The Guardian (2001) s01e03 Episode Script

Paternity

I still can't get over you in a suit Nick.
You of all people.
I remember when we were little, and you started to dress yourself.
You always wore your shirt inside out and backwards.
Well, I guess it's better than forgetting to wear my underwear.
I only did that when I came over to your house Nick.
Why are you here, Rachel? When my brother Charlie and I started at my father's company, he placed us at the head of each division.
I know.
I started the semi-conductor division to deal with the automated shipping, tracking, and to help the company expand to the Southern States and the Midwest.
Charlie sold the same old line paper and packaging.
My father called me into his office last month to tell me that he was going to promote my brother over me.
Well, he's just passed you over.
He said it made sense for me to stay at home and take care of my kids.
He didn't officially fire you.
No.
No, he's just passed you over.
He'll do the right thing by you.
Nick, - I'm gonna take-- - Nicholas-- - Hello! - Rachel! How are you? What a nice surprise.
- How are you sweetie? - I'm fine Burton.
Gosh, you look-- What brings you over here? Nothing, really.
I just came over to say hello.
Yeah.
Great.
Well, listen, I hate to interrupt, but I do need Nicholas in a meeting.
- Oh, of course.
- So, uh Would you like to have lunch? Yeah.
Okay.
Good to see you.
- Good to see you.
- Take care.
- Bye.
- Okay, bye-bye.
We don't have a meeting.
No.
I just got a call from her dad.
Yeah.
Rachel is mounting a proxy fight.
Rachel? She wants to take over the company.
Nick? Nick, this is Summer and Lawrence Neal.
They've been waiting for you for over an hour.
Sorry.
Lawrence's petition hearing's coming up this week.
You'll be representing him.
Social Services wants to put him in a state home for disabled children.
Why don't you come with me Lawrence.
We'll be right back.
This won't be long.
Why are you having a shelter hearing? Your mother seems perfectly normal.
My mother's going to jail.
What did she do? You know how some men don't have a girlfriend? Well, they pay my mom to be theirs.
±âŸ¹Ì±¹µåó¸°·¯¸® ¹èÆ÷ÀÚÀ¯ / ¼à Á¤±ÝÁà I am sentencing you to 1500 hours of community service using your skills as coperate attorney to work as a child advocate.
She's a prostitute? She thinks it shouldn't even be a crime.
Well, it is.
I know that.
Where do you want to be placed Lawrence? - I want to live with my stepfather.
- Okay.
But there's this woman from the government, her name is Laurie.
She wants to put me in a special needs home.
Do you know what that means? Well, they're a facility with the combination of services, I've got neuro-fibromatosis It's the kind of tumor that grew to big and hurt my spine.
So I have to be in a wheelchair.
But other than that I'm totally normal.
Just a minute.
Laurie.
Ms.
Solt.
Yes, Mr.
Fallin? Lawrence Neal.
What's your recommendation? The Riley Center.
He wants to stay with his stepfather.
His stepfather has a criminal record.
What did he do? Assault and battery.
Served two years.
You don't even know him! He's a good father Where was he last year when you were arrested for solicitation and your son was left alone for two days-- He was working, and I would have been home if I didn't-- You were out breaking the law.
There's no way I'm going to change this recommendation, Mr.
Fallin.
The stepfather has been basically pimping the mother for several years, and the house isn't equipped for a special needs kid.
I didn't ask you to change your recommendation, Ms.
Solt.
I can't promise you anything, Lawrence.
- But you'll look into it, right? - Yes, I'll look into it.
Just come over to my house.
You'll see.
It's a lot better than what she says.
Okay.
We can't talk business.
What's good here? You have to stop this thing before it turns into a disaster.
We're not talking business.
So, Nick.
You happy working for your father? Do you think he judges you differently than anyone else in the firm? What if he never made you partner? I don't understand.
Your father gives you free reign.
He treats you very well.
I'm divorcing Alan.
We separated about six months ago.
My father doesn't know.
What about the kids? They're with him until I get this all taken care of.
You're judging me.
- No, I'm not.
- I'm a good mother, Nick.
I'm very good at what I do.
I understand that.
Why am I a villain in all this? My brother Charlie has no imagination.
He doesn't want to build the company.
If we did it his way, we'd be dead in a decade.
You're probably right.
Nick, don't oppose me.
I don't have a choice.
Mrs.
Neal? Lawrence told me that you're gonna help him stay with Gerry.
No, I told him I'd take a look at the house.
What do you think, Mr.
Fallin? I don't think that any judge is going to place your son with your current husband.
- Why not? - Mrs.
Neal, your husband served time for assault and battery.
Lawrence doesn't deserve to go to a state home.
No, he doesn't.
On Friday, I go to jail for nearly two years.
If you're not going to help, I'll take what little money I have left and pay someone who will.
Listen, I'm going to represent your son's wishes in court.
But I strongly recommend you prepare him to go to the Riley Center.
Gerry, Thrown it here When did you realize you were going to die? I remember when it hit me.
The kids weren't even teenagers yet.
Driving home from Seven Springs, icy roads, Cadillac hit a patch but what if my head hit the dashboard, you know? First thing I did, incorporated, named my kids as shareholders.
You did the right thing, Bart.
For the right reason.
Rachel's prepared a proxy offer with Owens-Hiller.
Fancy hedge funds acquired third company's stock Why do they want to back Rachel? She's been pretty vocal about the direction in which I've taken my company.
What did Rachel promise them? She promised to spin-off the semi-conductor division into a separate corporation.
So Owens-Hiller will get two sets of shares instead of four.
Clearly some Wall Street analyst believes the stock will double as soon as it's? unleashed.
What do you think, Bart? Short-term gain, long-term disaster.
And what does Rachel get? My job.
My job.
Okay.
Neal, Gerald T.
Paroled March of '99, came to me April '99.
I send him the postcard every month.
He's working -two jobs, in fact.
No problems to speak of.
He was arrested for assault and battery, right? He pled out.
Who was the victim? Committed battery on his stepfather.
He assaulted his mother.
His mother? That's what it says here.
And you say he wants to adopt your client? You discovered the CLS filing system.
I'm working with this kid, Lawrence Neal.
The only Neal in this cabinet is in 1991.
Check on the mother's maiden name, Poplarczyk.
No charge.
Gerry Neal was in the foster care system himself.
So was his sister.
Can I take this? Just make sure you put it back where you found it.
/ Sure All finished? Okay.
You Gerry Neal's sister? Yeah.
They wanted me to testify at his trial, but I was scared.
Scared of Gerry.
Gerry? No.
It was my mother's boyfriend that I was afraid of.
I was going to testify for Gerry, not against him.
He hit your mother.
He didn't hit my mom.
All he did was block her and give her damn boyfriend a beating.
Has Jerry told you about them yet? No My mom dated this guy, Ross.
He did this to me.
And a lot of other? really fun stuff.
Umm, but my mom never believed me.
And, I'd call Gerry.
He was older and he was already living on his own, so he would just come over and give Ross the what-for, which of course Ross didn't like.
So, mom doesn't believe me.
The cops don't believe me.
But Gerry, he does.
And I could call him and he'd come right over, no matter what he was doing.
Until, you know, one day he got a little carried away, and the cops showed up.
Why didn't you testify? I don't know.
I guess because I had to live with my mom.
I let Gerry down because I was scared.
I spoke to Gerry Neal's sister.
She has a very different take on what happened when Gerry was arrested.
She's willing to testify on his behalf.
Let's just say for the sake of argument that this Gerry is a stand-up guy.
The house is still not wheelchair accessible.
The boy can't use the toilet, bathe himself, or prepare a meal without assistance.
What's that? I'm asking Social Services to pay to modify the house for Lawrence's needs.
We have a very limited budget, Mr.
Fallin.
Don't ask us to spend it frivolously.
It will keep the family together.
I'm not changing my recommendation.
Take it.
I've seen what can happen when a placement goes bad.
The house isn't the issue here, is it? Lawrence is a good kid.
We'll keep him in the same school.
Gerry will have generous visitation rights, but the Riley Center will offer stability.
And no one at the Riley Center ever hit a family member.
Sixteen Fortune-1000 businesses opened operations in Pittsburgh this fiscal year.
Of those sixteen, two chose to use this firm.
Two Nine went to Kirk & McGee.
Nick, this is a partner's meeting.
Can it wait? I'll be in your office.
Now, billable hours, down thirty percent.
You tell Laurie Solt I'll be late.
Yeah, I know what time the hearing is scheduled for.
I have to meet with another client first.
No No.
No, I can't be there until four o'clock, okay? Okay.
So, listen-- Okay, what's the problem? It's about Rachel and Bart.
I had this idea about a staggered board provision.
I thought if we could draft a by-law amendment providing that only directors be elected per year-- It makes us look weak.
Or smart.
See this way, even if Rachel wins, - she won't gain the majority- - No It sends the wrong message.
It alienates Wall Street.
It's bad for the stock.
It won't be as bloody.
Wait a minute.
Let me get this straight.
You barged into a partner meeting to tell me this? I was late for an appointment.
- Oh, community service.
- Yes.
Well, when are you going to get control of that? - I think I have it under control.
- I don't think so I see you running in and out of here everyday.
Your work is falling off.
- I don't think it is.
- I'm telling you it is.
Your billable hours are way down.
These cases, I can't just phone them in! I understand that.
But you've got to find a way not to let them pull you under.
They're not pulling me under I just do them.
Nicholas.
Look, just because you're my son doesn't mean you're gonna get special treatment around here, do you understand that? - Do you understand? - Yes.
I'm gonna figure out another angle on this proxy issue.
Nick? I'm sorry.
I don't know what's bothering me, I-- I spoke with your sister.
She's willing to testify on your behalf.
Will that help? It will increase your chances.
You still have to prove that you can take care of Lawrence without Summer.
I can.
The house isn't up to code.
You're working two jobs.
So I'll quit one.
And how will you be able to afford to take care of Lawrence? Hey, we'll manage.
Unfortunately, that's not enough for the court.
Why can't they just leave us alone? Have you been out to see the Riley Center? No.
Maybe you should.
Just take a look.
We have two hot meals daily.
Three on weekends.
Two handivans are available, and you'll have your own room.
You have any questions, Lawrence? Yeah.
You have any video games? We have a full compliment of rehabilitative toys.
You can't rehabilitate me.
This is how I am forever.
You think I'm in kindergarten? We have chess and checkers.
I'll have real fun playing with them.
Be respectful, please.
Just because I'm in a wheelchair I get stuck with kids like this? They're just trying to help.
He doesn't belong here, man.
So it's the money, isn't it? It's not the money, it's the package.
Yeah, but if I had the money to do the upgrade on the house, I wouldn't have to work a second job.
Maybe it might help.
It's the money.
What about the biological father? Is child support a possibility? He's dead.
He's been dead for years.
Hey.
Lawrence says he thinks he knows who the father is.
- He's alive? - Yeah.
All right, meet me at the clinic tomorrow at 11 A.
M.
This is her day book.
He was a client.
How do you know? heard her say it once.
I have the list.
All her clients from the year before I was born.
She was pretty, wasn't she? Yeah.
Just initials and phone numbers.
I had to find a 1989 phone book then match the numbers to the names.
Then I narrowed it down to twenty-two.
Are you positive you want to put him through this? I'm willing to try if he is.
You really want to do this? If you're not going to come with me, I'll just go by myself.
- Mr.
Odett? - Yeah.
I'm Nicholas Fallin.
This is Lawrence Neal.
and? I'm hear to ask you some questions about September of 1989.
What are you, a cop? No, I'm the guardian for this boy.
September '89, I was fixing appliances.
You may have had a date with a woman by the name of Summer Neal.
Oh, I I don't go on dates.
Yeah, we? had an arrangement.
What about it? She got pregnant.
This is her son.
Do you Do you want to know something about your mother? Okay.
Your mother? is a whore.
Ok, Let's go Let's go That would make you, a son of a whore.
Don't talk that way about my family.
Gerry.
Gerry, no! Gerry, no! No! You're out of control.
Guy had it coming.
Like your stepfather? You got a couple of choices, as I see it.
Make things right, or let things be wrong.
You can get yourself in a lot of trouble, Gerry.
I sleep at night.
James? How long did you work at the children's hospital? All through college, which in my case was almost eight years.
So you must know your way around a few childhood diseases? Some Neuro-fibromatosis.
You heard of it? Sure.
Is it genetic? It can be.
So if an uncle has it, then the nephew might have it.
That's right.
Why the interest? I have a client that has a list of potential fathers, and I was just trying to narrow it down.
The mother was a popular girl.
Yeah.
She was a prostitute.
You're trying to find a man who paid to have sex with a hooker over a dozen years ago? That's right.
To tell him what? Congratulations, it's a boy? Is this really your highest priority? The client wants me to do it.
It's not going to make one bit of difference in that child's life.
Well, if we can establish paternity, then we can collect child support.
You're serious? You're serious.
You believe this guy? You want me to help find him? You already have.
Thank you.
When I saw your name on the message slip, I didn't know what to expect.
Just me.
There was a point in time that could mean puking up black beauties at a Canadian dog track.
It was codeine, and it was you doing the vomiting.
Well, it's a miracle we're both alive, huh? You look good Nick.
You really do.
Your brother Dave, how's he doing? Dave? Pretty well.
There's a clinic in Philly really good people.
They take the pain issue seriously.
Taught him how to manage it.
He's holding down a job at a radio station doing ad sales.
Even bought a house.
Neuro-fibromatosis.
That's what he has, right? Yeah.
NF.
They've made some real progress in the last few years.
Thanks for asking.
So, what's up? She's cute.
Labor Day weekend, 1989.
See, Emily and I were married by that point in time, Nick.
Her name is Summer.
She's a prostitute.
Your phone number is in her day book.
Really? I have no idea.
That's her son.
He's an NF sufferer like your brother.
He was born nine months after your date.
It was a fling.
A dirty weekend at Conneaut Lake.
End of story.
And yes, I paid.
So what? I paid.
Not because I couldn't get any woman I wanted.
No.
I paid so when I said it was over, it was over.
Right? With her, maybe.
But I represent the boy, and he has financial needs.
How much are we talking about? No This is outrageous.
I have two daughters in private school.
I have dental school loans.
I have a mortgage.
Nick.
This kid is gonna end up in a state home for mentally disabled children.
One indiscretion ten years ago and you're screwing me to the wall.
I'm the kid's lawyer.
Look the other way man.
I can't.
This kid just needs help.
You can do this quietly.
No one has to know.
I can fight this.
I can file a paternity claim and let this get published.
There's stuff I could say about you, you know? There are things I could say.
I wouldn't be sitting across from you if I hadn't already been through the court system.
I'm already screwed, Derek.
Believe me.
That's your copy.
Nick.
I was just looking for you.
You all right? The kids are up in Boston with Alan.
I miss them God.
And I don't even know if what I'm doing is gonna help me get custody.
You'll be fine.
You'll be okay.
Do you think you could come home with me? Rachel? No business.
I don't want to change your mind.
Come over and? tomorrow we'll sit across the table and? we'll agree to go to war.
You know, we never really talked about what happened with you.
Your problems.
I wish? we were friends for a long time.
I wish? What? I don't know.
It just bothers me to think of you falling so far.
There's nothing you could have done.
No.
But you were there for me.
You were in trouble.
You always kept it between us.
After you checked me into rehab.
And I assume you'll continue to do that.
The only way to successfully do this, is to go after your daughter publicly.
I don't want to call this a smear campaign, I don't do smear campaigns.
But I do need to know the one thing that might cause the shareholders balk at having her installed as CEO.
And I assume that since you people are closest to her that someone can tell me what that is.
Then I can leak it.
A smear campaign.
A smear campaign against his own daughter.
Well, she started this.
Let's go to Owens-Hiller.
Make them the same offer Rachel made.
Nicholas, they hate each other.
Hate each other.
Yeah.
But they both love money.
Because of his age and disability, Social Services is strongly recommending that Lawrence be placed at the Riley Center.
What does the child want? The child would like to stay with his stepfather, Gerry Neal.
Is that your recommendation Mr.
Fallin? Yes.
Seeing that Social Services has removed their objection regarding Mr.
Neal's suitability-- We have not.
And we still have a problem with the house now that his mother won't be home to assist him.
Your honor, the Riley Center is almost punitive.
And the boy has done nothing to deserve it.
Are there any other options? The only fair solution is that the boy stays in the house that he's been raised in.
His mother won't be there.
- Gerry Neal is a perfectly - There is no way I asked if there were any other options it's a matter of state law and a loving father! if there were any other options.
I'm willing to take the boy.
Your relationship with the child? I'm his father.
I only found out yesterday that Lawrence is my son.
No one bothered to tell you? It was a one night stand, your honor.
He payed to have sex with me.
That's the only relationship we ever had.
Judge Damsen, I need time to-- Judge Damsen-- Sit down! Mr.
Fallen Sit down, I said sit down! I'm being asked to decide to choose between placing this boy with the man who bought his mother for the night, or the man who sells her.
That's my choice.
The john or the pimp? That's mean.
This hearing is postponed for 24 hours to give the court a chance to? sort out the relationships.
Adjourned.
We asked you to help.
And instead you made it a thousand times worse.
I'm just trying to keep him out of the Riley Center.
So you put him with a man he never knew? That wasn't my intention.
I know what you're thinking.
That you'll get away with screwing up everything I have because you're this big lawyer and I'm just a stupid whore.
I told Emily the truth and she feels I feel that taking him in is the right thing to do.
Well, it is the state's obligation to give the biological parent every opportunity? Derek, is this what you want? Yes.
You know, this is a tremendous commitment Mr.
and Mrs Johnson? We know.
You understand the realities of his situation? Yes You know that should this work out, Lawrence will go through a period of culture shock.
I understand that he's been living in an environment that's very different from our home, the mother is a prostitute, and the father is some kind of Hell's Angel.
No, the father is Derek.
Of course, I knew that.
Mr.
Owens? Burton Fallin.
You know Mr.
Shell? Yes.
Good? good.
What's the proposal? Well, Mr.
Shell appreciates the wisdom of your strategy, so he's willing to spin out the semi-conductor division and give you two sets of shares.
That's what Rachel was proposing.
Yep, but with us, you wouldn't have a fight on your hands.
I don't think I have a fight on my hands either way.
What? Options.
Oh.
In light of your support we're willing to offer you a million dollars in options.
And another seat on the board.
Whose? Rachel's.
Lawrence will be without his mother for 21 months.
During her prison term, he will graduate 7th grade, start and finish 8th grade and enter 9th grade.
The Riley Center is an excellent facility, especially well suited to wheelchair users.
How many wheelchair uses are there at the Riley Center? When I checked, five.
Five out of twenty-eight.
Of the other twenty-three, how many suffer from mental retardation? Twenty.
Sorry? Twenty.
No further questions, your honor.
Mr.
Johnson.
Emily and I have had a tough couple of days, but she wants to do right by this boy.
Let him live among regular people for once.
By regular people, you mean what? Well, I mean, his mother's going to jail.
We're not like that.
Regular? I'm not regular? I'm a criminal? Mrs.
Neal? I guess so But you're the customer, so the difference is that I did it to raise money to put food on the table, and you just did it for the sex.
Mrs Neal.
Lawrence wants to live with me.
I'm married to his mom.
I don't know why the government wants to get in the way.
Mr Neal, you recently spent some time in prison yourself.
Is that correct? Yes sir.
For assault and battery.
That sounds bad.
Did you hit someone? Yes I did, I hit my stepfather.
You were defending your 13-year-old sister from your stepfather? That is correct.
Can anyone corroborate your story? Yes sir, my sister.
Your honor I would like to enter her statement into evidence.
She's available for questioning, if you wish to subpoena her.
We accept the statement, your honor.
It doesn't change the fact that Mr.
Neal resorts to violence easily.
Mr.
Neal, how many hours of medical training have you had? I'm a tool and die maker.
I don't have any medical training.
In your house, can you roll a wheelchair into the bathroom? No, you just kinda pick him up out of the chair, but he gets around okay.
No more questions, your honor.
This court will recess for 30 minutes to consider the written statement.
We will reconvene at 3:30.
This wasn't part of the deal you know.
I never meant for this to happen.
It wasn't part of the deal.
We haven't officially met.
I thought if you were going to live with us, you should.
Well.
It's nice to meet you.
Yeah, you too.
My brother, y'know, he's like you.
He likes motorcycles? No, I meant he has what you have.
That's my disease, it's not me.
I know, I meant? I mean, if you come to live with us, we're going to treat you like our son.
I am your son.
You've had some bad luck in your life, but look around.
Six adults say they all care about you very much.
Your biological father may not have known your mother under the best of circumstances, but he wants to do right by you.
Ms.
Solt believes her housing choice is the only suitable one.
She's right, but housing is not a family.
And your mother's husband, Jerry wants to do the right thing too.
I know you want to stay home.
I wish I could recommend that.
The Riley Center.
Mr.
Neal will have visitation on odd weekends and Mr.
Johnson on even weekends, should paternity be confirmed.
And when your mother is released from prison, she can petition for custody again.
All my life, all I ever wanted was to run the company.
I did everything right.
I grew my divisions, I worked incredible hours.
But you should have told me, father, that you were never going to let me in your office.
You should have told me that from the very beginning.
I married the company and I lost everything for it.
And you let me do that.
Why? It's because you you do too much.
I've lost sleep worrying about the risks you've taken.
You act as if you've got to prove yourself every day.
You don't, you really don't.
You're great at what you do.
But your brother Charlie understands that what we've got here is a simple company and he'll keep it that way.
That's why it's best for all of us he take it over.
Now, if you end this proxy fight, you could come back to work.
You engineered this.
I though this was better than the alternative.
No, you just thought you could win.
They were going to go after you.
They would have found out about everything, about rehab.
You would have lost custody of your children.
Still working? Just about finished.
How'd she take it? Do you remember a company picnic when you and Rachel stole a bottle of wine and ran off into the forest? And Rachel threw up all over her little shoes.
And when we asked you about it, you both lied, to protect each other.
What is it, son? Today's mom's birthday.
She'd have been? Fifty-nine.
What are you working on? Oh this? This is the Van Owen Plaza.
Let me show you something.
This company leaked benzene into the water table, we are going to represent these people against them