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the film criticism aspect of cyber | by maryann johanson

unproduced screenplay: ‘Cat & Mouse’ Part 2

(Cat & Mouse begins here)

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EXT. FARMHOUSE

A police car and the Agent’s car, parked outside a pleasant farmhouse.

INT. FARMHOUSE LIVING ROOM

A woman (white, 50s) sits on a sofa and sobs softly as she looks at a photo before he passes it to the Agent, who sits across from her in an armchair.

A TV is on in the background, the sound muted. The sheriff stands near the door.

The Agent looks at

THE PHOTO

A pretty, smiling brunette, the woman from the parking lot.

  • THE AGENT
  • She’s very lovely.
  • WOMAN
  • She said she was going for a drink with some friends after her shift, but she promised to be home by midnight. She’s a good girl — she’d have called if she was going to be late.
  • THE AGENT
  • I understand.
  • WOMAN
  • He got her, didn’t he? The strangler. He got her.
  • THE AGENT
  • We don’t know that, ma’am.
  • WOMAN
  • She’s dead. I know it. Does he make them suffer? Did my baby suffer?
  • THE AGENT
  • No, ma’am, he… he doesn’t make them suffer.

His attention is distracted by the muted TV: a news report has interrupted the programming.

A news anchor speaks silently as the same photo the Agent holds appears on the TV screen.

The report switches to a field reporter, who stands outside a house… outside this very house.

The Agent rises and hands the photo back to the woman, moves toward the door.

The sheriff shuffles uncomfortably.

  • THE AGENT
  • (whispers)
  • You called the press before you told me?
  • SHERIFF #2
  • My sister… she works at the radio station…
  • THE AGENT
  • Jesus.

EXT. FARMHOUSE

The Agent walks to his car, dogged by the TV REPORTER and cameraman. He ignores them.

  • TV REPORTER
  • Is she another victim of the Brunette Strangler? How long before you expect to find her body? What is the FBI doing to find him? What can you tell us, Agent?

They reach his car, the reporter still on his heels.

  • THE AGENT
  • You’re giving him what he wants.

He gets in the car and peels off. Tires angrily kick up gravel.

EXT. RURAL NEBRASKAN ROAD – LATER

Several police cars parked askew, lights flashing. Cops back off the road lead dogs on leashes through the underbrush off both sides of the road.

The Agent talks to several deputies.

  • THE AGENT
  • He doesn’t spend much time with them. Her car is parked at the bar up the road?

The deputies nod.

  • THE AGENT
  • Then she’ll be within a couple of miles of there. You’ve got people searching the road south of the bar?
  • DEPUTY
  • Yes, sir.
  • THE AGENT
  • She won’t be far off the road. And she’ll be among trees or some sort of undergrowth.

FURTHER DOWN THE ROAD – LATER

The sun is lower in the sky. Police cars are everywhere. Dogs BARK in the distance. The Agent, alone, leans wearily against his car, talks into his cell phone.

  • THE AGENT
  • –yeah, well, there’s another one. Officially she’s still just missing, but… No, I know she’s dead… This guy, he’s in my head… I know it scares you, sweetie. I’m sorry… How can I leave? Finding this guy is the only way to get him out of my head–
  • DEPUTY
  • (in the distance)
  • Here!
  • THE AGENT
  • Shit. They just found her. I gotta go, honey… Yeah, I wish I was, too. I’d give anything just to… Yeah, me, too… Bye.

The Agent watches the cops descend on a stand of trees, where one cop waits with a dog.

  • THE AGENT
  • Fuck.

INT. POLICE STATION – NITE

The station bustles with more activity than it has probably ever seen. Deputies confer with FBI agents, town officials chatter nervously. A TV in the background is tuned to a news channel that reports on the latest murder.

The Agent confers with the sheriff.

  • THE AGENT
  • I’ll tell you what I’ve told everyone else at this point. He has almost certainly moved on. But on the off chance that he hasn’t, you should stake out her funeral and then her grave.
  • SHERIFF #2
  • Why’s that, sir?
  • THE AGENT
  • I know it sounds contradictory, but this guy feels remorse. That’s why he lays them out like he does: he wants them to look pretty when they’re found.
  • SHERIFF #2
  • Pretty?
  • THE AGENT
  • I know it sounds odd.
  • SHERIFF #2
  • So why the stakeouts?
  • THE AGENT
  • He may feel the need to apologize to her for what he did. And keep an eye on the mother. He may want to express his sympathies to her as well.
  • SHERIFF #2
  • Right.
  • THE AGENT
  • The Bureau team will give you specifics.

An FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR (50s) interrupts, pulls the Agent aside.

  • ASSISTANT DIRECTOR
  • Are you okay? You look like hell.
  • THE AGENT
  • I’m okay.
  • ASSISTANT DIRECTOR
  • Don’t make me think letting you do this Fox Mulder renegade bullshit was a bad idea. You’ve got enough of a rep after DC.
  • THE AGENT
  • We’ve got an army of agents pounding the pavement and running down leads from Chicago to Denver. Are they any closer to finding this guy than I am?
  • ASSISTANT DIRECTOR
  • (reluctant)
  • No.
  • THE AGENT
  • All right, then. This is good. I needed to do this. And it’s working. I think I’m getting closer to him.
  • ASSISTANT DIRECTOR
  • Eleven damn dead girls… you’d better be getting close.
  • THE AGENT
  • Yes, sir.
  • ASSISTANT DIRECTOR
  • And watch what the hell you say with cameras around.
  • THE AGENT
  • You don’t need to remind me, sir.
  • ASSISTANT DIRECTOR
  • Jesus, you’ve looked better.
  • THE AGENT
  • I’m fine. Really.

EXT. POLICE STATION – SMALL TOWN MAIN STREET

A mob of reporters and TV cameras huddle around the doorway, spring to life as the Agent exits the station.

The Fan, disposable camera at the ready, hovers in the background. The Agent catches the Fan’s eye just before the mob descends upon the Agent.

The Agent unsuccessfully tries to fight his way through the press. He ignores their shouted questions till he loses sight of the Fan.

  • REPORTERS
  • (simultaneous)
  • How long before he strikes again? / Where is he going?/ Why is he doing this? / There are reports that he may have known his victims– / Tell us about the DC serial case–

The Journalist pushes his way toward the Agent.

  • THE JOURNALIST
  • You told local news that the killer wants publicity, but that’s not true, is it?

The Agent stops in his tracks and stares at the Journalist but says nothing.

After a moment, the Agent pushes his way toward his car again. Camera lights blind him.

EXT. WOODS – DREAM SEQUENCE – DAY

As before: The POV of the Agent as he stumbles through the woods. Look down: branches and dried leaves CRACKLE underfoot.

HEAVY BREATHING as he comes upon the fully clothed body of a woman.

She lies on her side in the leaves and dirt, her back to the man — she might almost be asleep.

Half her mane of long brown hair lies along her arm, the other half flows down her back — it has been particularly arranged.

His hand reaches to turn her over, look at her face. He begins to roll her body over–

END DREAM SEQUENCE

INT. MOTEL #2 ROOM – NITE

The Agent shoots up from the bed with a SCREAM.

He looks around the room, awakens to reality, and sinks back to sit on the bed, his head in his hands.

IN THE BATHROOM

The Agent stands in the shower under the heavy spray, lets it pound him.

Is he crying, or is his face just wet from the shower?

IN THE ROOM

The Agent packs up his belongings — clothes, notes on the case.

A news report plays on the TV.

  • TV NEWS ANCHOR
  • –controversial special agent, from the FBI’s Investigative Support Unit, the “profilers” popularized by the film “The Silence of the Lambs” — also headed the FBI’s task force on the recent DC Child Killer case…

On the TV screen, the Agent’s ID photo appears beside the anchor, and next to it, a mugshot of the DC Child Killer.

  • TV NEWS ANCHOR
  • Though 18 DC-area youngsters were savagely raped and murdered before the perpetrator was tracked down by the FBI, the case is considered a triumph of profiling.

The report cuts to a clip of the Agent, who looks only slightly more rested and relaxed than we’ve seen him yet, on a Sunday morning news talk show.

  • THE AGENT (ON TV)
  • I don’t think there’s any doubt that this offender would have continued his spree if not for the FBI’s efforts.

EXT. MOTEL #2

The Agent loads his bags into his car. The motel’s neon light flashes behind him.

He turns to consider the road running past the motel. He looks one way up the road, and then the other way, weighs his options.

INT./EXT. THE AGENT’S CAR/RURAL ROAD

The Agent drives through the inky darkness.

INT. PRISON INTERROGATION ROOM – FLASHBACK – DAY

The DC CHILD KILLER (white, male, 30s), handcuffed, stares down at the table. The Agent sits across from him.

The Agent slowly pushes, one by one, a series of photos in front of the Killer.

THE PHOTOS

Brief glimpses of terribly gruesome crime-scene photos — each of a child stabbed scores of times.

  • THE AGENT
  • Did it make you feel better, making them suffer?

The Killer says nothing.

  • THE AGENT
  • They hurt you, didn’t they? Maybe not these particular kids, but kids are all the same, aren’t they?

The Killer says nothing.

  • THE AGENT
  • They’re cruel. They tease. Little bastards. I understand.
  • KILLER
  • They had to die. I had to show them.
  • THE AGENT
  • Yeah. But why the rapes?

The Killer hangs his head, silent again.

  • THE AGENT
  • Did they make fun of you? You wet yourself, didn’t you? They pulled your pants down and laughed. They laughed at your little-boy dick.
  • KILLER
  • Not so little now.
  • THE AGENT
  • No. You showed them.

OBSERVATION ROOM

From behind a two-way mirror, two agents videotape the interrogation. They whisper so as not to be picked up on the video.

  • AGENT #1
  • Jesus.
  • AGENT #2
  • Christ almighty. He’s as bad as the wackos.

Through the glass:

  • KILLER
  • Now they know.
  • THE AGENT
  • Now they know.

END FLASHBACK

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