.
No ... if he did, I don't remember him. There
were lots of kids in and out ... y'know.
(hands him a current newspaper)
I'm sure you've seen this. Perhaps you knew
this man under another name?
No, I never saw him before in my life.
Well that must've been mistaken information we
got. Thanks for straightening it out for us.
(puffs on pip, Ferrie looks
relieved; images of the funeral
continue on the TV)
There is one other matter that's come up, Dave.
We were told you took a trip to Texas shortly
after the assassination of Friday.
Yeah, now that's true. I drove to Houston.
What was so appealing about Houston?
I hadn't been there ice skating in many years,
and I had a couple of young friends with me, and
we decided we wanted to go ice skating.
Dave, may I ask why the urge to go ice skating
in Texas happened to strike you during one of
the most violent thunderstorms in recent memory?
Oh, it was just a spur of the moment thing ...
the storm wasn't that bad.
I see. And where did you drive?
We went straight to Houston, and then Saturday
night we drove to Galveston and stayed over
No particular reason. Just to go somewhere.
And then Sunday?
In the morning we went goose hunting. Then
headed home, but I dropped the boys off to see
some relatives and I stayed in Hammond.
Did you bag any geese on this trip?
I believe the boys got a couple.
But the boys told us they didn't get any.
(fidgeting, lighting another
Oh yes, well, come to think of it, they're
right. We got to where the geese were and there
were thousands of them. But you couldn't
approach them. They were a wise bunch of birds.
Your young friends also told us you had no
weapons in the car. Dave, isn't it a bit
difficult to hunt for geese without a shotgun?
Yes, now I remember, Mr. Garrison. I'm sorry, I
got confused. We got out there near the geese
and it was only then we realized we'd forgotten
our shotguns. Stupid, right? So of course we
didn't get any geese.
Dave thank you for your time. I'm sorry it has
to end inconveniently for you, but I'm going to
have you detained for further questioning by the
Why? What's wrong?
Dave, I find your story simply not believable.
Lou and the two cops escort Ferrie out of the office as Jim turns to the
television image of Kennedy's final moments of rest. The bugler plays
taps. John Jr., 3 years old, in an image which will become famous,
salutes his Dad farewell. The riderless horse stands lonely against the
FBI OFFICE - NEW ORLEANS - NEXT DAY(1963)
At a small press conference, the FBI spokesman reads a statement.
Gentlemen, this afternoon the FBI released David
W. Ferrie of New Orleans. After extensive
questioning and a thorough background check, the
Bureau found no evidence that ...
GARRISON'S OFFICE - SIMULTANEOUS WITH PREVIOUS SCENE
In Garrison's office see the same broadcast, on the portable television.
Lou, Broussard, Numa and Jim watch.
FBI SPOKESMAN (CONT'D)
... Mr. Ferrie knew Lee Harvey Oswald or that he
has had any connection with the assassination of
President Kennedy. The Special Agent in Charge
would like to make clear that Mr. Ferrie was
brought in for questioning by the District
Attorney of Orleans parish, not by the Federal
Bureau of Investigation. The Bureau regrets any
trouble this may have caused Mr. Ferrie ...
In national news, President Johnson has
announced the creation of a blue ribbon
presidential commission to probe the events in
Lou looks at Jim, angry.
Correct me if I'm wrong. I thought we were on
the same side. What the hell business is it of
theirs to say that?
Pretty fast, wasn't it. The way they let him
They must know something we don't.
So, let's get on with our lives, gentlemen ...
we got plenty of home grown crimes to prosecute.
He reaches to turn off the TV and get back to work. The last image on
the TV is:
The Commission will be headed by Chief Justice
of the United States Supreme Court, Earl Warren,
and is expected to head off several
Congressional and Texas inquiries into the
assassination. On the panel are Allen Dulles,
ex-chief of the CIA, Representative Gerald Ford,
John J. McCloy, former head of Chase Manhattan
Jim flicks the TV off as the overture ends.
AERIAL SHOT - WASHINGTON, D.C. - DAY(1966)
We look down at the White House from the plane's point of view. A
subtitle reads: "THREE YEARS LATER."
INTERIOR OF PLANE
SENATOR RUSSELL LONG
(looking out the window)
That's a mess down there, Jim. We've bitten off
more "Vietnam" that we can possibly chew.
Jim, now 46, reads the front page of THE WASHINGTON POST which details
the latest battle in Vietnam. He sits next to Senator Long from
Louisiana, in his 50's, who's drinking a whiskey. They're on a crowded
businessman's shuttle. We see a close-up of a newspaper article about
the Vietnam war: "more troops asked by Westmoreland."
Sad thing is the way it's screwing up this
country, all these hippies running around on
drugs, the way young people look you can't tell
a boy from a girl anymore. I saw a girl the
other day, she was pregnant - you could see her
whole belly, and you know what she painted on
it? "Love Child." It's fuckin' outa control.
Values've gone to hell, Jim ... Course it
figures when you got somebody like that polecat
Johnson in the White House.
I sometimes feel things've gone downhill since
John Kennedy was killed, Senator.
Don't get me started on that. Those Warren
Commission fellows were pickin' gnat shit out of
pepper. No one's gonna tell me that kid did the
shooting job he did from that damned bookstore.
Here you go, Senator Long.
The stewardess brings more drinks.
I thought the FBI test-fired the rifle to make
sure it could be done?
Sure, three experts and not one of them could do
it! They're telling us Oswald got off three
shots with world-class precision from a manual
bolt action rifle in less than six seconds - and
accordin' to his Marine buddies he got Maggie's
drawers - he wasn't any good. Average man would
be lucky to get two shots off, and I tell ya the
first shot would always be the best. Here, the
third shot's perfect. Don't make sense. And
then they got that crazy bullet zigzagging all
over the place so it hits Kennedy and Connally
seven times. One "pristine" bullet? That dog
You know, something always bothered me about
that from day one, and I can't put my finger on
If I were investigatin', I'd round up the 100
best riflemen in the world and find out which
ones were in Dallas that day. You been duck
hunting? I think Oswald was a good old-
fashioned decoy. What'd he say? "I'm just a
patsy." Out of the mouth of babes y'ask me.
You think there were other men involved,
Russell looks at Jim quizzically and laughs.
Hell, you're the District Attorney. You read
the Warren Report - and then you tell me you're
satisfied Lee Oswald shot the President all by
Russell, honestly you sound like one of those
kooky critics spreading paranoia like prairie
fire. I just can't believe the Chief Justice of
the United States would put his name on
something that wasn't true.
(to the stewardess)
Honey, another one of these. This one's as weak
as cricket pee-pee. Yessir, you mark my words,
Jim, Vietnam's gonna cost Johnson '68 and it's
gonna put that other varmint Nixon in - then
watch your hide, 'cause there ain't no offramps
on a freeway to Hell!
GARRISON'S STUDY - NIGHT(1966)
The study is lined with bookshelves up to the ceiling; we see photos of
family, a chess set. Jim, smoking his pipe, reads in a red leather
chair from on eof the 26 thick Warren Commission volumes piled all over
the place. Liz enters. Jasper, now 7, draws on a piece of paper on the
floor at Jim's feet.
Jim, dinner's just about ready ... I've got a
surprise for you ... tried something new ...
Jim? Jim, dinner.
(lost in thought)
Mmmmm ... sure smells good ... but Egghead, do
you realize Oswald was interrogated for twelve
hours after the assassination, with no lawyer
present, and nobody recorded a word of it? I
can't believe it. A police captain with 30
years experience and a crowd of Federal agents
just had to know that with no record anything
that Oswald said would be inadmissible in court.
Come on now, we'll talk about it at the table,
dinner's getting cold.
What are you doing in here?
Daddy said it was all right if I was real quiet.
(rising to dinner)
Sure it is. Freckle Face, if I ever handled a
minor felon like that, it'd be all over the
papers. I'd catch hell. And this is the
alleged murderer of the President?
GARRISON DINING ROOM - (1966)
Two-year-old Elizabeth watches "Crusader Rabbit" on TV as the new one-
year-old sits in diapers with Liz at one end of the dinner table. Jim
sits at the other end. There are five kids now, ages 7, 5, 4, 2 and 1
... and Mattie, the housekeeper. Dinner's finished, they pass plates,
the children horse around ... the boxer dog, Touchdown, begs for a piece
of the action. Jim, not a big eater, feeds him ice cream.
Again and again they ignore credible testimony,
leads are never followed up, its conclusions are
selective, there's no index, it's one of the
sloppiest, most disorganized investigations I've
ever seen. Dozens and dozens of witnesses in
Dealey Plaza that day are saying they heard
shots coming from the Grassy Knoll area in front
of Kennedy and not the Book Depository behind
him, but it's all broken down and spread around
and you read it and the point gets lost.
I never did believe it either!
Uh huh ... Mattie, I'll do the dishes, you take
Be up now. And Elizabeth, too, your bedtime,
Nahhhh! I don't wanna go to bed!
Honey, that was three years ago - we all tried
so hard to put that out of our minds, why are
you digging it up again? You're the D.A. of New
Orleans. Isn't the Kennedy assassination a bit
outside your domain? I mean all those important
people already studied it.
I can't believe a man as intelligent as Earl
Warren ever read what's in those volumes.
Well maybe you're right, Jim. I'll give you one
hour to solve the case ... until the kids are in
(rising, she puts her arms around
him from behind and kisses his
Then you're mine and Mr. Kennedy can wait 'til
morning. Come on, everybody say goodnight to
(showing his drawing)
Dad, look what I drew.
That's something, Jasper. What is it?
A rhinoceros. Can I stay up another hour?
Virginia and Snapper each get one of Jim's shoes as he dances with them,
holding one with each hand.
Pickle and Snapper, my two favorite dancing
As the children dance, they fall off Jim's feet, laughing and giggling.
He throws each in the air and kisses them.
Goodnight, my doodle bugs.
Liz comes over, smiling. Jim takes her in his arms.
One hour, y'hear? Some Saturday night date you
Mama warned me this would happen if I married
such a serious man.
Oh, she did, huh? When I come up I'll show you
how Saturday night got invented.
GARRISON STUDY - LATER THAT NIGHT(1966)
The clock on mantelpiece reads 3 A.M. Jim is alone, smoking his pipe.
In the stillness, his mind crawls all over the place. The camera closes
on the thickly-worded pages of the Warren Report.
FLASHBACK TO the Warren Commission hearing room in Dallas, 1964. We
hear thin, echoey sound as the attorneys question some of the witnesses.
The overall effect is vague and confusing, as is much of the Warren
Report. A Mr. Ball is questioning Lee Bowers, the switchman in the
railroad yard. Bowers, in his early 40's, has a trustworthy, working-
man face and a crew cut.
I sealed off the area, and I held off the trains
until they could be examined, and there was some
transients taken on at least one train.
Mr. Bowers ... is there anything else you told
me I haven't asked you about that you can think
Nothing that I can recall.
Witness is excused.
Jim, upset, reads on ... Another witness, Sgt. D.V. Harkness of the
Dallas Police responds to a second attorney.
Well we got a long freight that was in there,
and we pulled some people off of there and took
them to the station.
We see another FLASHBACK - to the Dallas rail yards on the day of the
assassination. Three hoboes are being pulled off the freight by the
You mean some transients?
SGT. HARKNESS (V.O.)
Tramps and hoboes.
Were all those questioned?
FLASHBACK TO Dealey Plaza an hour or less after the assassination. The
three hoboes are marched by shotgun-toting policemen to the Sheriff's
office at Dealey Plaza. We note that they do not look much like hoboes.
SGT. HARKNESS (V.O.)
Yes, sir, they were taken to the station and
I want to go back to this Amos Euins.
(voices dribble off)
Yes sir, traffic had been cut off into the area
since about 10, but there were three cars came
in during this time from around noon till the
time of the shooting ... the cars circled the
parking lot, and left like they were checking
the area, one of the drivers seemed to have
something he was holding to his mouth ... the
last car came in about 7 to 10 minutes before
the shooting, a white Chevrolet, 4-door Impala,
muddy up to the windows.
The camera's point of view is now from the railroad tower near Dealey
Plaza. We are fourteen feet off the ground, overlooking the parking lot
behind the Grassy Knoll. The shot includes this last car circling in
BOWERS (V.O.) (CONT'D)
Towards the underpass, I saw two men standing
behind a picket fence ... they were looking up
towards Main and Houston and following the
caravan as it came down. One of them was
middle-aged, heavyset. The other man was
younger, wearing a plaid shirt and jacket.
Inside the railroad tower, Bowers glances out, busy with the main board,
flashing lights, a train coming in.
BOWERS (V.O.) (CONT'D)
There were two other men on the eastern end of
the parking lot. Each of 'me had uniforms.
We see the parking lot from Bower's point of view - at a distance, but
we have a sense of the cars and see the men at a distance, tow uniformed
men. The parking lot is bumper-to-bumper with a sea of cars. Rain that
morning has muddied the lot. These brief images are elaborated on
BOWERS (V.O.) (CONT'D)
At the time of the shooting there seemed to be
some commotion ... I just am unable to describe
- a flash of light or smoke or something which
caused me to feel that something out of the
ordinary had occurred there on the embankment
We feel the growing intensity: music, drums - but all blurred. We see a
puff of smoke but no sound because of the window Bowers is glancing
through. A motorcycle cop shoots up the Grassy Knoll incline. People
run, blurring into a larger mosaic of confusion. Bowers is confused,
INTERCUT with Jim's heart pounding as he reads.
Back in Dealey Plaza, S.M. Holland, an elderly signal supervisor, stands
on the parapet of the railway.
Four shots ... a puff of smoke came from the
trees ... behind that picket fence ... close to
the little plaza - There's no doubt whatever in
We see the scene from Holland's point of view - the puff of smoke
lingering under the trees along the picket fence after the shooting.
GARRISON BEDROOM - ANOTHER NIGHT(1966)
Jim is asleep, having a tortured dream.
DREAMSCAPE FLASHBACK: We see the Zapruder film, in slow-motion and
J.F.K.'s face just before he goes behind Stemmons Freeway sign. Jim
sits up suddenly.
Liz stirs, shaken.
Honey, you all right?
(looks at watch)
It's incredible, honey - the whole thing. A
Lieutenant Colonel testifies that Lee Oswald was
given a Russian language exam as part of his
Marine training only a few months before he
defects to the Soviet Union. A Russian exam!
(sitting up, angered)
I cannot believe this. It's four-thirty, Jim
Garrison. I have five children are gonna be
awake in another hour and ...
Honey, in all my years in the service I never
knew a single man who was given a Russian test.
Oswald was a radar operator. He'd have about as
much use for Russian as a cat has for pajamas.
These books are getting to your mind, Mr.
Garrison. I wish you'd stop readin' them.
And then this Colonel tries to make it sound
like nothing. Oswald did badly on the test, he
says. "He only had two more Russian words right
than wrong." Ha! That's like me saying
Touchdown here ...
(points to the dog)
... is not very intelligent because I beat him
three games out of five the last time we played
Jim, what is going on, for heaven's sake! You
going to stay up all night every night? For
what? So you'll be the only man in America who
read the entire 26 volumes of the Warren Report?
Liz, do I have to spell it out for you? Lee
Oswald was no ordinary soldier. That was no
accident he was in Russia. He was probably in
military intelligence. That's why he was
trained in Russian.
(with a quizzical look)
Honey, go back to sleep, please!
Goddammit! I been sleeping for three years!
She takes him now, gently, and pulls him down on top of her and kisses
Will you stop rattling on about Kennedy for a
few minutes, honey ... come on.
LAFAYETTE SQUARE - NEW ORLEANS - MORNING(1966)
A Sunday, early. We see a statue of Ben Franklin in an empty square
frequented by drunks who doze on benches in a little leafy park in the
center of the Square. The camera moves to Jim by himself and then moves
to a sedan, pulling up, which disgorges Lou Ivon and Bill Broussard.
Morning, boys. Ready for a walking tour?
At 7:30 Sunday morning? It's not exactly fresh
blood we're sniffing here, boss.
Old stains, Bill, but just as telling.
TIME CUT TO Jim indicating 531 Lafayette Street, a seedy, faded, three-
story building across the street from the square.
Remember whose office this was back in '63? 531
Yeah, Guy Banister. Ex-FBI man. He died couple
FLASHBACK TO the exterior of the Banister Office on a day in 1963. The
door is now clearly labelled "W. GUY BANISTER, INC. INVESTIGATORS." It
opens and Banister comes out in slow motion, neatly dressed, rose in his
lapel - the same office and same man we saw three years before when he
pistol-whipped Jack Martin. Banister seems to be smiling right at us,
Headed the Chicago office. When he retired he
became a private eye here. I used to have lunch
with him. John Birch Society, Minutemen,
slightly to the right of Attila the Hun. Used
to recruit college students to infiltrate
radical organizations on campus. All out of
this office. Now come around here, take a look
at this ...
Back to the Lafayette Square of 1966. Jim walks Ivon and Bill to the
corner, to another entrance to the same building - this one with a sign
that says "544 Camp Street."
544 Camp Street. Same building as 531
Lafayette, right ... but different address and
different entrances both going to the same place
- the offices on the second and third floors.
Bill studies the present sign: "Crescent City Dental Laboratory", and
gives Jim a puzzled look.
Guess who used this address?
Lou gets it and glances up. We FLASHBACK TO the exterior of 544 Camp
Street in 1963. Lee Oswald comes out the door into a full close-up, now
clearly seen by us, and heads out into the street as Guy Banister
intercepts him on the sidewalk, holding a leaflet and point to "544 Camp
Street stamped on it. Guy seems miffed at Oswald, tells him something
quickly, and then moves on.
See this? What the hell is this doing on this
piece of paper?
(he moves away)
My God! Lee Harvey Oswald.
Bull's-eye. How do we know he was here? Cause
this office address was stamped on the pro-
Castro leaflets he was handing out in the summer
of '63 down on Canal street. They were the same
leaflets that were found in his garage in
FLASHBACK to Canal Street in New Orleans on a summer day in 1963.
Oswald, in a thin tie and white short-sleeved shirt, and wearing a
homemade placard reading "Hands Off Cuba"; "Viva Fidel!", is hawking
leaflets to pedestrians with two young helpers.
A large white-haired businessman in a white suit, very distinguished,
walks with a friend on Canal Street. Oswald glances at him and meets
his eyes. The businessman enters an office building. This man is Clay
Bertrand, later known as Clay Shaw.
Some Cubans, led by Carols Bringuier, now appear. One of them, "the
Bull", is heavy-set with dark glasses. More of him will also be seen.
JIM (V.O.) (CONT'D)
He was arrested that day for fighting with some
anti-Castro Cubans ... but actually he had
contacted them a few days earlier as an ex-
Marine trying to join the anti-Castro crusade.
When they heard he was now pro-Castro, they paid
him a visit.
He's a traitor, this man! Don't believe a word
he tells you!
You sonofabitch, you liar, you're a Communist,
go back to Moscow.
Carlos throws Oswald's leaflets in the air and pulls off his glasses,
prepared to fight. Oswald only smiles, and puts his arms down in an X
Okay, Carlos, if you want to hit me, hit me.
There is no real fight, but the police, as if pre-alerted, arrive.
Arrests are made. We see Oswald in a room in the police station,
talking with FBI Agent John Quigley. A calendar on the wall shows that
it's August, 1963.
There was no real fight and the arresting
Lieutenant later said he felt it was a staged
incident. In jail, Oswald asked to talk to
Special Agent John Quigley of the FBI who showed
up immediately. They have a private session.
Oswald is released and Quigley destroys his
notes from the interview.
In a television studio in 1963, Oswald debates Carlos Bringuier with two
JIM (V.O.) (CONT'D)
But the arrest gets him a lot of publicity and
as a result Oswald appears on a local TV debate
that established his credentials as a Communist.
But you're a Communist, are you not, and you
defected to Russia.
No, I am not a Communist. But I am a Marxist-
What did you do when you were in Russia?
I worked while I was there. I was always under
the protection of ... that is to say, I was not
under the protection of the U.S. Government.
Back in 1966, Jim walks with his two assistants.
What the hell's a Communist like Lee Oswald
doing working out of Banister's?
Y'ever heard of a double agent, Bill? I'm
beginning to doubt Oswald was ever a Communist
... after the arrest, 544 Camp Street never
appeared on the pamphlets again. Now here's
another one for you: What would you say if I
told you Lee Oswald had been trained in the
Russian language when he was a Marine?
I'd say he was probably getting intelligence
Lou, you were in the Marines. Who would be
running that training?
The Office of Naval Intelligence.
Take a look across the street.
We see the Post Office building across the street.
Upstairs. In 1963 that was the Office of Naval
Intelligence - And just by coincidence,
Banister, before he was FBI, was ONI. What do
"Once ONI, always ONI"?
Well, he likes to work near his old pals.
Jim makes a gesture encompassing the whole Square.
Bill, Lou, we're standing in the heart of the
United States Government's intelligence
community in New Orleans. That's the FBI there,
the CIA, Secret Service, ONI. Doesn't this seem
to you a rather strange place for a Communist to
spend his spare time?
What are you driving at, boss?
We're going back into the case, Lou - the murder
of the President. I want you to take some money
from the Fees and Fines Account and go to Dallas
- talk to some people. Bill, I want you to get
Oser on the medical, the autopsy, Susan on
Oswald and Ruby histories, tax records ...
Lord, wake me, please. I must be dreaming.
No, you're awake, Bill, and I'm dead serious.
And we're going to start by tracking down your
anonymous source from three years ago. How did
you find out Dave Ferrie drove to Texas that
RACETRACK - DAY(1966)
A straggly group of people watch from the grandstands eating hotdogs and
talking in small clusters. The horses are running early morning laps.
Three men sit apart in the bleachers. A scared Jack Martin, three years
older than when last seen, still wearing the Dick Tracy hat, sucks up
coffee like a worm does moisture. He has the red puffy cheeks of an
alcoholic and deeply circled, worried eyes. Bill and Jim wait.
You're not under cross-examination here, Jack.
What I need is a little clarification about the
night Guy Banister beat you over the head with
his Magnum. You called our office hopping mad
from your hospital bed. Don't tell me you don't
Jack looks away and doesn't respond.
Here's my problem, Jack. You told me you and
Guy were good friends for a long time?
More than ten years.
And he never hit you before?
Never touched me.
Yet on November 22, 1963 - the day of the
President's murder - our police report says he
pistol-whipped you with a .357 Magnum.
(Martin's eyes are fixed on Jim)
But the police report says you had an argument
over the phone bill. Here, take a look at it.
(Martin looks at the report)
Now, does a simple argument over phone bills
sound like a believable explanation to you?
SUDDEN FLASHBACK to the night of the pistol-whipping. The camera shows
Banister laying Martin's head open/ the beating the humiliation.
(shaking his head slowly, dreamily)
No, it involved more than that.
Bill looks at Jim.
How much more?
I don't know if I should talk about this.
Well, I'd ask Guy - we were friendly, you know -
heart attack, wasn't it?
If you buy what you read in the paper.
You have other information?
I didn't say that. All I know is he died
suddenly just before the Warren Report came out.
Why did Guy beat you, Jack?
Well, I guess now that Guy's dead, it don't
really matter ... it was about the people
hanging around the office that summer. I wasn't
really part of the operation, you know. I was
handling the private-eye work for Guy when that
came in - not much did - but that's why I was
there ... it was a nuthouse. There were all
these Cubans coming and going. They all looked
alike to me.
FLASHBACK to Banister's office in 1963. There are Cubans in battle
fatigues and combat boots; duffle bags are lying around. David Ferrie,
in fatigues, directs the Cubans as they carry crates of ammunition and
weapons into a back room. Martin observes from another desk.
MARTIN (V.O.) (CONT'D)
Dave Ferrie - you know about him?
Was he there often?
Often? He practically lived there. It was real
cloak and dagger stuff. They called it
Operation Mongoose. The idea was to train all
these Cuban exiles for another invasion of Cuba.
Banister's office was part of a supply line that
ran from Dallas, through New Orleans to Miami,
stockpiling arms and explosives.
Still in 1963, we see the exterior of Banister's office. A dozen Cubans
follow Ferrie downstairs into the street, and pile into several cars,
duffels thrown in with them. Ferrie drives the lead car.
All this right under the noses of the
intelligence community in Lafayette Square?
We see the cars cross the long Lake Pontchartrain Bridge and enter a
remote guerrilla training camp. Bayou and jungle are all around.
Sure. Everybody knew everybody. It was a
network. They were working for the CIA -
pilots, black operations guys, civilians,
military - everybody in those days was running
guns somewhere ... Fort Jefferson, Bayou Bluff,
Morgan City ... McAllen, Texas was a big gun-
At the guerrilla training camp at Lake Pontchartrain in 1963, we see
scenes of basic training - shooting, obstacle courses, callisthenics -
led by Ferrie and other trainers. Scattered among the Cubans are
several white American mercenaries. We catch a glimpse of Oswald and
glimpses of several other men we will see again, in sprinklings.
Where is Banister in all this?
Banister was running his camp north of Lake
Pontchartrain. Ferrie handled a lot of the
training. There was a shooting range and a lot
of tropical terrain like in Cuba. A few
Americans got trained, too. Nazi types.
Mercenaries. But Ferrie was the craziest.
It's night at the training camp. FBI agents race up in cars in the
middle of the night, swarming over the camp, rounding up the trainees.
MARTIN (V.O.) (CONT'D)
Anyway, late summer the party ended. Kennedy
didn't want another Bay of Pigs mess, so he
ordered the FBI to shut down the camps and
confiscate the napalm and the C-4. There were a
buncha Cubans and a couple Americans arrested,
only you didn't read about it in the papers.
Just the weapons got mentioned ... 'cause the
first ones behind bars would've been Banister
and Ferrie, but I think the G-men were just
going through the motions for Washington. Their
hearts were with their old FBI buddy Banister.
We see FBI agents loading dynamite, bomb casings, arms 155mm artillery
Back at the racetrack in 1966, Jim listens.
Like I said, a fuckin' nuthouse.
Martin hesitates. We hear the rhythmic beating of the horse hooves and
Martin sucking on the steaming cup of coffee.
Yeah, he was there, too ... sometimes he'd be
meeting with Banister with the door shut. Other
times he'd be shooting the bull with Ferrie.
But he was there all right.
Anything more specific, Jack? It's important.
FLASHBACK TO Banister's office in 1963. Banister and Martin shooting
the breeze as the straight-laced middle-aged secretary, Delphine
Roberts, hurries in.
Yeah, one time the secretary got upset, I
I can't believe it, Mr. Banister. Lee Oswald is
down on Canal Street giving out Communist
leaflets supporting Castro!
Banister just looks at her and laughs.
It's okay, Delphine, he's with us.
Back at the racetrack ...
Anyone else involved at Banister's level?
There was one guy, I don't know, big guy,
business guy, white hair - I saw him come into
the office once. He looked out of place, y'know
- like a society guy. Can't remember his name.
Oswald was with him.
FLASHBACK to Banisters office on a day in 1963. Martin is snooping in
Banister's files. Cut to Martin leaving the office as a big businessman
with white hair briefly talks to Oswald and then goes into Banister's
MARTIN (V.O.) (CONT'D)
He had something to do with money. I remember
him cause Guy, who didn't kiss anybody's ass,
sure kissed his.
Banister lets the man into his private office.
MARTIN (V.O.) (CONT'D)
Clay something, that was his name - Clay.
Bertrand. Clay Bertrand?
Yeah! That's it.
I don't know. Maybe it wasn't. I gotta go.
Clay Bertrand. He's in the Warren Report. He
tried to get Oswald a lawyer.
Was Kennedy ever discussed, Jack?
Sure. 'Course they hated the sonofabitch, but
The assassination, Jack?
Never. Not with me sir, never ... Listen, I
think I'd better go. I said enough. I said all
I'm going to say.
Hold on, Jack. What's the problem?
What's the problem? What's the problem? Do I
need to spell it out for you, Mr. Garrison? I
Nobody knows what we're talking about, Jack.
You're so naive, mister.
Martin picks his way nervously down the bleacher benches.
CAR - FRENCH QUARTER - DAY(1966)
Jim drives, with Numa in the front and Bill in the back.
Well, it's a terrific yard, Chief, but the man's
an obvious alcoholic with a reputation lower
than crocodile piss.
Does that bother you, Bill? I always wondered
in court why it is because a woman is a
prostitute, she has to have bad eyesight.
He'll never sign a statement, boss, let alone
get on a witness stand.
When something's rotten in the land, Bill, it
generally isn't just one fish, we'll get
corroboration ... find this Clay Bertrand. If I
were a betting man, I'd give you 10 to 1 it's an
alias. Start checking around the Quarter.
And the six of us, with almost no budget and in
secret, are going to solve the case that the
Warren Commission with dozens of support staff
and millions of dollars couldn't solve. We
can't keep up with the crimes in the Parish as
it is, Chief.
The murder of a President, Bill, is a crime in
Orleans Parish too. I didn't pick you because
of your legal skill, you know.
Gee, thanks boss.
Jim pulls the car over to park.
But because you're a fighter. I like a man who
isn't scared of bad odds.
FRENCH QUARTER SIDEWALK - DAY(1966)
Jim and the others get out of the car and head towards Antoine's
Restaurant. A black woman greets him.
How ya doing, Mr. Garrison? Remember me - from
the piano bar at the Royal Orleans?
I sure do. We sang "You're the Cream in My
She laughs. Others move in on him.
Make sure we come back here, now.
ANTOINE'S RESTAURANT - DAY(1966)
They enter a busy lunchtime crowd in an elegant eatery. Lou Ivon and Al
Oser are waiting for them as they're shown to their table by the Maitre
Mr. Garrison, we have not seen enough of you
Been too busy, Paul - an elected man can't have
as much fun as he used to.
(seeing Lou and Al)
Welcome back, Lou. Find out anything on those
Lou's been waiting, excited. He gives Jim blowups of the five hobo
They took 'em to the Sheriff's office, not the
police station, and they let 'em go. No record
of them ever being questioned.
I can't say that comes as a surprise anymore.
A photographer from The Dallas Times Herald got
some great shots of them never published ...
The camera moves in on the photographs.
FLASHBACK TO the "hoboes" being escorted to the Sheriff's office - as
per Sgt. Harkness' earlier description.
LOU (V.O.) (CONT'D)
... take a good look, chief, do any of 'em look
like the hoboes you remember?
Hoboes I knew of old used to sleep in their
clothes - these two look pretty young.
... not a single frayed collar or cuff, new
haircuts, fresh shaves, clean hands - new shoe
leather. Look at the ear of the cop ... That's
a wire. What's a cop wearing a headset for? I
think they're actors, chief; they're not cops.
Susie Cox arrives.
Who the hell are they, then! Hi, Susie, sit
This could be it. Let's start looking for 'em.
How 'bout that railroad man, Lee Bowers? Saw
those men at the picket fence?
Graveyard dead. August this year.
(Jim curses quietly)
A single car accident on an empty road in
Midlothian, Texas. The doctor said he was in
some kind of strange shock when he died.
(shares the look)
We need to find more witnesses, Lou.
There was Rose Cheramie. A whore. Two Cubans
threw her out of a car on the way to Dallas.
She talked to a cop from a hospital bed two days
before the assassination, said Kennedy would be
hit that Friday. She said she was a dope runner
for Jack Ruby and that Ruby knew Oswald for
Can we find her?
Graveyard dead near Big Sandy, Texas in '65.
Two in the morning on some highway. A hit and
FLASHBACK to Rose lying dead on an empty highway.
Why not go right to the horse's mouth, chief?
Jack Ruby's been rotting in a Dallas jail cell
for three years. Maybe he's ready to crack?
If we go to him our investigation'll hit the
front pages by sunrise. Blow up right in our
face. Ruby was just given a new trial. If he
has something to say, it'll be there. Susie,
what did you find out on Oswald?
Negative on his tax records. Classified. First
time I know a D.A. can't get a tax record. I
put together a list of all the CIA files on
Oswald that were part of the Warren Report and
asked for them. There are about 1200 documents
(gives it to Jim who reads)
Oswald in the USSR, in Mexico City, Oswald and
the U2, a CIA 201 personnel file, a memo from
the Director on Oswald, travel and activities -
can't get one of them. All classified as secret
on the grounds of national security. It's real
Maybe there's more to this, Susie. The CIA's
keeping something from our enemies.
Yes, but we're talking about a dead warehouse
employee of no political significance. Three
years later and he's still classified? They
gave us his grammar school records, a study of
his pubic hairs ... Put it in context, Bill, of
what we know about Oswald. Lonely kid, no
father, unstable childhood, high school dropout
- wants to grow up and be a spy, joins the
Marines at 17. He learns Russian, he acts
overtly Marxist with two other marines, but he's
stationed at a top secret base in Japan where U2
spy flights over Russia originate. He's
discharged from the Marines supposedly because
his mother's sick. He stays home 3 days, then
with a $1500 ticket from a $203 bank account, he
goes to Moscow ...
FLASHBACK TO Moscow in 1959. We see shots of the city - strange and
eerie black-and-white stills. Inside the U.S. Embassy Oswald slaps his
passport on the table with a formal letter. Two consuls attend him.
I want to renounce my citizenship and become a
Soviet citizen. I'm going to make known to them
all information I have concerning the Marine
Corps and my specialty therein, radar operation
One of the consuls, John McVickar, says Oswald's
performance was not spontaneous - it seemed
coached. Oswald gives an interview to a
Continuing the Moscow flashback, we see Oswald talking with a female
journalist in his small room in the Hotel Metropole. Again he sounds
I will never return to the United States for any
reason. It is a capitalist country, an
exploitive, racist country. I am a Marxist
since I was 15. I've seen poor niggers and that
was a real lesson. People hate because they're
told to hate, like school kids. It's the
fashion to hate people in the U.S.
The Russians are sceptical - want to send him
back. Maybe they suspect he's a spy. He
supposedly slashes his wrists in a suicide
attempt so that they're forced to keep him, and
he disappears for six weeks, presumably with the
We see photos of the city of Minks, in Russia, Oswald with various
friends and tourists, shots of Lee and Marina with a new baby.
SUSIE (V.O.) (CONT'D)
Finally they shuttle him to a radio factory in
Minks where he lives as high on the hog as he
ever has - he's given 5,000 rubles, a roomy
apartment with a balcony, has affairs with local
Makes sense - he's a spokesman.
But he never writes, speaks, or does any
propaganda for the Russians. He meets Marina,
whose uncle is a colonel in Soviet intelligence,
at a trade union dance; she thinks he's Russian
the way he speaks, six weeks later they marry,
have a daughter.
Didn't someone say he didn't speak good Russian?
It's a contradiction, Numa, get used to them.
The only explanation for the royal treatment is
he did give them radar secrets. Or fake
We see documentary shots of the U2 on Russian soil ... Francis Gary
Powers ... The Summit Conference cancelled ... Eisenhower and
I don't know if it's coincidence, but Oswald had
a top security clearance and knew about the U2
program from his days at Atsugi Air Base in
Japan. Six months after he arrives in Russia,
Francis Gary Powers' U2 spy flight goes down in
Russia. That plane was untouchable. Powers
hinted that Oswald could've given the Russians
enough data to hit it. As a direct result, the
peace summit between Khrushchev and Eisenhower
failed. I can't help thinking of that book
Seven Days In May, maybe someone in our military
didn't want the Peace Conference to happen,
maybe Oswald was part of that. It gets weirder.
Susie, you're an assistant D.A., remember.
Stick to what you can prove in court.
You want facts, Bill? Okay. From 1945 to '59
only two U.S. soldiers defect to Russia. From
'59 to '60, seven defect, six return, one of
them another Marine a month before Oswald. All
of them young men made to seem poor,
Don't get sidetracked! How does he get back to
the States? That's the point. Does he have any
None! The State Department issues him a new
passport in 48 hours and loans him the money to
travel. He's never investigated or charged by
the Navy for revealing classified information
or, as far as we know, debriefed by the CIA.
This is a man whose secrets cause us to change
our radar patterns in the Pacific! He should've
been prosecuted as a traitor!
The FBI finally gets around to talking to him in
Dallas and runs a file on him as a miscreant
But who meets him when he gets off the boat in
New York in June '62?
The screen shows photos of New York: Empty docks ... a ship coming in
... Wall Street on a Sunday morning - Graphic Weegee-type black-and-
white stills, then a photo of Spas T. Raikin.
Spas T. Raikin, a leading member of an anti-
And Marina? Does she have a problem getting
None either. It's bizarre. It's next to
impossible to get Russian sweethearts out. Nor
does Lee have any problem getting a new passport
when he wants to go to Cuba and Russia in '63.
A man who has defected once already. It's
Dammit, it doesn't add up! Ordinary people get
blacklisted for leftist affiliations! The State
Department did everything short of dispatching a
destroyer to Minks to insure Oswald's return.
Only intelligence people can come and go like
FLASHBACK TO a Forth Worth map factory. We see Oswald at work on photo
mattes with a Minox spy camera. The camera shows close-ups of maps and
then flashes to a hand in the photographic section. We see a close-up
of Oswald's head in a photograph - the same headshot that will be
superimposed on the Oswald photo - and a razor blade cutting mattes.
The next thing we know he's living in Dallas/Ft.
Worth in October '62 working 6 months at
Jaggars-Chiles-Stovall, a photographic firm that
contracts to make maps for the U.S. Army ... He
starts work only days before the government
reveals Russian missiles in Cuba and the crisis
explodes. Oswald may have had access to missile
site footage obtained by the U2 planes and works
alongside a young man who'd been in the Army
Sort of like Benedict Arnold coming back to
George Washington's cabinet.
Equally incongruous is Oswald becoming chummy
with the White Russian community of Dallas - all
FLASHBACK TO Fort Worth in 1963. In Oswald's cheap apartment, seven
White Russians, including George de Mohrenschildt, a distinguished grey-
haired man in his late fifties, are visiting Marina and Oswald, bringing
old dresses, groceries, and toys and milk for the crying baby, whose
cradle is two suitcases.
SUSIE (V.O.) (CONT'D)
His closest friend is an oilman named George de
Mohrenschildt who's about 35 years older than
Oswald, who's only 23 and supposedly broke. De
Mohrenschildt is a member of the Dallas
Petroleum Club, speaks five languages and was in
French Vichy Intelligence during the War. Also
rumoured to have been a Nazi sympathizer and
member of the "Solidarists", an international
anti-Communist organization with many Eastern
Europeans and ex-Nazis, many of them brought
here by the CIA after the war, many of them
involved in oil and munitions interests in
Dallas and the Southwest. You figure it.
Where'd you get all this Nazi stuff?
(hands him a file)
Read it. They called it "Project Paperclip."
This is the guy that keeps turning up in
colonial countries and each time something
strange happens. Coup d'etats, presidents
overthrown. He shows up on a "walking tour" of
Guatemala's Cuban invasion camps just before the
Bay of Pigs invasion. If we don't know he's
CIA, let's circle him very probable - Oswald's
We see Oswald and de Mohrenschildt talking with the others and a
magazine cover with J.F.K. the subject of discussion.
I think he's made some mistakes on Cuba, but
he's doing a pretty good job. If he succeeds,
in my opinion, he'll be a great President. And
a really attractive one too - open features,
great head of hair ...
De Mohrenschildt draws a picture of Oswald as an
intellectual, well read, speaks excellent
Russian, a man who adored J.F.K.
That's scenery. Don't get sidetracked. This is
the man, bottom line, who nailed Oswald to the
Warren Commission as a potentially violent man,
and linked him to the rifle.
TIME CUT TO Oswald's apartment on a different day in 1963. George de
Mohrenschildt points out a Mannlicher-Carcano rifle in the closet, turns
So, Lee, what are you taking a potshot at this
week - rabbits or fascists?
Lee's look is sickly. He freezes up.
RESUME scene of White Russian gathering in Oswald's apartment.
The only Russian that suspects Oswald of still
being a Communist is Anna Meller. But her
Russian friend tells her "he's checked" with the
local FBI and was told Oswald is all right.
Anna Meller, one of the guests, glances at a copy of Das Kapital in a
pile of books, and talks to another Russian man about it ... Talking now
to Lee and Marina are Janet and Bill Williams, a mid-American couple in
their late twenties, freshly minted.
SUSIE (V.O.) (CONT'D)
The Oswalds are introduced by George de
Mohrenschildt to Janet and Bill Williams. It's
through Janet Williams in October '63 that Lee
gets the warehouse job, right smack on Elm
Street at the Book Depository, which is owned by
another oilman with ties to defense and military
Presumably so he can now exercise his intellect
stacking school texts at $1.25 an hour.
We see Oswald and another man in the Texas School Book Depository in
1963. They are hauling and stacking school textbooks - an obviously
lower-level job for Oswald after the map factory. We cut ahead to empty
graphics of the sealed off area, the window site, the cafeteria.
All I can find out about the Williams' is their
tax returns are classified and that Bill
Williams, a descendant of the Cabots of
Massachusetts, has links through his family and
United Fruit to the CIA and does classified work
for Bell Helicopter which requires a security
clearance - so what is Oswald, a defector, doing
visiting his wife in his house? Williams has a
relationship at Bell with General Walter
Dornberger, another one of the Nazis we brought
in after the War for our missile program. He
used slave labor to build the V-2 Rockets for
Hitler before Bell needed him.
I wonder about the Williams'. Just where did
the first description of Oswald come from at
12:44? No one knows. They claimed it was
Brennan's, but his description came after 1 P.M.
Who called? Somehow the FBI's been tapping the
Williams' and picks up a call between Bell
Helicopter and Janet's phone, an unidentified
voice saying "We both know who's responsible."
Who called? Why's the Bureau been tapping them?
We see the interior of the Williams' home in Irving on a day in 1963.
His wife, Janet Williams, studied Russian in
college and her father worked for the Agency for
International Development, which works hand in
hand with the CIA. She suddenly becomes
Marina's best friend. Marina fights often with
Lee about many things - his secrecy, the lack of
money. She says Lee is not sexually adequate.
Lee hits her on several occasions. Bill
Williams' convenient separation from Janet
allows Janet to invite Marina to move into her
house in Irving. There Marina and Lee have a
second daughter - while Lee, now 24, stores his
belongings in Janet's garage and rents a small
room in Dallas under an alias of "O.H. Lee".
We see Marina and Oswald in bed at night in the Williams' house, in a
tender scene. Oswald says goodbye to his child.
TIME CUT TO Oswald living in a boarding house. It is at night, and he
sits in his room alone. The housekeeper, Earlene Roberts, heavyset,
white, in her 60's, comes in and asks him if he wants to watch some TV
with her. He declines.
SUSIE (V.O.) (CONT'D)
When he's arrested, Marina buries him with the
public. Her description of him is that of a
psychotic and violent man.
FLASHBACK TO Marina on TV, a different person from before.
I do not want to believe, but I have too much
facts .. tell me that Lee shot Kennedy.
Yeah, after, they take her to Six Flags Inn in
Arlington, prepare her for the interviews, teach
her how she should answer - and after two months
and 46 interviews, she has a nervous breakdown.
Oswald was no angel, that's clear, but who was
BACK TO Antoine's Restaurant.
I'm lost, boss. What are we saying here?
We're saying that when Oswald went to Russia, he
was not a real defector, that he was an
intelligence agent on some kind of mission for
our government and he remained one till the day
he died, that's what we're saying.
And therefore because Oswald pulled the trigger,
the intelligence community murdered their own
commander in chief. That's what you're saying!
I'll go you one better! Maybe Oswald didn't
even pull the trigger, Bill. The nitrate test
indicates he didn't even fire a rifle on
November 22nd. And on top of that, they didn't
even bother to check if the rifle had been fired
He had his palm print on the weapon.
It went to the goddamn FBI and they didn't find
a goddamn thing. It comes back a week later and
one guy in the Dallas police department suddenly
finds a palm print which for all I know he
could've taken off Oswald at the morgue.
There's no chain of evidence, Bill. And what
about the tow guns actually seen in the
Depository? One an Enfield photographed by a
newsman and the other a Mauser, described by
Deputy Weitzman ... Maybe, just maybe, Lee
Oswald was exactly what he said he was Bill - "a
patsy". Take it at face value. Lou, Susie, I'm
going with my gut here. He's got an alias of
Hidell to buy the rifle, "O.H. Lee" to rent the
room, right? What's in a name, right? In
intelligence, they're assumed to be fake. A
name is sort of like a postbox number, a code -
several different people can use the same name,
right? Then why can't somebody be using
We see blank faces around the table.
To frame him, obviously. You got to get in your
minds how the hell spooks think, Bill! They're
not ordinary crooks.
I never could figure out why this guy orders a
traceable weapon to that post office box when
you can go into any store in Texas, give a
phoney name and walk out with a cheap rifle
which can never be traced.
Unless he or someone else wants him to get
caught. Maybe he never ordered the weapon, Lou.
Somebody else did. It was picked up at the post
office early morning when Oswald's time sheet
shows him clocked in at his job. Lou, come
alive. These things are not adding up.
I still have to question what the legal basis is
that supports this, boss. Susie's stuff is
colorful, but ...
Let's start making some assumptions about the
man. Why would he leave a path as big as Lee
Harvey Oswald's? This is not a thin trail,
gentlemen, it is a very wide one. Who found the
evidence? Who set him up? Lou, Bill, Susie, I
want you to go back and check all the sightings
of Oswald in Dallas, New Orleans and Mexico in
the summer and fall of '63 - see if it's the
Boss, Oswald impersonators? Sounds like James
Al, you can't tell a mink from a coonskin unless
you see the fur up close. Goddamn, Sam! If we
don't start reading between the lines here!
Y'all gotta start thinking on a different level
- like the CIA does. We're through the looking
glass. Here white is black and black is white.
What do you think, Lou?
I'm just an investigator, Bill. I leave the
theories to you lawyers.
A week ago I would've said this is nuts, but now
(shakes his head)
There's a lot of smoke there, but there's some
Now you guys, come on. You're talking about the
United States Government here!
We're talking about a crime, Bill. No one is
above the law. Reduce it. A crime was
committed. Let's get to work.
MEDICAL UNIT - JAIL - DAY(1966)
Jack Ruby, thick fudge of an angry face, flu-ridden, confronts a doctor
and two guards in his cell.
Christ, what the hell kinda needle is that? I
just got a cold for Chrissake. I don't want any
Please relax, Mr. Ruby. This'll calm you down
and clear this up.
Doc, I'm telling you, I don't need any shots.
Mr. Ruby, I don't want to involve the guards.
It'll just take a few seconds.
Ruby looks over at the two guards, who eye him. The Doctor gives him
FLASHBACK TO Ruby's jail cell in 1964. Ruby talks to men with their
backs to us. Lawyers and police clutter the cell, making Ruby hyper-
nervous. The chief official's white hair and avuncular voice are all we
see and hear of him; his back is to us.
Then do you understand that I cannot tell the
truth here? In Dallas. That there are people
here who do not want me to tell the truth ...
who do not want me to have a retrial?
Mr. Ruby, I really can't see why you can't tell
Ruby catches the stern face of Sheriff Bill Decker from the corner of
his eye, the Assistant D.A. next to him.
When are you going back to Washington, sir?
(looks at watch)
I am going back very shortly after we finish
this hearing - I am going to have some lunch.
Can I make a statement? If you request me to go
back to Washington with you right now, that is
if you want to hear further testimony from me,
can you do that? Can you take me with you?
No, that could not be done, Mr. Ruby. There are
a good many things involved in that.
What are they?
Well, the public attention it would attract.
And we have no place for you there to be safe,
we're not law enforcement officials, and many
things are at stake in this affair, Mr. Ruby.
But if I am eliminated there won't be any way of
knowing. Consequently a whole new form of
government is going to take over this country,
and I know I won't live to see you another time.
My life is in danger here. Do I sound screwy?
Well I don't know what can be done, Mr. Ruby,
because I don't know what you anticipate we will
Then you don't stand a chance, Mr. Chief
Justice, you have a lost cause. All I want is a
lie detector test, and you refuse to give it to
me. Because as it stands now - and the truth
serum - how do you pronounce it - Pentothal -
whatever it is. They will not give it to me,
because I want to tell the truth ... And then I
want to leave this world.
The camera pauses on Ruby's face. The men rise and leave in the
PARKLAND MEMORIAL HOSPITAL - (1967)
Jack Ruby is escorted out of the infirmary, dead of cancer.
BROUSSARD'S RESTAURANT - NEW ORLEANS - (1967)
The puffy, smiling face of Dean Andrews, framed by huge black glasses,
talks in a Louisiana hippie argot of the 50's. The restaurant has a
fancy French decor, mirrored walls, marble - it serves the cream of
Why you keep dancing on my head for, my man? We
been thicker'n molasses pie since law school.
Because you keep conning me, Dean. I read your
testimony to the Warren Commission and ...
There you go. Grain of salt. Two sides to
You tell them the day after the assassination
you were called on the phone by this "Clay
Bertrand" and asked to fly to Dallas and be Lee
Now that's pretty important, Dean. You also
told the FBI when you met him, he was six foot
two. Then you tell the Commission he was five
foot eight. How the hell did the man shrink
like that, Dean?
They put the heat on, my man, just like you're
doing. I gave'em anything that popped into my
cabeza. Truth is, I never met the dude.
Sudden FLASHBACK to Andrews' office on a day in 1963. Clay Bertrand
sits, back to us, talking to Andrews. He has close-cropped white hair.
He is the same patrician man we've seen earlier with Oswald on Canal
Street and in Banister's office. Andrews is evidently lying.
ANDREWS (V.O.) (CONT'D)
I don't know what the cat looks like and
furthermore I don't know where he's at. All I
know is sometimes he sends me cases. So one day
he's on the phone talkin' to me about going to
Dallas and repping Oswald ...
(notices a woman, in present)
Hey, pipe the bimbo in red. What ever happened
to that little gal you was dating in the Quarter
- from Opelousas, y'know, elevator didn't go to
the top floor but tits could smother gumbo with.
Jim, in present, looking briefly - a pretty girl walking in.
Yeah, she was pretty, all right, but not half as
cute as you, Deano. You shoulda tried a
legitimate line of business.
You can't ever say crime don't pay in Louisiana,
Jim - only not as good as it used to. Good
chowder, ain't it?
When did you first do business with this
Oh, I first heard these street cats jiving about
him back in '56, '57 when I lived down in the
Swishes. They swish, y'know. Young fags, you
know. They'd come into my bureau needing help,
no bread, and I'd say, hey man, I ain't
Rockefeller, who gonna back you up? These
cornmuffins go to the phone and dial ...
FLASHBACK TO Andrews' office on another day in 1963. We catch a glimpse
of a young swish sitting in Andrew's office talking on the phone.
Andrews is also on the phone to Bertrand, unseen, on the other end.
ANDREWS (V.O.) (CONT'D)
The dude on the other end says ...
I'm Clay Bertrand. Whatever they owe, I
Hey, suits me fine, Daddy Warbucks - how do I
get in touch with you?
And that's how I first heard of Clay Bertrand.
What was his voice like?
You knew you weren't talking to some low life
fag, you know. He had command of the king's
Did he pay?
Always - like tits on a pig. I wish I had a
million of those bimbettes.
(just a slight hesitation)
Like I told to the Washington boys, Bertrand
called that summer and asked me to help the kid
upgrade his Marine discharge ...
So you saw Oswald how many times?
Three, four. He came in with a few Cubano
swishes one time I remember ...
FLASHBACK TO a third day at Andrew's office in 1963. Oswald is in the
office with two young boys.
Recall any names?
Mario, Jose - they wear names like you and I
wear clothes. Today the name is Candy, tomorrow
it's Butsie. I wish I could help you, Jim.
Did you speak to Oswald in Dallas?
Hell, no! I told this Bertrand cat right off,
this isn't my scene, man. I deal with muni
court, I'm a hack in nigger town, that kid needs
a hot dog.
Then how the hell did you get in the Warren
Commission, Dean? Except through the phone
records in the Dallas jail?
There were no phone records.
Of course there weren't. 'Cause they
disappeared. And yet the Commission found you,
I don't know how they got to me. Maybe cause I
repped him here. The Feebees run background
checks. On my mama's breasts, man, that's all I
There wasn't no conspiracy, Jim. If there were,
why the hell didn't Bobby Kennedy prosecute it
as Attorney General, he was his brother for
Chrissake. How the fuck three people could keep
a secret like that, I don't know. It was
Oswald. He was a nut job. Faggot, y'know,
hated this country.
As Andrews resumes eating his crabmeat Louie with gusto, Jim reaches
over and grabs the fork in mid-air.
Dean, I think we're having a communication
problem. I know you know who Clay Bertrand is.
Now stop eating that damn crabmeat for a minute
(gets Dean's attention)
I'm aware of our long friendship, but I want you
to know I'm going to call you in front of a
grand jury. I took nine judges on, Deano, right
here in New Orleans, and I beat 'me all. If you
lie to the grand jury as you've been lying to
me, I'm going to charge you with perjury. Now,
am I communicating with you?
Andrews puts down the fork, shaken, silent for a moment.
Is this off the record, Daddy-o?
In that case, let me sum it up for you real
quick. If I answer that question you keep
asking me, if I give you the name of the "Big
Enchilada", y'know, then it's bon voyage, Deano
- I mean like permanent. I mean like a bullet
in my head. You dig? Does that help you see my
problem a little better? You're a mouse
fighting a gorilla. Kennedy's dead as that crab
meat. The government's still breathing. You
want to line up with a dead man?
At a nearby table, a waiter has just poured brandy on Crepe Suzettes. A
blue flame hovers in the air as Jim leans forward across the table,
Read my lips, Deano. Either you dance into the
Grand Jury with the real identity of Clay
Bertrand or your fat behind is going to the
slammer. Do you dig me?
Andrews stands suddenly.
You're just as crazy as your mama. Goes to show
it's in the genes! Do you have any idea what
you're getting into, my man? You think Jack
Ruby just up and died of cancer in four weeks
after he gets a retrial? That's some kinda new
cancer - I'd say that's a "going out of business
cancer". You got the right ta-ta, but the wrong
ho-ho. The government's gonna jump all over
your head, Jimbo, and go "cock-a-doodledoo!"
Andrews drops his pink napkin in the crabmeat and waddles out. Jim now
feels closer to the truth than ever.
ANGOLA PRISON - LOUISIANA COUNTRYSIDE - (1967)
From the point of view of an approaching car, the prison looms over the
swamp, dogs patrolling the wire.
District Attorney Garrison to see Prisoner 5388,
Ward Block 237B.
GUARD'S VOICE (V.O.)
Send him on in.
PRISON DORMITORY - (1967)
A chief guard walks Jim and Bill into a circus-like atmosphere. In
Louisiana the prisoners can wear any outfit they choose, which makes
this prison look like Mardi Gras. There are many transvestites.
(with evident pride)
... we don't need no gates out there, sir, we
got the "swamp". Many of 'em gone in there but
none come out ... Hey, Willie!
Willie O'Keefe, a handsome, muscled, young chickenhawk with an earring,
bandana, colorful clothes, an aura of burned truth in his intense,
staring brown eyes and thick country accent, sashays over.
You got some company, wants to talk wid you.
You behave now, boy, y'hear.
TIMECUT TO the prison work area, where Willie talks, leaning against a
tree looking out on a mangrove swamp. It's lunch break and other
prisoners move in the background, eating, socializing.
I want to thank you, Mr. O'Keefe, for this time.
Call me Willie. I ain't got nuthin' but time,
Mr. Garrison. Minutes, hours, days, years
of'em. Time just stands still here like a snake
sunnin' itself in the road ...
Clay Bertrand, Willie?
Yeah. Clay. I met him sometime in June of '62
at the Masquerade Bar. Dave Ferrie took me
there, for the express reason to meet him.
For sexual purposes?
Well ... yeah.
FLASHBACK TO the Masquerade Bar in the French Quarter. It's nighttime
and Ferrie, Bertrand and O'Keefe sit at a back booth. Bertrand, as seen
earlier, is an imposing, white-haired patrician man, over six feet tall,
heavily defined bones and eyelids, in his late 40's or early 50's.
Did he pay you for this?
Twenty dollars each time. Hell, it's no secret.
That's what I'm here for.
They rise to leave. Bertrand with a slight limp.
Anything else unusual about him you'd be able to
describe in a court of law, Willie?
I remember he had some kinda thing wrong with
his left leg. He limped. Don't get me wrong,
he's not one of those, youknow, limp wrists.
He's a butch John. You'd meet him on the
street, you'd never snap. You could go fishing
with him, play poker with him, you'd never snap
in a million years. So one night we were over
at Ferrie's place. Having a party. Sometime in
the late summer of '63.
FLASHBACK TO Dave Ferrie's apartment on a night in 1963. The place is
filled messy bricabrac, including two dozen mouse cages for Ferrie's
cancer experiments. Ferrie, Bertrand, O'Keefe, and four Cubans in
battle fatigues are laughing and fooling around. Oswald is in a corner
cleaning a .22 rifle with a scope on it. He looks different, unkempt,
unshaven. A record player grinds out a speech in Spanish by Castro.
Some other people are there as well - it's a beatnik scene: sandals,
hanging out, only one woman. Ferrie is taking pictures throughout of
the group horsing around, photographing Oswald.
O'KEEFE (V.O.) (CONT'D)
... there were about nine or ten people, Cubans,
friends of Dave doing some stuff in the bush
with him. Place was a mess. Dave's mind was a
Y'know he had all those mice cages around cause
he's working on this cure for cancer ... Dave's
smart - real smart - speaks five languages,
knows philosophy, medicine, military history,
politics. He wanted to be a priest but they
defrocked him 'cause he was queer ...
And that's where you met Oswald for the first
Yeah, strange guy. Dave introduced him as ...
Willie, say hello to Leon Oswald.
(over the racket)
How ya doing?
(sullen, to Ferrie)
What the fuck's he doing here?
Fuck you, man.
Ferrie separates them. Oswald seems to resent an outsider being there.
Leon's in a bad mood, don't get excited, he's
Would you say this "Leon" was actually Lee
Fuck, yes. Hell, I'm already in jail. I got no
reason to lie to you. I ain't no nigger.
Go on, Willie.
(present merging to past)
... well the party got crazier and crazier, one
of those, y'know "beatnik" type things.
We're having a little meeting here.
(indicates the second player)
That's Castro. Sounds like Hitler doesn't he?
Sonofabitch is going to go. Real soon.
Muerte a Fidel! Muerte!
(irritated at the noise)
Oh, stop it already! What are all these people
doing here anyway? I can't bear all this
Clara, don't be so sensitive.
I didn't come here for a pep rally. Get all
this riffraff out of here.
TIMECUT TO later that night, when only O'Keefe, Ferrie, Bertrand, Oswald
and three Cubans are left.
... finally they got out of there and I found
myself alone with Dave and this Leon, two of the
Cubans, and this guy Bertrand. Dave pulled out
his clippings which he was always carrying
around. He'd been obsessed with Castro and
Kennedy for months and he started in again ...
(waving a clipping, drunk)
Kennedy fucked us in '61, '62, and he's fuckin'
us now! And that fuckin' zealot Bobby Kennedy
is the fuckee! The nerve of that little asswipe
closing the camps. Took all our C-4! Took ten
thousand rounds, 3,000 pounds of gunpowder, all
our weapons. Next we'll be living in a world
where only the cocksucking Reds will have all
the weapons and we'll be surrounded. If we want
a free Cuba, we gotta whack out the fucking
That faggot Kennedy won't let us. Our hands are
empty - how can we kill him?
(moving with a drink, walks with a
It's a real problem getting at him. Castro's
got informers on every block.
(pointing to a map of Cuba on the
Bullshit! There's all kinds of new stuff. I
heard about rockets in an umbrella - they're
tested at Fort Detrick? I can show you a dozen
poisons. Stick it in his food, he'll die in
three days, no trace. We can put something in
his beard, make it fall out, he'll look fuckin'
ridiculous without his beard.
Why don't we just take care of the main problem?
Which is that piece of shit Kennedy. He's doing
all kinds of deals! Kissing Khrushchev's ass.
I wouldn't even call him President Kennedy.
... then the Cubans left and the bullshitting
was going on, Dave was drunk, really drunk and
he starts in with Kennedy again.
See, what Kennedy done, with him you should take
a knife and stab and kill the fucker where he is
now. I mean it. This is true. But I tell you
something. I hope I get a week's notice. I'll
kill. Right in the fuckin' White House.
Somebody's got to get rid of this fucker.
Oswald looks up, listens quietly.
Oh, c'mon, Dave, you're never gonna get that
No? It won't be long, mark my words. That
fucker'll get what's coming to him. And it can
be blamed on Castro. Then the whole country'll
want to invade Cuba. All we got to do is get
Kennedy in the open.
Bertrand with his arms around O'Keefe, laughs, tries to change the
David, David, always some harebrained scheme or
another ... Oh? What do I see here? Oooooh,
let's have some more champagne, shall we!
(interested in Ferrie's proposal)
What about the Secret Service, the cops?
No problem if it's planned right. Look how
close they got with de Gaulle. Eisenhower was
always riding around in an open top. I know
somebody who actually went up and touched
Eisenhower once. We need to have three
mechanics at three different locations. An
office building with a high-powered rifle.
Triangulation of crossfire is the key. You get
the diversionary shot gets the Secret Service
looking one way - Boom! You get the kill shot.
The crucial thing is one man has to be
sacrificed, then in the commotion of the crowd
the job gets done and the others fly out of the
country to someplace with no extradition. I
could do that myself. I could fly to Mexico,
and then Brazil.
Oswald listens, playing with his rifle. Bertrand suddenly turns cold,
flashing a look at Ferrie.
Why don't we drop this subject ... it's one
thing to engage in badinage with these
youngsters, but this sort of thing could be so
(he squeezes Ferrie)
I didn't think much about it at the time. Just
bullshit, y'know, everybody likes to make
themselves out to be something more than they
are. Specially in the homosexual underworld.
But then when they got him
(merging to the present)
I got real scared, y'know. Real scared. And
that's when I got popped.
BACK TO the prison work area. Jim and O'Keefe continue talking.
Willie, are you willing to repeat your
statements under sodium pentothal? Under the
supervision of a doctor?
Fuck, yeah! I told you so. And you can tell'em
all I told you so.
You realize the things you're saying, Willie,
are going to be attacked by a lot of different
Bring on all the motherfuckers! Bring their
college degrees in here! I got nuthin' to hide.
They can't buy me. You can't buy me. I don't
even need the parole. This is about the truth
coming out. You're a goddamn liberal, Mr.
Garrison, you don't know shit, cause you never
been fucked in the ass. Fascism is here now,
Facism is ...
No one's trying to buy you, Willie. It's
important to know why you're telling us this.
You wanna know why? 'Cause that mother fucker
Kennedy stole that fuckin' election, that's why!
Nixon was gonna be one of the great Presidents
'til Kennedy wrecked this fuckin' country. Got
niggers all over the fuckin' place asking for
their rights, where do you think we got all this
fuckin' crime now, 'cause Kennedy promised 'em
too damned much. Revolution comin'. Fascism's
coming back. I tell ya this - the day that
Communist sumbitch died was a great day for this
country. I jes' hate to think they're blaming
it on some silly fuckin' Oswald who didn't know
shit anyway. People should know why that
sumbitch was killed. 'Cause he was a Communist.
Put me on the stand, go ahead, I'll tell the
same goddamn story, I'm proud of it, don't
matter fuck all to me, things don't change.
As he talks, Jim shares a sickened look with Bill. Whatever truth he
may be telling is necessarily compromised by an attitude that could be
destroyed in court.
GARRISON HOME - NIGHT(1967)
Jim, Lou, Al, Susie, and Numa sit around the table having an after hours
conference. The kids run in and out of the room, playing. Susie is
doing the talking, showing new paperwork and photos.
Your hunch was right, boss, but it's even
spookier than we thought. Starting in September
'63 on, two months before the assassination,
there are sightings of Oswald all over Dallas,
buying ammunition, getting a telescopic sight
fixed, going to rifle ranges ... Early November,
a Dallas downtown Lincoln-Mercury dealership
where he tells the salesman Albert Bogard ...
FLASHBACK TO the Lincoln-Mercury dealership. Oswald is deliberately
kept in half or three quarter shots - a mystery figure. He kicks the
tires on a used red Mercury Comet, cocky.
Let's take it out for a test drive.
The salesman, Bogard, is hesitant. "Oswald" doesn't look like he's got
a dime to his name.
(sensing Bogard's hesitancy)
Hey, I got a lotta money coming in the next two
In the next scene we see the car, driven by "Oswald", zooming up the
ramp and disappearing onto the freeway.
... despite the fact he has no license and from
what marina says, does not know how to drive, he
hits the curves like Mario Andretti at the Indy
500. Bogard later told his boss he drove "like
Resume the scene at the dealership.
Three hundred bucks down, Mr. Oswald, you can
drive outta here with it.
"Oswald", unhappy, starts to leave.
Who you kidding! For this heap? Forget it ...
No honest working man can afford a car anymore
in the goddamn country! Maybe I'll have to go
back to Russia to buy a car ...
... really dumb dialogue like he's trying to
draw attention to himself. A real moron. He
walks out. The salesman remembers him as about
5'7", but we know from his draft card he was
about 5'11" ...
... several witnesses see him on several
separate days at different firing ranges.
FLASHBACK TO a Dallas firing range in 1963.
LOU (V.O.) (CONT'D)
... one time, November 9, he decides he needs to
practice on the target of the guy next to him.
Says something really dumb to the guy, who says
Oswald was a great shot.
Hey, watcha doing, boy ... that's my target.
Hey, sorry, buddy. I just thought it was that
sonofabitch Kennedy, y'know. I couldn't help
... about as subtle as a cockroach crawling
across a white rug.
I'll go you one better, Lou. He shows up at
Silvia Odio's, a Cuban lady in Dallas working in
the anti-Castro underground - remember that
name, a solid witness. The two Cubans introduce
him as "Leon Oswald".
FLASHBACK TO the corridor of Silvia Odio's apartment in Dallas on a
night in 1963. Oswald drags behind two Cubans - one is "the Bull",
heavyset with a scar over his left eye, who we saw at the Canal Street
incident, and the other, "the Indian", is quiet and cold. The men ring
the doorbell and talk to a concerned Silvia as Oswald hangs back,
watching, in the shadows.. The men give her intimate information about
her father, who is imprisoned in Cuba. The men chatter ad lib in
SUSIE (V.O.) (CONT'D)
... the Cubans want Silvia, whose parents are
political prisoners in Cuba, to help them raise
money to assassinate Castro. Something about
the men bothers her. She tells them she doesn't
want anything to do with violence ... about 48
hours later one of the Cubans calls her back ...
We see a shot of Silvia on the phone in her apartment intercut with a
shot of "the Bull" in a gas station phone booth, on a night in 1963.
(on the phone, in Spanish)
This guy Leon Oswald's great, he's kinda nut ...
he told us we don't any guts, us Cubans, cause
Kennedy should've been whacked after the Bay of
Pigs, and some Cubans should've done that, it's
easy to do, he says -you know he's a Marine, an
expert shooter ...
Silvia Odio is surprised to hear this information volunteered. "The
Bull's" eyes are on "Oswaldo", outside the booth with "the Indian".
They're hanging out, talking to a mystery man, an Anglo.
It's like he's giving her information she
doesn't even ask for. She's scared, doesn't see
them again till she sees Oswald's picture in the
paper. But the Warren Commission says she has
bad eyesight because they have Oswald in Mexico
at this time, trying to get back into Cuba. The
Cubans think he's a double agent so they won't
take him. The CIA has a camera outside the
Cuban Embassy and says this is Oswald in Mexico.
(hands over a picture)
You figure it.
Jim looks at the famous photo ... the camera closes in on a heavyset man
who looks nothing like Oswald. Liz has come back in and overhears.
If this is Oswald, it must be our third Oswald.
The interesting thing is the extent to which the
Warren Commission went to make him a Communist.
They got almost 150 pages and 130 exhibits of
the report on this Mexico trip and the picture
doesn't even match. I'm beginning to think the
point of the Mexican episode was to lay the
blame at Castro's door. If Oswald, or someone
purporting to be Oswald, had gotten into Cuba,
come back, then killed the President, the
American public once again would've screamed for
a Cuban invasion ...
Susie picks up the famous Life magazine cover shot of Oswald holding a
rifle in his backyard.
I even have doubts about this photo, boss. It
pretty much convicted Oswald in the public mind.
Well, according to Captain Fritz, Oswald told
him during his interrogation the photo was fake.
FLASHBACK TO the Dallas Homicide Office in 1963. Oswald is being
interrogated by Will Fritz, Dallas Homicide Chief, who shows him the
original of the photo from the Williams garage.
That's not me.
It came from Janet William's garage.
Well, I never saw that picture. It is my face,
but my face has been super-imposed - the rest of
the picture is not me at all. I've done a lot
of photographic work, and that picture was made
by someone else.
So who the hell are you? Alex Hidell or Oswald?
Well, you're the policeman, you work it out.
(in the present)
Oswald, who worked for Jaggars-Chiles-Stovall,
did know spy photography pretty well. I took
this picture to two experts. Look at the way
the shadows on the nose fall in a straight line
like it's high noon. But the shadow here on the
ground reads like late afternoon or early
morning. It's not the same time. Also look at
the crop marks across the chin. It seems like
his head is pasted on somebody else's body
implicating him with this rifle and gun.
We see a blowup of the photo - the shadows, the crop mark.
And of the two newspapers in his hands, one is
Leninist, the other Trotskyite. Any genuine
Socialist would know they hate each other's
FRENCH QUARTER - SAME NIGHT(1967)
Broussard walks past a jazz wake leaving the cemetery - black flambeurs
carry torches, people sing "When the Saints Go Marching in". Bill is
with a local gambler type.
Clay Bertrand? Sure I know him. He comes
around the Quarter.
Who is he, Joe? I've been to every bar, no one
wants to talk.
I told your uncle I never met a lawman who
wasn't a punk. You too, Bill, even if you're
family. He's a big shot businessman. I seen
him on the TV news a lot with all the other big
shots. A fag, you know. Goes by another name
What's the other name?
Shaw. Clay Shaw.
Clay Bertrand is Clay Shaw? The guy who used to
run the International Trade Mart?
Yeah, what's the big mystery? Everybody down
here knows the guy.
So why does he call himself Bertrand?
Who gives a shit what he calls himself?
BACK AT GARRISON'S HOME -(1967)
... now it gets positively spooky. In January,
1961 - in New Orleans, at the Bolton Ford
Dealership - when the Oswald we know is in
Russia - there is a man using the name "Oswald"
to buy trucks for the Friends of Democratic
Cuba. The salesman never saw him again, but
guess who's on the articles of incorporation of
the Friends of Democratic Cuba? Guy Banister.
(reactions from the others)
Banister has someone using the name "Oswald" to
buy the trucks. Hoover, at the FBI, writes a
memo dated June, 1960, that there could be
someone using Oswald's passport and identity.
Goddamn! They put Oswald together from Day One!
Like some dummy corporation in the Bahamas - you
just move him around a board. Sent him to
Russia, in and out, no passport problems. You
got the word "microdots" in his notebook, you
got the Minox camera and the electronic devices
they find in his possessions, the sealed DIZ201
personnel file. For all we know, there could be
a dozen Oswalds in different cities, countries -
all of them leaving a trail of incriminating
evidence that could easily be traced to a
scapegoat after the assassination. Does the
real Oswald know he's been put together? Who
knows. It doesn't matter, does it? He's a low
level spy, he doesn't know who he really works
Let's call it a night.
Anything new on Ruby?
The staff members, anxious to go home, have all risen ... and now sigh.
Mobbed up all the way. Tight with the Dallas
cops. I'm digging, chief. I just need 10 more
men and some more dollars.
I know you do, Lou. I'm doing three more
lectures this month. You're all doing an
incredible job, Sue, Al, Numa. But this is one
where if you don't nail the other guy, you're
(he pulls a book from the bookcase
How did Jack Ruby dies so quick? Of what?
Cancer, right? A history of Nazi Germany, Lou.
They were studying viral cancers as a weapon in
the 30's. We learned a lot more than you think
from the Nazis. Read this. Our biological
warfare lab is in Fort Detrick, Maryland. Close
to where the National Cancer Institute is
located. Think about it. Think the unthinkable
- question everything.
Even my own wife, chief,
(looking at his watch)
Who's wondering where I am?
(looking at Liz)
Even your own wife, Numa. Any of you want to
quit, do me a favor ... put us out of our
They all raise their hands as Bill walks in, excited.
I fould Clay Bertrand.
They all stop, look.
Grab your socks and pull ... Clay Bertrand is
Clay Shaw ...
No! ... Shaw! Director of The Trade Mart? This
Pillar of the community by day, gay bars at
Liz Garrison is the most shaken, as she pours a fresh pot of coffee.
Can you get some sworn statements?
That's gonna be tough. Nobody's talking.
I think we should have him in for a little talk.
Do you have any evidence against him, Jim? Clay
Shaw's done so much for the city with all that
restoration in the Quarter. He's well
connected, all his friends, the money, people,
be careful, Jim.
It'll be off the record, honey. I'll bring him
in on a Sunday. A quiet little chat between
Liz walks out of the room silent. There is a tense pause.
GARRISON'S LIVING ROOM - EASTER SUNDAY(1967)
The TV is on to the latest Vietnam Reports - combat footage.
In heavy fighting in Vietnam today, seven more
American soldiers died and 23 were wounded. The
body count for this week now stands at 67
Americans and 626 enemy soldiers killed in
Liz plays with the kids looking for Easter eggs. The dog is barking -
it's a scene of commotion. Jim is getting ready to go out.
Jim, come on, honey, get down on your hands and
knees and hunt for Jasper's Easter egg.
You know I don't like these tribal rituals,
Freckle Face. I'm interviewing Clay Shaw this
(as TV cuts to President Johnson)
President Johnson, meanwhile at an informal
press conference, said he regretted that there
is no end in sight to the war in Vietnam, where
500,000 American troops are now fighting. "We
face more cost, more loss, and more agony." In
his proposal to raise taxes, Johnson ...
But Jim, we're going to Antoine's with the kids
- like we do every year.
No. I told you I was going to talk to Shaw.
But why in the Lord's name would you do it in
the middle of Easter Sunday when you knew we
(annoyed with her look)
Because when I scheduled it I didn't realize it
was a holiday. You were there, why didn't you
Look at the calendar, for Christ's sake. You
said a Sunday, not Easter Sunday.
I'm sorry, but it's important. Clay Shaw is
important. I'm sorry.
You're missing most of your life, Jim, and you
don't even know it. The kids are missing out
It's not just you making the sacrifice here,
Look, I'll rush and be there by two, I promise.
Go ahead without me.
As he leaves, the camera holds on Liz.
GARRISON OFFICE - (1967)
Clay Shaw ("Bertrand"), in an elegant white summer suit, is shown in.
Indeed, there is a slight limp to his gait which Jim notices right away.
He shares a look with Bill. Susie is also in the room. Shaw's rich
bassoon voice drips with dialect. Imperiously smoking a Gaulois, Shaw
has about him an air of authority matched only by Jim's.
Mr. Garrison - what can I do for you on Easter
I'm sorry, Mr. Shaw, to interrupt this holiday,
but I feel this is a conversation we might
better have out of the everyday bustle in this
I'm not sure I understand.
(bringing some papers forward)
Well ... in an investigation we're conducting
your name has come up a number of times.
I wouldn't imagine where.
We recently talked to a number of men who claim
to know you. Are you acquainted with a David
No. Never heard of him.
A Perry Russo?
A Willie O'Keefe?
No, I don't believe I know anyone by that name.
Mr. O'Keefe told us he met you at the Masquerade
Bar down in the Quarter and several evenings
later you had him over for dinner at your
apartment on Dauphine Street. Do you recall
FLASHBACK TO Clay's Dauphine Street residence, in the Quarter, at night
in 1962. The butler opens the door and O'Keefe is admitted to the
townhouse. Shaw appears behind the butler.
Of course not. I don't know this man.
Obviously then, I wouldn't have him to dinner.
Incidentally, I do not live in an apartment.
It's an 1860's house built by Gallier. I've
restored it faithfully. You know I am quite an
advocate of restoration.
At Shaw's house, dinner is served at a long table by the black butler.
The table is decorated by a sumptuous setting of silver and candelabra.
Shaw uses a bell to summon the butler.
Perhaps a few more details about the evening
will refresh your memory. Mr. O'Keefe told us
dinner was served by a uniformed waiter - a
colored man. He particularly remembers that you
sat at one end and he at the other - which he
found rather unusual because the table was so
long. Does that bring back memories of Willie
Not at all. But on the other hand, I do have a
lovely Chippendale dining table and I often have
a friend over sitting at one end while I sit at
the other. That is precisely the point of a
long dining table. The splendor of the meal
adds to the enjoyment of it.
I would imagine a uniformed waiter helps.
It adds a taste of elegance for which I must
confess a weakness for now and then. I call him
Smedley. His real name is Frankie Jenkins - but
I could hardly imagine anything more uncouth
during dinner than my turning toward the kitchen
and hollering "Frankie!" ... Where is this
leading to, Mr. Garrison?
Willie O'Keefe and Clay Shaw leave the dining table.
After dinner you paid him to have sex with you.
Pffft! Absolute nonsense. The Quarter is
filled with vivid imaginations, my dear Mr.
Garrison - grimy young hoodlums who'll say and
do anything. As you well know.
... in the course of that night, Mr. O'Keefe
said a man named David Ferrie stopped by the
house ... along with another young man ...
At Shaw's townhouse, we see Ferrie coming in, with another young
No. I have never known anyone by that name. Of
course never having met Mr. O'Keefe I could
hardly have met Mr. Ferrie ...
... and that the four of you partied early into
the morning hours ...
We see the four men in drag, smiling for the flash camera, champagne
bottles in hand. Ferrie sniffs some poppers, then shoves a popper in
You're mine, Mary. Go get the fucking tools
out, bitch. Now! I want some ass.
Ferrie forces more poppers on Shaw. The camera movies to Shaw's
bedroom, where Ferrie scatters a drawer full of leather tools.
Come here, bitch.
(Ferrie grabs Shaw by the hair)
You want this? The only way you get this is do
what I say.
(Ferrie whacks Shaw)
I'm the man. Don't ever forget it.
(Shaw begs and whines)
You want it? You want it?
(Ferrie spits on Shaw)
Fuck you and your rich friends. You're nothing
but a rich whore! You're my woman! Get the
(to young man)
Strip! Now, woman. I want to see skin.
BACK TO Garrison's office.
Let me show you his picture.
(he hands Shaw a general photo of
No. I'm sure I've never met anyone of such a
Does the name Clay Bertrand mean anything to
Clay Bertrand? Clay Bertrand? I believe there
was a man with a name similar to that who worked
at the Chamber of Commerce. Is that the man you
had in mind?
No, it was not. Do you know an attorney by the
name of Dean Andrews?
One meets so many attorneys in my business.
Nod, I don't believe I know Dean Andrews.
Jim is getting incredibly irritated. He feels Shaw is lying.
CUT TO Antoine's Restaurant, where Liz and all five kids look at menus.
I'm hungry! When're we gonna eat!
We're going to start without him and he'll be
here for dessert. Snapper, you put that back!
I want a Shirley Temple!
When's Daddy coming, Mama?
Soon. He's real sorry he can't start with us
but he's promised to be here.
BACK TO Garrison's office later that day. Everyone looks tired as the
questioning goes on. Shaw sucks on endless Gauloises.
(handing a photo to Shaw)
Mr. Shaw, can you identify this man?
(he looks up)
Are you claiming, Mr. Garrison, that Mr. Oswald
also had dinner with me?
Mr. Shaw, did you ever meet Lee Harvey Oswald?
You really have me consorting with a cast of
sordid characters, don't you, Mr. Garrison.
Please answer the question.
Of course not! Such a pity, that assassination.
In fact, I admired President Kennedy. A man
with true panache, and a wife with impeccable
Jim shows Shaw a newspaper clipping.
Mr. Shaw, this is an Italian newspaper article
saying you were a member of the Board of Centro
Mondo Commerciale in Italy, that this company
was a creature of the CIA for the transfer of
funds in Italy for illegal political-espionage
activities. It says that this company was
expelled from Italy for those activities.
I'm well aware of this asinine article. And I
am thinking very seriously of suing this rag of
It says that this company has heavily Fascist
ties to the French secret army organization that
tried to assassinate de Gaulle in 1960.
Nonsense. What next?
... and that this company is linked to the
Schlumber tool company here in Houma, Louisiana
- which is where their arms may have come from
to David Ferrie and his Cubans ...
Mr. Garrison, you're reaching. I am an
international businessman. The Trade Mart which
I founded is America's commercial pipeline to
Latin America. I trade everywhere. I am
accused, as are all businessmen, of all things.
I somehow go about my business, make money, help
society the best I can and try to promote free
trade in this world.
Mr. Shaw, have you ever been a contract agent
with the Central Intelligence Agency?
Shaw glares at him. Silence.
(with powerful contempt)
And if I was, Mr. Garrison ... do you think I
would be here today ... talking to somebody like
No, people like you don't have to, I guess -
people like you walk between the raindrops.
May I go? Regardless of what you may think of
me, Mr. Garrison, I am a patriot first and
I've spent half my life in the United States
military serving and defending this great
country, Mr. Shaw, and you're the first person I
ever met who considered it an act of patriotism
to kill his own president.
Now just a minute, sir! You're way out of line!
Susie and Bill quiet Jim down.
Come on, chief.
(as he shows Shaw to the door)
I'm sorry, Mr. Shaw, it's getting late. That's
all the questions we have. Thank you for your
honesty and for coming in today.
I enjoyed meeting with you gentlemen, and you,
Miss Cox. It was most pleasant. I wish to
extend to each of you - and to each of your
families - my best wishes for a happy Easter.
"One may smile and smile and be a villain."
Goddammit! We got one of 'me!
GARRISON'S HOME THAT NIGHT (1967)
Jim walks in, contrite. Liz is shutting down the house. Some of the
kids are still up.
Daddy! Where have you been?
Hi, Freckle Face.
Liz, I'm really sorry. The meeting went much
longer than expected.
We waited for you ... hours, Jim. You could
have telephoned, for God's sake. It's Easter!
You promised, Jim.
I don't know what to say except I'm sorry. I
just don't have rabbits on my mind.
I think you care more about John Kennedy than
your family! All day long the kids are asking,
"Where's Daddy?" What am I supposed to tell
your kids, Jim!
I don't know what to tell them. How 'bout the
truth - I'm doing my job to make sure they can
grow up in a country where justice won't be an
arcane, vanished idea they read about in history
books, like the dinosaurs or the lost continent
That sounds dandy, but it doesn't replace a
father and a husband on Easter Day.
(angry, turns away)
It's going to get worse, honey.
GARRISON'S OFFICE HALLWAY - MORNING(1967)
Jim, is coming down the corridor with Broussard, is confronted by some
20 local journalists and TV crew members. We hear a hubbub of fierce
questioning - ad libs but Jim, puzzled, brushes by, seeking refuge in
his office. Lou, Al, Numa and Susie are all waiting for him. The
regular staff - some 30 people - are looking, wondering. Lou presents
him with the front page of the New Orleans States-Item.
Congratulations, Boss - you're page one!
We see a close-up of the headline: "D.A. LAUNCHES FULL J.F.K. DEATH PLOT
PROBE - Mysterious Trips Cost Large Sums."
INSIDE GARRISON'S OFFICE
(striding into his office reading
And it ain't pretty
(reading the copy)
... "the AD has spent more than $8,000 on
unexplained travel and investigative expenses
since November, 1966.
They went to the public records and got the
vouchers we requested for withdrawals.
Shaw must've gotten them on our tail.
Could be Ferrie, Martin, Andrews, any of 'em.
We didn't talk to Ruby 'cause of them and
they're on our asses for a measly $8,000!
Jim, at his desk, finishes reading the article. A huge picture of him
is on the front page. He puts down the paper, reaching for a long, gold
pen that is part of the desk set.
They hunted down the news, it's their business.
Getting angry doesn't accomplish a damned thing,
but this changes everything. We either pull out
now or we go through some heavy flack together.
They look at each other.
Bear in mind, each of you, this may affect the
rest of your careers, your lives ...
... if any of you pull out, I assure you I will
bear no ill feelings towards that person and
will reassign you to regular duties.
There it is then. Thank you. It means very
much to me. I'm giving this office $6,000 from
my National Guard savings so we can continue. I
will make speeches where I can to pick up
additional money. Some local businessmen are
putting together a fund for us and ...
Mr. Garrison, what shall I tell them? They're
piling up outside the door. They want a
statement, the phones are going crazier than
bugs on a cake.
Everyone waits. Jim stands, repacks his briefcase with papers and
reference books and heads for the back door elevator.
Neither confirm, deny, nor discuss, Sharon.
Goodbye, ladies, gentlemen, I'm going home where
I can get a decent day's work done.
LOU IVON'S APARMTENT - NEW ORLEANS -(1967)
Lou drinks a beer in front of the TV news in his small bachelor
apartment. A fan is blowing.
Mr. Garrison's own silence on the subject has
raised some interesting questions. With
taxpayer money has he uncovered some valuable
new evidence or is he merely saving the
information which will gain for him exposure on
a national level? Mr. Garrison it seems, should
have some explanation.
The phone rings and Ivon picks it up.
DAVE FERRIE (V.O.)
Did your office plant that garbage in the
Who is this?
You know damn well who it is.
Yeah, you got it. Since you're the only
straight shooter in that fuckin' office, I'd
like an answer from you. Did you plant it?
Dave, do you think we're out of our minds? The
whole building's been a zoo since that broke.
We can't get a thing done. Reporters crawling
everywhere. You think we want that?
We see Ferrie in a phone booth on the street outside his apartment house
in the French Quarter. He's a nervous wreck, watching the reporters and
TV cameras surrounding his place, waiting for him.
Somebody planted that fucking story! And
somebody tipped off the press I'm one of
Garrison's fucking suspects. I can't go home.
I'm out on the street. The maggots are
everywhere! Do you know what you've done to me?
It's all over the national news now. You know
what you've done to me?
Calm down, Dave, what?
I'm a dead man! From here on, believe me, I'm a
What are you talking about, Dave? You weren't
mentioned in the story. Don't jump to
You think your investigation's been all that
secret? You know, when you talk to people, they
talk to other people.
What did they ...
You still questioning any Cubans?
Dave, you know that's where this road leads.
It leads farther than that.
Dave, just calm down. Meet me in the lobby of
the Fontainbleau in 20 minutes. I'll have a
suite reserved for you under an assumed name.
The Fontainbleau? 20 minutes?
Yeah. Come on, Dave, come on our side. I
guarantee you the boss'll protect you ...
(there's a long silence as Ferrie,
... give me protection?
Yeah! He'd kill for you Dave. He likes you.
I got no place to sleep. I'll meet you in 20
Ferrie hangs up. Pause. At his end, Lou Ivon hangs up, excited.
GARRISON'S HOME - NIGHT(1967)
The phone rings. Liz picks it up. Jim is watching the TV news: Martin
Luther King is delivering a speech against the Vietnam War.
President Kennedy said on one occasion, "Mankind
must put an end to war, or war will put an end
to mankind." I pray God that America will hear
this before it's too late, because today we're
fighting a war I'm convinced is one of the most
unjust wars that has ever been fought in the
history of the world.
(on the phone meanwhile, testy)
No, he's not here now. And he would not take
calls here if he were! So please call the
office number. Thank you.
Tow of them even had the gall to come to the
door this afternoon, one all the way from
Did they live?
It's not funny, Jim, I'm scared.
Don't be. Nothing to be scared about, honey, I
been through four years of war - this is
The phone rings again.
... sending them 8,000 miles away to guarantee
liberties in Southeast Asia which they have not
found in Southwest Georgia or East Harlem. So
we have been repeatedly faced with the cruel
irony of watching Negro and white boys on TV
screens as they kill and die for a nation that
has been unable to seat them together in the
I haven't, Jim.
Nothing is going to happen to you. I won't let
Leave us ALONE for God's sake!
(recognizes the voice)
... Oh, it's Lou.
FONTAINBLEAU HOTEL SUITE - THAT NIGHT
Jim and Lou watch as Ferrie paces wildly, speeding.
I'm caught in the middle. They're after me.
It's almost over.
Listen, Dave, why don't we order some room
service, have a bite, relax. I'll stay as long
as you want.
I don't know who to trust anymore. Yeah, sure I
could use a pot of hot coffee and a few packs of
Camels. You got anything new in the
As Lou picks up the phone and orders room service, Jim answers.
You mean about the Cubans getting trained north
of the lake?
Oh, you got that? Banister's pet project.
Getting paid by the government to work against
the government. Beautiful. What a mind he had,
what a guy, Guy. He had all those files.
Who was paying you, Dave?
You think I was a getaway pilot for the
assassination, don't you?
I don't know. Were you?
Who you scared of, Dave?
Everybody! The Agency. The Mob. The Cubans.
Yeah, follow the Cubans. Check them out. Here,
in Dallas, Miami. Check out a guy named Eladio
del Valle. My paymaster when I flew missions
into Cuba - he's somewhere in Miami. You're on
the right track.
Lou writes it down. Seeing him writing makes Ferrie even more paranoid.
Hold it! Hold it! I'm not cooperating with
anyone. There's a death warrant for me, don't
you get it? Wait a minute. You're not bugged,
He feels Lou for bugs, but out of a sense of hierarchy, ignores Jim. He
checks around the room - the phone, behind paintings, flower vase, light
fixtures - as the batty conversation continues:
Dave, I always play square. No bugs. I'd love
you to go on the record, but I"m in no hurry.
Whenever you're ready.
(checking the room)
I don't have much time. They don't even need
bugs anymore. They got these fuckin' satellite
waves. They put a bug in a friend of mine when
he was born, right up his nostrils,
subcutaneous, between his eyes. He was one of
those products of a crossbreading experiment. A
Nazi rocket scientist father and a Commie spy
mother. You'd never believe half the shit the
(holding his neck)
I'm so fuckin' tired. Haven't slept since that
shit article came out. Why'd you guys have to
go and get me involved with this?
Did we involve you, Dave, or did Clay Shaw?
That cocksuckin' faggot! He's got me by the
What do you mean?
Photographs - compromising stuff. And he'll use
'em. The Agency plays for keeps ...
(checks the room for bugs)
I knew Oswald. He was in my Civil Air Patrol
unit. I taught him everything. A "wanna be,"
y'know, nobody really liked him cause he was a
snitch. I treated him good. He'd talk about
his kid, y'know, really wanted her to grow up
with a chance, but ... He got a raw deal. The
Agency fucked him. Just like they're gonna fuck
Let me get this straight, now. Clay Shaw is
Fuckin' A. How do you think the Agency gets
people to do their bullshit? Fuck knows what
they got on Oswald!
Room service knocks, and Ferrie jumps and rushes to the bathroom.
Who is it?
Jim whispers something and Lou goes to the door, takes the service table
without letting the bellhop in. Jim, excited but trying to stay even,
continues with Ferrie.
Was it the same Oswald, Dave, that was in
Dallas, or was it an impersonator.
Same one. I didn't know no impersonator.
FLASHBACK TO Ferrie at the party with Oswald (obscured) per Willie
O'Keefe's witness. Jim, in the present, doesn't feel right about it.
Did you take a good look at the TV when they had
(shrugs, can't be bothered)
Black, black - just give it to me.
(takes the fresh coffee from Lou,
lights a Camel)
Shit. I'm so exhausted. My neck is killing me.
I've got cancer. Had it for years. I been
working with mice, y'know, trying to come up
with a cure.
Dave, can I just ask you this directly? did you
ever work for the CIA?
You make it sound like some remote fuckin'
experience in ancient history. Man, you never
leave the Agency. Once they got you, you're in
Shaw's an "untouchable", man - highest
clearance. Shaw, Oswald, the Cubans - all
What about Ruby?
Jack? Jack was a pimp. A bagman in Dallas for
the Mob. He used to run guns to Castro when he
was still on our side. Check out Jack
Youngblood. Shit - we almost had Castro. Then
we tried to whack him. Everybody's flipping
sides all the time. It's fun 'n' games, man fun
What about the mob, Dave? How do they figure in
They're Agency, too. Don't you get it? CIA and
Mafia together. Trying to whack out the Beard.
Mutual interests. They been doing it for years.
There's more to this than you dream. FBI
fucking hates the CIA. Navy Intelligence got
something to do with it too. Check out "Alan
Pope" in Miami. Jack Youngblood. Bill Harvey.
Colonel Roselli. The shooter, I hear, was a
Dallas cop - the bagman at Ruby's club. I heard
he shot his own partner. Got that? Check out
the rich fucks in Dallas. H.L. Hunt. He's
dirty. That's all I know. But the Agency
always runs the show. Check out something
called "Mongoose" Operation Mongoose.
Government, Pentagon stuff, they're in charge,
but who the fuck pulls whose chain who the fuck
knows, fun 'n' games man - check out Southeast
Asia - that's the next big number - the heroin
trail. "Oh, what a deadly web we weave when we
practice to deceive."
Then who killed the President?
Oh man, why don't you stop. This is too fuckin'
big for you! Who did Kennedy? It's a mystery
wrapped in a riddle inside an enigma. Even the
shooters don't fuckin' know! Don't you get it
yet? I can't be talking like this. They're
gonna kill me. I'm gonna die!
(he sits down, cracking, sobbing)
I don't know what happened. All I wanted in the
world was to be a Catholic priest - live in a
monastery, study ancient Latin manuscripts,
pray, serve God. But I had this one terrible,
fatal weakness. They defrocked me. And then I
started to lose everything.
He bows his head, holding it in his hands, and his wig starts to come
off in his hands.
Shit! Forgot to glue this fuckin' rug today.
You know, at one time I even had a full head of
hair like everyone else. And then I lost that.
That fuckin' Clay Shaw. I hate the bastard.
All I got left is in his rotten, bloody hands.
He tipped the newspapers - I know it. That's
how the Agency works. They use people, chew
them up, spit 'em out. Now it's my turn.
Dave, it's going to be okay. Just talk to us on
the record and we'll protect you. I guarantee
There's a long silence. Ferrie, spent, stares at Jim. He's about to
crack, but ...
They'll get to you, too - they'll destroy you
... They're untouchable, man ...
I'm so fucking exhausted I can't see straight.
Get some rest, Dave, and you'll feel better in
the morning. We'll talk then.
Yeah, yeah. But leave me alone for awhile. I
got to make some calls.
His eyes are going again. Deals ... intrigue - thru the tears.
Whatever you say, Dave. I'll be home. Okay?
Lou and Jim share a look.
CORRIDOR OF GARRISON'S OFFICE - A FEW DAYS LATER(1967)
A mob scene. Press from the U.S. and all over the world are filling the
corridor. A French reporter tries to get past the receptionist as Numa
passes him with a stack of mail. Also in the hall are many individual
citizens who have come to give tips and theories. One of them is
dressed as Satan in a red jump suit with mask, horns, tail and a
Paris Match. We are the largest magazine in all
My name is Bulgarinov. I am with Literaturnaya
Gazeta of Moscow.
Bill Turner. Ramparts.
A mailman, black, comes through lugging three sacks of mail.
Coming through, out of the way.
You know who killed the President? Mr. Garrison
is busy but his assistant ...
A camera moves by into the interior offices.
MONTAGE OF OFFICE SHOTS:
BILL BROUSSARD'S OFFICE
A man with the demeanor of Julius Caesar walks into Bill's office.
Hail! Et tu, Brutus?
And you, too, my friend.
Bill escorts him out before he gets the chance to sit down, and then
heads for Jim's office.
JIM GARRISON'S OFFICE
Numa joins Jim with a stack of new mail.
Love a duck! It takes twenty minutes to get
into this office these days. Are we famous or
Jim is reading Newsweek, deeply hurt. There are newspapers all over his
Notorious is more like it. "Jim Garrison is
right. There has been a conspiracy in New
Orleans - but it's a plot of Garrison's own
making" ... and this - "one of the D.A.'s
investigators offered an unwilling witness $3000
if only he would fill in the facts of the
alleged meeting to plot the death of the
President" ... How can they write that? Where
did they come up with this? ...
(sorting through others)
"A charlatan,""power-mad," a "hulking D.A."
(New York Post)
"Morbid Frolic in New Orleans."
Bill has come in during this, completely frazzled.
The crazies have taken over the asylum! It's a
zoo out there.
Sensational garbage sells newspapers, Jim. What
else is new? Look at the thousands of letters
you're getting. That's where the heart of the
(reads from one)
"Dear Mr. Garrison, God bless you for having the
courage to go after the murderers of President
Kennedy. Please don't stop till they're behind
bars. I am a beautician here in Hannibal,
Missouri, and my husband is a janitor in the
local high school. We have four kids and not an
extra lot of money but we enclose a contribution
to help with your work. We are praying for you.
God bless, Judith Hardy, Hannibal, Missouri."
Numa pulls a dollar bill fromt the envelope.
That's what it's about, boss. For every lousy
article in the press there's a hundred of these.
Jim is moved. Bill is not.
That's fine, Numa, but what about all the people
who aren't writing letters. They're sitting
home reading all these lies. I just heard NBC
crew's in town to do a "White Paper" - not on
the Kennedy killing, but on us. One of their
top guys, Harry Stoner, is talking to everybody
he can find about you, boss ...
Oh Jesus, Stoner! ... Why doesn't he call me?
What do you want to do, Bill - fold up and close
the store? You sound like it.
Look, this is bigger than all of us. We can't
try a case in this atmosphere.
Sharon has come in during this, signalling to Jim.
Mr. Miller's been waiting.
Oh! Send him in.
Denver oilman wants to support the
(specifically to Bill)
Bill, I know what you're thinking, but sometimes
when it makes no sense that's exactly when you
just gotta stick to it, head down.
Sharon shows in Mr. Miller, the Denver oilman. He's a self-assured,
impressive man in his 50's with a western accent, cowboy boots and hat,
and a well-cut gabardine suit.
Welcome, Mr. Miller. Jim Garrison. Would you
care for some coffee?
Yes, thank you, Mr. Garrison. Your coffee's
almost Turkish down here but I could get used to
Numa leaves. Bill indicates he'd like to sit in. Jim nods okay.
Miller pays no attention to Bill.
I'm glad you could find time to see me. I flew
down from Denver this morning on my private jet.
Yes, your letter indicated you were in he oil
business up there.
I've done quite well in Denver, Mr. Garrison,
but I have to admire someone like you - and I
have the means to back up what I say.
We can use all the support we can get. I think
these might interest you.
Jim has gathered together a group of photos of the shooting. Sharon
bringing the coffee.
They've been enlarged and show a lot of detail
Splendid, love to see them.
He glances at the photo but continues on across the room, looking at the
pictures on the walls.
Where were you? Europe, Pacific?
You were lucky. I spent three years in the
(he looks out the blinds at Tulane
I've never seen an avenue with such a profusion
of bail-bonding companies. Why is that?
(nettled by Miller's moving around)
I imagine because this is the Criminal District
(showing a photo)
This is an enlargement of a potential shooter
standing behind the picket fence. We ...
We see a blurry blowup of something behind the picket fence. Miller
takes the photo, glances at it and sits down.
I know about that shot. A terrible tragedy.
(Puts the photo back on the desk)
How much do you have for carrying on your
If you must know, virtually nothing.
How many men are working with you on this?
Less than you would guess. Most days two to
three assistant D.A.'s. A handful of police
That's all you've had all this time?
Jim expectant of some help. A pause. Then:
I admire you, Mr. Garrison. How did you manage
to make your way into Guy Banister's operation?
The clock is ticking. Jim shares a look with Bill. The cards are on
That was never in he newspapers, Mr. Miller.
Miller smiles, stands, paces the room. He continues to ignore Bill
I'm going to be very frank with you. You've
done a great job, an astounding job considering
the limited resources available to you. But the
best you can ever hope for is to stir up a lot
of confusion. You're not going to do this
country any good, and you're not going to do
yourself any good.
(he sits back down and looks
directly at Jim)
You don't belong here. On this Mickey Mouse
street with that cheap strip of bail bond shops.
The job manages to keep me pretty busy.
Nonsense. You should be in a job where you can
make decisions that have impact, affect the
world. Here you're trying to climb up the steep
side of Mount Everest.
He leans forward across Jim's desk, tapping his manicured index finger
on the desk. Clearly visible to Jim and to us (in a close-up) is
Miller's Annapolis ring tapping.
I propose you accept an appointment to the bench
in Federal District Court and move into a job
worthy of your talent.
(he leans back and pauses)
Do you have any idea, do you have any conception
of how easily such an appointment can be
And what would I have to do?
Stop your investigation ... it was a magnificent
effort but it's over and done with. The press
is already on your behind and that's only the
beginning, my boy, only the beginning.
How long do you think it would take me to be
Jim's eyes go to Bill. He could be wrong, but it's almost as if Bill
were going along with the idea now.
(smiling, thinking Jim is hooked)
Well, ordinarily these things take a long time.
But in your case, with your record it can be
expedited - easily. I guarantee it.
Jim leans back, puts his feet up on the corner of the desk, waving them
like fans. Bill waits.
Who are you, Mr. Miller?
(no answer - just the sound of the
You see that helmet over there?
(the Nazi helmet with a bullet hole
on his desk)
I picked that up at the Dachau concentration
camp when we liberated it in 1945. It was the
most horrifying sight I've ever seen, Mr.
Miller. Pyramids of decaying, stinking bones
and skin one on top of the other. I don't enjoy
looking at that swastika every day, Mr. Miller,
but I keep it there to remind me of what can
happen when a country turns from free democratic
principles to Fascism, when a few madmen turn
human beings into digits and millions sit in
silence and do nothing about it.
Miller waits. Bill waits. Jim comes forward with his reply.
Mr. Miller, you and I have met under a great
misunderstanding. I haven't the remotest
interest in becoming a Federal Judge. And
nothing is going to keep me from going ahead
with my investigation of John Kennedy's murder.
Miller's entire demeanor tightens into a corkscrew of anger and danger.
Bill, Mr. Miller and I have finished our
conversation. Would you show him out?
Bill has a strange reaction - a sudden exhalation of breath as if an
entire house of cards were collapsing. He rises, but Miller goes first,
leaving silently. Once he's gone, Bill turns wearily to Jim.
Those bastards! That's proof enough right there
of what we're up against. The whole goddamn
Federal Government, Bill!
Well, they offered you the carrot, and you
turned it down ... you know what's coming next,
don't you, boss?
GARRISON'S CONFERENCE ROOM - ANOTHER DAY(1967)
The staff is assembled. We see the headline in the Times-Picayune,
which says: "FERRIE CALLS GARRISON PROBE A WITCH HUNT."
Boss, I tell you something or somebody is
putting tremendous heat on David Ferrie. If we
sit on our behinds any longer, I don't think the
guy's going to hold on.
(raps the newspaper)
Look at this bullshit! He keeps changing what
he says. We can't possibly call him to a Grand
Susie, watch the language, would you please.
My instinct is that Ferrie is going to keep on
deteriorating, and we'll end up getting more out
of him when he finally cracks. If we call him
now, he might freeze up and we could lose the
best shot we've ever had.
You don't get it, guys - he can't go down any
further. We got to protect him full time.
(rises, looks at his watch)
I have a plane to catch ... going to Washington.
An interesting lead, says he's closely connected
to these events, but he won't come down here ...
I know what you're going through with Ferrie,
Lou. We'll talk tomorrow.
I'm onto Ferrie's Cuban paymaster, Eladio del
Valle, in Miami. I gotta get him in, boss. I
need more men - I can't even pull the teams to
watch Ferrie ... This is our case!
Numa rushes in with a young investigator, Williams - displaying a
HOLD IT, CHIEF ...
You just need some sleep, Lou. It won't look so
bad when ...
Numa makes violent signals to shut up - not to talk - sticking the
microphone in front of Jim. Williams searches the walls for the bug.
Numa signals everyone outside.
GARRISON'S MAIN OFFICE
The staff comes out into the office with Him, disturbed.
What the hell is ...
Williams found this in your office ... We think
the conference room is also bugged. And maybe
the phones. The whole place needs debugging.
The whole staff from the conference room reacts. Jim looks stunned.
I don't believe it!
Bugging the District Attorney's office of New
Orleans! It's outrageous!
Sharon has been standing there trying to get
It's urgent for you, Mr. Ivon.
Lou goes to the phone.
Well, believe what you want, boss, but we got to
be more careful. All these new volunteers, any
one of them could be ...
Okay, you handle it, Numa. I don't have time
for this nonsense.
(to the hidden mikes loudly)
We've obviously got the bastards worried now.
I'm going to Washington.
Everyone laughs, but the camera goes to the look of shock on Lou's face
as he holds the receiver. They all look over at him; feeling the bad
news before they hear it.
Dave Ferrie's dead. The body was found at his
apartment two hours ago.
Jim's look says "There goes the case."
OUTSIDE FERRIE'S APARTMENT - FRENCH QUARTER(1967)
Jim and his staff storm into the area, which is cordoned off by police.
Members of the press are all over, yelling questions at Jim.
(to chief police officer)
This case is in our jurisdiction. I don't want
anyone from a Federal agency in here without an
explicit Federal court order. You got that,
(Hank looks at him weirdly)
Was Ferrie murdered, Mr. Garrison? Do you have
INSIDE FERRIE'S APARTMENT
The apartment is filthy and sinister. Hundreds of mice squeal in their
cages, upset by the invasion of men and light. Nothing seems to have
been washed in years. There is an accumulation of furniture, college
pennants, photos of young boys in training, books everywhere,
ammunition, guns, a piano, maps, fake college degrees on the walls.
Ferrie's naked body lies on the couch with a sheet over it. He is
unwigged, his eyebrows unpainted, false teeth next to him. Jim studies
the corpse as the coroner comes alongside.
What's it look like, Nick?
I don't see any violence, Jim. Heart attack,
maybe an aneurysm. Looks like natural causes.
Jim picks several empty, capless medicine bottles on a table next to the
sofa and looks at them. Lou and Bill come over with a typed suicide
It's addressed to no one and no signature. "To
leave this life is, for me, a sweet prospect. I
find nothing in it that is desirable and on the
other hand, everything that is loathsome."
Pretty flowery for Dave Ferrie.
The words from the note hang there weirdly, as Jim paces on into the
apartment, one of them medicine bottles in his hand. The music grows,
and a sinister feel of danger and death pervades the atmosphere. Then
the sounds drop away.
Jim hands Lou the medicine bottle.
I took it once for a low thyroid condition ...
(he walks away)
It raises the metabolism, Lou.
Did David Ferrie strike you as the kind of
person who had a low metabolism?
I'd say the opposite - hypertension.
CLOSET IN FERRIE'S APARTMENT
Jim runs an eye through Dave's closet, cluttered with shabby jackets.
His eye falls on a neat but faded lace and satin, some sort of garment
of priestly origin, he takes it in his hand.
Ferrie was the only one to express some kind of
remorse about this whole thing. I think it got
Susie Cox walks in, a new message written on her face.
Boss, we just got bad news from Miami. They
found Ferrie's Cuban friend - Eladio del Valle -
this morning, hacked to death with a machete in
his car. He was tortured, shot in the heart at
point-blank range and his skull was split open
with an axe ...
Jesus - if that ain't the Devil's piss! Those
Jim's mood darkens, and he heads back into the living room as Ferrie's
corpse is being trundled out the door. The sickness is everywhere; an
oppressive mood. Bill comes up.
Found another note, same thing, no name, no
signature. "When you receive this, I will be
quite dead, so no answer will be possible. I
offered you love. All I got in return in the
end was a kick in the teeth."
Jesus, they must've been hard pressed to come up
with that one.
Jim, feeling ill, wanting to leave, stops the coroner before he exits
(gives the coroner the empty bottle)
Nick, what would happen if a man suffering from
hypertension were to take an entire bottle of
He'd die pretty quick, either a heart storm or a
ruptured blood vessel in the brain.
Can you ascertain if there's Proloid in his
Not in a routine autopsy, but if we looked at
the spinal fluid, there might be a high level of
iodine, but it's difficult to know. Whatcha
Well, it doesn't make sense, Nick - he was
afraid of dying, then he kills himself in a way
that leaves no trace, but he leaves two unsigned
If it's a suicide, I seen weirder, Jim.
The fact is he's gone, chief, and so's our case.
Not unless we go for Shaw now.
With whose testimony? Willie O'Keefe? A male
prostitute. Jack Martini? A drunk? Vernon
Bundy? A dope fiend. Shaw's got respect, the
newspaper editors, the American Bar Association
- they're not ...
I'm afraid I'm with Bill on this one. We
haven't got the goods yet.
We wait, Shaw's gonna get whacked. Oswald,
Ruby, Ferrie, del Valle, Banister, Bowers ...
how many corpses you lawyers gotta see to figure
out what's going on?
All right, all right. Break it up.
Where you going, boss?
I don't know, Bill, I just don't know.
OUTSIDE FERRIE'S APARTMENT THAT SAME NIGHT
As Jim, questioned by reporters, gets in his car and leaves, Bill waves
goodbye to Lou and walks toward his own car, dejected. The area is
cordoned off and humming with activity. Frank, an FBI man who knows
Bill from previous cases, approaches him out of the crowd. He wears a
hat, suit, and tie.
Hey, where y'at, Frank? You're wasting your
time here. Big Jim gave strict orders. No FBI
It's you I want to talk to, Bill.
Boss would fry me in hog fat if he knew ...
(motions to car)
(getting in the car)
Your boss got a serious problem, Bill. Real
serious. We know what's been going on at your
Yeah, I guess you do.
You've got nothin', Bill. I'm talking as a
friend now. You're riding on the Titanic. Time
to jump off before you get destroyed along with
Frank, I don't want to hear it.
Senator Long set your boss up, my friend.
This gets Bill's attention.
Who do you think fed him that information?
Garrison's going down. We're talking your
career here, Bill, your life. You're a young
guy ... we know you're working that Castro
No, I'm not ...
Yes, you are. Look we know Oswald didn't pull
that trigger. Castro did. But if that comes
out, there's gonna be a war, boy - millions of
people are gonna die. That's a hell of a lot
more important than Jim Garrison.
Goddammit, look at me when I talk to you!
You're too goddamn self-opinionated, now shut
up. If you got a brain in that thick skull of
yours, listen to me. Listen real hard.
Bill, taken aback, listens.
WASHINGTON D.C. - PARK(1967)
Jim walks down from the Lincoln Memorial, where he is met unobtrusively
by a military man in his 50's in casual clothing, hat on his head, an
erect posture. They walk towards the Mall, with the Capitol building
looming in the background.
I'm glad you came. I'm sorry about the
Well, I just hope it was worth my while, Mr ...
The man doesn't answer. Jim, after his meeting with Miller and loss of
Ferrie, is testy and suspicious.
I could give you a false name, but I won't.
Just call me X.
I've already been warned by the Agency, Mr.
Whoever. If this is another type of threat, I
I'm not with the Agency, Mr. Garrison, and I
assume if you've come this far, what I have to
say interests you. But I'm not going to name
names, or tell you who or what I represent.
Except to say - you're close, you're closer than
you think ...
Something about his manner speaks of authority, knowledge, and above
all, old-fashioned honesty - the eyes looking at you straight on. He
indicates a bench.
Everything I'm going to tell you is classified
top secret ...
I was a soldier, Mr. Garrison. Two wars. I was
one of those secret guys in the Pentagon that
supplies the military hardware - the planes,
bullets, rifles - for what we call "black
operations" - "black ops", assassinations, coup
d'etats, rigging elections, propoganda, psych
warfare and so forth. World War II - Rumania,
Greece, Yugoslavia, I helped take the Nazi
intelligence apparatus out to help us fight the
Communists. Italy '48 stealing elections,
France '49 breaking strikes - we overthrew
Quirino in the Philippines, Arbenz in Guatemala,
Mossadegh in Iran. Vietnam in '54, Indonesia
'58, Tibet '59 we got the Dalai Lama out - we
were good, very good. Then we got into the
Cuban thing. Not so good. Set up all the bases
for the invasion supposed to take place in
October '62. Khrushchev sent the missiles to
resist the invasion, Kennedy refused to invade
and we were standing out there with our dicks in
the wind. Lot of pissed-off people, Mr.
Garrison, you understand? I'll come to that
later ... I spent much of September '63 working
on the Kennedy plan for getting all U.S.
personnel out of Vietnam by the end of '65.
This plan was one of the strongest and most
important papers issued from the Kennedy White
House. Our first 1,000 troops were ordered home
for Christmas. Tensions were high. In November
'63, one week after the murder of Vietnamese
President Diem in Saigon, and two weeks before
the assassination of our President ...
FLASHBACK TO the Pentagon offices in 1963. X strides down a busy hall
and into the offices of one of his superiors, Major General Y, a lean,
cold warrior, battlefield handsome, civilian clothes, and several
advisors. There's a U.S. flag on the wall. The status of Y is only
clear by the sing on the desk, the name blocked by a passing figure.
X (V.O.) (CONT'D)
... a strange thing happened. I was sent by my
superior officer, call him Y, to the South Pole
as the military escort for a group of
international VIP's. This trip had nothing to
do with my nine years of work in Special
Operations. It was sort of a "paid vacation".
We hear vague ad-lib mutterings on the soundtrack indicating a friendly
atmosphere, and we see stock footage of a C-130 transport flying to
Antarctica and ice floes on the surface of the sea.
Then, at a New Zealand airport, we see X, in a uniform, at a newsstand
reading of Kennedy's assassination. The banner headline of an "Extra"
edition of The Christchurch Star screams out "KENNEDY SHOT DEAD."
X (V.O.) (CONT'D)
It wasn't until I was on my way back in New
Zealand that I read of the President's murder.
That was 2 in the afternoon the next day New
Zealand time, but already the papers had the
entire history of an unknown 24-year-old man,
Oswald - a studio picture, detailed biographical
data, Russian information - and were pretty sure
of the fact he'd killed the President alone,
although it took them four more hours to charge
him with the murder in Texas. It felt as if,
well, a cover story was being put out like we
would in a black op.
Back at the Pentagon office, we see X returning and meeting Y. The
atmosphere is cordial, but Y is slightly different from before - more
harried, more nervous. He turns away to light a cigarette, he doesn't
want the usual conversation.
X (V.O.) (CONT'D)
Anyway, after I came back I asked myself why was
I, the chief of special ops, selected to travel
to the South Pole at that time to do a job that
any number of others could have done? One of my
routine duties if I had been in Washington
would've been to arrange for additional security
in Texas. The Secret Service is relatively
small, and by custom the military will augment
them. I checked it out when I got back and sure
enough, I found out someone had told the 112th
Military Intelligence Group at 4th Army
Headquarters at Fort Sam Houston to "stand down"
that day, over the protests of the unit
Commander, a Colonel Reich ...
We see an outdoor shot of the Texas Army Headquarters on a day in 1963.
Inside, on the same day, Col. Reich is on the phone, puzzled.
X (V.O.) (CONT'D)
Now this is significant, because it is standard
operating procedure, especially in a known
hostile city like Dallas, to supplement the
Secret Service. Even if we had not allowed the
bubbletop to be removed from the limousine,
we'd've put at least 100 to 200 agents on the
sidewalks, without question! There'd already
been several attempts on de Gaulle's life in
France. Only a month before in Dallas UN
Ambassador Adlai Stevenson had been spit on and
hit. We'd have arrived days ahead of time,
studied the route, checked all the buildings ...
We never would've allowed all those wide-open
empty windows overlooking Dealey ... never ...
We would have had our own snipers covering the
area. The moment a window went up they'd have
been on the radio. We would've been watching
the crowds - packages, rolled up newspapers, a
coat over an arm, never would have let a man
open an umbrella along the way - Never would've
allowed that limousine to slow down to 10 miles
per hour, much less take that unusual curve at
Houston and Elm. You would have felt an Army
presence in the streets that day, but none of
this happened. It was a violation of the most
basic protection codes we have. And it is the
best indication of a massive plot in Dallas.
Who could have best done that? People in my
business, Mr. Garrison. People like my superior
officer could've told Col. Reich, "Look - we
have another unit coming from so and so
providing security. You'll stand down." That
day, in fact, there were some individual Army
Intelligence people in Dallas and I'm still
trying to figure out who and why. But they
weren't protecting the client. One of them, by
the way, was caught in the Book Depository after
police sealed it off.
In Dealey Plaza, 1963, we see an Army intelligence man taking a shot
with a Minolta camera.
X (V.O.) (CONT'D)
Army Intell had a "Harvey Lee Oswald" on file,
but all those files have been destroyed. Many
strange things were happening that day, and Lee
Harvey Oswald had nothing to do with them. We
had the entire Cabinet on a trip to the Far
East. We had a third of a combat division
returning from Germany in the air above the
United States at the time of the shooting, and
at 12:34 P.M., the entire telephone system went
dead in Washington for a solid hour, and on the
plane back to Washington, word was radioed from
the White House Situation Room to Lyndon Johnson
that one individual performed the assassination.
Does that sound like a bunch of coincidences to
you, Mr. Garrison? Not for one moment. The
cabinet was out of the country to get their
perception out of the way. The troops were in
the air for possible riot control. The phones
didn't work to keep the wrong stories from
spreading if anything went wrong with the plan.
Nothing was left to chance. I bet you there
were even backup teams and cars on the other
side of the underpass in the event that Kennedy
got through wounded. They would have moved in
with vehicles like they did with de Gaulle. He
could not be allowed to escape alive.
The camera is on Jim, listening. This information is much greater than
he ever envisioned, and he is stunned. X pauses.
I never though things were the same after that.
Vietnam started for real. There was an air of,
I don't know, make-believe in the Pentagon and
the CIA. Those of us who'd been in secret ops
since the beginning knew the Warren Commission
was fiction, but there was something ... deeper,
uglier. And I knew Allen Dulles very well. I
briefed him many a time in his house. He was
also General Y's benefactor. But for the life
of me I still can't figure out why Dulles was
appointed to investigate Kennedy's death. The
man who had fired him. I got out in '64. I
retired from the U.S. Air Force.
I never realized Kennedy was so dangerous to the
establishment. Is that why?
That's the real question, isn't it - "Why?" -
the "how" is just "scenery" for the suckers ...
Oswald, Ruby, Cuba, Mafia, it keeps people
guessing like a parlor game, but it prevents
them from asking the most important question -
Why? Why was Kennedy killed? Who benefitted?
Who has the power to cover it up? ... You know
in '61 right after the Bay of Pigs - very few
people know about this - I participated in
drawing up National Security Action Memos 55,
56, and 57. These are crucial documents,
classified top secret, but basically in them
Kennedy instructs General Lemnitzer, Chairman of
the Joint Chiefs, that from here on forward ...
FLASHBACK TO the Pentagon offices on a day in 1961. A document is moved
by hand into Lemnitzer's office where we see a set of hands holding it
while it's read. There's a look of surprise on Lemnitzer's face.
X (V.O.) (CONT'D)
... the Joint Chiefs of Staff would be wholly
responsible for all covert paramilitary action
in peacetime. This basically ended the reign of
the CIA - "splintered it", as J.F.K. promised he
would, into a "thousand pieces", - and now was
ordering the military to help. This was
unprecedented. I can't tell you the shock waves
this sent along the corridors of power in
Washington. This and, of course, firing Allen
Dulles, Richard Bissell, and General Charles
Cabell, all of them sacred cows of Intell since
World War II. You got some very upset people
DOCUMENTARY IMAGES flash on the screen - Allen Dulles, sweet-faced,
smiling, at the Warren Commission Hearing and visiting Dealey Plaza;
General Charles Cabell and Richard Bissell ...
X (V.O.) (CONT'D)
Kennedy's directives were never really
implemented, because of bureaucratic resistance,
but one of the results was that the Cuban
operation was turned over to my department as
"Operation Mongoose", which meant that people
like my superior officer, General Y, took over
the Cuban personnel that were being trained to
invade Cuba - and the bases like the training
camp at Pontchartrain in your home state that
were closed down by Kennedy ... and that's how
the "black ops" people, people like General Y,
ended up taking the rules of covert warfare
they'd used abroad and brought'em into this
country. Now they had the people, the
equipment, bases and the motivation ... check
out an old CIA man, Bill Harvey - ran something
called "Executive Action", which carried out
foreign assassinations. Harvey was also
involved with the fake defection program that
got Oswald into Russia. Check out the Cabell
brothers. Interesting links to this case.
At Arlington Cemetery on the same day, Jim visits the grave of President
Kennedy. We see the eternal flame. Jim thinks about what he should do
now. The size of it stuns him. He is lost, reeling back to the past in
DISSOLVE TO DOCUMENTARY FOOTAGE of Dachau concentration camp: thousands
of bodies are piled and bulldozed ... And then back to Jim at Arlington
Cemetery reliving it ... only the enormity of past evil can prepare him
to confront present evil. In a strange way, it reassures him.
X (V.O.) (CONT'D)
... don't underestimate the budget cuts Kennedy
called for in March of '63 either - close to 52
military installations in 25 states, 21 overseas
bases, you're talking big money. You know how
many helicopters have been lost in Vietnam?
About three thousand so far. Who makes them?
Bell Helicopter. Who owns Bell? Bell was near
bankruptcy when the First National Bank of
Boston approached the CIA about developing the
helicopter for Indochina usage. How 'bout the
f-111 fighters? General Dynamics in Fort Worth.
Who owns that? Find out the defence budget
since the war began. $75 going on a hundred
billion ... $200 billion'll be spent before it
ends. In 1950 it was $13 billion. No war, no
money. Sometimes I think the organizing
principle of any society is for war. The
authority of the state over it's people resides
in it's war powers. Even Eisenhower - military
hero of WWII - warned us about it: "beware the
military - industrial complex", he said.
Kennedy wanted to end the Cold War in his second
term. He wanted to call of the moon race in
favor of cooperation with the Soviets. He
signed a treaty with the Soviets to ban nuclear
testing, he refused to invade Cuba in '62, and
he set out to withdraw from Vietnam. But that
all ended on November 22, 1963.
FLASHBACK TO the White House, 1963. Lyndon Johnson is with Henry Cabot
Lodge. We see them as shadowy figures from a distance across the wide
room, or near a veranda with a porch and plenty of light. Johnson, his
back to us, talks in a loud, thick Texas drawl (mostly muted) and signs
X (V.O.) (CONT'D)
Only four days after J.F.K. was shot, Lyndon
Johnson signed National Security Memo 273, which
essentially reversed Kennedy's new withdrawal
policy and gave the green light to the covert
operations against North Vietnam that provoked
the Gulf of Tonkin incident. In that document
lay the Vietnam War.
In the park with X, Jim is staggered by all this information. X ceases
walking and looks at Jim.
I don't ... I can't believe it. They killed him
because he wanted to change things. In our time
- in our country?
Kings are killed, Mr. Garrison. Politics is
power, nothing more. But don't believe me.
Don't trust me. Do your own work, your own
The size of this is ... beyond me. Testify?
No chance in hell, Mr. Garrison. I'd be
arrested and gagged, declared insane and
hospitalized ... maybe worse. You, too. I can
only give you background, you got to find the
foreground, the little things ... Keep digging.
Y'know you're the only person to ever bring a
trial in the murder of John Kennedy. That's
important - it's historic.
I haven't yet. I don't have much of a case.
(rising to leave)
But you don't have a choice anymore. You've
become a significant threat to the national
security structure. They would've killed you
already, but you got a lot of light on you.
Instead, they're gonna destroy your credibility;
they already have in many circles in this town.
You're some kinda ego-crazed southern caricature
to many folks. Be honest - the best chance you
got is come up with a case, something, anything,
make arrests, stir the shitstorm. You gotta
hope to reach a point of critical mass where
other people will come forward and the
government will crack. Remember, fundamentally
people are suckers for the truth, and the truth
is on your side, 'bubba. I hope you get a break
Jim watches this mystery man walking away. The figure vanishes in the
Washington breeze. Flags flap over some distant memorial to some
distant history of the Republic. Jim rises, a decision made.
EXTERIOR OF CLAY SHAW'S HOUSE - NEW ORLEANS(1967)
Jim, Lou, Al, Numa and several policemen stand at the door as Clay Shaw
comes to it.
Mr. Shaw, you're under arrest, charged with
conspiracy and entering into an agreement with
other persons for the specific purpose of
committing the crime of murder of President John
F. Kennedy in violation of ...
The voice dropping away as the devastated look on Shaw's face spreads,
sickly, undone, his arrogant public composure gone, face now filled with
... we have a warrant to search the premises.
The policemen take Shaw while the D.A. staff moves into the carriage
house past the butler, Frankie Jenkins.
INSIDE SHAW'S HOUSE
In the bedroom, Numa points out to Jim the hooks screwed into the
ceiling. Al pulls out five whips, several lengths of chain, a black
hood and matching black cape. Dried blood is on one whip.
It's either a Mardi Gras outfit, or we got the
Marquis de Sade here, chief.
I don't care if he was doing it with giraffes in
the zoo, Numa, it's none of our business. Let's
keep this side of it quiet, shall we?
When you're in a war, boss, you use every weapon
Not one word. That's an order.
NEW ORLEANS POLICE STATION
Shaw is being fingerprinted. He seems rattled. Police officers try to
get the press under control.
Name? First, middle, last.
Clay Lavergne Shaw.
1313 Dauphine, New Orleans.
Ever use any aliases?
Habihorst notes it as routinely as Shaw seems to have said it, without
thinking, possibly preoccupied by thoughts of press people pushing in.
Next of kin?
Mr. Shaw - What do you have to say?
MONTAGE - NEWSREEL MUSIC
We see a shot of the exterior of the Justice Department in 1967.
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT CONFERENCE ROOM
The acting Attorney General speaks to the press.
Yes, Mr. Shaw was included in our investigation
and there was no connection found at all between
Shaw and the President's assassin.
GARRISON'S OFFICE - CONFERENCE ROOM(1967)
Jim confronts a packed room. Bill is with him.
If Mr. Shaw had no connection to the
assassination, why did the FBI investigate him?
And why, if they did, is his name not mentioned
once in the entire 26 volumes of the Warren
Report, even it if is to clear his name? I
doubt this Attorney General would qualify for my
We see a shot of the Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C. and then
a corridor inside the building. A Chief Justice, looking gray and wise
like Earl Warren, moves along the corridor in his black robe delivering
his verdict to the press.
No, I don't think so. Mr. Garrison has
presented absolutely nothing publicly to
contradict our findings. As yet I have not
heard one fact to refute the Commission
determination that Lee Oswald was the lone
In his own office, Jim responds to Justice Warren.
I congratulate Mr. Shaw. Most witnesses have to
wait for trial before they're allowed to produce
sacred cows like the Chief Justice of the land
as a character witness, who is of course not
under oath and free from the laws of perjury.
Mr. Garrison, if what you say is even partly
true in this case, you realize you are damaging
the credibility of our government, possibly
Let me ask you ... is a government worth
preserving when it lies to the people? It has
become a dangerous country, sir, when you can't
trust anyone anymore, when you can't tell the
truth. I say let justice be done, though the
It doesn't play with the press. They shuffle off, quiet, whispering.
Liz and Jim watch, silently devastated, as the NBC "WHITE PAPER"
unfolds, attacking Jim. They can do nothing. Liz leaves the room,
HOTEL SUITE - NEW ORLEANS(1967)
Julia Ann Mercer, 28, looks at Jim with sincere eyes. Her husband, a
prosperous Republican businessman, watches from the corner. Jim - along
with Al - has her testimony in front of him.
In the sheriff's report, Mrs. Mercer, it says
you were at Dealey Plaza two hours before the
assassination but that ...
Yes, it was about 11 in the morning. I was
driving west on Elm Street toward the Triple
Underpass, in a rented car - a blue Valiant.
I'll never forget that day.
FLASHBACK TO Dealey Plaza in 1963. It's a normal scene - cars, traffic,
people starting to arrive for Kennedy's appearance. We catch a glimpse
of Julia Ann Mercer, 23, driving, then stopping traffic.
MERCER (V.O.) (CONT'D)
... there was quite a bit of traffic and I was
stopped alongside a green pickup truck. It was
very noticeable because it was blocking traffic
and it was parked with two wheels on the curb.
When I saw the gun, I thought - the Secret
Service is not very secret.
She glances over at the man in the driver's seat. It's Jack Ruby,
wearing a green jacket. Then she sees a young white man in his mid -
20's, in a gray jacket, brown pants, plaid shirt and wool stocking hat,
getting out of the passenger side, going to the rear of the van, opening
a tool compartment and removing a package that looks like a rifle
wrapped in paper. He walks up the embankment in the direction of the
picket fence. Ruby looks over and stares at Julia Ann, who turns away
and notices three police officers standing near a motorcycle on the
overpass bridge. Her eyes lock with Ruby's a second time and as the
traffic moves, she drives on.
MERCER (V.O.) (CONT'D)
The next morning, Saturday, I went to the FBI
office and the agents showed me photographs ...
In the Dallas FBI office, Mercer sits at a table looking at photos. Two
FBI agents stand near her showing her photos. She shakes her head "no"
several times, until they put a shot of Jack Ruby in front of her. She
holds it up.
MERCER (V.O.) (CONT'D)
I picked out three pictures that looked
generally like the driver of the truck and then
That's the man.
(to Second Agent)
What about these others? You said they might be
They look a little like him. But no,
(holding up the Ruby photo)
I'm sure this is the man.
Back in the present, Jim continues to question Mercer.
You mean you identified him on Saturday, the day
before Ruby shot Oswald?
That's right. When I saw him on TV, I was
shocked. I said to my family, "that was the man
I saw in the truck."
But you didn't seem nearly so sure in your
statement to the Warren Commission.
That's what bothers me, Mr. Garrison. You see,
they've been altered. My statements ...
Jim is silent. Mercer picks up the report and finds the pertinent
This says "Mercer could not identify any of the
photographs as being identical with the person
she had observed slouched over the wheel of a
green Ford pickup truck." That's not true. I
recognized him and I told them so ... They also
said it was a dark green air conditioning truck,
which it was not. And here ...
(she goes to another report)
... on the Dallas Sheriff's report. This is
really strange. See that notarized signature on
the bottom of each page? That's not my
signature. And there never was any notary
present during any of my questioning.
(she hands the papers back to Jim)
I guess that's all ...
Mrs. Mercer, as a former FBI man, it's difficult
to accept this.
I know, but Mr. Garrison, the FBI is just not
doing their job.
I'm a Republican, Mr. Garrison, and I don't go
in for this kind of government bashing, but I
must tell you something's not right when they
don't even bother to call Julia in front of the
They didn't call a lot of people, Mr. Mercer. I
think it's safe to say the Warren Report is a
work of fiction.
DALLAS CLUB - NIGHT(1967)
BEVERLY, a woman of ample proportions and a big, cute Texas face, ex-
club singer, meets with Jim and Lou Ivon in a nightclub not unlike
Beverly, tell Mr. Garrison about the Carousel
Oh yes, I used to go over there a lot to see
Jack and especially my friend Jada who danced
there. It was the real swinging spot in town.
Everybody came. Businessmen, politicians from
Austin, Lyndon Johnson's friends ... Dallas was
a slow town back then. You chewed toothpicks,
played dominos, spit and dated policemen. But
Jack's was exciting. There were always cops
there. Jack liked 'em around, but he used to
throw the drunks out himself, 'cause he was
kinda a violent-tempered man ... it seemed
everybody in those days knew Jack was with the
Mob. The cops were "bad" back then - they'd
shake you down for the money in your pocket.
They put a lotta people in the cemetery,
especially colored people.
Beverly, what about Lee?
Jada and Beverly sit down at the table with Ferrie, Oswald, and Jack,
with Jack doing the buying. It's too loud to hear anything.
Oh, yeah. One time I came in, Jack introduces
me to these two guys. He said, "Beverly, this
is my friend Lee ..." and I didn't catch the
other guy's name. He was a weird-looking guy
with those funny little eyebrows. The other
guy, Lee, didn't make much of an impression
either. He wasn't good-looking or nuthin', he
didn't look like he had any money, and he was in
a bad mood, so I didn't pay him much mind.
Well, I might not remember a name, but I always
remember a face. When I saw him tow weeks later
on the television, I screamed, "Oh, my God -
that's him! That's Jack's friend!" I knew
right then it had something to do with the Mafia
... Well, about a week later, after she told the
newspapers she'd met this guy Lee with Jack,
Jada disappears off the face of the Earth ...
(the camera moves in on Jada)
never knew what happened to her till Herman
offered to sell me her wardrobe. I said, "but
Jada's coming back," and I remember the way he
smiled ... and I knew she was never coming back.
BACK TO the 1967 scene.
Will you testify, Beverly?
I don't think so, sir.
I thought when we came here, we had an
I just don't want to become another statistic
like her. If they can kill the President, do
you think they're gonna think twice about a two-
bit showgirl like me?
We could call you in, Beverly.
I know the pressure you're under, Beverly.
Don't think I don't.
(as he exits)
DISSOLVE TO DEALEY PLAZA(1967)
Our view is from the roof of the building on the extreme south side of
the Plaza. J.C. Price, the building engineer, in hat and overalls,
points for Jim and Lou.
... yes, sir, right here on this spot. The
shots came from near that wooden fence over
there, near the overpass.
The camera tightens on the picket fence.
PRICE (V.O.) (CONT'D)
I saw a man run from this spot and go behind the
Book Depository - 30 minutes later I gave this
information to the Sheriff.
On the overpass near Dealey Plaza, S.M. Holland, a tan, elderly,
leather-faced signal supervisor, points to the picket fence for Jim and
Lou. His accent is thick and rural. We saw him before, briefly, when
Jim was reading the Warren Report.
I made it very clear to the Warren people one of
the shots came from behind that picket fence. I
heard the report and saw the smoke come out
about 6 or 8 feet above the ground, right out
from under those trees. There is no doubt
whatsoever in my mind ...
FLASHBACK TO the restaged shooting. The smoke hangs under the trees.
CUT TO Richard Dodd on the overpass. He's a cowboy type with a hat and
an even thicker accent than Holland.
... we, all four of us, all railroad men,
standing here, seen about the same thing. The
smoke came from behind the hedge - and a
motorcycle policeman dropped his cycle in the
street and run up the embankment ...
FLASHBACK to the motorcycle ...
BACK TO 1967. Jim and Lou walk with Dodd and Holland near the picket
fence. We feel the emptiness of the area now and see the normal amount
of traffic driving by.
... we came around here to look for tracks. It
rained that morning and we found a bunch.
Cigarette butts. Someone'd been standing about
The camera shows the "spot" and Lou sighting.
This is a good spot, chief, for the head shot.
Jim looks, reliving the moment.
Later Jim and Lou stand on the south side of Elm Street in Dealey Plaza
talking to Jean Hill, an attractive, 30-ish teacher. Her demeanor has a
rock-solid Texas back-country conviction to it; she's a woman not easily
I was standing here next to my friend Mary
Mooman, who took the photograph when he was
We see a flash of the Moorman photograph - a blurry Polaroid with the
President in the foreground and the picket fence in background. We will
return to this photograph in more detail later.
JEAN HILL (CONT'D)
I jumped out in the street and yelled, "Hey Mr.
President, look over here, we wanna take your
picture." He looked up and then shots rang out.
Mary fell to the ground right away, shouting,
"Get down, they're shooting, get down, they're
shooting." I knew it but I was moving to get
closer to him. The driver had stopped - I don't
know what was wrong with that driver. And then,
out of the corner of my eye, I saw this flash of
light, in the bushes and that last shot ... just
ripped his head off, I mean, blood, brains, just
blew everything ...
FLASHBACK TO the day of the shooting. We hear the sound of shots and
see the Grassy Knoll from Jean's point of view.
JEAN HILL (V.O.) (CONT'D)
I looked up and saw smoke from the Knoll. And
everything was frozen - seemed like people
wasn't even breathing, like you're looking at a
picture - except this one guy. I saw this one
guy running from the Book Depository towards the
railroad tracks. And that was the same man I
saw on TV two days later shooting Oswald. That
was Jack Ruby. No question about it.
Blurry image - we're not at all sure what or who or if ... but a seed is
planted. We see smoke - the same smoke Bowers saw ... then Jack Ruby in
a brown coat running from the Book Depository toward the railroad
tracks. Then we see Jean's view as she runs toward the Knoll along with
others. there are yells, shouts, and general confusion.
JEAN HILL (V.O.) (CONT'D)
It was him I was chasing up the Grassy Knoll,
thinking our guys had shot back and maybe we got
one of them. I don't know what I would have
done if I had caught him, but I knew something
terrible had happened and somebody had to do
At the picket fence, we see blurry images of police officers, railroad
workers, cigarette butts, buddy footprints, confusion ...
*JEAN HILL (V.O.) (CONT'D)
I never did catch him. All I saw in that
parking area were railroad workers and Dallas'
Two Secret Service types approach her suddenly, and one of them puts an
arm on her shoulder.
Secret Service, ma'am. You're coming with us.
Oh no, I'm not. I don't know you. We gotta
catch this shooter - don't you realize?
(grabbing her other shoulder)
I said you're coming with us. I want the
pictures in your pocket.
JEAN HILL (V.O.)
... he put a hurt on me but good.
JEAN HILL (CONT'D)
I don't have any pictures! I have to go back
and find my friend Mary. Lemme alone!
The two agents hustle her away.
Hush! Just smile and keep walking.
Hill, 32 years old that day, is shown into a third floor office of the
County Courts Building - which has a view of the assassination area.
Other Secret Service agents are there. Some 18 people are detained
TIME CUT TO two men interrogating Hill.
JEAN HILL (V.O.)
These new people never identified themselves.
They musta been watching the whole thing 'cause
they knew everything Mary and me had been doing
that day. I guess I wasn't too hard to find -
wearing that red raincoat.
How many shots you say you heard?
Four to six.
That's impossible. You heard echoes ... echoes.
We have three bullets and three shots which came
from the Book Depository and that's all we're
willing to say.
JEAN HILL (V.O.)
... which is strange 'cause this is less than 20
minutes after the assassination.
JEAN HILL (CONT'D)
No, I saw a guy shooting from over there. He
was behind that fence. What are you going to do
We have that taken care of. You only heard
three shots and you are not to talk to anyone
about this. No one, you hear?
JEAN HILL (V.O.)
I was scared. It was all kinda queer, but it
sure felt like two and two was coming up three
... and then they took Mary's five snapshots
from me, sent them to Washington, and when they
returned them weeks later, two of them had the
backgrounds mutilated ... The only one we saved
was in Mary's camera. I didn't want to go to
Washington when the Warren Commission subpoenaed
me ... so the lawyer come down here and
interviewed me at Parkland Hospital.
In a Parkland Hospital office in 1964, a lawyer interviews Jean Hill. A
female stenographer takes notes.
JEAN HILL (V.O.) (CONT'D)
He asked me why I thought I was in danger and I
JEAN HILL (CONT'D)
Well if they can kill the President, they can
certainly get me.
That doesn't make sense, Mrs. Hill. We have the
man that killed the President.
No, you don't!
JEAN HILL (V.O.) (CONT'D)
He kept trying to get me to change my story
about the shots. He was getting hot under the
collar, and telling the woman not to write when
JEAN HILL (CONT'D)
Look, do you want the truth, or just what you
want me to say?
I want the truth.
The truth is that I heard between four and six
shots. I'm not going to lie for you.
... you heard echoes.
No. I had guns all my life. I used to go
I realize you're under a great deal of stress
... it's clouded your judgement.
JEAN HILL (V.O.)
So off the record, he starts talking about my
family, and even mentioned my marriage was in
trouble like I didn't know it or something. He
got angrier and angrier and then:
Look, we can put you in a mental institution.
We can make you look crazier'n Marguerite
Oswald, and everybody knows how crazy she is.
JEAN HILL (V.O.)
I knew something was crooked as a dog's hind
leg, 'cause no one who is just taking a
deposition gets that involved and angry ... sure
enough, when I finally read my testimony as
published by the Warren Commission, it was a
fabrication from start to finish.
Are you willing to testify, Mrs. Hill?
Back at the Knoll.
Damned right I would. Somebody's got to tell
the truth around here 'cause the Government sure
ain't doing it.
DISSOLVE TO a scene inside the Texas School Book Depository in 1967.
Jim and Lou walk the floor and look out the windows. Lou has a
Mannlicher-Carcano in his hand with a sight and clip. We see Oswald's
supposed view of the limousine as he pulls the trigger. Now, innocuous
traffic goes by, but the iris of the camera tightens into a sniper's
The Zapruder film establishes 3 shots in 5.6
seconds. Here. I'm Oswald. Time me.
Lou cocks the Mannlicher for the first shot. Jim looks at this watch.
Lou assumes the Oswald pose, crouched at the window aiming out.
Lou pulls, quickly recharges the bolt, fires, recycles, fires.
Between six and seven seconds.
The key is the second and third shots came right
on top of each other, and it takes a minimum 2.3
seconds to recycle this thing.
(he recycles the bolt for firing)
The other problem is there was a tree right
Blocking the first two shots at the time they
occur in the Zapruder film.
Didn't Hoover say something about that? The
leaves had fallen off in November?
It was a Texas Live Oak, boss.
(he shakes his head)
It sheds it's leaves the first week of March.
You try to hit a moving target at 88 yards
through heavy foliage with this cheap 13-dollar
sucker, the world's worst shoulder weapon. No
way. The FBI tried two sets of tests and not
one of their sharpshooters could match Oswald's
performance. Not one. And Oswald was at best a
medium shot. The scope was defective on it,
too. I mean this is the whole essence of the
case to me. The guy couldn't do the shooting.
Nobody could. And they sold this lemon to the
The Zapruder film is the proof they didn't count
on, Lou. We gotta get our hands on it.
That means we gotta subpoena Time-Life on it.
(looks out the window)
Why not just shoot Kennedy coming up Houston?
There's plenty of time - he's out in the open -
a frontal shot?
Jim points the Carcano south, right up Houston Street, following a car
that happens to be passing by - a convertible with an unknown woman
I asked myself the same thing. Common sense.
Even if you miss the first shot, if he
accelerates you still got him for a second shot.
No ... the only reason for waiting to get him on
Elm is you got him in a triangulated crossfire.
You got him on a flat low trajectory from the
front at the fence there.
The camera swings to the Grassy Knoll and the picket fence as seen from
the sixth floor of the Depository.
... you put a third team there - in that
building, on a low floor.
The camera swings to the Daltex Building across the street.
LOU (V.O.) (CONT'D)
When Kennedy gets to the kill zone, it's a
How many men?
One shooter. One spotter on a radio. Maybe
three teams. I'd say these were professional
riflemen, chief, serious people. Hunters ...
patient. It takes skill to kill with a rifle,
that's why there's been no execution of an
executive with one in 200 years ... "3-2-1 ...
(he taps Jim on the shoulder)
Or else "Abort! Abort!"
Jim pulls the dead trigger, reliving the moment through the scope on a
LOU (V.O.) (CONT'D)
Main Street's over there - the original parade
route on the way to the Trade Mart. Too far
right? Impossible shot.
Jim swings the scope up to confront Main Street. Another car is in his
sight. Too far.
LOU (V.O.) (CONT'D)
So they changed the route to bring it this way.
Moving at a normal 25 mph, they knew the
motorcade would have to slow to about 10 miles
per hour to make this turn. That's where you
The camera swings to the Houston and Main intersection.
Who do you think changed the parade route?
Beats me. City officials. Secret Service.
Dallas police. They did a dry run with Chief
Curry a few days before. But they didn't bother
running through Dealey. They stopped right
there, said something like, "and afterwards
there's only the freeway," and went home.
You know who the mayor was?
Earle Cabell. And guess who his brother is?
General Charles Cabell. Deputy Director of the
CIA. Fired by Kennedy in '61 because of the Bay
of Pigs fiasco, he moved back to the Pentagon,
called Kennedy a "traitor". When he came to New
Orleans to address the Foreign Policy
Association, you know who introduced him? Our
friend Clay Shaw.
The Warren Commission call him?
(shaking his head)
His boss was the one on the Warren Commission
who handled all the leads to the intelligence
Head of the CIA since '53. Kennedy fired them
both. Cabell was his deputy for nine years.
Talk about the fox investigating the chicken
coop. Now we'll have to subpoena them, Lou.
They're gonna love you, chief.
Lou walks to another window in the empty Book Depository where Oswald
supposedly did his dirty deed and looks out over the plaza, with all its
ghosts. Jim and Lou are two men - with only two men's power. A
terrible aloneness pervades their minds.
Maybe we should just call it a day, Lou. Go
home. While we're still a little behind. We
got two people killed, maybe more we never
You never got anyone killed, boss. Their
actions killed them years before. If we stopped
now, it'd e even more wrong.
FLASHBACK TO 1963 - the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository
- the same place Jim and Lou are now. Jim looks around and sees one
shooter and one spotter with a lunchbox radio, in repairman clothes.
Jim is watching. Neither of these men is Oswald. We hear the sounds of
the motorcade below. The shooter pulls the trigger on the Carcano. A
loud frightening sound snaps Jim back to the present.
Subpoena them, Lou - Dulles, the Cabells, Time-
Life ... the whole damned lot of 'em!
GARRISON'S OFFICE - 9 MONTHS LATER - 1968
We see another smoke-filled conference of assistants. Paperwork is
stacked in the corners almost to the ceiling; there are coffee cups and
doughnuts on desks. The disorganization and lack of resources are
apparent. The staff working on this project now numbers some eleven
people, and there are some new investigators and assistants. We sense
that the trial is drawing closer.
The U.S. Attorney in Washington "declines" to
serve our subpoena on Allen Dulles, Charles
Cabell, CIA Director Richard Helms, or any FBI
agent we named.
Well, what do you expect from a pig but a grunt.
Without them, it's going to be near impossible,
chief, to prove Shaw's connection to the CIA.
We got the same problem with the governors. All
of them. Reagan in California won't give us
Brading, Ohio refuses Orville Townsend, Texas on
Arcacha, and Nebraska on Sandra Moffet.
What the hell is going on? Never before has an
extradition request from this office been
We haven't tried to get Julia Anne Mercer in?
No, she could get hurt. If you believe what's
happening to these other people.
She's the best damn witness we have!
I just don't want to do it. What else?
Numa is opening another stack of letters. The dollar bills keep coming.
He points to two giant stacks of mail.
Hate mail here. Fan mail here. the bad news is
the IRS has just requested an audit on your
income from this office.
I expected that two months ago, and they're
wasting their time ... The bad news is the
National Guard has just asked me to resign after
(we see his hurt)
Well, maybe that's good news - it was never as
good as combat, but this is. Bill, any more on
Oswald and Shaw?
Yeah. They were seen together in Clinton in
early September. The Civil Rights Movement was
running a voter registration drive.
BILL (V.O.) (CONT'D)
... rumor is Shaw, a local boy, was working on
some arms deal to discredit the civil rights
movement. No one really knows what they were
doing there, but everyone sure saw 'em. They
stood out like cottonballs. I got whites and
blacks saw 'em, but last time I checked there
was nothing illegal with registering to vote.
We still got the Negro junkie, Vernon Bundy, saw
'em talkin' at the seawall near Lake
Pontchartrain. But it's tough, boss - no one
wants to talk about Shaw. He's ...
(back to present)
You know you keep saying that.
Keep saying what?
You're not digging.
I think Clinton is a breakthrough. Shaw denies
he knows Ferrie or Oswald. Is that right? It
proves he's a liar. Keep on it, Bill.
(a look from Lou)
This is interesting - are you ready for this?
Oswald went to see the FBI two weeks before the
assassination. It seems Special Agent Hosty
made three routine visits to his house,
supposedly to keep an eye on Marina Oswald.
FLASHBACK TO Dallas FBI Office in 1963. Oswald is at the counter
addressing the female receptionist.
I want to see Special Agent Hosty.
I'm sorry, he's not in. Can someone else help
Can I use a pen?
He left a note. Hosty told a Dallas
newspaperman it was a warning to him to stop
questioning Marina at their home when Oswald was
not present. She was not a citizen, so possibly
he was threatening to deport her back to Russia.
TIMECUT TO FBI James Hosty confronting his agitated superior, FBI Agent
Shanklin in one of his cubicles.
SUSIE (V.O.) (CONT'D)
But what the note really said no one knows
because his boss Shanklin told Hosty ...
(reading the note)
Oswald's dead now. There's no trial. Get rid
of it. I don't even want this in the office.
Get rid of it, Hosty.
(he gives it back to Hosty)
Hosty tore it up and flushed it down the toilet.
Waggoner Carr, the Attorney General of Texas,
says he had evidence from the Dallas Sheriff's
office that Oswald had been employed as an
undercover informant for the FBI at a salary of
$200 a month, beginning more than a year before
This is just speculation, people, but what if
the note was describing the assassination
attempt on J.F.K.?
(the staff seem surprised by the
Come on guys, think - that's the only reason to
destroy it, because if it was any kind of
threat, like Hosty said, they would've kept it
'cause it makes their case against the "angry
lone nut" stronger! Remember the New Orleans
meeting with Agent Quigley the day he got
FLASHBACK TO Oswald, under arrest, meeting with Quigley.
... there again Quigley destroyed the notes of
the meeting. I think we can raise the
possibility that Oswald not only was an
informant but that he may well have been the
original source for the telex we have dated
November 17 warning of the Kennedy assassination
in Dallas on November 22.
Holds up the telex. We see a close-up: "URGENT TO ALL SACS FROM
William Walter, the night clerk on duty here in
the FBI office, gave me a copy of this. It went
all over the country. Nothing was done, and the
motorcade went ahead on schedule - and this
wasn't even mentioned in the Warren Report!
Read it, Al.
"Threat to assassinate President Kennedy in
Dallas, Texas, November 22-23. Information
received by the Bureau has determined that a
militant revolutionary group may attempt to
assassinate President Kennedy on his proposed
trip to Dallas, Texas, etc, etc ..."
FLASHBACK TO New Orleans FBI office in 1963. Walter, the night clerk,
receives the teletype, reads it, and runs it.
... shortly after the assassination, Walter
says, the telex was removed from all the files
in all cities, as an obvious embarrassment to
the Bureau. I believe Oswald was sending
information through Hosty ...
FLASHBACK TO a Dallas safe house in 1963. Oswald, Ruby, and several
Cubans including the Bull and the Indian are talking.
JIM (V.O.) (CONT'D)
I have a hunch that from the get go, Oswald had
infiltrated this group, probably Cubans or
right-wing extremists. He was at the Book
Depository that day, told to be there by their
handlers, either to prevent the assassination or
to take part in it. They coulda told him
anything, either 1) they were going to close
down the plotters that day, or 2) they were
going to fake an attack on Kennedy to whip up
public opinion against Russia or Cuba and
reverse his policies - it doesn't really matter
what they told him, 'cause he was under orders,
he was a foot soldier.
Underneath the voice-over we hear and see Oswald, with a floor plan of
the Book Depository, at the center of the group. Jack Ruby, Bull, and
the Indian, two or three young Cubans and a young white shooter - the
man in the plaid shirt described by Julia Ann Mercer - are also there.
(to the two young Cubans)
I can get you in and up there. This is a shot
out the southeast window of the sixth floor.
That floor will be unoccupied between noon and
What about the elevator?
I can close it off. The only access is a
We get them in as an air-conditioning unit.
No. A floor refurbishing group. Got the van,
the uniforms ...
(his back to the screen)
... if we can get the motorcade to turn from
Main onto Houston, that'll do the trick, 'cause
it'll slow down to make the turn here. You
(to the two young Cubans)
He's a dead duck.
Ruby shares a look with Bull unbeknownst to Oswald, and then we see the
looks on the faces of Jim's team.
I don't buy it, chief - why would the FBI cover
it up? You're talking the whole FBI here. A
telex that disappears from every single FBI
office in the country?
There's a word - orders.
Back in Garrison's office in 1968.
Or a cover up! Jesus, Bill, don't you have
enough proof of the FBI's complicity now?
Maybe I have a little more respect for this
country's institutions than you do, Susie. You
tell me how the hell you can keep a conspiracy
going between the Mob, the CIA, FBI, and Army
Intelligence and who knows what else, when you
know you can't even keep a secret in this room
between 12 people! We got leaks everywhere!
We're going to trial here! What the hell do we
really got? Oswald, Ruby, Banister, Ferrie are
dead. Shaw - maybe he's an agent, I don't know,
but as a covert operator in my book he's wide
open for blackmail 'cause of his homosexuality.
Shaw's our toehold, Bill. I don't know exactly
what he is, where he fits, and I don't care. I
do know he's lying through his teeth and I'm not
gonna let go of him!
So for those reasons, you're going to trial
against Clay Shaw, chief? Well, you're gonna
lose! We should be investigating all our Mafia
leads here in New Orleans - Carlos Marcello,
Santos Trafficante - I can buy that a hell of a
lot easier than the Government. Ruby's all Mob,
knows Oswald, sets him up. Hoffa - Trafficante
- Marcello, they hire some guns and they do
Kennedy and maybe the Government doesn't want to
open up a whole can o'worms there because it
used the Mob to get to Castro. Y'know, Castro
being assassinated sounds pretty wild to John Q.
Citizen. So they close the book on J.F.K. It
makes sense to me.
I don't doubt their involvement, Bill, but at a
low level. Could the Mob change the parade
route, Bill, or eliminate the protection for the
President? Could the Mob send Oswald to Russia
and get him back? Could the Mob get the FBI,
the CIA, and the Dallas Police to make a mess of
the investigation? Could the Mob appoint the
Warren Commission to cover it up? Could the Mob
wreck the autopsy? Could the Mob influence the
national media to go to sleep? And since when
has the Mob used anything but .38's for hits, up
close? The Mob wouldn't have the guts or the
power for something of this magnitude.
Assassins need payrolls, orders, times,
schedules. This was a military-style ambush
from start to finish ... a coup d'etat with
Lyndon Johnson waiting in the wings.
Oh, now you're saying Lyndon Johnson was
involved? The President of the United States?
His voice is challenging. There's a pause. The men exchange looks and
I know this, Bill - Lyndon Johnson got $1
billion for his Texas friends, Brown and Root,
to dredge Cam Ranh Bay for the military in
Vietnam. That's just for openers.
Boss, are you calling the President a murderer?
If I'm so far from the truth, why is the FBI
bugging our offices? Why are our witnesses
being bought off and murdered? Why are Federal
agencies blocking our extraditions and subpoenas
when we were never blocked before?
Maybe 'cause there's some rogue element in the
The others in the room groan at the reasoning. Bill feels embittered,
With a full-blown conspiracy to cover it up?
Y'ever read your Shakespeare, Bill?
Julius Caesar: "Brutus and Cassius, they too
are honorable men." Who killed Caesar? Twenty,
twenty-five Senators. All it takes is one
Judas, Bill - a few people, on the inside,
Pentagon, CIA ...
(he gets up)
This is Louisiana, chief. How the hell do you
know who your daddy is? 'Cause your momma told
you so ... You're way out there taking a crap in
the wind, boss, and I for one ain't going along
on this one.
Jim sighs, saddened. Bill was one of his best men.
Chief, I've had my doubts about Bill for a long
time. He's fighting everything.
We need him back.
Bill wasted a goddamn month trying to prove that
mob boys like Barding and Jack Ruby played ball
in right field with Hunt Oil.
I don't trust the guy.
Gentlemen, I will not hear this. I value Bill
as much as anyone here.
(Lou reacts angrily)
We all need to make room for someone else's
ideas, Lou, especially me. Maybe Oswald is what
everyone says he is and I'm just plain dumb
I've seen him copying files, leaving here late
I just plain don't trust him anymore.
Maybe you didn't hear what I said. I will not
tolerate this infighting among the staff, I warn
you that ...
Boss, then I'm afraid I can't continue working
(pause, then quietly)
Are you giving me an ultimatum, Lou?
Well, if that's what you want to call it. I
didn't ever think it would come to this. I
guess I am, boss.
I will not have any damned ultimatums put to me,
Lou. I'll accept your resignation.
You sure got it. You're one stubborn and stupid
sonofabitch D.A. and you're making one hell of a
He storms out.
Aren't you being a little hard?
No, I don't think I am, Susie. Anyone else?
GARRISON'S LIVING ROOM - (1968)
It's after dinner and toys scattered around the living room. Snapper is
chasing his sister Elizabeth around. Virginia, 6, runs to the ringing
phone in the living room, as her mother and Mattie, stunned, watch the
news of Martin Luther King's death on TV.
My God! My God! What have they done!
It's lynchin' time!
I'll get it.
Hello. Is this Jim Garrison's daughter?
Virginia or Elizabeth?
Virginia, you're a lucky little girl. Your
daddy has entered you in a beauty contest.
Would you like to be in a beauty contest?
That sounds fun.
I need some information from you then. How old
And how tall are you?
CUT TO Jim's study, where Jim also watches the news in horror. We see
TV images of Martin Luther King on the motel balcony, dead.
To repeat - 39-year-old Martin Luther King, who
preached non-violence and won the Nobel Peace
Prize, was cut down earlier today by a sniper's
bullets while standing on the porch of the
Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. He was
surrounded by his closest aides. The police say
they have no suspects at this time. Mr. King
Jim, visibly shaken, slams his book down on the desk in frustration.
BACK TO the male voice on the phone.
And you get of from school at 3 every day?
Do you walk home?
Liz comes to the phone, a wary look on her face.
(taking the phone)
Who are you talking to?
Okay, Virginia, that's all I need to know. I'll
call you again when it's time for the beauty
Who's this? ... Hello? ... Hello?
After a pause, the man hangs up.
Mama, I'm going to be in a beauty contest!
What did he ask you?
Well, he asked me everything. He asked me ...
Liz freaks out. She marches into Jim's study.
Did you enter Virginia into a beauty contest?
(absorbed in the TV)
A man just called. He asked her everything!
Her height, her weight, when she came home from
Honey, some crackpot. Martin Luther King was
killed in Memphis today!
Your daughter's life was just threatened!
Just a crank making phone calls. Happens a
dozen times a day at the office.
Our home, Jim! A kidnapper, a murderer, who
Only cowards make crank calls, sweetheart,
nothing is going to happen.
How do you know? How do you even know what goes
on in this house anymore! You're too busy
making speeches, stirring up every crazed
Klansman in Louisiana after us!
Get a hold of yourself.
I'm leaving. I'm taking the kids and I'm
leaving! I won't stand it anymore.
The kids, hearing the shouting, come to watch from the door of the
Honey, come on. The government wants you to be
scared. They want everybody to be scared to
speak out. They count on it. But there's
nothing to be scared of.
You and your government! What's the matter with
you? Don't you have any feelings? Your
daughter! What kind of man are you?
Jim controls himself, shoos the kids out, closes the door.
I'll take them up to my mother's if it'll make
you feel better. Spend a week. I'll change the
locks, the phone lines, I'll even get a
bodyguard, all right? Elizabeth, get a hold of
Jim, before this Kennedy thing, nothing mattered
to you in this life more than your children.
The other night Jasper tried to show you a
drawing. You didn't even notice he was there.
He came to me bawling his little eyes out. Jim,
he's sensitive - he needs more from you.
I promise I'll make more time for Jasper.
Is it such a chore? I don't understand you.
Damn it, if I say I'll spend more time with him,
I'll spend more time with him. I can't fight
you and the world too, Liz.
I'm not fighting you, Jim, I'm just trying to
reach you. You've changed.
Of course, I've changed! My eyes have opened,
and once they're open, believe me, what used to
look normal seems insane! And now King. Don't
you think this has something to do with that?
Can't you see?
I don't want to see, goddammit! I'm tired.
I've had enough! They say you don't have
anything anyway! Everybody in town's talking.
You're ruining this man Shaw's life! You're
attacking him because he's homosexual! Going
ahead with this stupid "trial"! Did you ever
once stop and consider what he's going through?
That's not why I'm attacking him! You don't
believe me - all this time you never believed
Oh, I don't know anymore! I believe there was a
conspiracy, but not the government. I just want
to raise our children and live a normal life! I
want my life back!
The children press in at the door. Mattie, ignoring them, is enraged as
she watches King's eulogy on TV. Riots are already breaking out.
Well so do I, goddammit! So do I! I had a life
too, y'know - I had a life, too. But you just
can't bury your head in the sand like some
ostrich, goddammit, Elizabeth! It's not just
about you - and your well-being and you tow cars
and your kitchen and your TV and "I'm jes fine
honey." While our kids grow up into a shithole
of lies! Well, I'm not "fine" about that, I'm
angry. My life is fucked, Liz! And yours is,
too! And if you don't want to support me I can
understand that but don't you go start making
threats of taking the children away.
You never talked to me this way before, Jim
Garrison. I'm not making any threats. I'm
leaving you. I'm taking the kids to my
mother's. I am - I am.
She runs out, past the stunned kids, sobbing as she goes up the stairs.
Jim pursues her like an angry spirit, yelling up the stairs at her.
Go on then, get out! Go hide someplace. Join
the rest of them! They'll tell you I'm crazy.
You got plenty of people'll tell you Jim
Garrison's crazy. You won't have a problem
filing your divorce papers on me ... somebody's
got to try, goddammit, somebody!
The kids move away, fearful. Quaking with rage and hurt, Jim stands
there at the bottom of the stairs, strangled with pain. He takes a law
dictionary in his hand and throws it across the room. Jasper and
Virginia come over to him.
Are we going away, Daddy?
Well, it looks like it, Jasper.
Because of Kennedy?
(a beat. Jim doesn't answer)
Are the same people gonna kill us, Daddy?
No, Jasper, nobody's gonna kill us.
Do you love us?
Yes, of course I do, honey.
No. I mean like mommy loves us. She really
There's nothing wrong with feeling a little
scared, Jasper, Virginia. Telling the truth can
be a scary thing. It scared President Kennedy,
but he was a brave man. If you let yourself be
too scared, then you let the bad guys take over
the country, don't you - and then everybody gets
Stay with Mom, Daddy ... please.
JERRY JOHNSON SHOW - (1968)
The band strikes up "When the Saints Go Marching In" introducing Jim,
who strides in from the wings to shake hands with Jerry Johnson, the
And now, Jerry, here's Big Jim Garrison,
District Attorney of New Orleans, Louisiana.
The audience is enthusiastic. Jim smiles and waves, then sits down next
Welcome, District Attorney Garrison. May I call
I've been called everything under the sun,
Jerry. Call me whatever you like.
He reads from a script on the desk.
First we had your charge that the Cuban exiles
killed the President, then the Mob, then you
said the oil billionaires did it, then you said
the Minutemen and the Ku Klux Klan collaborated
to do it, now your latest theory seems to be
that the CIA and the FBI and the Pentagon and
the White House all combined in some elaborate
conspiracy to kill John Kennedy. Let me ask
you, is there anyone besides Lee Harvey Oswald
who you think did not conspire to kill the
He fixes his eyes on Jim, waiting for a reply. A weariness has set in
on Jim. Once more into the slaughter.
How many hours do I have to answer that one?
Well let's just say this, Jerry - I've stopped
beating my wife.
(the audience laughs)
Or maybe you should ask Lyndon Johnson. We know
he has some answers.
The audience, loving it, cheers. Johnson looks at Jim blankly, and
reads the next question on his list.
There have been a number of reports in reputable
news media - Time, Newsweek, our own NBC - that
you have gone way beyond the legal means
available to a prosecutor, that you've
intimidated and drugged witnesses, bribed them,
urged them to commit perjury. What is your
Your faith in the veracity of the major media is
touching, Jerry. It indicates that the Age of
Innocence is not yet over. But seriously,
Jerry, people aren't interested in Jim Garrison
- they want the hard evidence! They want to
know why he was killed and what forces were
opposed to ...
Some people would say you're paranoid.
Well, if I am, why is the Government concealing
Are they? Why would they?
(pulling out his briefcase)
That's exactly my question, Jerry. Maybe I'd
better show you some pictures so you can begin
to understand what I am talking about.
He pulls out a large blowup of the Allen photo of the three hoboes and
starts to hold it up in front of the camera.
These arrests were photographed minutes after
the assassination, and were never shown to the
American public. They show ...
It takes Johnson a few moments to realize what's happening. When he
does, he lunges like a cobra for the photographs, pulling Jim's arm down
so the pictures are out of the camera's view.
Pictures like this don't show up on television!
(holding the picture up again)
Sure they do. The camera can pick this up.
(yanking his arm down)
No, it can't!
Jim swings the picture up a third time, but the stage director gives a
"cut" signal - finger across the throat - and the red light on the
camera blinks off. The monitor shows another camera panning the
(quickly realizes he's about to be
Those men you just saw were arrested in Dallas
minutes after the assassination. They were
never seen again. No record of arrest, no
fingerprint, no mugshot, nothing. They all got
The director frantically gives Johnson the "cut" sign.
We'll be back after these messages.
The audience cheers as the commercial comes on.
GARRISON'S HOME - (1968)
Jim comes home. His wife and two of the children are waiting in the
doorway. They kiss. Al Oser interrupts.
Jim, bad news. Bill's turned, boss. I think
he's given everything we've got to the Feds.
We studied the memos - there was nothing there,
chief, nothing! When we went to confront him,
the landlady said that sonofabitch just took
off, left everything.
Something sure scared him.
Bill doesn't scare that easy. Somebody got to
his thinking. He was never that good a thinker.
On the TV, the news is on.
Much is at stake tonight in California. Public
opinion polls show Senator Robert Kennedy of New
York leading Senator Eugene McCarthy of
Minnesota. Their anti-Vietnam War message is
obviously striking a chord with the voters, and
whoever wins tonight will certainly emerge as
the favorite over Vice-President Humphrey to win
the nomination in Chicago in August. That man
now seems to be Senator Kennedy.
We see a shot of Robert Kennedy in Los Angeles with his supporters.
Sure sounds like he's winning.
He'll never make it. If he wins, they'll kill
him. He wants to avenge his brother. He'll
stop that war. No, they'll kill him before they
let him become President.
Liz shares a look with Al and Numa.
Boss, with Broussard they have everything. All
our witnesses, our strategy for the trial. We'd
have to doublecheck all his work, there could be
false leads ... we gotta rethink this trial.
We don't have a choice.
I don't think so, Al. You remember the
Hemingway story, "The Old Man and the Sea"?
The old fisherman manages to catch this great
fish - a fish so huge he has to tie it to the
side of the boat to get it back in. But by the
time he reached shore, the fish had long since
been picked apart by sharks and nothing was left
but the skeleton.
Then what are we going through all this trouble
It's a means to an end. This war has two fronts
- in the court of law, we hope, against the
odds, to nail Clay Shaw on a conspiracy charge.
In the court of public opinion, it could take
another 25 or 30 years for the truth to come
out, but at least we're going to strike the
And if you're wrong?
I never doubted for a second that I was.
Will you come to the trial, Elizabeth?
I don't think so, Jim ...
She walks out.
We see the outside of Jim's house and hear crickets chirping - the purr
of the suburb. Inside, the TV election results are still on.
With 53% of the precincts reporting, Senator
Kennedy continues to hold a lead of 48% to 41%
over Senator McCarthy. CBS News has projected
Senator Robert Kennedy the winner of the crucial
Jim is in the kitchen fixing himself a sandwich. There's a strange
feeling in the house. We hear the wind - a shutter sighing. Jim
suddenly doesn't feel alone in the kitchen.
(voice over on TV)
... and that is what has been going on within
the United States over the last three years -
the division, the violence, the disenchantment,
whether it's between blacks and whites, between
poor and the more affluent, or between age
groups or the war in Vietnam - we can start to
work together. We are a great country, an
unselfish country and a compassionate country.
I intend to make that my basis for running.
He waves and leaves the podium, going back through the kitchen of the
hotel. Jim is frozen in his spot, shaken. The ghost of Jack Kennedy -
as he was before the killing - stares at him through the kitchen, as if
encased in a hologram. The hooded eyes watch Jim without expression.
They're communicating, in some strange subliminal way. Suddenly shots
ring out from the television and there's pandemonium.
SENATOR KENNEDY HAS BEEN SHOT! WE DO NOT KNOW
HOW SERIOUS IT IS YET. SENATOR KENNEDY HAS BEEN
The television shows a scene of confusion. Jim walks out, looking at
the TV, struck down with his foreknowledge and his inability to do
anything about it.
In their bedroom upstairs that night, Jim gently wakes Liz and holds
They killed him, honey.
He won ... and they killed Robert Kennedy. They
shot him down.
(realizing, with terror)
Oh no! No! I can't believe it. I can't
believe it. Both of them, both brothers, oh my
She clings to him, horrified. He caresses her hair. They look in each
You're right, it hasn't ended, has it?
He kisses her gently - They start to make love, numbed, needing each
other, needing their love in an increasingly terrifying world.
I wish I could've loved you more ... I feel
sometimes like I didn't ever .. love you or the
children enough ... I'm sorry.
OUTSIDE THE COURTS BUILDING - NEW ORLEANS -(JAN. 1969)
The scene is like a circus. Armed, uniformed guards with walkie-talkies
are everywhere. Guards with rifles are on the rooftop. There are
crowds of reporters from around the world and many onlookers. Everyone
going into the courtroom is frisked by electronic metal detectors.
INSIDE THE COURTROOM
Jim, accompanied by Mattie, the maid, but not his wife, forges his way
through a tightly packed crowd to the prosecution table, joining Al,
Susie, Numa, and others from his team. Young law student have come to
watch. The crowd is noisy to the point of unruliness. Suddenly there's
a hush as everyone cranes their necks to see Clay Shaw and his
attorneys, Irvin Dymond and two others, enter the court. Shaw,
impeccably dressed, his high handsome cheekbones sucking on an ever-
present cigarette in a porcelain filter (smoking in court was allowed
then), smiles to those who greet him as if they were not really there
and limps past Jim with a stony indifference.
The clerk starts pounding the gavel to call the court to order as Judge
Edward Aloysius Haggerty sweeps in and takes the bench. He's a stocky
little Jimmy Cagney look alike with fierce blue eyes under bushy brows.
The jurors - nine white men and three black men - all dressed in suits
and ties, look on.
CUT TO Willie O'Keefe pointing out Clay Shaw.
That's Clay Bertrand. That's the man I saw at
Irvin Dymond cross-examines O'Keefe.
That's who you say you saw ... a confessed
homosexual, convicted of solicitation, pandering
... a man who has lied about most everything,
TIME CUT TO Vernon Bundy, a poor black man, who points at Shaw.
It was that man there, yessir. He was at the
Pontchartrain wall with the man who shot the
President. I remember him cause o' his limp
A heroin addict, injecting himself at the wall,
barely conscious ...
TIME CUT TO Jim looking over at a strange man, Matthews, a kind of
lawyer, making notes and conferring with Shaw and Dymond. Matthews
seems to have some authority over both men.
Corrie Collins, a black woman who is one of the CORE workers from
Clinton, is on the stand.
(pointing at Shaw)
... that was the man there. He dropped Oswald
off on the voter line. I remember 'cause they
were the only white strangers around that
morning. That big, black Cadillac of his made
me think they might be FBI.
TIME CUT TO the Town Marshall on the stand.
(looking at Shaw)
... said he was a representative of one
International Trade Mart in New Orleans.
... more than five years ago, for two minutes.
It's fair to say you could be mistaken, isn't
TIME CUT TO Dymond cross-examining Dean Andrews, shaking his head.
... figment of my imagination ... The cat's
stewing me, the oyster's shucking me I told him,
you got the right at-at but the wrong oh-oh ...
Bertrand is not Shaw, scout's honor and you can
tell him I said so ...
Objection, your Honor. This office has won a
conviction of perjury against Dean Andrews on
Exception taken. That case is on appeal!
TIME CUT TO Charles Goldberg, a mild-looking New York accountant, on the
stand with Dymond cross-examing.
Mr. Goldberg, you claim you met David Ferrie and
Clay Shaw while on a vacation here from your
accounting business in New York, you had drinks
and, under the influence discussed killing
Kennedy, is that not so?
Well, I wanted to make sure she's the same girl
I see ... and why are you experiencing this
(launching into his explanation)
Well, you see, I've been subject to hypnosis and
psychological warfare ever since 1948, when I
was in Korea ...
We see the faces of people in the courtroom ... the judge's face ...
obviously Goldberg is disturbed (or maybe he is telling the truth, but
it doesn't play well) ... Jim looks at Al sickly.
He was one of Broussard's witnesses, chief. I'm
sorry. He was totally sane when we took his
But how does Dymond know what to ask? FUCK!
... when someone tries to get your attention -
catch your eye - that's a clue right off.
TIME CUT TO Jim calling Officer Habighorst to testify.
Your Honor, I call police officer Aloysisus
Habighorst to the stand.
Habighorst, the clean-cut police officer who booked Clay Shaw on the day
of his arrest, starts forward.
I'm going to have to ask the jury to leave the
This is an ugly surprise for Jim. We see him at the bench arguing
loudly with the judge. Susie, Dymond and Al are also there.
I'm sorry, Jim, but the defendant did not have
his lawyer present when asked.
FLASHBACK TO 1967, in the New Orleans police station. Shaw is being
booked. The press is there and Habighorst is questioning him.
We see a close-up on Habighorst typing this in.
Jesus, Ed, from time immemorial it's been
standard booking procedure to ask an alias. You
know that. There's no constitutional
requirement that says a lawyer has to be present
for routine questions.
I call'em as I see'em, Jim. I'm ruling it
That's our case!
If that's your case, you didn't have a case. I
wouldn't believe whatever Habighorst said,
I can't believe you're saying this in the
Well, I am saying it. Bring in the jury.
We're filing for a writ to the appellate court.
You do that.
Dymond goes back to Shaw, very please. Shaw smokes, icy. Jim,
devastated, sits, feeling it's over.
CUT TO Clay Shaw on the stand. Dymond cross-examines him.
No, I did not.
... ever called Dean Andrews?
No, I did not.
... and have you ever met David Ferrie?
(with a smirk of amusement)
No, I would not even know what he looked like
except for the pictures I've been shown.
... did you ever use the alias Clay Bertrand?
No, I did not.
Thank you ... Mr. Shaw.
Jim rises slowly out of his chair.
Well, a very great actor has just given us a
great performance, Your Honor, but we are
nowhere closer to the truth. Let it be noted,
my office is charging Clay Shaw with outright
perjury on the fifteen answers he has given, not
one word of this ...
You're out of order, Jim Boy, now sit down.
Strike those remarks!!
CUT TO later in the trial. A movie screen has been installed for the
jury. Jim paces dramatically, as if waiting, casting looks at the door.
Members of the press pack the hot room, and a fan turns overhead.
To prove their was a conspiracy involving Clay
Shaw we must prove there was more than one man
involved in the assassination. To do that, we
must look at the Zapruder film, which my office
has subpoenaed. The American public has not
seen that film because it has been kept locked
in a vault in the Time-Life Building in New York
City for the last five years. There is a reason
for that. Watch.
The Zapruder film (8mm) now rolls. We have seen pieces of it before in
the opening of the film, but now we see it whole. It is crucial that
this piece of film be repeated several times during the trial to drive
home a point that is easily lost on casual viewing. The first viewing
is silent except for the sound of the clanky projector. It lasts about
25 seconds, and then the lights come on. The jury is shaken. The judge
is shaken. The people in the courtroom murmur. Even Clay Shaw is
surprised at what he has seen. Jim says nothing, letting the truth of
it sink in. Then:
A picture speaks a thousand words. Yet
sometimes the truth is too simple for some ...
The Warren Commission thought they had an open
and shut case: three bullets, one assassin - but
two things happened that made it virtually
impossible: 1)the Zapruder film which you just
saw, and 2)the third wounded man, Jim Tague, who
was nicked by a fragment down by the Triple
Underpass. The time frame of 5.6 seconds
established by the Zapruder film left no
possibility of a fourth shot from Oswald's
rifle, but the shot or fragment that left a
superficial wound on Tague's cheek had to come
from a bullet that missed the car entirely. Now
they had two bullets that hit, and we know one
of them was the fatal head shot. So a single
bullet remained to account for all seven wounds
in Kennedy and Connally. But rather than admit
to a conspiracy or investigate further, the
Commission chose to endorse the theory put forth
by an ambitious junior counsellor, Arlen
Specter. One of the grossest lies ever forced
on the American people, we've come to know it as
the "magic bullet" theory.
CUT TO a drawing which has been put on a chair for the Jury. Jim has
also moved Al, acting as J.F.K., into a chair directly behind the larger
Numa, acting as Governor Connally. He demonstrates with a pointer.
The magic bullet enters the President's back,
headed downward at an angle of 17 degrees. It
then moves upward in order to leave Kennedy's
body from the front of his neck - his neck wound
number two - where it waits 1.6 seconds, turns
right and continues into Connally's body at the
rear of his right armpit - wound number three.
Then, the bullet heads downward at an angle of
27 degrees, shattering Connally's fifth rib and
leaving from the right side of his chest -
wounds four and five. The bullet continues
downward and then enters Connally's right wrist
- wound number six - shattering the radius bone.
It then enters his left thigh - wound number
seven - from which it later falls out and is
found in almost "pristine" condition on a
stretcher in a corridor of Parkland Hospital.
(he shows a mock-up of the
That's some bullet. Anyone who's been in combat
can tell you never in the history of gunfire has
there been a bullet like this.
(the court laughs)
The Army Wound Ballistics experts at Edgewood
Arsenal fired some comparison bullets and not
one of them looked anything like this one.
(he shows mock-ups of comparison
Take a look at CE 856, an identical bullet fired
through the wrist of a human cadaver - just one
of the bones smashed by the magic bullet. Yet
the government says it can prove this with some
fancy physics in a nuclear laboratory. Of
course they can. Theoretical physics can prove
an elephant can hang from a cliff with it's tail
tied to a daisy, but use your eyes - your common
(he holds the bullet)
Seven wounds, skin, bone. This single bullet
explanation is the foundation of the Warren
Commission's claim of a lone assassin. And once
you conclude the magic bullet could not create
all seven of those wounds, you have to conclude
there was a fourth shot and a second rifleman.
And if there was a second rifleman, there had to
be a conspiracy, which we believe involved the
accused Clay Shaw. Fifty-one witnesses,
gentlemen of the jury, thought they heard shots
coming from the Grassy Knoll, which is to the
right and front of the President.
Jim walks to a drawing of an overhead view of Dealey Plaza. On it are
dots representing locations of the witnesses. He points to each portion.
He pauses and looks out into the courtroom - Liz has entered accompanied
by Jasper. Quietly she takes a seat. Jim is unbelieving at first, then
very moved. He takes a beat, then:
Key witnesses that day - Charles Brehm, a combat
vet, right behind Jean Hill and Mary Moorman,
S.M. Holland and Richard Dodd on the overpass,
J.C. Price overlooking the whole Plaza, Randolph
Carr, a steelworker, who served in the Rangers in
North Africa, William Newman, father of two
children who hit the deck on the north side of
Elm, Abraham Zapruder, James Simmons - each of
these witnesses has no doubt whatsoever one or
more shots came from behind the picket fence!
Twenty six trained medical personnel at Parkland
Hospital saw with their own eyes the back of the
President's head blasted out.
CUT TO: Dr. Peters on the stand.
(describing the wound)
... a large 7 cm opening in the right
occipitoparietal area, a considerable portion of
the brain was missing there.
(he gestures to his head)
CUT TO: Dr. McClelland on the stand.
... almost a fifth or perhaps a quarter of the
back of the head - this area here ...
(he indicates his head)
... had been blasted out along with the brain
tissue there. The exit hole in the rear of his
head was about 120 mm. across. There was also
a large piece of skull attached to a flap of
skin in the right temporal area.
FLASHBACK TO: Parkland Hospital Emergency Room on that day in 1963. The
doctors work on the President. The wounds on the back of his head are
evident but will change later in the autopsy. He is placed in a bronze
Not one of the civilian doctors who
examined the President at Parkland Hospital
regarded his throat wound as anything but
a wound of entry. The doctors found no
wounds of entry in the back of the head.
But the body was then illegally moved
to Washington for the autopsy.
CUT TO: the Secret Service team preparing to wheel the casket out. The
Dallas Medical Examiner, Dr. Rose, backed by a justice of the peace,
bars the way. A furious wrestling match ensues.
Texas Law, sir, requires the autopsy be
done here. You're not taking him with
Sonofabitch, you're not telling me what
to do! Get the hell outta the way!
The Secret Service agents put the doctor and judge up against the wall
at gunpoint and sweep out of the hospital.
Because when a coup d'etat has occurred
there's a big difference between an
autopsy performed by civilian doctors
and one by military doctors working for
FLASHBACK TO: Love Field the same day. We see Air Force One taking off
and a photo of L.B.J. being sworn in.
The departure of Air Force One from
Love Field that Friday afternoon was
not so much a takeoff as it was a
getaway with the newly sworn in President.
Objection, your honor.
On the plane, of course, Lee Harvey
Oswald's guilt was announced by the
White House Situation Room to the
passengers before any kind of investigation
had started. The "lone nut" solution
is in place.
Objection! Your Honor!
Sustained. Mr. Garrison, would you please
bottle the acid.
FLASHBACK TO: the Bethesda autopsy room in 1963. The room is crammed
with military officers, Secret Service men and, at the center, three
intimidated doctors. Pictures are being taken as they remove bullet
The three Bethesda Naval Hospital doctors
picked by the Military left something to
be desired inasmuch as none of them had
experience with combat gunfire wounds.
Through their autopsy we have been able
to justify eight wounds - three to Kennedy,
five to Connally - from just two bullets,
one of these bullets the "magic bullet".
CUT TO: Jim in court with a series of drawings indicating with arrows
entry and exit wounds to Kennedy's neck and head. Dr. Finck is on the
stand, erect, very precise, and irritated.
Colonel Finck, are you saying someone
told you not to dissect the neck?
I was told that the family wanted
examination of the head.
As a pathologist it was your obligation
to explore all possible causes of death,
was it not?
I had the cause of death.
Your Honor, I would ask you to direct the
witness to answer my question. Why did
Colonel Finck not dissect the track of
the bullet wound in the neck?
Well I heard Dr. Humes stating that -
he said ...
FLASHBACK TO: Bethesda autopsy room.
Who's in charge here?
I don't remember his name. You must
understand it was quite crowded, and
when you are called in circumstances
like that to look at the wound of the
President who is dead, you don't look
around too much to ask people for their
names and who they are.
But you were a qualified pathologist.
Was this Army general a qualified
But you took his orders. He was
directing the autopsy.
No, because there were others. There were
There were admirals.
Oh yes, there were admirals - and when
you are a lieutenant colonel in the Army
you just follow orders, and at the end of
the autopsy we were specifically told -
as I recall it was Admiral Kenney, the
Surgeon General of the Navy - we were
specifically told not to discuss the case.
(in Bethesda scene)
Gentlemen, what you've seen in this room
is intensely private to the Kennedy family
and it is not our business to ...
Jim turns away from the jury. His point is made. Finck is no longer on
In addition to which, 1) the chief
pathologist, Commander Humes, by his
own admission voluntarily burned his
autopsy notes, 2)never released the
autopsy photos to the public, 3)
President Johnson ordered the blood
soaked limousine filled with bullet
holes and clues to be immediately
washed and rebuilt, 4) sent John
Connally's bloody suit right to the
cleaners, and 5) when my office finally
got a court order to examine President
Kennedy's brain in the National
Archives in the hopes of finding from
what direction the bullets came, we
were told by the government the President's
brain had disappeared!
There's a pause, and then a murmur from the court. Jim is on a roll and
knows it. The faces in the courtroom are with him, absorbed, horrified.
The law students are still there, they have been since day one. But it
is Liz's interest that touches him the most.
So what really happened that day? Let's
just for a moment speculate, shall we?
We have the epileptic seizure around
12:15 P.M. ... distracting the police,
making it easier for the shooters to
move into their places. The epileptic
later vanished, never checking into the
hospital. The A Team gets on the 6th
floor of the Book Depository ...
FLASHBACK TO: the Book Depository, 1963. A shooter and two spotters
dressed as working men move into the Oswald spot. One spotter produces
They were refurbishing the floors in
the Depository that week, which allowed
unknown workmen in and out of the
building. The men move quickly into
position just minutes before the
The camera takes the shooter's point of view: we see down the street
through a scope. His spotter wears a radio earpiece. The second
spotter is working out of the southeast window.
The second spotter is probably calling
all the shots on a radio to the two
other teams. He as the best overall
view - "the God spot".
Inside the Dal - Tex Building, a shooter and a spotter dressed as air -
conditioning men move into a small second - story textile storage room.
B Team - one rifleman and one spotter
with a headset, with access to the
building - moves into a low floor of the
Dal - Tex Building.
At the picket fence a shooter in a Dallas Police uniform moves into
place, aiming up Elm Street. His spotter has a radio to his ear.
Another man in a Secret Service suit moves further down the fence.
The third team, the C Team, moves in
behind the picket fence above the Grassy
Knoll, where the shooter and the spotter
are first seen by the late Lee Bowers
in the watchtower of the railyard. They
have the best position of all. Kennedy
is close and on a flat low trajectory.
Part of this team is a coordinator who's
flashed security credentials at several
people, chasing them out of the parking
An "agent" in tie and suit moves on the underpass, keeping an eye out.
In the crowd on Elm Street, we catch brief glimpses of the umbrella man
and the Cuban, neither of them watching Kennedy, both looking around to
their teams. There is a third man, heavyset, in a construction helmet.
Probably two to three more men are down
in the crowd on Elm ... ten to twelve
men ... three teams, three shooters.
The triangulation of fire Clay Shaw
and David Ferrie discussed two months
before. They've walked the Plaza, they
know every inch. They've calibrated their
sights, practiced on moving targets.
They're ready. It's going to be a turkey
shoot. Kennedy's motorcade makes the
turn from Main onto Houston.
J.F.K. waves and turns in slow motion.
Six witnesses see two gunmen on the
sixth floor of the Depository moving
around. Some of them think they're
policemen with rifles.
From Houston Street we look up at the sixth floor of the Book Depository
and see the shooter moving around. Arnold Rowland points him out to his
... probably a security agent.
In the Dallas County Jail, Johnny Powell is one of many convicts housed
on the sixth floor - the same height as the men in the Book Depository.
We look across to the Depository through cell bars. Johnny and various
cell mates are watching two men in the sixth floor of the Depository.
John Powell, a prisoner on the sixth floor
of the Dallas County Jail, sees them.
... quite a few of us saw them. Everybody
was hollering and yelling and that. We
thought is was security guys ...
... they don't shoot him coming up Houston,
which is the easiest shot for a single
shooter in the Book Depository, but they
wait till he gets to the killing zone
between three rifles. Kennedy makes the
final turn from Houston onto Elm, slowing
down to some 11 miles per hour.
All the shooters tighten, taking aim. It's a tense moment.
The shooters across Dealey Plaza tighten,
taking their aim across their sights ...
waiting for the radio to say "Green
Green!" or "Abort Abort!"
The camera is on Kennedy waving. A MONTAGE follows - all the faces in
the square that we've introduced in the movie now appear one after the
other, watching - the killers, the man with the umbrella, the Newman
family, Mary Moorman photographing, Jean Hill, Abraham Zapruder filming
it, S.M. Holland, Patrolman Harkness ... INTERCUT with the Zapruder and
Nix films on J.F.K. in the final seconds coming abreast of the Stemmons
The first shot rings out.
CUT TO: the Dal - Tex shooter firing. We see the back of Kennedy's head
through his gun sight. Kennedy (stand in) reacts in the Zapruder film.
Sounding like a backfire, it misses
completely ... Frame 161, Kennedy stops
waving as he hears something. Connally
turns his head slightly to the right.
Everything goes off very fast now. Repeating intercuts are slowed down
with shots of Kennedy reacting in the Zapruder film.
Frame 193 - the second shot hits Kennedy
in the throat from the front. Frame 225 -
the President emerging from the road sign.
He obviously has been hit, raising his arms
to his throat.
CUT TO: the picket fence shooter hitting him from the fence. We see
Kennedy (stand in) from the point of view of his telescopic sight. In
the Zapruder film, we see Kennedy clutch his throat.
Frame 232, the third shot - the President
has been hit in the back, drawing him
downward and forward. Connally, you will
notice, shows no signs at all of being
hit. He is visibly holding his Stetson
which is impossible if his wrist has
CUT TO: the Dal - Tex shooter. We see Kennedy from his point of view,
and the Zapruder film in slow motion.
Connally's turning now here. Frame 238
... the fourth shot misses Kennedy and
takes Connally in the back. This is the
key shot that proves two rifles from the
rear. This is 1.6 seconds after the third
shot, and we know no manual bolt action
rifle can be recycled in that time.
Connally is hit, his mouth drops, he yells
out, "My God, they're going to kill us
all" ... Here ...
CUT TO: the sixth floor shooter firing rapidly and missing Kennedy but
hitting Connally (stand in).
... the umbrella man is signalling "He's
not dead. Keep shooting." James Tague
down at the underpass is hit sometime now
by another shot that misses.
CUT TO: the umbrella manpumping his umbrella. The Cuban is
looking off. The man on the curb in the construction helmet is looking
not at J.F.K. but up at the Book Depository.
The car brakes. The fifth and fatal
shot - frame 313 - takes Kennedy in the
head from the front ...
CUT TO the picket fence shooter. We see J.F.K. from his point of view.
He fires, and then we see Kennedy in the Zapruder film flying backwards
and to his left in a ferocious, conclusive spray of blood and brain
tissue. We repeat the shot.
This is the key shot. Watch it again.
The President going back to his left.
Shot from the front and right. Totally
inconsistent with the shot from the
Depository. Again - (repeats) ... back
and two the left. (he repeats it like
a mantra) ... back and to the left ...
back and to the left.
Kennedy's car speeds off. Jackie is like a crawling animal in a pillbox
hat on the back of the car. The people on the other side of the
underpass wave innocently as the car speeds through with it's horrifying
contents. Pigeons fly off the rooftop of the Book Depository.
What happens then? Pandemonium. The
shooters quickly disassemble their
various weapons, all except the Oswald
CUT TO: sixth floor spotter dumping the Mannlicher - Carcano in a corner
as he leaves ... and then to the Dal - Tex spotter and shooter, who
break down the gun and move out ... and then to the spotter with the
fence shooter, who quickly breaks down the weapon, throwing it in the
trunk of a car parked at the fence. He walks away. The fence shooter,
dressed as a policeman, blends with the crowd.
CUT TO: the umbrella man and the Cuban sitting quietly together on the
north side of the curb of Elm Street.
CUT TO: stunned, confused, people in the crowd - some lying on the
ground, some running for the Grassy Knoll.
Back in the courtroom, patrolman Joe Smith is on the stand.
Patrolman Joe Smith rushed into the
parking lot behind the fence. He
FLASHBACK TO: the picket fence area where, with his gun drawn, Smith
rushes across to a man standing by a car who reacts quickly, producing
credentials. He is one of the hoboes. There's a strange moment when
the camera moves from Smith's eyes to the man's fingernails.
... the character produces credentials
from his pocket which showed him to be
Secret Service. So I accepted that and
let him go and continued our search.
But I regretted it, 'cause this guy
looked like an auto mechanic. He had on
a sports shirt and pants, but he had
dirty fingernails. Afterwards it didn't
ring true, but at the time we were so
pressed for time.
Yet all Secret Servicemen in Dallas that
day are accounted for. None were on foot
in Dealey Plaza before or after the shooting,
till Dallas Secret Service Chief Forrest
Sorrels returned at 12:55.
Back in the courtroom, Liz is totally absorbed. Jim exchanges looks
with her. The camera movies in for a close - up of Jim.
(pausing for effect)
What else was going on in Dealey Plaza
that day? At least 12 other individuals
were taken into custody by Dallas police.
No records of their arrests. Men acting
like hoboes were being pulled off trains,
marched through Dealey Plaza, photographed,
and yet there is no records of their
FLASHBACK TO: the three hoboes being arrested ... marching across Dealey
Plaza. The hoboes look familiar now.
Men identifying themselves as Secret
Service Agents were all over the place.
But who was impersonating them?
FLASHBACK TO: men in suits, ties, and hats moving people out of the
parking lot area ... turning a policeman back.
FLASHBACK TO: the Cuban, putting away a radio, and the umbrella man, who
now rise and leave the area in opposite directions.
And where was Lee Oswald? Probably
in the second floor snack room. Eddie
Piper and William Shelly saw Oswald
eating lunch in the first floor lunch
room around twelve. Around 12:15, on
her way out of the building to see the
motorcade, secretary Carolyn Arnold saw
Oswald in the second floor snack room,
where he said he went for a Coke ...
In the second floor lunchroom of the Book Depository we see Carolyn
Arnold, a pregnant secretary, crossing past Oswald, who is in a booth.
He was sitting in one of the booths on
the right hand side of the room. He
was alone as usual and appeared to be
having lunch. I did not speak to him
but I recognized clearly. I remember
it was 12:15 or later. It coulda been
12:25, five minutes before the
assassination, I don't exactly remember.
I was pregnant and I had a craving for
a glass of water.
On the sixth floor of the depository, Bonnie Ray Williams is eating a
chicken lunch, alone.
At the same time, Bonnie Ray Williams is
supposedly eating his chicken lunch on
the sixth floor, at least until 12:15,
maybe 12:20 ... he sees nobody.
On the street, Arnold Rowland and his wife look up at the sixth floor
windows and we see, from their point of view, two shadowy figures ...
Down on the street, Arnold Rowland was
seeing two men in the sixth floor
windows ... presumably after Bonnie Ray
Williams finished his lunch and left.
We see footage of J.F.K. coming up Houston - waving.
Oswald walks into the second floor lunchroom as policeman Marrion Baker
runs in, gun at his side. He is about 30 feet from Oswald. Roy Truly,
the superintendent, runs in a moment later.
Kennedy was running five minutes late
for his appointment with death. He was
due at 12:25. If Oswald was the assassin,
he was certainly pretty non-chalant about
getting himself into position. Later he
told Dallas police he was standing in the
second floor snackroom. Probably told to
wait there for a phone call by his handler.
The phones were in the adjacent and empty
second floor offices, but the call never
came. A maximum 90 seconds after Kennedy
is shot, patrolman Marrion Baker runs into
Oswald in that second story lunchroom.
Do you know this man? Is he an employee?
Yes he is.
(as Baker moves on)
The President's been shot!
Oswald reacts as if hearing it for the first time. Truly and Baker
continue running up the stairs. Oswald proceeds to get a Coke and
continues out of the room.
CUT TO: the sixth floor, where we see Oswald as the shooter. After
firing, he runs full speed for the stairs, stashing the rifle on the
other side of the loft. Our camera follows him roughly down stairs - we
hear the loud sound of his shoes banging on the hollow wood - to the
lunchroom, where Patrolman Baker and Superintendent Truly run in. Then
they start to repeat the same action as seen in the previous scene.
... but what the Warren Report would
have us believe is that after firing 3
bolt action shots in 5.6 seconds, Oswald
then leaves three cartridges neatly side
by side in the firing nest, wipes the
rifle clear of fingerprints, stashes the
rifle on the other side of the loft,
sprints down five flights of stairs, past
witnesses Victoria Adams and Sandra Styles
who never see him, and then shows up cool
and calm on the second floor in front of
Patrolman Baker - all this within a
maximum 90 seconds of the shooting. Is
he out of breath? According to Baker,
CUT TO: the second floor. Oswald ambles past Mrs. Reid, a secretary in
the second floor office, on his way out, Coke bottle in hand and wearing
his usual dreamy look ... there's a lingering close - up on his face.
Assuming he is the sole assassin, Oswald
is now free to escape from the building.
The longer he delays, the more chance the
building will be sealed by the police.
Is he guilty? Does he walk out the
nearest staircase? No, he buys a Coke
and at a slow pace, spotted by Mrs. Reid
in the second floor office, he strolls
out the more distant front exit, where
the cops start to gather ...
Outside, we see Oswald stroll out the door of the Book Depository into
the crowd. He heads for the bus stop to the east.
Oddly, considering three shots are
supposed to have come from there, nobody
seals the Depository for ten more
minutes. Oswald slips out, as do
several other employees. Of course,
when he realized something had gone
wrong and the President really had
been shot, he knew there was a problem.
He may even have known he was the patsy.
An intuition maybe - the President
killed in spite of his warning. The
phone call that never came. Perhaps
fear now came to Lee Oswald. He wasn't
going to stand around for roll call.
Back in the courtroom, Jim continues speaking:
The story gets pretty confusing now -
more twists in it than a watersnake.
Richard Carr says he saw four men take
off from the Book Depository in a
Rambler that possibly belongs to Janet
Williams. Deputy Roger Craig says two
men picked up Oswald in the same Rambler
a few minutes later. Other people say
Oswald took a bus out of there, and
then because he was stuck in traffic,
he hopped a cab to his rooming house
in Oak Cliff ...
FLASHBACK TO: Oswald's boarding house. Oswald enters his room, passing
Earlene Roberts, the heavyset white housekeeper.
... we must assume he wanted to get
back in touch with his intell team,
probably at a safehouse or at the
Texas Theatre, but how could he be
sure? He didn't know who to trust
My God, did you see that, Mr. Lee?
A man shot the President.
The camera closes in on Oswald's perplexed face. Earlene peeks out the
shades as she hears two short honks on a horn.
Outside is a black police car driven by Tippit. Also in the car is the
fence shooter, dressed as a Dallas policeman. The car drives by, honks
twice, waits, then moves away. During this visual, we see the fence
shooter changing his uniform into civilian clothes.
Oswald returns to this rooming house
around 1 P.M., half hour after the
assassination, puts on his jacket,
grabs his .38 revolver, leaves at 1:04
... Earlene Roberts, the housekeeper,
says she heard two beeps on a car horn
and two uniformed cops pulled up to the
house while Oswald was in his room, like
it was a signal or something ... Officer
Tippit is shot between 1:10 and 1:15
about a mile away. Though no one actually
saw him walking or jogging, the Government
says Oswald covered that distance.
Incidentally, that walk, if he did it, is
in a straight line toward Jack Ruby's
house. Giving the government the benefit
of the doubt, Oswald would have had to
jog a mile in six to eleven minutes and
commit the murder, then reverse direction
and walk 3/5 of a mile to the Texas
Theatre and arrive sometime before 1:30.
That's some walking.
On a street, Oswald walks alone, fast. A police car pulls up alongside
him on 10th Street. Oswald leans on the passenger side of the window.
Officer Tippit, suspicious, gets out to question him. Oswald pulls his
.38 revolver and shoots him down in the street with 5 shots.
It's also a useful conclusion. After all,
why else would Oswald kill Officer Tippit,
unless he just shot the President and
feared arrest? Not one credible witness
could identify Oswald as Tippit's killer.
Domingo Benavides, hidden in his truck only a few yards away, watches as
another unidentified man (not seen before) shoots and walks away.
Domingo Benavides, the closest witness to
the shooting, refused to identify Oswald
as the killer and was never taken to a
We see Acquilla Clemons, a black woman, looking on. She watches as two
men kill Tippit. One of them resembles the fence shooter. The other
one is a mystery figure, seen before in the fringes. The men walk off
quickly in opposite directions. We notice a policeman's uniform hanging
in the back seat of Tippit's car.
Acquilla Clemons saw the killer with another
man and says they went off in separate
directions. Mrs. Clemons was never taken to
lineup or to the Warren Commission. Mr.
Frank Wright, who saw the killer run away,
stated flatly that the killer was not Lee
Oswald. Oswald is found with a .38 revolver.
Tippit is killed with a .38 automatic. At
the scene of the crime Officer J.M. Poe
marks the shells with his initials to record
the chain of evidence.
CUT TO: Policeman Poe marking the bullets.
Those initials are not on the three
cartridge cases which the Warren Commission
presents to him.
On a Dallas avenue near the Texas Theatre, Oswald moves along, spooked.
Police cars roar by with sirens blaring. Johnny Brewer, in a shoestore,
spots him and follows him.
Oswald is next seen by shoe salesman
Johnny Brewer lurking along Jefferson
Avenue. Oswald is scared. He begins
to realize the full implications of this
thing. He goes into the Texas Theatre,
possibly his prearranged meeting point,
but though he has $14 in his pocket, he
does not buy the 75 - cent ticket. Brewer
has the cashier call the police.
Outside the Texas Theatre Oswald walks past the cashier, who is out on
the sidewalk watching the police cars go by. A double feature is
playing - Cry of Battle with Van Heflin and War is Hell. He goes in.
CUT TO: 30 officers arriving at the theatre in a fleet of patrol cars.
... in response to the cashier's call, at
least thirty officers in a fleet of patrol
cars descend on the movie theatre. This has
to be the most remarkable example of police
intuition since the Reichstag fire. I don't
buy it. They knew - someone knew - Oswald
was going to be there. In fact, as early as
12:44, only 14 minutes after the assassination,
the police radio put out a description
matching Oswald's size and build. Brewer
says the man was wearing a jacket, but the
police say the man who shot Tippit left his
jacket behind. Butch Burroughs, theatre
manager, says Oswald bought some popcorn from
him at the time of the Tippit slaying.
Burroughs and witness Bernard Haire also
said there was an Oswald look - alike taken
from the theatre. Perhaps it was he who
sneaked into the theatre just after 1:30.
Inside the theatre, Cry of Battle is on the screen. Twelve to fourteen
spectators sit scattered between the balcony and ground floor. Brewer
leads the officers onto the stage and the lights come on. He points to
In any case, Brewer helpfully leads the
cops into the theatre and from the stage
points Oswald out ...
The cops advance on Oswald, who jumps up, as if expecting to be shot.
This is it!
Kill the President, will you?
Scared, Oswald takes a swing at a policeman. He pulls out his gun. The
officers close in on him from the rear and front. A wrestling and
shoving match ensues. One officer gets a chokehold on Oswald and
another one hits him.
The cops have their man! It was already
been decided - in Washington.
Outside the theatre, Oswald, his eye blackened, is led out by the
phalanx of officers. They are surrounded by an angry crowd.
Kill him! Kill him!
Dr. Best, Himmler's right hand man in the
Gestapo, once said "as long as the police
carries out the will of the leadership, it
is acting legally." That mindset allowed
for 400 political murders in the Weimar
Republic of 1923 - 32, where the courts
were controlled and the guilty acquitted.
Oswald must've felt like Josef K in Kafka's
"The Trial". He was never told the reason
of his arrest, he does not know the unseen
forces ranging against him, he cries out
his outrage in the police lineup just like
Josef K excoriates the judge for not being
told the charges against him. But the
state is deaf. The quarry is caught. By
the time he is brought from the theatre,
a large crowd is waiting to scream at
him. By the time he reaches police
headquarters, he is booked for murdering
At the Dallas police station, Dallas Police Captain Will Fritz takes a
call from a high official in Washington. In the background we notice
Lee Oswald continuing to be questioned by federal agents. We hear
Johnson's distinctive Texas drawl but we never see him.
No legal counsel is provided. No record
made of the long questioning.
HIGH OFFICIAL VOICE
Howdy there, Cap'n. Thanks for taking care
of us down in Dallas. Lady Bird and I will
always be grateful.
Thank you, Mr. President. We're doing
HIGH OFFICIAL VOICE
Cap'n, I know you're working like a hound
dog down there to get this mess wrapped up,
but I gotta tell you there's too much
confusion coming out of Dallas now. The
TVs and the papers are full of rumour 'bout
conspiracies. Two gunmen, two rifles, the
Russkies done it, the Cubans done it, that
kinda loose talk, it's carin' the shit
outta people, bubba'. This thing could lead
us into a war that could cost 40 million
lives. We got to show'em we got this thing
under control. No question, no doubts, for
the good of our country ... you hear me?
HIGH OFFICIAL VOICE
Cap'n, you got your man, the investigation's
over, that's what people want to hear.
The camera closes in on Oswald in the background. He turns to an unseen
Now everyone will know who I am.
By the time the sun rose the next morning,
he is booked for murdering the President.
The whole country - fueled by the media -
assumes he's guilty.
In an underground police garage, we see Jack Ruby being allowed in via
an interior staircase by his police contact. He moves towards the outer
edge of reporters, nervous.
Oswald comes out with his two guards. We see a repeat of the
assassination in stop time ... Ruby's eyes, Oswald's ... do they
recognize each other?
Under the guise of a patriotic nightclub
owner out to spare Jackie Kennedy from
having to testify at a trial, Jack Ruby
is shown into the underground garage by
one of his inside men on the Dallas Police
Force, and when he's ready Oswald is brought
out like a sacrificial lamb and nicely
disposed of as an enemy of the people. By
early Sunday afternoon, the autopsy has been
completed on him. Who grieves for Lee Harvey
Oswald? Buried in a cheap grave under the
name "Oswald"? No one.
We see Oswald dying on the floor of the police station. A paramedic
pushes in and starts administering artificial respiration, which only
aggravates the internal hemorrhaging.
At a Texas cemetery, Oswald's mother weeps. Oswald is buried with a few
people present, but there are no details, no dates. We see Marina
whisked out by agents.
CUT TO Kennedy's funeral, which, in contrast, attracts thousands of
Within minutes false statements and press
leaks about Lee Oswald circulate the globe.
FLASHBACK TO X: reading about it in the New Zealand Airport, and then
back to the courtroom in 1969.
The Official Legend is created and the media
takes it from there. The glitter of official
lies and the epic splendor of the thought -
numbing funeral of J.F.K. confuse the eye
and confound the understanding. Hitler
always said "the bigger the lie, the more
people will believe it." Lee Oswald - a
crazed, lonely man who wanted attention and
got it by killing a President, was only the
first in a long line of patsies. In later
years Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King,
men whose commitment to change and to peace
would make them dangerous to men who are
committed to war, would follow, also killed
by such "lonely, crazed men," who remove
our guilt by making murder a meaningless
act of a loner. We have all become Hamlets
in our country - children of a slain father
- leader whose killers still possess the
throne. The ghost of John F. Kennedy
confronts us with the secret murder at the
heart of the American dream. He forces on
us the appalling questions: Of what is our
Constitution made? What is our citizenship,
and more, our lives worth? What is the
future of a democracy where a President can
be assassinated under conspicuously
suspicious circumstances while the machinery
of legal action scarcely trembles? How
many political murders, disguised as heart
attacks, cancer, suicides, airplane and car
crashes, drug overdoses will occur before
they are exposed for what they are?
Liz watches, moved. Susie, Al and Numa are also there for the
summation. Even Lou Ivon has come back to support his friend.
"Treason doth never prosper," wrote an
English poet, "What's the reason? For if
it prosper, none dare call it treason."
The generals who sent Dreyfus to Devils
Island were among the most honorable men
in France, the men who killed Caesar were
among the most honorable men in Rome. And
the men who killed Kennedy, no doubt, were
honorable men. I believe we have reached
a time in our country, similar to what life
must've been like under Hitler in the 30's,
except we don't realize it because Fascism
in our country takes the benign disguise
of liberal democracy. There won't be such
familiar signs as swastikas. We won't build
Dachaus and Auschwitzes. We're not going
to wake up one morning and suddenly find
ourselves in gray uniforms goose - stepping
off to work ... "Fascism will come," Huey
Long once said. "in the name of anti -
fascism" - it will come in the name of your
security - they call it "National Security,"
it will come with the mass media manipulating
a clever concentration camp of the mind.
The super state will provide you tranquility
above the truth, the super state will make
you believe you are living in the best of
all possible worlds, and in order to do so
will rewrite history as it sees fit. George
Orwell's Ministry of Truth warned us, "Who
controls the past, controls the future."
The American people have yet to see the
Zapruder film. Why? The American people
have yet to see the real photographs and
X - rays of the autopsy. Why? There are
hundreds of documents that could help
prove this conspiracy. Why have they been
withheld or burned by the Government? Each
time my office or you the people have asked
those questions, demanded crucial evidence,
the answer from on high has been "national
security." What kind of "national security"
do we have when we have been robbed of our
leaders? Who determines our "national
security"? What "national security" permits
the removal of fundamental power from the
hands of the American people and validates
the ascendancy of invisible government in
the United States? That kind of "national
security," gentlemen of the jury, is when
it smells like it, feels like it, and looks
like it, you call it what it is - it's
Fascism! I submit to you that what took
place on November 22, 1963 was a coup d'etat.
Its most direct and tragic result was a
reversal of President Kennedy's commitment
to withdraw from Vietnam. War is the
biggest business in America worth $80 billion
a year. The President was murdered by a
conspiracy planned in advance at the highest
levels of the United States government and
carried out by fanatical and disciplined
Cold Warriors in the Pentagon and CIA's
covert operations apparatus - among them
Clay Shaw here before you. It was a public
execution and it was covered up by like -
minded individuals in the Dallas Police
Department, the Secret Service, the FBI,
and the White House - all the way up to and
including J. Edgar Hoover and Lyndon
Johnson, whom I consider accomplices after
The camera holds on onlookers shuffling and murmuring. Clay Shaw
smirks, smoking his cigarette. The very grandiosity of the charge works
in his favor. Jim is falling apart from built - up strain and fatigue.
He looks over at Liz, gathering his spirit.
There is a very simple way to determine if I
am being paranoid here.
Let's ask the two men who have profited the
most from the assassination - your former
President Lyndon Baines Johnson and your
new President, Richard Nixon - to release
51 CIA documents pertaining to Lee Oswald
and Jack Ruby, or the secret CIA memo on
Oswald's activities in Russia that was
"destroyed" while being photocopied.
All these documents are yours - the people's
property - you pay for it, but because the
government considers you children who might
be too disturbed to face this reality,
because you might lynch those involved, you
cannot see these documents for another 75
years. I'm in my 40's, so I'll have shuffled
off this mortal coil by then, but I'm already
telling my 8 year - old son to keep himself
physically fit so that one glorious September
morning in 2038 he can walk into the
National Archives and find out what the CIA
and the FBI knew. They may even push it
back then. It may become a generational
affair, with questions passed down from
father to son, mother to daughter, in the
manner of the ancient runic bards. Someday
somewhere, someone might find out the
damned Truth. Or we might just build
ourselves a new Government like the
Declaration of Independence says we should
do when the old one ain't working - maybe
a little farther out West.
He approaches the jury.
An American naturalist wrote, "a patriot
must always be ready to defend his
country against its government." Well,
I'd hate to be in your shoes today. You
have a lot to think about. Going back to
when we were children, I think most of
us in this courtroom thought that justice
came into being automatically, that virtue
was its own reward, that good would triumph
over evil. But as we get older we know
that this just isn't true. "The frontier
is where a man faces a fact." Individual
human beings have to create justice and this
is not easy because truth often presents a
threat to power and we have to fight power
often at great risk to ourselves. People
like Julia Ann Mercer, S.M. Holland, Lee
Bowers, Jean Hill, and Willie O'Keefe have
come forward and taken that risk.
(he produces a stack of letters)
I have here some $8000 in these letters
sent to my office from all over the
country - quarters, dimes, dollar bills
from housewives, plumbers, car salesmen,
teachers, invalids ... These are the people
who cannot afford to send money but do,
these are the ones who drive the cabs, who
nurse in the hospitals, who see their kids
go to Vietnam. Why? Because they care,
because they want to know the truth -
because they want their country back,
because it belongs to us the people as long
as the people got the guts to fight for
what they believe in! The truth is the most
important value we have because if the
truth does not endure, if the Government
murders truth, if you cannot respect the
hearts of these people ...
(shaking the letters)
... then this is no longer the country in
which we were born in and this is not the
country I want to die in ... And this was
never more true than for John F. Kennedy
whose murder was probably the most terrible
moment in the history of our country. You
the people, you the jury system, in sitting
in judgement on Clay Shaw, represent the
hope of humanity against Government power.
In discharging your duty, in bringing the
first conviction in this house of cards
against Clay Shaw, "Ask not what your
country can do for you, but what you can
do for your country." Do not forget your
young President who forfeited his life.
Show the world this is still a government
of the people, for the people, and by the
people. Nothing as long as you live will
ever be more important.
(he stares into the camera)
It's up to you.
He returns to the table and sits. The courtroom is still.
CUT TO: later in the same courtroom. The jury files in, having reached
a verdict. Jim, prepared, sits with his staff and Liz. The jury
foreman enters the courtroom.
We find Clay Shaw ... not guilty on all
There's jubilation and commotion in the Court. Shaw stands, happily
shaking hands all over ... Members of the press run for the phones. In
the corridor outside the courtroom, the press interviews the jury
We believe there was a conspiracy, but
whether Clay Shaw was a part of it is
another kettle of fish.
The camera moves to Jim, who walks out past the banks of reporters. TV
lights are in his face. Liz is by his side.
Mr. Garrison, the American media is
reporting this as a full vindication
of the Warren Commission, do you ...
I think all it proves is you cannot run a
trial even questioning the intelligence
operations of the government in the light
We understand that The Times - Picayune
will call for your resignation - unfit
to hold office. You've ruined Clay Shaw's
reputation - are you going to resign?
Hell, no. I'm gonna run again. And I'm
gonna win. Thank you very much. If it
takes me 30 years to nail every one of
the assassins, then I will continue this
investigation for 30 years. I owe that
not only to Jack Kennedy, but to my
He and Liz squeeze hands as they walk on.
DISSOLVE TO WASHINGTON, D.C. - (1970)
Jim waits on the same park bench as earlier in the film, overlooking the
Mall or the Lincoln Monument ... as X walks up, a little grayer, a
little more stooped, wearing ill fitting civilian clothes.
Well, thanks for coming.
You didn't get that break you needed, but
you went as far as any man could, bubba.
(he sits next to Jim)
What can I do for you?
Just speculating, I guess. How do you
think it started?
I think it started in the wind. Money -
arms, big oil, Pentagon people, contractors,
bankers, politicians like L.B.J. were
committed to a war in Southeast Asia. As
early as '61 they knew Kennedy was going
to change things ... He was not going to
war in Southeast Asia. Who knows?
Probably some boardroom or lunchroom
somewhere - Houston, New York - hell,
maybe Bonn, Germany ... who knows, it's
CUT TO: a New York lunch club or executive dining room. From the window
we have a towering view of the City. Four men in their 50's to 70's -
old men, rich men, talk at a quiet table. Their figures are shadowy and
we overhear their conversation obliquely, across faces flared out by sun
bouncing off the skyscraper window.
One worried sonofabitch with a few million
dollars turns to the others ... with a few
million dollars ... and says something
pretty direct like ...
RICH MAN 1
The sonofabitch is gonna get re-elected by
a bigger vote than ever in '64. It's gonna
be worse than Roosevelt. The country won't
survive as we know it.
RICH MAN 2
I agree, Bob, it can't go on.
(he looks to Man 3)
RICH MAN 3
... and Bobby in '68? Something's got to
Looks pass among them. There's a pause, and then ...
RICH MAN 1
He's gotta go, Lou. The election's gotta
There is a breathless moment with the thought in the air.
RICH MAN 1
I talk to a lot of people. I know I'm
not the only one thinking this.
RICH MAN 2
What's the feeling in Washington, Jack?
FLASHBACK TO: the Pentagon in 1962.
... so calls are made. Down to Washington.
All over the world. They start talking
about it. A few people here, there. Just
conversations, nothing more ...
We see a general meeting with another general. They talk.
Generals, Admirals, CIA people, and probably
some people on the inside of Kennedy's staff
- young, brilliant Judases, ready to go to
war in Southeast Asia ...
FLASHBACK TO: the White House, 1962. A general talks to one of
Kennedy's staff - a bespectacled, bright young Harvard type.
... and maybe a Vice - President getting
separate memos from Vietnam, eager to get
his backers the billions of dollars in
contracts for Southeast Asia ...
In a White House office, Lyndon Johnson meets with a cabinet member, a
contractor, and two military men.
Kennedy, like Caesar, is surrounded with
enemies. Something is underway but it
has no face. Yet everyone in the loop
The camera shows Washington, D.C. buildings from strange angles. The
feeling is still, weird, angled, alien. The buildings are twisted.
Money is at stake. Big money. A hundred
billion. The Kennedy brothers target voting
districts for defense dollars. They give
TFX fighter contracts only to the counties
that are going to make a difference in '64.
These people fight back. Their way. One
day another call is made ...
In a Pentagon office, a man in civilian clothing is on the phone, his
back to the screen. This is Mr. Y, X's superior officer. Shadows
pervade the room. An unshuttered window overlooks the Potomac River and
the White House.
... maybe to somebody like my superior
who's been running the "Mongoose" program
out of Florida and who has no love for
VOICE ON PHONE
Bill, we're going. We need your help.
Everything's cellurized. No one has said
"he must die," there's been no vote, there's
nothing on paper, there's no one to blame.
It's as old as the Crucifixion: the Mafia
firing squad, one blank, no one's guilty
because everyone in the Power Structure who
knows anything has a plausible deniability.
There are no compromising connections except
at the most secret point. But what's
paramount is that it must succeed. No matter
how many die, how much it costs, the
perpetrators must be on the winning side and
never subject to prosecution for anything
by anyone. That is a coup d'etat.
VOICE ON PHONE
In the fall. Probably in the south. We
want you to come up with a plan ...
He's done it before. Other countries.
Lumumba in the Congo, Trujillo, the
Dominican Republic, he's working on Castro.
No big deal. In September, Kennedy
announces the Texas trip. At that moment,
second Oswalds start popping up all over
Dallas where they have the mayor and the
cops in their pocket. Y flies in the
assassins, maybe from the special camp
we keep outside Athens, Greece - pros,
maybe some locals, Cubans, Maria hire,
separate teams. Does it really matter
who shot from what rooftop? Part of
the scenery. The assassins by now are
dead or well paid and long gone ...
Any chance of one of them confessing
... don't think so. When they start to drool,
they get rid of 'em. These guys are proud
of what they did. They did Dealey Plaza!
They took out the President of the United
States! That's entertainment! And they
served their country doing it.
... and your General?
... got promoted to two stars, but he was
never military, you know, always CIA.
Went to Vietnam, lost his credibility when
we got beat over there, retired, lives
in Virginia. I say hello to him when I see
him at the supermarket ...
Ever ask him?
You never ask a spook a question. No point.
He'll never give you a straight answer.
General Y still thinks of himself of the
handsome young warrior who loved this
country but loved the concept of war more.
Does it matter? Another technician. But
an interesting thing - he was there that day
in Dealey Plaza. You know how I know?
(Jim shakes his head)
That picture of yours. The hoboes ...
you never looked deep enough ...
FLASHBACK TO: one of the hobo pictures. Next to the freight entrance of
the Book Depository, Y, in a dark suit, is nonchalantly walking past the
hoboes, his back to us. The camera closes in on Y.
I knew the man 20 years. That's him. The
way he walked ... arms at his side, military,
the stoop, the haircut, the twisted left
hand, the large class ring. What was he
doing there? If anyone had asked him, he'd
probably say "protection" but I'll tell
you I think he was giving some kind of
"okay" signal to those hoboes - they're
about to get booked and he's telling 'em
it's gonna be okay, they're covered. And
in fact they were - you never heard of them
... some story ... the whole thing. It's
like it never happened.
It never did.
(he smiles tartly)
Just think ... just think. What happened
to our country ... to the world ...
because of that murder ... Vietnam, racial
conflict, breakdown of law, drugs, thought
control, guilt, assassinations, secret
government fear of the frontier ...
I keep thinking of that day, Tuesday the
26th, the day after they buried Kennedy,
L.B.J. was signing the memorandum on
Vietnam with Ambassador Lodge.
FLASHBACK TO: the White House, 1963. Johnson sits across the shadowed
room with Lodge and others. His Texas drawl rises and falls. He signs
Gentlemen, I want you to know I'm not going
to let Vietnam go the way China did. I'm
personally committed. I'm not going to
take one soldier out of there 'til they
know we mean business in Asia ...
You just get me elected, and I'll give
you your damned war.
... and that was the day Vietnam started.
CUT TO: Documentary footage of - U.S. Marines arriving in full force on
the beaches of Danang, March 8, 1965 ... as another era begins and our
On a black screen we read:
** In 1975, VICTOR MARCHETTI, former executive assistant to the CIA's
deputy director, stated that during high - level CIA meetings during
Shaw's trial in 1969, CIA director RICHARD HELMS disclosed that CLAY
SHAW and DAVID FERRIE had worked for the Agency, and asked his
assistants to make sure Mr. Shaw received Agency help at his trial.
** In 1979, RICHARD HELMS, director of covert operations in 1963,
admitted under oath that CLAY SHAW had Agency connections.
** It is now known that in 1963, U.S. military intelligence controlled
more agents than the CIA and had almost as much money to spend. It
surfaced in the 1970's that the Army had long been conducting
surveillance and keeping files on thousands of private citizens in the
name of national security. The prime targets were dissident - left -
wingers of the kind Oswald appeared to be.
** CLAY SHAW died in 1974 of supposed lung cancer. No autopsy was
** WILLIAM SULLIVAN, Assistant Director of the FBI, died in the early
morning hours of November 9,177 when he was mistaken for a deer in an
open field in New Hampshire. Shortly before his death, Sullivan had a
preliminary hearing with the HSCA.
** GEORGE DE MOHRENSCHILDT committed suicide just hours after HSCA
investigator Gaeton Fonzi located him.
** In November, 1969 JIM GARRISON was re - elected to a third term as
District Attorney of Orleans Parish. In June of 1971, he was arrested
by Federal Agents on charges of allowing payoffs on pinball gambling by
organized crime. In September of 1973, after defending himself in
Federal Court, he was quickly found not guilty of charges that appear to
have been framed against him. Less than six weeks later, he was
narrowly defeated for a fourth term as District Attorney.
** In 1978, Garrison was elected Judge of the Louisiana State Court of
Appeal in New Orleans. He was re - elected in 1988. To this date, he
has brought the only public prosecution in the Kennedy killing.
** ELIZABETH and Jim were divorced in 1978. He now lives in the same
house he lived in with Elizabeth. She lives a block away. Their five
children are grown.
** SOUTHEAST ASIA: 58,000 American lives, 2 million Asian lives, $220
billion spent, 10 million Americans air - lifted there by commercial
aircraft, more than 5,000 helicopters lost, 6.5 million tons of bombs
** A Congressional Investigation from 1976 - 1979 found a "probable
conspiracy" in the assassination of John F. Kennedy and recommended the
Justice Department investigate further. As of 1991, the Justice
Department has done nothing. The files of the House Select Committee on
Assassinations are locked away until the year 2029.
The camera moves onto the mottoes chiselled in the walls of the National
Archives in Washington, D.C.:
"STUDY THE PAST"
"PAST IS PROLOGUE"
"ETERNAL VIGILANCE IS THE PRICE OF LIBERTY"
DEDICATED TO THE YOUNG, IN WHOSE SPIRIT THE SEARCH FOR TRUTH MARCHES ON