SPIN DOCTOR

Season 1 Episode 14

Written by Michael Sadowski

Directed by Leon Marr

Guest stars:

Laura Neil............................... Lisa Howard

Barbara Norton....................... Dixie Seattle

Clifford Hiatt.......................... Barry Flatman

Mona Wayne.......................... Christa Daniel

Grace Balthazar...................... Sandi Ross

No character names given.

Brenda Kamino, Scott Walker, Robert Morelli, Michael Reynolds, Chantal Craig, Deborah Labbon, Anita La Selva, Timothy MacDonald

A reporter outside the Hotel Perceval comments Election Day is approaching. Both mayoral candidates, Clifford Hiatt and Barbara Norton, have headquarters at opposite ends of the hotel and are ready for tonight's debate.

Inside the hotel, Gilbert is enjoying a soak as he watches the election coverage. Hiatt's questioned about a scandal he is involved in. He exudes confidence commenting people believe proof and vote what's in their hearts.

A female reporter asks Norton if it is a battle of the sexes. Norton tells them it is not, and people need to wake up.

Gilbert is asleep in the tub and misses someone slips into his room, waking him when they enter the bathroom. He is terrified when they toss the TV into the tub, electrocuting him, his cigarette falls to the floor.

The hotel room is now a crime scene. The TV's removed and examined. Gilbert's cigarette is bagged as evidence. Schanke tells Nick Gilbert Reeves was a freelance reporter who wasn't much liked, had a press pass but no affiliations, and is part of the election coverage mass. Nick holds up a silver pendant with one side reading Make Luck while the other reads Steer Fate. It is taken as evidence. Schanke finds hundreds of names in Reeves phone book. The article Reeves was writing is on the table. He checked into the room with Mona Wayne, and her current location is unknown. Natalie tells them the guy was electrocuted. He was alive when the TV hit the water, that it was not an accident. Nick tells Schanke they need get started on telephone checks and background.

Nick, Schanke and Natalie see the throng of press surrounding Hiatt as he speaks.Nick flashes back to 1954 Chicago. A woman calls Nick a dirty communist, filthy Red, disgust and hatred in her voice. Nick is attacked by flashbulbs as he and two others walk down a hallway.

Nick, Natalie and Schanke listen as Hiatt tells reporters he's working to take back the streets, worried about his own children's future. Hiatt's asked about the homeless, and asks are they homeless by choice. Nick comments on Hiatt dodging the question well, setting off a debate between Schanke and Natalie which threatens to get nasty. Schanke is a Hiatt supporter while Natalie is a Norton supporter.

Norton tells the reporters surrounding her that her heart goes out to decent people whose daily lives are affected living in crime ridden neighborhoods. Nick hears his friends debate. He has heard it all a thousand times before. Schanke gets himself in trouble scoffing at the idea of a woman for mayor, digging himself in deeper when he cannot say why it would be so bad and suggests Natalie does not pay taxes. Nick stops things before they escalate out of control, reminding them they are on duty with work to do.

Mona Wayne, Gilbert's girlfriend, approaches Nick and Schanke and asks if she is in trouble. Nick tells her Gilbert was watching TV while taking a bath, when it fell into the full tub. She does not get that Gilbert's dead, surprising them with her dumbness.

Inside an interview room, Mona tells Nick, Schanke, and Stonetree she does not recognize the silver pendant. She has heard Gilbert say the phrases a few times, but wasn't told any details, just that they were there to close a deal for a lot of money, and it was a surprise. Gilbert loved politics, but it only confused her. Stonetree comments that Gilbert was a Junior Alderman in Ottawa ten years ago. She sadly admits Gilbert had a lot of potential then.

Nick suggests they track her movements, tells Stonetree there were articles on the Rothweiler scandal in the room and maybe someone did not want that can of worms reopened. Schanke adds there was nothing new in the articles. Stonetree learns Reeves was covering the election. Stonetree tells them that are why it is called 'spin' control. Telephone records show Reeves spoke to Frank Titus at the National Intruder. Stonetree repeats they are not to talk to the press.

Inside her office, Natalie peers through a large magnifying glass trying to extract something deeply wedged in the TV refusing to come loose. Schanke watches over her shoulder and offers to try. They switch places as Schanke tries to get a grip on it. Nick drawn into Natalie and Schanke's political squabbling. He crankily tells them he will concentrates on the real detective work, leaving the character assassination to them. Schanke and Natalie continue fighting. After a while Schanke pulls the small flat white object out of the TV set. Natalie bends over to examine it.

Schanke volunteers at Hiatt campaign headquarters. He calls Myra double-checking to see if he is registered.

Inside the National Intruder, Frank Titus does not know anything about Reeves until Nick shows his badge. Frank asks what Reeves did and hears he died. Reeves tried to sell him a sex scandal about one of the mayoral candidates, never provided specifics or called back. He pays $25,000 for a story like that. Frank's job is to spread rumors, not substantiate them. Frank's comment that the truth will out while pounding his desk with his index finger sends Nick into a flashback.

In 1954 Chicago, the judge tells Nick Girard they are there to find the truth and will do so. Nick's head hanging down. That the truth will out. Nick looks up at the judge.

Frank tells Nick Mona Wayne will probably talk to him for $25,000 as she was sleeping with Reeves. Frank tells Nick to target the source. It is how they succeed.

Nick flashes back to the Congressional Committee as the leader bangs his gavel.

Nick leaves Frank's office more upset and disturbed.

Mona's in her hotel room ready for bed, lovingly touches the framed picture of Gilbert on her nightstand, deeply missing him, sees a chocolate on her pillow and eats it.

Nick takes flight, probably heading for Mona's room.

Shortly after Mona lies down, a coughing fit forces her to sit up. She has trouble breathing and crawls out of bed towards the open balcony door, collapsing near it. Nick enters and squats down beside her, sadly realizing she's dead.

Inside Natalie's office, Nick tells Natalie it was not the first time someone died in his arms. She puts her hand on his arm for comfort, telling him once cyanide starts taking effect not much can be done. The item pulled from the TV was a fingernail fragment covered with blood. Mona's innocent. She was killed because someone was tying up loose ends. Nick tells them about the sex scandal angle, unwittingly starting more political bickering between Natalie and Schanke. Nick puts a quick stop to it. He asks Schanke why he was at Hiatt's campaign headquarters. Schanke says he was volunteering, like Natalie does for Norton. Nick asks how can they remain objective about the case.

Nick flashes back. He tells the committee they want the truth, but will not believe him. They tell him they are there to stamp out Communism's destructive influence and will not rest until they have done it. Nick angrily tells them they can be zealous or thorough.

Schanke is snooping around Hiatt headquarters at sunrise. The head lady arrives and is surprised to see him because of all the hours he is put in. They discuss how elections are won or lost in bed, making Schanke wonder if Hiatt could be the killer.

Nick's in the loft, a computer keyboard in front of him, his large screen TV as the monitor. After a search, he finally finds the Hiatt article he was looking for. Nick puts a floppy from his shelf into the computer. He sees a newspaper article with his picture under the headline about university Communism unmasked, triggering another flashback.

A committee member asks Nick if he's now or has ever been a member of the Communist Party. Nick tells them he is the Night Curator and Assistant Professor University of Chicago's archeology museum. They remind him he is under oath. He says he is just explaining when the head hunter interrupts telling him they do not want explanations, only answers, and repeats the Communist Party question.

Nick enters Hiatt's campaign office. Hiatt's supporters gather around Hiatt. Schanke tells Nick it is all off the record since he entered under a different pretence. Hiatt might be innocent of the Rothweiler thing because Rothweiler's name is nowhere on the contributor's list, where it would be if he had given money in exchange for zoning changes. Hiatt's asked about a newspaper article and tells the reporter his record is clean and public, that he has nothing to hide. None of the Rothweiler allegations was ever proven.

Nick flashes back to his telling the Committee the allegations are totally unfounded. The Committee members ask if faculty members are lying and suggest getting their names. Nick comments he never said anything about lying, but that there has clearly been a misinterpretation of the facts. The lead hunter asks him to answer the question.

Hiatt and Norton are individually asked if there is any connection to the murders.

Outside, a reporter says the National Intruder headline is wreaking havoc in campaign headquarters. Neither candidate has iron clad alibis for the two murders.

Inside the morgue, Natalie's working and watching the press attack the candidates, commenting on it, telling Grace she wished she could help. Grace says she is politically ignorant. Natalie hears Norton remind her supporters they should wait for the police investigation to conclude, locks up the slides she was working on, and leaves. Nick calls the morgue to get the DNA results on the blood and fingernail fragment. Grace tells him Natalie left and took the evidence locker key with her. Nick is angry and annoyed by that, but more so because she went to the Norton Rally.

Norton's advisor, Laura Neil, tells the press Norton is not giving any interviews tonight, but will answer questions tomorrow. Natalie's caught off guard and overwhelmed when she is suddenly surrounded by reporters asking all sorts of questions about the case. They learn nothing. Natalie is a Norton supporter but it is not an official endorsement. Nick arrives and is asked if he is investigating either candidate and tells them he is not. Nick pulls Natalie away, helping her quickly flee, reporters following them to the door.

Outside, Nick slips into her passenger seat, angrily telling her she does not get off that easily. Both are hurt. She sincerely apologizes. They discuss how her not thinking has caused trouble. She never meant to cause problems, and I sorry that she was there. She tells him she could not stand to see them destroy Norton with empty accusations. Nick asks if they are empty accusation or if she just likes to think so. He reminds her she did not do the DNA on the fingernail. She tells him she was going to do it first thing in the morning, admitting she screwed up and is sorry. Someone speeds by, sideswipes her, sending Natalie's car out of control, smashing into a parked car, sending her airborne. It flips landing on its roof, which caves in. Nick drags Natalie from the flaming car, they run to safety as it blows up.

Inside Stonetree's office, Natalie tells Nick and Stonetree she's sure Hiatt, or someone working with him tried to stop them last night. Stonetree tells her if it were obvious, there would not be a case. Nick tells her it does more to clear Hiatt than implicate him because he'd have to be an idiot to try and kill someone who just implicated him in front of three TV cameras. Neither candidate has an alibi. The accident happened too fast to get anything on car or driver. Schanke enters, showing them Nick and Natalie's picture on the front page under a headline stating the probe targets Hiatt.

At Norton's office, Norton tells Laura to go home. Laura says she has too many things to do and can sleep once she has gotten Norton into City Hall. Norton leaves.

Inside, Natalie's office she tells Nick the DNA belongs to a woman. She jammed her fingernail into the vent and cut herself when she lifted the TV. Hiatt is cleared. Nick tells Natalie he hopes that is not disappointment in her voice. Natalie and Nick are heading out when the TV catches their attention. Hiatt's hastily called a press conference to undo the damage, knowing however, it turns out it could be the end of his career. Nick and Natalie watch. He is glaring at her and she is feeling bad for what she did, telling him it was never her intention. Hiatt comments that he is innocent, but unfortunately, the seed of doubt has been planted.

Nick flashes back to the hearings. The head guy asks Nick why he has bottles of animal blood in his fridge. Nick's expression shows he's busted and has no choice to but to invoke his Fifth Amendment protection. An uptight woman nastily calls him a Commie monster. The leader's banging his gavel has no effect on the lynch mob behind Nick. Nick knows he is safe in the hearing room. The hearings turned the crowed into a lynch mob.

Hiatt has his family around him and thanks his supporters, those who worked for him, and who he has worked with, figuring this close to the election it is over.

Nick flashes back to Chicago. He is surrounded by reporters as soon as he leaves the hearing room. He not surprised to learn the Dean is reviewing his tenure. Nick disgustedly tells them the hearings just started and he's already been convicted and sentenced. Nick's asked if he is going to resign and tells them he does not have a choice.

Hiatt says he hopes the voters will not let the taint of scandal influence them.

In Norton's hotel room, she is watching the conference with Laura. Laura comments she might be able to get Hiatt's near concession on the news. She tells Norton to humbly urge people to wait until the police finish their investigation, knowing that they will not. Norton sadly tells her it is wrong, looking at her family's picture.

Inside the bullpen, Nick comments that one of the disconnected numbers in Reeves' address book belonged to Norton at least ten years ago, when he was an Alderman, giving him a reason to call. It was not a work or home number, but for an apartment in town. Schanke comments that it keeps getting better, sees Nick's angry glare and adds it is better for the case. Nick examines two documents, one is a typewritten article about the sex scandal where from misspelled as form six out of ten times, and on the Rothweiler expose, there were no typos. Nick realizes the Rothweiler article was doctored by someone who wants them to think Reeves' was shut up by Hiatt or someone working with him. Nick tells Schanke he is going to dig deeper.

Nick thinks back to the Committee and all the things that were said on both sides. He recalls how both the committee and press convicted and sentenced him as soon as the hearings began.

Nick scans a videotape, stopping when he sees Norton pin a round silver Make Luck pin on Laura's jacket. He calls Schanke, telling him it is time to switch sides.

Inside Norton's room, she sadly looks at her family's picture. She leaves when Laura tells her they are on in two minutes.

Schanke's nosing around Norton headquarters, flips through a daily desk calendar. Make Luck is written on the eight am slot on August third. Norton is scolding the press for the poorest excuse for journalism she has seen and hopes that Hiatt will stay in the race. She scolds the reporters for gossip mongering and asks the voters not to let it threaten the future of democracy. Everything was on a level playing field until the innuendo happened. She is going to again level it. Natalie quietly and cautiously slips into the room. Norton tells them if it is guilt by association then she will be guilty as well.

Nick watches from the loft, his expression grim. Nick fast-forwards a tape, discovering both Laura's thumbs are fine as she gives double thumbs up.

Norton tells them about her and Reeves' old relationship, refusing to answer any questions about it. Natalie, Schanke and Laura are stunned. Laura feels betrayed. Natalie feels hurt. Schanke is not sure what to feel.

Nick is watching it looking grim, his expression shows that he has been there and gone through that before, knowing how Norton and his friends are feeling. He sees Laura with a plastic bandage on the tip of one thumb, making him think.

Inside Norton's office, Laura angrily asks her why. Norton tells her it was fair and the right thing to do. Laura reminds her she did not have to do anything. She betrayed Laura, and the city. It is all about the election and all the hard work. Norton tells her she appreciates it. Laura tells her she worked too hard for too long to give up now and points her gun at Norton. Norton is scared as Laura rants that giving up too easily is a cop out and after all her hard work, she is not going to do that. Norton's disgust shows.

Inside Norton's headquarters, Schanke calls Nick, who tells him not to lose sight of Norton because she could be in danger. He found some video implicating Laura Neil.Laura forces Norton into the campaign car at gunpoint. Norton is worried and inquires where they are going. Laura tells her the answer is obvious – City Hall.

Inside Norton headquarters, Schanke asks Natalie where Norton is, not happy to hear Norton and Laura stepped out. Schanke runs out the room Natalie following him.

Schanke runs outside, identifies himself as a cop, ordering her to stop. Laura aims her gun at Schanke and fires. Schanke shoots back. Laura's car speeds off as Schanke watches. He runs around the corner, identifies himself and borrows a cab.

Nick is tracking Norton from the air. Laura and Norton reach City Hall. Laura pulls Norton out of the car and partway up the steps, telling her she got her to City Hall as promised. Norton learns Reeves was going to blackmail her the week of the election. There would not be enough time to fix it. Norton is further horrified when she learns Laura killed the girl because she might have been in on it. Part of Laura finally sees Norton's reaction. Laura admits her job is to insulate Norton from all of it, do 'spin control'. Nick silently watches, as there is no immediate threat. Norton cannot understand and asks Laura why. Laura's totally lost it and rants that she did it all for the good. She believes in everything Norton stands for. Nick firmly tells Laura to drop her gun as he slowly moves towards her, his gun aimed at her. He tells her she had no right to take two lives. Laura swings the gun around, aiming it at Nick, telling him not to come any closer. Norton firmly reminds Laura the cops will kill her. Laura's nearly in tears as she tells Norton they are almost there, ignoring Nick's order. Schanke crashes into a cop car distracting Laura long enough for Nick to zip down and disarm her. Laura collapses to her knees crying. Norton compassionately squats down, takes her in her arms trying to soothe her.

On election night, Laura is in jail and will stand trial for two murders and possessing a dangerous weapon if the psych evaluation shows she is competent. There has been an overwhelming backlash against Norton. The reporters are saying that some are calling it the sex scandal of the year.

Inside the loft, Natalie is examining a clay artifact in awe. Nick's tells her it is a unique figurine from the Upper Paleolithic Era. Nick mentions that it single-handedly changed modern archeologists' minds on when the Paleolithic period started. It is a very important piece. She tells him it's fascinating and pulls his Assistant Professor nameplate out of the bag, examines it, asking if it is a very important artifact. He tells her it is from Chicago in 1954 representing the end of a significant period in the transient life of a certain indigenous vampire, looking sad and bitter. She sees how much he hated leaving it behind, telling him she knows how much archeology means to him. He had some remarkable students and thought he was really making a difference. She does not doubt it for a moment. He is a little glum, bitter and angry as he tells her it is never fun moving on, especially when you have no choice. She looks at him understanding and feeling sympathy for him.

Norton sadly gives her concession speech. Natalie says Norton was creamed by the press. Nick tells her Norton had no chance to win as she was tried and convicted by the press. Natalie comments Norton would have made a great mayor, but there is always next term. The Laura Neil mess forgotten by then. She admits she understands why Nick got so mad at her and Schanke's zealousness. The problem with the Laura Neil's is they think they are the only ones who know the truth. It is a shame that an intelligent person like Laura let the spin get so out of control.

The reporter announces that Hiatt is the new Mayor of Toronto. Schanke's dancing around in front of the camera being a terrible winner, much to Natalie's displeasure.

Introduction
Dark Knight Part 1 | Dark Knight Part 2 | For I Have Sinned | Last Act
Dance by the Light of the Moon | Dying to Know You | False Witness | Cherry Blossoms
I Will Repay | Dead Air | Hunters | Dead Issue
Father Figure | Spin Doctor | Dying For Fame | Only the Lonely
Unreality TV | Feeding the Beast | If Looks Could Kill | Fatal Mistake
1966 | Love You to Death

SEASON 2 | SEASON 3

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