Guilty Party (2021) s01e01 Episode Script

The Last Real Journalist Working in Denver

You better pull the trigger,
or I'm gonna fucking kill--
this year's winner of the Ben C.
Bradlee Award for Excellence
in Investigative Journalism,
Beth Burgess.
Thank you.
Thank you so much.
Wow. This is surreal, um
Firstly, I want to say
that this award
is a testament
to, uh, the unrelenting,
journalistic spirit of all
my colleagues
at the Chronicle.
To all you brave souls
this is for you.
And of course I want
to thank my wonderful husband,
If it wasn't for you,
I'd be wasting away somewhere
with no award,
and all my cutlery would be
in one pile in the drawer.
And then there's
Ravi Mehiri.
Yes, show him love.
the best boss in town,
you wouldn't let me stop
until I got to the truth.
Well here I am.
Oh, and there's
one more person who deserves
recognition tonight.
Um, the woman who, from day one,
taught me the power
of a great story.
You know her as Susan Burgess.
but to me,
she'll always be Mom!
We love you, Susan!
Come on, Susan!
Oh, no, no. Uh, sadly, Susan
couldn't be with us tonight,
because, um
she's halfway around the world
researching her latest book
in Budapest and, um
can't say anything.
Um, anyway thank you!
Hi, thank you.
Oh, my-- Carol, hi!
Diane Sawyer,
eat your heart out.
Oh, God, did I sound stupid?
I felt stupid.
What? No, it was great.
I loved it.
when you talked about me.
- I love you.
- I love you.
All right, I'm gonna
get us some drinks.
Oh, okay. Okay, thanks.
- God, you are hot.
- Oh, come on!
Ravs, Ravs.
Can you believe it?
Come with me.
Ravi, what's going on?
Beth, this is Doreen Paulson.
She's our in-house attorney.
Ravi, what's this about?
- I'm sorry, Beth.
- Ms. Burgess, have a seat.
We need to talk.
What is this?
It's come to our attention that
you may have falsified a quote.
This, of course,
is a very serious matter.
Effective immediately, your
employment with the Chronicle
has been terminated.
Take a step back
and ask yourself,
"How did I get here?"
The truth is
you've been walking down
this path for a long time.
Most of our toxic beliefs
are formed in childhood.
We're rewarded when we're good
and punished when we're bad.
We learn to measure ourselves
against the strengths of others.
Most of all we learn
to fear failure.
The next ten chapters
will guide you
towards an understanding
that failure is nothing more
than a mirage.
Only you
have the ability to look failure
square in its face
and tell it to fuck right off.
- Holy shit!
Jesus fucking Christ!
- Oh, fuck! Fuck, babe, it's me!
- What just happened?!
- It's me! It's me!
Marco, what the fuck?
Jesus motherfucker.
- What are you doing?
-: I'm sorry.
Oh, God, are you okay?
- Sorry, yeah.
I just
You know, you were laying there
with your mouth open like this.
- Oh, God!
- And-and, naturally,
I was thinking
maybe you would give me
- one of your famous
sleepy blow jobs.
- Okay, I get it, no, I get it.
- No, no, no, no, no. No!
- What? Come on.
Look, baby, no, ew, no, gross!
- Stop it, stop it.
- What?
Come on, we can be fast,
not too fast,
just the right amount of fast.
I have a really early meeting.
I'm working, okay?
Come on, babe, just lay back,
I'll do everything.
- Oh, shit!
- What?!
Oh, no, no, no, no!
Goddamn it, the fish is dead.
- Awesome timing, fish.
- Oh, I keep killing them.
Well, maybe you should
stop stealing them.
And the police are
on the scene right now.
Just absolutely horrific,
The victim was
three months pregnant
when her husband stabbed
her 27 times.
For Channel 24 News,
I'm Tessa Flores,
Chief Crime Correspondent.
Thank you, Tessa
Why are you smiling?
She was stabbed.
You're new here, right?
I-I work in the newsroom.
I'll call you up.
Um, what's your name?
Oh, are you calling Linda?
'Cause she doesn't get in
till 6:30.
Thank you.
So you're his prize piggy.
Linda, hi.
You can't keep doing this.
You know he deserves this.
Stop defending a monster!
Stop her! Someone stop her!
Just leave the fish!
Good morning.
How is everyone?
Any thoughts on tomorrow's lead?
Still looking
for that front page.
I heard Lady Gaga might
run for Congress.
I love that she calls it
a front page
like it's a real paper.
- Yeah, and the stories
get stupider every day.
- Yeah.
- Can we get an interview?
- Doubtful, but
I could put together
something fun,
splashy, try to predict
- what her platform might be.
- Okay
get it ready, but keep it in
the hopper till she announces.
- All right.
- What else? Beth, anything?
Yeah, sure, um
I just had a very meaningful,
uh, interaction with
a homeless woman.
Oh, my God!
- You trying to kill me?
- Her name is Erica.
She grew up in Weld County.
And she lost everything
when she had to pay
out of pocket
for her mom's dialysis.
I'd like to live with her
in a shelter
for 48 hours
to-to put our readers
in Erica's shoes
and-and to give her
back a shred of her humanity.
- Cool. I'll think about it.
- Amber, it's,
it's putting a face to
an otherwise anonymous crisis.
Or is it about trying to get
me to slit my wrists?
Thanks, Beth.
But it's, it's not
our kind of story.
Because it's not
candy-coated Lady Gaga
fluffy happy fun,
we don't give a shit?
Excuse me,
but my uncle is homeless.
And so are two of my cousins.
And another different uncle.
So, yeah, you could say
I give a shit, but it's just
not the kind of story we do.
- But you've barely
even considered
- Beth?
As my therapist likes to say,
"Embrace the no."
What else? Fiona?
Okay, this might be
a terrible idea,
but it occurred to me
that it's the 20th anniversary
of the first
Harry Pottermovie--
You're a wizard, Harry.
- Iconic.
- Yeah, right?
So I was thinking to celebrate,
we could do a photo essay:
"Hermione's Hottest Looks."
Too good. Thank you.
Thank you.
What is it? What is it?
A train set--
how cool is that, honey?
Ellie, baby, say cheese.
Ah, perfect!
Hey, did you get my message
about picking up the dollhouse?
What? No.
I thought
you were picking it up.
I think it's just it's just
Uncle Marco and Aunt Beth left.
Hi, there, sweetheart, um
Well, uh
Miss Big Birthday Girl
we got you something
really special this year.
We did?
- Ta-da!
- Wow!
- It's a fish.
- Yeah.
I want a cousin.
- What?
- Mama said
if I want a cousin
I should ask you.
Ellie! I never said that,
I did-- I didn't say that.
She's taking it
out of context
- is what that is.
- It's okay.
Come here, sweetheart,
come here, come here, come here.
Come here.
Oh, you're so big now.
A cousin would be fun,
though, huh?
Except it's-it's not possible.
Ellie, I'm gonna
tell you the truth, okay,
because I respect you.
There are some people,
who can have babies,
like Mommy and Daddy.
And there are some people,
like me and your Uncle Marco,
who who can't.
Okay, uh time for cake.
Everyone to the dining room!
- Yes, cake, cake!
- Yes, to the dining room.
Get the cake,
get the cake, go on.
I mean, I cannot get over
how adorable Ellie is.
Oh, god, she's a doll.
- Yeah.
- Thank you.
Wait, I thought
you were gonna fix that.
Oh, yeah, just give it a second,
it'll stop.
Well okay.
Hey, why'd you say that to her?
That thing about us not
being able to have kids.
Because we can't.
Technically we can.
Well, that's not
what Dr. Woodhouse said
when he sealed
those puppies shut.
Well, it is reversible.
I mean,
these puppies can be let out.
Oh, God, I didn't tell you.
Had the worst day. Again.
I had a great idea,
and Amber felt the need
to take a dump all over it.
She's fucking obsessed
with Harry Potter.
Wait, wait, wait.
Oh. Yeah,
Cin gave it back.
She said never gift a pet.
Your sister hates me.
Welcome home, fishy.
Well, I got some good news today
at work.
Turns out a ranger
in the Tetons killed himself.
Yay. What?
Yeah. It means
that there's a job opening
in the crown jewel
of America's parks,
- the Tetons.
- Oh, no, no, no.
No, not the Tetons.
No. We're not moving to Wyoming.
Honey, we always talked
about leaving the city,
- getting a country house.
- Yeah, when we were old
and incontinent
and had nothing better to do.
Oh, come on, babe.
You hate your job.
- I don't hate my job.
- You were just complaining
about it.
I hate my boss.
I hate my office.
I hate the stupid shit
I have to write ab--
I don't hate my job.
we have been
grinding it out here
for you.
I know you're trying
to get work stuff back on track,
but, uh, maybe
maybe it's time for a change.
Oh, my God.
You know how hard
this has been for me.
- I do.
- How much I've been struggling.
This is the first time
in so long
I'm not waking up every night
at 3:00 a.m.
with a panic attack.
I'm feeling almost c-close
to what I used to feel like.
If I give up now,
Ravi and the rest of them win
and-and they get proved right
and I'm a big, fat failure.
Fuck those fuckers. All of them.
Who cares?
We could put them
and this entire city
in the rearview mirror.
You know,
Jackson Hole
has newspapers, too.
Oh, my God. Yeah.
Breaking news--
another rich mom
fucks her ski instructor.
I'd read that.
Besides, it's cheaper up there.
It's simpler. I mean,
you know, we wouldn't need much.
And who knows? Maybe you'd
end up doing something else,
like, I don't know,
raise a family.
W-- I'm sorry, what?
Yeah, I-I know
it wasn't the plan.
- We've always said
we don't want kids.
- I know.
- I know.
- We're old.
Then now or never.
You really want a baby?
I don't know.
Come here.
I know this feels like
giving up.
But it's not.
It could be a fresh start,
just you and me.
I'm gonna take a bath.
You want me to save the water
for you?
Uh, no, thanks.
Do you have a second?
I wanted to run some story ideas
by you.
What are you thinking?
There are rumblings
that Taylor Swift
is traveling from her home
to her car in a large suitcase,
to avoid paparazzi.
And I thought, why don't we use
this to tackle immigration?
So, Taylor Swift is our
beautiful, blonde Trojan horse,
but it's our way of talking
about human smuggling,
uh, family separation,
uh, immigrant detention centers
- and
- It-It's really
such an important issue.
- Yeah.
- But the Taylor Swift thing
was done years ago.
Um Okay.
Left turn for a minute.
How about we take Fiona's Harry
Potterball and we run with it?
So it's a-- it's a slideshow.
Uh, like a-a "Who's Sexy Now"
for-for the whole gang. S-S--
Harry and, um, the, um
redheaded one
and all the hot little
You want to steal Fiona's idea?
No, no, no, no. God, no.
I want to expand on it.
: Have you even read
the Harry Potterbooks?
- Obviously.
-: Yeah.
Who's Hagrid?
Hagrid, um
: Oh, come on. Really?
Okay. Um
Hagrid, uh, is
a wizard, and she i--
- she is
- Let me stop you there, Beth.
We all know your reputation.
- I'm sorry, what?
- The way
you were fired
from the Chronicle.The scandal.
Wait a minute. You don't know
what you're talking about.
I was wrongfully accused.
Keep your energy professional.
While we aren't exactly
the Chronicle,
we do have
journalistic integrity,
which means I can't let my
writers steal from each other.
I would never steal a story.
Or make up a quote?
I want to keep you here.
I do.
But you need to find your spark.
And if you can't,
then maybe it's time to think
about doing something else.
: Here's your spark,
Hey. Are you okay?
Yeah. Just swell.
Oh. This one's for you.
What's CWP?
Colorado Women's Penitentiary.
It's a maximum security
women's prison.
Well, open it.
Uh It's from
someone called Toni Plimpton.
"Dear Ms. Burgess"
I know that name.
Why do I know that name?
- Toni
- "Dear Ms. Burgess,
"three and a half years ago,
I was convicted
"of murdering my husband,
Wallace Plimpton.
"I was sentenced to 92 years
in prison.
"I could come to peace with that
if I had pulled the trigger.
But I didn't do it."
The Dick Cutter!
Of course. Yes.
- I remember her. Do you not
- No.
A few days
before she killed him, she tried
to hack off his dick with a pair
of kiddie safety scissors.
She's a total loon.
Uh "But no one cares
about the truth.
They only care that one more
Black woman stays behind bars."
Oh, my God.
They found her husband's body
in a nature preserve,
trampled to mush by buffalo.
- Oof.
- "I know your work, Ms. Burgess,
"and I believe you're a genius
and the last real journalist
working in Denver."
It does not say that.
It does say that.
- I love her.
- Huh.
It does say that.
"Please help me.
"I know you can find the truth,
and the truth
will set us both free."
Beth, what are you gonna do?
You don't believe this woman,
do you?
I mean, the whole thing,
it seems super sketchy.
It reeks of a scam.
And, I will say,
they do tend to target
older people.
My grandmother's entire temple
got conned
by a man
who looked just like Jay Leno.
Like, an Indian Jay Leno.
He looked just like him.
I mean, the hair, the-the chin,
the denim on denim.
Listen, just don't give
this woman money.
She's gonna want money.
Don't give it to her.
Stand there, please.
Do that up.
Really? It's-it's so
Do it up or go home.
Stay beside the line.
Ten minutes.
- Hi.
- Hi.
Listen, uh,
the letter that you sent me,
it was it was so moving.
- How are you?
- Oh, you know.
The best.
Right. No, of course.
I'm really sorry.
Yeah, they're punishing me
'cause I knocked out
a bitch's front teeth
and stabbed her in the eye.
She's a Nazi.
W-Well-well, uh,
I-I hope
she's eating out of a straw
for a good long time.
She will be.
I like your tattoo.
Oh, thanks.
I did it myself.
Wow. No way.
That's, um
Is it-- is it Medusa?
Well, it's me,
and I'm Medusa.
It's about time somebody
chopped off Perseus' head,
don't you think?
What about you?
Any ink?
Ink? Oh.
No, I'm not
I'm not that sort of person.
What, a badass?
I mean, you could pull it off.
a few years ago,
I was, like, this close
to getting, uh, an old-timey
typewriter on my upper thigh
Oh, you're-you're for real?
Yeah, no, that's cool.
I mean, you could get, like,
your kid's name or something.
You got any kids?
No. But, uh, that-that topic
sure comes up a lot.
It's a touchy subject?
No, it's just that, um,
well, my mom always chose work
over me,
and I don't want
to do that to a kid.
My work's my priority.
Which means you're my priority.
Love a lady who means business.
Okay, so
if I'm gonna write your story,
I'm gonna need you
to piece together
for me what happened, uh,
the night of the murder.
So, where you were,
uh, who you were with.
I mean,
that's all public record.
Trial transcripts.
Well, yeah, of course.
I know that.
But, um, it helps to actually
hear it from you directly.
Uh, I was working
at TJs Sound & Video,
and I was alone.
Huh. Yeah, see, that's
that's not good.
You sound like the cops.
And, uh, why were you violent to
your husband a few days before?
You mean the dick thing?
Yeah. The, uh the dick thing.
Tell me this,
why would I cut his dick off
if I was gonna kill him?
The whole reason
you cut a dick off
is so that he has to walk around
without a dick, right?
I mean
uh, that-that does make
some sense, yeah.
And he hit me.
He laid his hands on me
over and over.
Does your husband do that
to you?
Besides, I barely nicked him.
On his dick?
That's all anyone cares about.
It's a whole country full
of dick lovers.
I wouldn't call myself
a-a dick lover.
Okay. So who did kill Wallace?
Wallace's brother.
They ran guns.
I mean,
that's the guy
the D.A. should've gone after.
I was over there selling flip
phones for nine bucks an hour.
Meanwhile, those two
were clearing $5K a week,
funneling carbines
to the Philippines,
but who's serving time?
Okay, sorry, could you
just slow down for one second?
Um, okay, so his name is Wyatt.
And I missed the connection
to the flip phone,
so you'll have
to explain that to me.
And I know I can google it,
but what's a carbine, exactly?
You didn't bother looking me up,
did you?
No research? Nothing?
No, I did. I j--
I knew about the dick thing.
- And, um, I
- Okay.
- Goodbye.
- Wait, wait, wait, wait!
Where are you going?
No, I don't have time
to tell you how to do your job.
You can find somebody else
to boost your ego.
If I were you, I wouldn't
walk away from the one person
who can help you.
If you were me?
See, I have a daughter.
Her name is Laila, and
she turns four on October 13.
But that's all I know about her.
I don't know where she is,
who she's with,
who's peeling her carrots
or wiping her nose.
I don't know what
she sounds like or smells like.
I-I don't even know what she
looks like except for a picture
that I saw when she was born.
'Cause I had her in here.
In cuffs.
I gave birth
handcuffed to a bed.
They took my baby
and handed me a Polaroid.
So, yeah
that's who you'd be
if you were me.
But if I were you,
I would've done
my damn homework.
Oh. No, no, no. Sorry. Please.
I'm sorry. I'm sorry.
the last year has been really,
really hard.
I barely sleep.
I work for
this brainless child dictator.
I-I steal fish to get even.
And now my husband
wants me to become
this walking, talking uterus
in the woods, and
And then I got your letter.
it gave me hope.
Please don't walk away. Please.
I'm-I'm not ready to give up.
You've had a hard year, huh?
Well, at least you funny.
Look, this ain't
Driving Miss Daisy,
and I'm not cooking you
no Sunday dinner.
I'm here to save my ass,
not yours.
Hey, yo, Jimmy!
You're so cute.
I shouldn't have said that.
My God. Beth, look at you.
How are you holding up
after everything?
- It's fine.
- Good, good.
My God, you-you were
the last person that I thought
I'd bump into today.
This is so funny.
Sorry, wh-what is that?
Oh, um, this inmate-- well,
wrongfully convicted inmate--
wrote me the most amazing
letter. Listen to this.
"Ms. Flores, you are a genius
"and Denver's
last real journalist.
"I know you can find the truth,
and the truth
will set us both free."
That's beautiful, isn't it?
Yeah. Very. Except
I'm the genius in this one.
I love it.
She's auditioning us.
Tessa Flores!
That's me.
Great to see you.
Good luck.
But you're not getting
this fucking story.
Wyatt Plimpton?
Mr. Plimpton?
Hi, there.
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