Oliver Stone & Zachary Sklar
Based on books by
Jim Marrs & Jim Garrison
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
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
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
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 eulogy.
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
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
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
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
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 Castor... In March '63,
Kennedy announces drastic cuts in
the defense 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
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, Castor...
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-
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 fuckin' guys.
(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
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
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 sequence.
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,
MRS. CONNALLY (V.O.)
Mr. President, you can't say that
Dallas doesn't love you.
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
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 horror:
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
JACKIE KENNEDY VOICE
Oh, no, they've shot Jack... I love
you, Jack... Jack... they've killed
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
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
Oh no!... How bad?
No word yet. But they think it's in
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 rushed by
the Secret Service to Parkland
Memorial Hospital four miles from
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
There's still a chance, dammit!
Come on, Jack - pull through.
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
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 sit there.
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
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 their faces.
It's all so terrible. I jes' can't
stop crying. He did so much for
this country, for colored people.
(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,
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
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
God's sake, chief. The President
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 heart.
Chief, maybe you had a little too
much to drink.
(yells across the
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.
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
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.
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 bill.
One little guy with a cheap rifle -
look what he can do.
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,
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 home.
Get home my ass. We're going to the
office, have another drink. I want
some company tonight.
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
Just goes to show, you can never
know about some people. Am I right,
now, doesn't reply)
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
Who the hell opened my files! You've
been looking through my private files,
haven't you, you weasel?
You may not like this, chief, but
you're beginning to act paranoid. I
mean, you really are.
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
I always lock my files. And you
were the only one here today...
(stops as he hears
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
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 goddamn thing.
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 patsy.
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
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,
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
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
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 your eye?
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
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, sharing information.
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
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
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 Lou.
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
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 summer.
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
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
That ties it up...
Another nut. Jesus, anybody can get
a rifle in Texas.
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 Oswald.
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
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
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 -
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 comfortable. Coffee?
Do you remember me, Mr. Garrison? I
met you on Carondolet Street right
after your election. I congratulated
How could I forget? You make quite
a first impression.
Sharon, could you please bring us
(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 wall)
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 coffee in.
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 Ruby.
(on each name, watching
We've heard reports that Oswald spent
the summer in New Orleans and we've
been advised you knew Oswald pretty
That's not true. I never met anybody
named Oswald. Anybody who told you
that has to be crazy.
But you are aware, he served in your
Civil Air Patrol unit when he was a
No... if he did, I don't remember
him. There were lots of kids in and
(hands him a current
I'm sure you've seen this. Perhaps
you knew this man under another name?
No, I never saw him before in my
Well that must've been mistaken
information we got. Thanks for
straightening it out for us.
(puffs on pipe, 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
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
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 there.
No particular reason. Just to go
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
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
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
Why? What's wrong?
Dave, I find your story simply not
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 Washington
FBI OFFICE - NEW ORLEANS - NEXT DAY(1963)
At a small press conference, the FBI spokesman reads a
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.
...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.
In national news, President Johnson
has announced the creation of a blue
ribbon presidential commission to
probe the events in Dallas.
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
Pretty fast, wasn't it. The way
they let him go.
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
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
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
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 it.
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
You think there were other men
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 one of 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, 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
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
(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
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
I never did believe it either!
Uh huh... Mattie, I'll do the dishes,
you take Be up now. And Elizabeth,
too, your bedtime, honey.
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
Well maybe you're right, Jim. I'll
give you one hour to solve the case...
until the kids are in bed.
(rising, she puts her
arms around him from
behind and kisses
Then you're mine and Mr. Kennedy can
wait 'til morning. Come on, everybody
say goodnight to Daddy.
(showing his drawing)
Dad, look what I drew.
That's something, Jasper. What is
A rhinoceros. Can I stay up another
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
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 are.
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
GARRISON STUDY - LATER THAT NIGHT(1966)
The clock on mantelpiece reads 3 A.M. Jim is alone, smoking
In the stillness, his mind crawls all over the place. The
camera closes on the thickly-worded pages of the Warren
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
Mr. Bowers... is there anything else
you told me I haven't asked you about
that you can think of?
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
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 Dallas policemen.
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 questioned.
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 the lot.
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.
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 later.
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, seeing this.
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 my mind.
We see the scene from Holland's point of view - the puff of
smoke lingering under the trees along the picket fence after
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
(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
These books are getting to your mind,
Mr. Garrison. I wish you'd stop
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 chess.
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
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
Honey, go back to sleep, please!
Goddammit! I been sleeping for three
She takes him now, gently, and pulls him down on top of her
and kisses him.
Will you stop rattling on about
Kennedy for a few minutes, honey...
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
At 7:30 Sunday morning? It's not
exactly fresh blood we're sniffing
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 Lafayette Street.
Yeah, Guy Banister. Ex-FBI man. He
died couple years ago.
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, greeting 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
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-Casto 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 Dallas.
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
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.
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 of passivity.
Okay, Carlos, if you want to hit me,
There is no real fight, but the police, as if pre-alerted,
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
In a television studio in 1963, Oswald debates Carlos
Bringuier with two moderators.
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
But you're a Communist, are you not,
and you defected to Russia.
No, I am not a Communist. But I am
What did you do when you were in
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
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
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 they say?
"Once ONI, always ONI"?
Well, he likes to work near his old
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
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
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
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
You're not under cross-examination
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 remember that?
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
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
(shaking his head
No, it involved more than that.
Bill looks at Jim.
How much more?
I don't know if I should talk about
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.
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
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-running operation.
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
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.
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
We see FBI agents loading dynamite, bomb casings, arms 155mm
artillery shells, etc.
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
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 remember...
I can't believe it, Mr. Banister.
Lee Oswald is down on Canal Street
giving out Communist leaflets
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
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
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 private office.
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.
Clay something, that was his name -
Bertrand. Clay Bertrand?
Yeah! That's it.
I don't know. Maybe it wasn't. I
Clay Bertrand. He's in the Warren
Report. He tried to get Oswald a
Was Kennedy ever discussed, Jack?
Sure. 'Course they hated the
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
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 better go.
Nobody knows what we're talking about,
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
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
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
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
I sure do. We sang "You're the Cream
in My Coffee."
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 d'.
Mr. Garrison, we have not seen enough
of you lately.
Been too busy, Paul - an elected man
can't have as much fun as he used
(seeing Lou and Al)
Welcome back, Lou. Find out anything
on those hobos?
Lou's been waiting, excited. He gives Jim blowups of the
five hobo photographs.
They took 'em to the Sheriff's office,
not the police station, and they let
'em go. No record of them ever being
I can't say that comes as a surprise
A photographer from The Dallas Times
Herald got some great shots of them
The camera moves in on the photographs.
FLASHBACK TO the "hoboes" being escorted to the Sheriff's
office - as per Sgt. Harkness' earlier description.
...take a good look, chief, do any
of 'em look like the hoboes you
Hoboes I knew of old used to sleep
in their clothes - these two look
...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 down.
This could be it. Let's start looking
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 years...
Can we find her?
Graveyard dead near Big Sandy, Texas
in '65. Two in the morning on some
highway. A hit and run.
FLASHBACK to Rose lying dead on an empty highway.
Why not go right to the horse's mouth,
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
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
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 strange.
Maybe there's more to this, Susie.
The CIA's keeping something from our
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
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,
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 robotic.
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 skeptical - 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 KGB.
We see photos of the city of Minks, in Russia, Oswald with
various friends and tourists, shots of Lee and Marina with a
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 girls.
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
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 secrets.
We see documentary shots of the U2 on Russian soil... Francis
Gary Powers... The Summit Conference canceled... Eisenhower
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, disenchanted.
Don't get sidetracked! How does he
get back to the States? That's the
point. Does he have any problems?
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 Communist type.
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-Communist group.
And Marina? Does she have a problem
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 crazy.
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 that.
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 rabid anti-
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
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
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
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 to Lee.
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,
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 intelligence.
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
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.
When he's arrested, Marina buries
him with the public. Her description
of him is that of a psychotic and
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
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
Oswald was no angel, that's clear,
but who was he?
BACK TO Antoine's Restaurant.
I'm lost, boss. What are we saying
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
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 that day.
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 Oswald's
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
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 phony
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,
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 same guy.
Boss, Oswald impersonators? Sounds
like James Bond now.
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
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 fire.
Now you guys, come on. You're talking
about the United States Government
We're talking about a crime, Bill.
No one is above the law. Reduce it.
A crime was committed. Let's get to
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 shot!
Please relax, Mr. Ruby. This'll
calm you down and clear this up.
Doc, I'm telling you, I don't need
Mr. Ruby, I don't want to involve
the guards. It'll just take a few
Ruby looks over at the two guards, who eye him. The Doctor
gives him the injection.
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 us now.
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,
(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
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.
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 encounter.
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
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 Louisiana society.
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
There you go. Grain of salt. Two
sides to every coin.
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.
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
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
You can't ever say crime don't pay
in Louisiana, Jim - only not as good
as it used to. Good chowder, ain't
When did you first do business with
Oh, I first heard these street cats
jiving about him back in '56, '57
when I lived down in the Quarter.
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
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.
The dude on the other end says...
I'm Clay Bertrand. Whatever they
owe, I guarantee.
Hey, suits me fine, Daddy Warbucks -
how do I get in touch with you?
And that's how I first heard of Clay
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 English.
Did he pay?
Always - like tits on a pig. I wish
I had a million of those bimbettes.
(just a slight
Like I told to the Washington boys,
Bertrand called that summer and asked
me to help the kid upgrade his Marine
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
Then how the hell did you get in the
Warren Commission, Dean? Except
through the phone records in the
There were no phone records.
Of course there weren't. 'Cause they
disappeared. And yet the Commission
found you, Dean.
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
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 'em
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, speaking deliberately.
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
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...
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,
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?
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
They rise to leave. Bertrand with a slight limp.
Anything else unusual about him you'd
be able to describe in a court of
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, you know, 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
...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 time?
Yeah, strange guy. Dave introduced
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
Leon's in a bad mood, don't get
excited, he's all right.
Would you say this "Leon" was actually
Lee Harvey Oswald?
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
...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
That's Castro. Sounds like Hitler
doesn't he? Sonofabitch is going to
go. Real soon.
Muerte a Fidel! Muerte!
(irritated at the
Oh, stop it already! What are all
these people doing here anyway? I
can't bear all this infernal noise.
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,
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 beard.
That faggot Kennedy won't let us.
Our hands are empty - how can we
(moving with a drink,
walks with a slight
It's a real problem getting at him.
Castro's got informers on every block.
(pointing to a map of
Cuba on the wall)
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
...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 sonofabitch.
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
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
What about the Secret Service, the
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 easily
(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
(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
Willie, are you willing to repeat
your statements under sodium
pentothal? Under the supervision of
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 people.
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
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,
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 weeks.
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 a madman."
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
FLASHBACK TO a Dallas firing range in 1963.
...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
Hey, sorry, buddy. I just thought
it was that sonofabitch Kennedy,
y'know. I couldn't help myself.
...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
...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
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
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
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
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
Well, you're the policeman, you work
(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 down here.
What's the other name?
Shaw. Clay Shaw.
Clay Bertrand is Clay Shaw? The guy
who used to run the International
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
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
(reactions from the
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
Let's call it a night.
Anything new on Ruby?
The staff members, anxious to go home, have all risen... and
Mobbed up all the way. Tight with
the Dallas cops. I'm digging, chief.
I just need 10 more men and some
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 for Lou)
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 misery.
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 is incredible.
Pillar of the community by day, gay
bars at night.
Liz Garrison is the most shaken, as she pours a fresh pot of
Can you get some sworn statements?
That's gonna be tough. Nobody's
I think we should have him in for a
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 gentlemen.
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 action.
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 morning.
(as TV cuts to
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
No. I told you I was going to talk
But why in the Lord's name would you
do it in the middle of Easter Sunday
when you knew we were...
(annoyed with her
Because when I scheduled it I didn't
realize it was a holiday. You were
there, why didn't you say something?
Look at the calendar, for Christ's
sake. You said a Sunday, not Easter
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 too.
It's not just you making the sacrifice
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 Sunday?
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
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 Logan?
No. Never heard of him.
A Perry Russo?
A Willie O'Keefe?
No, I don't believe I know anyone by
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
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
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
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 Shaw's face.
You're mine, Mary. Go get the fucking
tools out, bitch. Now! I want some
Ferrie forces more poppers on Shaw. The camera movies to
Shaw's bedroom, where Ferrie scatters a drawer full of leather
Come here, bitch.
(Ferrie grabs Shaw by
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 cat!
(to young man)
Strip! Now, woman. I want to see
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 bizarre appearance.
Does the name Clay Bertrand mean
anything to you?
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. No, 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
(handing a photo to
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
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 a
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
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 you?
No, people like you don't have to, I
guess - people like you walk between
May I go? Regardless of what you
may think of me, Mr. Garrison, I am
a patriot first and foremost.
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
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
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,
I don't know what to say except I'm
sorry. I just don't have rabbits on
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 of Atlantis.
That sounds dandy, but it doesn't
replace a father and a husband on
(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
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 the
And it ain't pretty
(reading the copy)
..."the AD has spent more than $8,000
on unexplained travel and
investigative expenses since November,
They went to the public records and
got the vouchers we requested for
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
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
They look at each other.
Bear in mind, each of you, this may
affect the rest of your careers,
...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
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
The phone rings and Ivon picks it up.
DAVE FERRIE (V.O.)
Did your office plant that garbage
in the fucking paper?
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 dead man.
What are you talking about, Dave?
You weren't mentioned in the story.
Don't jump to conclusions.
You think your investigation's been
all that secret? You know, when you
talk to people, they talk to other
What did they...
You still questioning any Cubans?
Dave, you know that's where this
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
(there's a long silence
as Ferrie, torn,
...give me protection?
Yeah! He'd kill for you Dave. He
likes you. Your mind.
I got no place to sleep. I'll meet
you in 20 minutes.
Ferrie hangs up. Pause. At his end, Lou Ivon hangs up,
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
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
No, he's not here now. And he would
not take calls here if he were! So
please call the office number. Thank
Two of them even had the gall to
come to the door this afternoon, one
all the way from England.
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 nothing.
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 same school.
I haven't, Jim.
Nothing is going to happen to you.
I won't let it.
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
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
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
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, are you?
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
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
(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 Agency does.
(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
That cocksuckin' faggot! He's got
me by the balls.
What do you mean?
Photographs - compromising stuff.
And he'll use 'em. The Agency plays
(checks the room for
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
Let me get this straight, now. Clay
Shaw is blackmailing you?
Fuckin' A. How do you think the
Agency gets people to do their
bullshit? Fuck knows what they got
Room service knocks, and Ferrie jumps and rushes to the
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
Same one. I didn't know no
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 Oswald?
(shrugs, can't be
Black, black - just give it to me.
(takes the fresh coffee
from Lou, lights a
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
Dave, can I just ask you this
directly? Did you ever work for the
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 for
Shaw's an "untouchable", man - highest
clearance. Shaw, Oswald, the Cubans -
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 'n' games.
What about the mob, Dave? How do
they figure in this?
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
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,
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
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 it.
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,
I'm so fucking exhausted I can't see
Get some rest, Dave, and you'll feel
better in the morning. We'll talk
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
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 pitchfork.
Paris Match. We are the largest
magazine in all of France.
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
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
Love a duck! It takes twenty minutes
to get into this office these days.
Are we famous or what?
Jim is reading Newsweek, deeply hurt. There are newspapers
all over his desk.
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
(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 country
(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 from 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
What do you want to do, Bill - fold
up and close the store? You sound
Look, this is bigger than all of us.
We can't try a case in this
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 it.
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
Jim has gathered together a group of photos of the shooting.
Sharon bringing the coffee.
They've been enlarged and show a lot
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 Pacific.
(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
I imagine because this is the Criminal
District Court Building
(showing a photo)
This is an enlargement of a potential
shooter standing behind the picket
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
(Puts the photo back
on the desk)
How much do you have for carrying on
If you must know, virtually nothing.
How many men are working with you on
Less than you would guess. Most
days two to three assistant D.A.'s.
A handful of police investigators.
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
The clock is ticking. Jim shares a look with Bill. The
cards are on the table.
That was never in he newspapers, Mr.
Miller smiles, stands, paces the room. He continues to ignore
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
(he sits back down
and looks directly
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
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
(he leans back and
Do you have any idea, do you have
any conception of how easily such an
appointment can be arranged?
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 appointed?
Jim's eyes go to Bill. He could be wrong, but it's almost
as if Bill were going along with the idea now.
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 overhead
You see that helmet over there?
(the Nazi helmet with
a bullet hole on his
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
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
Miller's entire demeanor tightens into a corkscrew of anger
Bill, Mr. Miller and I have finished
our conversation. Would you show
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,
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
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 Jury.
Susie, watch the language, would you
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
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
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 miniature microphone.
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
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 Lou's attention.
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
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
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
Members of the press are all over, yelling questions at Jim.
(to chief police
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
Was Ferrie murdered, Mr. Garrison?
Do you have any leads?
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 note.
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
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
(he walks away)
It raises the metabolism, Lou.
Did David Ferrie strike you as the
kind of person who had a low
I'd say the opposite - hypertension.
CLOSET IN FERRIE'S APARTMENT
Jim runs an eye through Dave's closet, cluttered with shabby
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 him killed.
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
Jesus - if that ain't the Devil's
piss! Those bastards!
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
(gives the coroner
the empty bottle)
Nick, what would happen if a man
suffering from hypertension were to
take an entire bottle of Proloid?
He'd die pretty quick, either a heart
storm or a ruptured blood vessel in
Can you ascertain if there's Proloid
in his system?
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 suicide
If it's a suicide, I seen weirder,
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 -
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
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
Hey, where y'at, Frank? You're
wasting your time here. Big Jim
gave strict orders. No FBI allowed.
It's you I want to talk to, Bill.
Boss would fry me in hog fat if he
(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 office
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 Garrison.
Frank, I don't want to hear it.
Senator Long set your boss up, my
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 thing.
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
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
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
I'm glad you came. I'm sorry about
Well, I just hope it was worth my
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 don't...
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.
...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."
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.
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
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
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.
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
I never realized Kennedy was so
dangerous to the establishment. Is
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
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.
... 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 here.
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...
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 his mind.
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.
...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 defense 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 a document.
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.
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
(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 terror, disbelief.
...we have a warrant to search the
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,
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 you got.
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?
Habighorst 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
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 staff.
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
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 killer.
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 destroying it?
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 heavens fall.
It doesn't play with the press. They shuffle off, quiet,
Liz and Jim watch, silently devastated, as the NBC "WHITE
PAPER" unfolds, attacking Jim. They can do nothing. Liz
leaves the room, upset.
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
In the sheriff's report, Mrs. Mercer,
it says you were at Dealey Plaza two
hours before the assassination but
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.
...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.
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.
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 him.
They look a little like him. But
(holding up the Ruby
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
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
That's what bothers me, Mr. Garrison.
You see, they've been altered. My
Jim is silent. Mercer picks up the report and finds the
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
...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 Warren Commission.
They didn't call a lot of people,
Mr. Mercer. I think it's safe to
say the Warren Report is a work of
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 Ruby's Carousel.
Beverly, tell Mr. Garrison about the
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
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
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
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
BACK TO the 1967 scene.
Will you testify, Beverly?
I don't think so, sir.
I thought when we came here, we had
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.
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
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
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 of cigarette butts.
Someone'd been standing about here...
The camera shows the "spot" and Lou sighting.
This is a good spot, chief, for the
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 frightened.
I was standing here next to my friend
Mary Mooman, who took the photograph
when he was killed...
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
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.
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.
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 something.
At the picket fence, we see blurry images of police officers,
railroad workers, cigarette butts, buddy footprints,
I never did catch him. All I saw in
that parking area were railroad
workers and Dallas' finest.
Two Secret Service types approach her suddenly, and one of
them puts an arm on her shoulder.
Secret Service, ma'am. You're coming
Oh no, I'm not. I don't know you.
We gotta catch this shooter - don't
(grabbing her other
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.
I don't have any pictures! I have
to go back and find my friend Mary.
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 there.
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
No, I saw a guy shooting from over
there. He was behind that fence.
What are you going to do about it?
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.
He asked me why I thought I was in
danger and I said:
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
No, you don't!
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
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 turtle shooting.
I realize you're under a great deal
of stress .. it's clouded your
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
Are you willing to testify, Mrs.
Back at the Knoll.
Damned right I would. Somebody's
got to tell the truth around here
'cause the Government sure ain't
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 scope.
The Zapruder film establishes 3 shots
in 5.6 seconds. Here. I'm Oswald.
Lou cocks the Mannlicher for the first shot. Jim looks at
Lou assumes the Oswald pose, crouched at the window aiming
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
The other problem is there was a
tree right there...
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
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 American
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
Jim points the Carcano south, right up Houston Street,
following a car that happens to be passing by - a convertible
with an unknown woman driving.
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.
When Kennedy gets to the kill zone,
it's a turkey shoot.
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... green!"
(he taps Jim on the
Or else "Abort! Abort!"
Jim pulls the dead trigger, reliving the moment through the
scope on a passing car.
Main Street's over there - the
original parade route on the way to
the Trade Mart. Too far right?
Jim swings the scope up to confront Main Street. Another
car is in his sight. Too far.
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 get him.
The camera swings to the Houston and Main intersection.
Who do you think changed the parade
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
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
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 community.
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 thought
You never got anyone killed, boss.
Their actions killed them years
before. If we stopped now, it'd be
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 refused.
We haven't tried to get Julia Anne
No, she could get hurt. If you
believe what's happening to these
She's the best damn witness we have!
I just don't want to do it. What
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
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 18
(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
Yeah. They were seen together in
Clinton in early September. The
Civil Rights Movement was running a
voter registration drive.
...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 you?
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.
But what the note really said no one
knows because his boss Shanklin told
(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,
(he gives it back to
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
Holds up the telex. We see a close-up: "URGENT TO ALL SACS
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,
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.
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
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
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 one.
What about the elevator?
I can close it off. The only access
is a stairwell.
We get them in as an air-conditioning
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 can't
(to the two young
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
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
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
His voice is challenging. There's a pause. The men exchange
looks and wait.
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
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
Maybe 'cause there's some rogue
element in the Government!
The others in the room groan at the reasoning. Bill feels
With a full-blown conspiracy to cover
it up? Y'ever read your Shakespeare,
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,
(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
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 wrong.
I've seen him copying files, leaving
here late at night.
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 with Bill.
(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,
I will not have any damned ultimatums
put to me, Lou. I'll accept your
You sure got it. You're one stubborn
and stupid sonofabitch D.A. and you're
making one hell of a mistake!
He storms out.
Aren't you being a little hard?
No, I don't think I am, Susie. Anyone
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
It's lynchin' time!
I'll get it.
Hello. Is this Jim Garrison's
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
That sounds fun.
I need some information from you
then. How old are you?
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,
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.
Jim, visibly shaken, slams his book down on the desk in
BACK TO the male voice on the phone.
And you get of from school at 3 every
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 contest.
Who's this?... Hello?... Hello?
After a pause, the man hangs up.
Mama, I'm going to be in a beauty
What did he ask you?
Well, he asked me everything. He
Liz freaks out. She marches into Jim's study.
Did you enter Virginia into a beauty
(absorbed in the TV)
A man just called. He asked her
Her height, her weight, when she came home from school.
Honey, some crackpot. Martin Luther
King was killed in Memphis today!
Your daughter's life was just
Just a crank making phone calls.
Happens a dozen times a day at the
Our home, Jim! A kidnapper, a
murderer, who knows!
Only cowards make crank calls,
sweetheart, nothing is going to
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
The kids, hearing the shouting, come to watch from the door
of the study.
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 yourself.
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
Is it such a chore? I don't
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 me.
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 your two 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,
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
Are the same people gonna kill us,
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 loves us.
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 friendly-looking host.
And now, Jerry, here's Big Jim
Garrison, District Attorney of New
The audience is enthusiastic. Jim smiles and waves, then
sits down next to Johnson.
Welcome, District Attorney Garrison.
May I call you Jim?
I've been called everything under
the sun, Jerry. Call me whatever
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
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 response?
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
Some people would say you're paranoid.
Well, if I am, why is the Government
Are they? Why would they?
(pulling out his
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
Pictures like this don't show up on
(holding the picture
Sure they do. The camera can pick
(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 audience.
he's about to be cut
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 away.
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,
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
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 for?
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 first
And if you're wrong?
I never doubted for a second that I
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
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 California primary.
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 SHOT.
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 her.
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 God!
She clings to him, horrified. He caresses her hair. They
look in each other's eyes.
You're right, it hasn't ended, has
He kisses her gently - They start to make love, numbed,
needing each other, needing their love in an increasingly
I wish I could've loved you more...
I feel sometimes like I didn't ever..
love you or the children enough...
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
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 David Ferrie's.
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, who...
TIME CUT TO Vernon Bundy, a poor black man, who points at
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 there.
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
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
...more than five years ago, for two
minutes. It's fair to say you could
be mistaken, isn't it?
TIME CUT TO Dymond cross-examining Dean Andrews, shaking his
...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 this matter.
Exception taken. That case is on
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 sent.
I see... and why are you experiencing
(launching into his
Well, you see, I've been subject to
hypnosis and psychological warfare
ever since 1948, when I was in
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
He was one of Broussard's witnesses,
chief. I'm sorry. He was totally
sane when we took his affidavit.
But how does Dymond know what to
ask? FUCK! We're dead.
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 courtroom.
This is an ugly surprise for Jim. We see him at the bench
arguing loudly with the judge. Susie, Dymond and Al are
I'm sorry, Jim, but the defendant
did not have his lawyer present when
FLASHBACK TO 1967, in the New Orleans police station. Shaw
is being booked. The press is there and Habighorst is
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
I call'em as I see'em, Jim. I'm
ruling it inadmissible.
That's our case!
If that's your case, you didn't have
a case. I wouldn't believe whatever
Habighorst said, anyway.
I can't believe you're saying this
in the courtroom.
Well, I am saying it. Bring in the
We're filing for a writ to the
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
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
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.
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"
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
(he shows a mock-up
of the "pristine"
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
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 sense -
(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
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
(he gestures to his
CUT TO Dr. McClelland on the stand.
...almost a fifth or perhaps a quarter
of the back of the head - this area
(he indicates his
...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
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 casket.
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
Texas Law, sir, requires the autopsy
be done here. You're not taking him
Sonofabitch, you're not telling me
what to do! Get the hell outta the
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 the government.
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
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 fragments.
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
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
Well I heard Dr. Humes stating that -
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
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
(in Bethesda scene)
Gentlemen, what you've seen in this
room is intensely private to the
Kennedy family and it is not our
Jim turns away from the jury. His point is made. Finck is
no longer on the stand.
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
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 the Mannlicher-Carcano.
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 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
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
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 wife.
...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,
...quite a few of us saw them.
Everybody was hollering and yelling
and that. We thought is was security
...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
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
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 Freeway sign.
The first shot rings out.
CUT TO the Dal-Tex shooter firing. We see the back of
Kennedy's 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
Everything goes off very fast now. Repeating intercuts are
slowed down with shots of Kennedy reacting in the Zapruder
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
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
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 been
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
CUT TO: the umbrella man pumping 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
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
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 rifle.
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
(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
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
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.
CAROLYN ARNOLD (V.O.)
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
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
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
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
Do you know this man? Is he an
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, absolutely not.
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
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
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 lineup.
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
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
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 Oswald.
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
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
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
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 our best.
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 Deputy, sad.
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
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 mourners.
Within minutes false statements and
press leaks about Lee Oswald circulate
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
"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
The camera follows Jim around the courtroom.
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 fact.
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
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
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
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
(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
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
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 foreman.
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 of day.
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 country.
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,
(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 international now.
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 be done.
Looks pass among them. There's a pause, and then...
RICH MAN 1
He's gotta go, Lou. The election's
gotta be stopped.
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,
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
FLASHBACK TO: the White House, 1962. A general talks to one
of Kennedy's staff - a bespectacled, bright young Harvard
...and maybe a Vice-President getting
separate memos from Vietnam, eager
to get his backers the billions of
dollars in contracts for Southeast
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 knows...
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 Kennedy.
VOICE ON PHONE
Bill, we're going. We need your
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
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
FLASHBACK TO: the White House, 1963. Johnson sits across
the shadowed room with Lodge and others. His Texas drawl
rises and falls. He signs something unseen.
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
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 movie ends.
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
** 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
** 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 dropped.
** 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