NEAR DEATH

Season 2, Episode 12 (aired as episode 23)

Written by Phil Bedard and Larry LaLonde

Directed by Nicholas J. Gray

Guest stars:

Dr. Dianna Linsman..................... Julie Stewart

Dr. Alex Nystrom........................ Colin Fox

Dr. Naomi Ross........................... Amanda Tapping

Dr. Joel Becker............................. Paul-Emile Frappier

The Guide..................................... Dyanne DiMarco

Dr. Julian Welner.......................... Paul R. Rutledge

A terrified guy is running for his life through a field, stumbles, gets back up and runs. He trips and falls. Something seems to catch up with him before he can get back up.

The guy is dead, his body lying beside the train tracks. Natalie Nick and Schanke are there as it is now a crime scene. Natalie tells them that there is no sign of trauma, no scent of alcohol on his breath, no sign of seizure, and they will have to wait for the toxicology reports. Schanke is teasing Natalie because she cannot find a cause of death. She is frustrated and a bit cranky as she tells them that the guy just dropped dead.

Inside the precinct, Nick and Schanke are discussion Myra's birthday, her expensive hobbies, ice-climbing being the latest one and how birthdays mean you are that much closer to death. Schanke asks Nick if he thinks about it and Nick tells him that he tries not to, and that he has never died. Nick wishes Myra a happy birthday via Schanke. Cohen comes out and tells them that the victim was identified as Dr. Julian Welner and was reported missing from The McCallum Neurological Institute. She tells them that Natalie wants to see them because the case is getting stranger.

Inside Natalie's office, she tells Nick and Schanke that the toxicology report came back clean, leaving her as confused as before. Schanke asks if the guy is really dead and Natalie reassures him the victim's truly dead. She tells them she found advanced prostate Cancer, but it did not kill him. She tells them Julian should not be dead, that his brain just quit working. She grumbles that she cannot list death as the cause of death, leaving her right back where she started. Nick comments that they need evidence of foul play to have a case, which Natalie gives them as she tells them the body was moved. In addition, she says that there was no soil on the bottom of his shoes, so he did not walk there. She tells them he died indoors somewhere. Nick comments that he'd like to see what kind of work they're doing at McCallum Neurological Institute, causing Schanke to comment that they do not have a neurospeak translator. Natalie silently volunteers and is happy when Nick tells her she can come.

Inside the McCallum Neurological Institute, Natalie, Nick and Schanke are talking about life, death, how Myra's birthday has Schanke all doom and gloom. Dr. Alex Nystrom, the boss, gives them Julian Welner's file and tells them Julian was part of a team studying states of consciousness, that they're a research lab and do experiments. Schanke's a smartass asking if they switch brains between animal species, but gets a smartass response back from Nystrom that they've been doing that for some time, shocking Schanke. Natalie's amused as she knows it is all a joke, a hint of it shows. When Nick tells Nystrom he would like to meet the other team members, he is taken to them.

Inside another lab Nick, Natalie and Schanke are introduced to two of the teammates, Dr. Naomi Ross and Dr. Joel Beckett, the third one Dr. Linsman is in her office. Nystrom leaves. Natalie looks around at the equipment as she listens to her friends questioning the doctors. Nick, Schanke and Natalie learn that the coworkers knew Julian had Cancer, was fighting it and seemed to be taking it quite well. Natalie asks what their project is and when Schanke asks her to translate it into English tells him that they are studying the part of the brain that keeps you awake. Natalie and Naomi go off to talk about the work.

Nick goes off to talk to the third doctor, unaware she is walking in a barren patch of land somewhere, in a bizarre vision.

Nick knocks on Dr. Dianna Linsman's door and sees she is seated behind her desk. Nick questions her about Julian and his Cancer. She tells him that it never really has a good chance of going away, but he was really optimistic and hopeful it would, commenting on how the mind can perform miracles when they're believed in strongly enough. That it is hard to believe, and hard to accept that Julian is dead. She tells him that she has seen a lot of death and it is always hard to handle, asking him how he deals with it. He tells her that he does not handle it any better or worse than anyone else does.

Natalie is talking with the doctors, translating for Schanke. When Schanke asks if they use humans, Beckett tells Schanke that it would be unethical, and that is too bad. Schanke's shocked, thinking he's in Dr. Frankenstein's lab, not realizing there's a little teasing going on.

Nick's talking with Linsman, hearing how she did her residency at GlenCross and how she will never forget the first death she saw. It was a horribly injured woman who barely looked human, but was aware of everything going on around her. Then, right as she died her eyes became incredibly clear as if her spirit was looking back from the other side, telling her not to fear death.

Back with Natalie and Schanke, they are learning about the Cortical Tomography device that allows examination of the brain without invasive procedures. Natalie tells Schanke that it studies levels of consciousness. Beckett tells Natalie it measures the electrical synapses between whole neurons without invasive procedures. Natalie's a little embarrassed and disgusted by Schanke's wisecracks, but finds the device quite interesting.

Nick is talking with Linsman about death, the afterlife, and how people come back changed after a near death experience.

Nick flashes back to the night in 1228 when he was brought across. LaCroix tells Nick to give himself to LaCroix and he will get 10,000 lifetimes. That he will receive a gift, which will transform his existence in ways mere mortals, cannot contemplate.

Back in the present, when Dianna tells Nick that there is a place between life and death, he asks how she knows. He is told that she has been with people who have been there and lived. Nick thanks her and leaves.

Nick and Schanke are in the front seat of the Caddy, Natalie's in the back seat, leaning on the front seat. Schanke is grumbling about the Neurological Institute, that it's like the people there are Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Natalie comments that the stories matched which has Schanke commenting that they were rehearsed. Schanke asks if they were on the level.

Nick has a flashback to a doorway in the sand, himself about to walk through it as Dr. Linsman's voice tells him that there's a doorway between life and death. The guide's voice tells Nick he must choose. Meanwhile outside of that place, Nick is hungrily sucking from LaCroix's wrist.

Schanke grumbles for Nick to mentally rejoin them. He asks if Linsman is on the level. Nick comments that it depends on what level they are talking about. Schanke tells them that he thinks one of the three doctors did it, since the body was moved. Nick tells them they have no motive. Schanke comments that they are all scientists are crazy, especially research scientists, annoying Natalie. Nick subtly indicates Natalie and Schanke quickly comments that she is okay, but she does not look real happy. She tells them that maybe there is more going on than they said, maybe an experiment they are not talking about, one that got out of hand. Schanke does not like hearing about human guinea pigs. Nick comments that they still do not know if they have a murder or not. Schanke reminds him the body was moved.

Nick's in the Raven, lost in thought, as he remembers LaCroix and Janette calling out to him as he was making the life or death decision. When Janette gets his attention, he asks her what it was like to come across. She tells him it was very intense. How there was nothing at first, then she felt everything, that it was intense. She tells him about the bright light and the door, the choice between life and death. That if LaCroix had not called to her, she would have walked through the door. When Nick asks her if she felt she had a choice, she tells him that she does not consider death a choice and neither does he. He leaves.

At the Neurological Institute, Dianna Linsman is walking across a sandy dune and screams when a hand reaches up from below the sand and grabs her. It is Julian.

It turns out that she is part of some sort of test with the Cortical Tomography apparatus. She comes around with the other two doctors right beside her, monitoring things. She tells them it is getting more disturbing, that Julian was there and asks if they killed him. The male doctor reassures her they did not.

Nick is not happy to hear about their experiment as he listens from the hallway.

The three doctors continue to talk while Naomi tells them they had her under too long, and that it is getting too dangerous.

They break up for the night, some disagreement brewing between Naomi and Beckett. Naomi is so lost in her own thoughts she does not notice Nick as she walks past him, even if he is hiding in the intersection.

Nick enters Dianna's office and asks about the experiments. She tells Nick that he must hear her through and he agrees. That the device reads synaptic field impulses, which Nick already knows, deals with consciousness levels. She tells him that they are "flatlining" but that word is a movie term. When Nick comments on them purposely inducing brain death, she tells him that it does not harm the body and they have been doing it for research, believing it has great therapeutic potential. That she saw the results first and at GlennCross when three terminal patients came back changed physically, psychologically, and that their cancers went into remission. That near death experiments have changed lives, helped people confront and beat their demons, and their illnesses. They learn that they can battle in this world what they can in that world.

Nick asks if it's connected to Julian's death, and she tells him that Julian wanted to go under and battle his cancer, but doesn't know why he didn't chose to come back. That it could have been that he lost the battle or chose not to come back, or something could have stopped. She tells Nick that they did everything possible to resuscitate him. Since she is already in trouble, she admits to their moving the body. Nick's a little surprised and disappointed. She tells him that they were doing revolutionary work on understanding death, life, and the brain. He reminds her that she committed a crime, but she tells him it would be a crime if they were stopped. Nick's expression says that he has to know what it's like and asks if she has had one. She tells him that she saw there is more to life than death, and you get a chance to confront yourself.

Nick flashes back to his near death experience, and is told he must choose.

She tells him that she wants him to try it so he can truly understand how important their work is. He's tempted but turns her down. His expression shows he is torn about if he should do it or not.

Inside Nystrom's office, he's angrily chewing Naomi out, and tells her and her teammates careers are over.

Inside the morgue, Natalie tells Nick they have to shut the project down. It does not matter if a few emergency room patients went into remission afterwards, because spontaneous remissions do occur that have nothing to do with near death experiences. That when the brain senses it's dying it does everything it can to survive, even flooding the brain with intense signals, which is what people see as the bright light. That it is nothing more than a naturally induced hallucination. Nick comments that people have seen more than that. She comments that there is an afterlife but you cannot just visit it anytime you want. He admits he has not told her everything about the night he was brought across.

Nick flashes back to that night in 1228, and to the doorway again as the two are intercut in his tale. Janette and LaCroix are concerned Nick might choose death and both want him to survive for their own reasons. Nick is walking towards the door curious and confused about it. Both vampires sense he's going towards the light, but LaCroix's not about to lose his prize and bites his own wrist. Nick is torn between the female guide's voice and those of Janette and LaCroix. The vampires tell him the light is for the weak, while the guide tells him the opposite, and that if he chooses the darkness he'll be lost. Back in 1228, Nick grabs hold of LaCroix's wrist and hungrily sucks on it, as he seems to have made his choice, much to the vampires' relief. Nick is rewarded with passionate kisses from Janette.

Nick tells Natalie that he chose to come back, that he had to know what it was like to live as a vampire. Natalie is deeply concerned. He tells her that he wants to go back and make the choice he did not make last time, to go through the door. Natalie's further worried and disturbed that he wants to die.

Dianna Linsman's boss is telling her that he is going to the cops. She tells him that he cannot, that their work is a medical breakthrough. He starts to leave and she impulsively stabs him in the back of the neck with a long, thin, metal rod. He falls to the ground dead. She's shocked and horrified.

Nick calls Dianna from the loft, asking her if she still wants him to try it. When she tells him she does, he tells her to bring the device to his apartment so they will not be disturbed.

The Neurological Institute is now a crime scene. Police cars are outside with Natalie and Schanke inside the building. Schanke shows her the sign out sheet for the three doctors and tells her that the murder time is probably one of those times. Natalie asks where Nick is and hears that he is out with the flu.

Nick and Dianna are at the loft with brainwave dampening device. It is all set up and ready to use. Nick stretches out on the couch, his head in the headpiece. When he confirms he's ready to start she tells him nothing can go wrong and starts the device, telling him he'll feel tingly then fall asleep and feel like he's dreaming.

Inside Nystrom's office, Natalie tells her coworker to handle the prelim as she searches the room visually for the device. Natalie freaks out when she sees the Synaptic Field Generator is missing. Beckett enters, having been called in. Natalie very anxiously asks where the Synaptic Field Generator is and that she knows all about it. He tells her that it is in another room and she runs to that room, having a very bad feeling.

In the loft, the machine is humming along.

Natalie looks into Dianna's office where the brainwave device is supposed to be. She is angry and frustrated as she mumbles that it is not there, which causes Schanke to ask what is missing.

The machine seems to be fine and all brain function is slowing down according to the EEG.

Natalie pulls out her cell telephone and anxiously calls the loft, growing more worried when there is no answer. Schanke does not understand her near panicked state, figuring Nick is probably sleeping. Naomi telling Beckett that it is all her fault distracts him. Naomi tells Beckett that she told Nystrom about the experiences. Schanke approaches them and asks what they are talking about. Beckett stops Naomi from saying anything and gets them both hauled down to the precinct for questioning. Schanke approaches Natalie at the elevators and grows worried seeing her frightened, helpless look. He demands to know if it is about Nick and insists to be told about what's going on. Natalie knows she has to tell him and tells him they do not have time now. Schanke tells her he is driving.

Inside the loft, Dianna is telling Nick he is almost there and that she did it to change human understanding and save countless lives.

Schanke puts out an APB on Dianna as he speeds off.

Inside the loft, Dianna explains that Nystrom was too close-minded, too scared and tried to stop her. The machine suddenly reacts unexpectedly to his vampire physiology and draws more power from the machine than it should.

In the car, Schanke tells Natalie he cannot believe Nick is going to hook himself up to the machine. Natalie firmly states that he will not if she has anything to do with it.

Inside the loft, the machine draws ever-increasing amounts power, panicking Dianna, who finally comments that it's not human. There are some flashes of Nick's past before the machine shorts out. Dianna realizes that Nick's in major trouble.

Nick is tossed into in the same desert like place, the doorway is there. He stands and starts walking towards it.

In the car, Schanke asks Natalie why she did not tell him, and hears that she promised Nick she would not. Natalie gets Schanke to promise her that whatever happens it will stay between the three of them. He hesitates but her worried, scared; pleading look gets him to agree.

In the afterlife, the Guide resembles LaCroix this time, which is different from the time that they have met once before, 800 years ago. Nick remembers the woman and asks why he looks like LaCroix. The Guide tells Nick he mirrors the condition of Nick's soul, and that there is still great evil infesting the greater part of what Nick is. Nick does not want to hear this. Nick asks if he is dead and the Guide tells him it depends on why he is there. Nick admits that he made the wrong choice 800 years ago and wants to correct it by going through the doorway. The guide comments on Nick searching for absolution, which Nick confirms, then asks Nick if he is ready to face the consequences and when Nick admits he is, the Guide shows Nick the true state of his soul. Nick is shocked and repulsed to see himself looking like a rotting corpse, lying on Natalie's autopsy table with maggots crawling on his chest.

Inside the car, Schanke asks Natalie why Nick would do such a crazy thing as they speed to the loft. Natalie confirms its crazy. Schanke asks why Nick is playing with his life like that, that he is too smart to do something that stupid. Natalie comments that Nick's complicated, unable to say much more than that without revealing his secret. Schanke comments that he wants to know what's on the other side, but does not take a field trip there to find out. Natalie's annoyed with both the situation and Nick, as well as worried.

Back in the afterlife, the Guide tells Nick that he's seeing the soul of a vampire in it's true state, deformed by the evil it embraced, and that it's Nick's soul. Nick refuses to accept this, upset by the very idea, and tells the Guide about all the good work he has done. He very angrily tells the Guide that is not what he is now. The Guide tells him he is not there to pass judgment, but to show him the truth, which is all the innocents he's murdered to appease his hunger. There is a brief flashback. The Guide tells Nick that he must finish his task before he can be forgiven, and that is to raise his victims from the dead. Nick tells the Guide he wants to get it over with and the Guide reminds him that is his choice.

Back in the loft, Dianna's telling Nick that she's not a murderer and never meant to kill anyone, that the world needs her work because it can prevent much suffering and death.

Outside the loft, Schanke and Natalie arrive.

Back in the in-between, the Guide tells Nick that if he steps through the doorway his soul will be mortal and will be judged. Nick realizes that he is damned.

Schanke enters the loft gun drawn, Natalie right behind him, and he angrily orders Dianna away from Nick. Natalie runs over to Nick, checks him for life signs, and tries not to panic when she finds none. Dianna tells her the machine overloaded. Natalie demands to know how long Nick has been dead and hears that it has been a few minutes. Schanke's shocked, sees Natalie doing CPR and fears losing a partner and friend.

Back in the in-between, the Guide asks Nick what he it is he admires most, and Nick admits it is Humanity. The Guide asks Nick what that is to him, if it is a species. Nick realizes that it's a state of being, of Grace and tells the Guide this. The Guide tells him that is the path to forgiveness.

In the loft, Natalie asks Dianna how the machine works. When she learns it blocks neural transmission she searches her mind for how to save Nick, and realizes she needs one hell of a jolt to jump-start Nick's heart.

In the afterlife, Nick comments that he's been waiting centuries and the Guide sympathetically tells him that there's much more work for him to do because his debt to humanity is not yet paid. Nick realizes he must go back or his soul will be damned, sounding somewhat enthusiastic about it.

Natalie's still thinking about it and tells Schanke she needs rat poison, a spoon and a candle. Schanke asks her why she needs the rat poison as he quickly gathers the items. She tells him that in low doses the Strychnine in it is a stimulant.

The afterlife Guide tells Nick that because he entered as a vampire, it might be too late to go back, and the humanity he desecrated is the only thing that can save him. The doorway vanishes, trapping Nick in the afterlife.

Natalie melts the poison, fills the syringe and injects it into Nick as she tells him not to leave her. She tries to speed its journey through his body as she pleads with him not to leave her. She tells Schanke to pound on Nick's chest and he does so, as hard as he can, asking Nick to come back to them. After a few hard hits, Nick's body jerks back to life and he gasps for breath. The afterlife version vamps out and growls. Nick suddenly sits up and Natalie supports him. Schanke is greatly relieved. Natalie reassures Schanke that Nick's okay. Nick seems stunned he made it back.

Schanke is talking to Cohen via the telephone telling her he is taking Dianna to the hospital for a psych evaluation. After he hangs up he comments that the file will make for interesting reading, then asks Nick what the hell was he thinking, hooking up to that device. Nick comments that he was just being thorough, which Schanke does not buy. Natalie's not happy with Nick and lets him know with a look. Schanke asks what's there and Nick tells him there is nothing, upsetting Natalie because she knows he is lying. It scares the hell out of Schanke. Nick reminds them they are alive. Schanke asks Natalie what she meant when she told him Nick was dead and she apologizes, commenting that it was just her fear making it seem worse than it was and Nick was never dead. Schanke tells Nick he will not be getting over this any time soon. Some of Natalie's anger is heard as she comments that she knows how Schanke feels. Schanke leads Linsman out of there, as she is withdrawn into herself.

Natalie's a little cheerier and asks Nick if he learned anything from his near death experience and he tells her that he learned he has to live with the decision he made 800 years ago. He has learned that you have to earn forgiveness among the living.

Introduction
Killer Instinct | A Fate Worse Than Death | Stranger Than Fiction | Foward Into the Past
Faithful Followers | Hunted | Father's Day | Undue Process
Bad Blood | Can't Run, Can't Hide | Capital Offense | Amateur Night
Beyond the Law | The Fix | Be My Valentine | The Fire Inside
Blood Money | Partners of the Month | Queen of Harps | A More Permanent Hell
The Code | Curiouser and Curiouser | Near Death | Baby, Baby
Close Call | Crazy Love

SEASON 1 | SEASON 3

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