Murder, She Wrote s05e15 Episode Script

Alma Murder

Open up! [Woman] Tonight on Murder, She Wrote.
You never knew Rhonda Sykes.
She was enough to drive anyone to commit murder.
I want that money! Rhonda was killed between 10:00 and 11:00 p.
M by a blow to the head that Leon says he delivered.
What you heard, uh, is all true.
I killed that girl.
I suppose you've come here for your wife? Why? You offering somethin' better? ##[Men Humming] ##[Men Singing A Cappella] [Tires Screech] Police! Open the door! [Banging] Come onl Open the doorl Open upl [Banging Continues] ##[Ends] [Pounding] [Pounding Continues] No, I'm not remodeling, Seth.
No, that's Hank Pruett.
I woke up this morning and found two inches of water in the basement.
Oh, here he comes.
I'll call you right back.
Well, Jessica, looks to me like you got dry rot and corroded plumbing.
Uh, course I'm only talkin' about the house, you understand.
How much, Hank? Well, materials have been goin' up lately, and labor's not cheap either.
Oh, my.
Last March it was the roof.
This summer it was the wiring.
Well, you gotta accept that kind of thing, a house as old as this one.
You and Mr.
Fletcher-You lived here for quite a long time, as I recollect.
Almost 30 years.
Don't suppose you ever, uh, considered moving? Well, not until this year.
But, you know, living alone here and being gone as much as I am, quite honestly, I just don't have the time to deal with these things.
But thank you for coming, Hank.
Let me know when you can get started, okay? Yes, ma'am.
I'll do that.
[Phone Rings] - Hello? - [Woman] Hello, Jessica? It's Emily.
Emily Dyers.
- I hope I'm not calling too early.
- Emily? Oh, good heavens, no.
When is it ever too early for one Delta Alpha Chi to call another? Oh, Jessica, I just knew you'd feel that way.
That's why I had to call you.
Emily, is something wrong? Some trouble at the sorority? No, no, the girls aren't due till next week.
But, Jessica, it's about Professor Walker.
He's been arrested.
What? Leon? But that's absurd.
Well-Well, what on earth's he being charged with? Murder.
[Airplane Flying] Jessica! Margaret? Jess! Oh, hello.
Welcome back to Green Falls.
Well, what in the world- Emily was detained at the sorority house, and she asked me to meet your plane.
Well, that was very thoughtful.
You know, I could have taken a cab.
Oh, don't be silly.
It'll give us a chance to catch up.
Unless a widely celebrated author like yourself objects to traveling economy class.
It's not much, but then neither is my paycheck.
Well, at least you can take passengers.
My bicycle will only take one.
You've got to be kidding.
You still haven't learned to drive? [Laughing] How do you think I've lived to be so "widely celebrated"? [Both Laughing] [Jessica] So when my first book sold, I decided to leave teaching and take up writing full time.
And what about you? Last I heard, you were- you were running your own English department in a college out west.
Well, yes.
I think the heat and the smog finally caught up to me.
[Chuckles] That and the desperate need to have a conversation that didn't include, "for sure, for sure" and "have a nice day.
" Oh, I know.
Anyway, when I heard Leon was looking for an assistant, I jumped at the chance to come back and work with him.
I mean, who wouldn't? Oh, he's special, all right.
Which makes this murder charge so unbelievable.
I mean, Leon is the most nonviolent man that I have ever known.
You never knew Rhonda Sykes.
She was enough to drive anyone to commit murder.
Oh? You know, the kind of girl who gives tramps a bad name.
Even as an undergraduate, she was willing to do just about anything to get her degree, except study, of course.
I really appreciate this, Margaret.
I'll drop your things off at the sorority house and tell Emily you'll come along later.
You sure you don't want me to wait? After being cooped up in that plane, the walk will do me good.
But do let me know what happens.
And tell Leon l- Tell him we won't let him down.
I don't know what you're trying to pull, but I came here to see Professor Walker, and we're not leaving until we do.
Suit yourself.
Steve, come on.
Let's go.
What do you mean? We're supposed to just walk out and leave him here? I don't see we have much choice.
I'm not gonna stand here and argue about it.
Hello, my name is Jessica Fletcher, and I'm a friend of Professor Walker's.
You and everyone else.
But if you're here to see him, I'm afraid you're out of luck.
He says he doesn't wanna see anybody.
Um, well, perhaps if you were to give him my name.
It's just that I've flown from Maine to be here.
All the way from Maine, huh? [Door Unlocking] [Door Opening] Jessica? Leon.
I came as soon as I heard.
Oh, Jessica, it's so good to see you.
I'm sorry you, uh, came a long way for nothing.
What you heard, uh, is all true.
I killed that girl.
But I don't understand.
You always taught that violence came from ignorance.
I mean, how did this happen? Well, what does it matter? It matters to me.
Tell me, how did it happen? I suppose it was being so alone after Martha died.
It had been just the two of us, you know, through 40 years of marriage.
Maybe I couldn't stand the solitude.
Maybe I flattered myself that Rhonda really cared.
Y-You mean, that you and this woman- Well, when I realized what a fool I was making of myself, I broke things off.
But last night, Rhonda called and said she planned to expose our affair unless I paid her to keep silent.
Blackmail? She mentioned an outrageous sum.
So I went over to try to reason with her.
Rhonda, we have to talk.
That's funny.
You never regarded me as your intellectual equal.
- I'm sorry if I made you feel that way.
- It's too late to be sorry for anything, Leon.
All I want from you is the money.
I'm afraid you have an inflated conception of a professor's salary.
- You have a savings account.
- With less than $500 in it.
No, no.
Sorry to disappoint you, Rhonda.
I am not the mark you thought I was.
Liar! Damn you! I want that money! All I could think of- She's-She's trying to kill me.
So l- I grabbed a candleholder when she came at me.
I didn't mean to kill her, but, uh, she gave me no choice.
I see.
What sort of proof did she have? Proof? Leon, she could hardly blackmail you without some sort of evidence.
Oh, well, uh- well, of course, she had- she had proof.
She, uh- She had letters.
Letters I'd written to her when we started seeing each other.
Oh, yes.
Letters that the police confiscated for evidence.
Well, um, l- I burned them before they got there.
L- I burned them and, uh- and, uh, rinsed them down the drain.
But- But- But that doesn't make any sense.
I mean, why take the time to burn the letters at Rhonda's apartment when you might have escaped and burned them elsewhere? I don't know.
Uh, l- I wasn't thinking.
Why do you keep questioning me? Because I don't believe that you killed anyone, in self-defense or for any reason.
Well, that's absurd, Jessica, Why would I lie about a thing like this? I don't know.
I wish I did.
[Woman] I'm sorry.
He's not here right now.
Do you have an appointment? Well, no, but it's regarding the Rhonda Sykes case.
Well, I'm afraid the district attorney is booked all afternoon, but if you'd like to leave a message, I'll be sure to see that he gets it.
Perhaps if I wait.
- Jessica? - Paul? [Both Laughing] Oh, my goodness.
My God, you haven't changed a bit.
Still the prettiest girl in Harrison College.
And you haven't changed either.
Still know all the right things to say.
Not always.
Otherwise, I would've never let you get away.
[Laughs] Tell me, what are you doing here? Well, the same thing you are, I guess.
Trying to see the district attorney about the murder charge against Leon Walker.
But, uh, it seems that he hasn't got time to see me.
He does now.
Carol, cancel my 2:00.
Something important has come up.
Jess, I know how much you admire him.
Hell, we all do.
But the fact is that Leon has confessed of his own free will.
Yes, I know.
I've heard his so-called confession.
But obviously he wasn't telling the truth.
Even though the police found him next to the body? Yes.
And about that- Who called the police? They didn't give a name.
They just said there was a noisy fight over at Rhonda Sykes's address.
But you don't find that the least bit fortuitous? Well, why should I? Leon said he went over to try to talk to her.
They had some wine, got a little drunk.
Someone heard the racket and called the police.
Someone unwilling to give a name.
Oh, it happens all the time.
Besides, why would Leon admit that he killed her if he didn't? Because he's covering for someone.
You mean, someone else killed Rhonda Sykes? Well, from what I've heard, she wasn't exactly the sweetheart of Sigma Chi.
Jess, the preliminary report says that Rhonda was killed between 10:00 and 11:00 p.
M by a blow to the head that Leon says he delivered.
Jess, I will make sure he gets a fair trial, but it is my duty to prosecute this case.
But, Paul, even if they give Leon probation, I mean, the conviction will ruin his reputation and his entire career.
What can I do? The man has confessed.
Look, maybe there's something in Rhonda's place- something that the police overlooked, something that you and I might spot.
You mean, you wanna go over to her place? Jess, I don't know.
Well, I mean, if it's impossible- It's not impossible.
It's just unorthodox.
So were you once.
The police left everything as it was, except, of course, the candleholder that killed her and the letter opener she had in her hand.
Is this the mate to the one that the police have? Yes.
Heavy, isn't it? Yeah, and obviously very expensive.
You know, it's odd.
What's odd? Well, you told me that Rhonda Sykes was an orphan going to school on a financial-hardship loan.
[Paul] So? [Jessica] So, look around and ask yoursel f: How would a financially strapped graduate student afford some of the things in this apartment? I mean, that stereo must be worth a fortune.
That's what you get for giving a student credit cards.
[Chuckles] Her credit cards must have gone way over the limit.
Look at these expensive furs and gowns.
And I imagine there's some jewelry around somewhere if she wasn't robbed.
Hey, look at the drawer of her desk.
That's been forced open.
[Paul] Yes, that was in the police report.
And the only fingerprints on it were Rhonda's.
And for your information, the jewelry was in her dresser.
Well, she wasn't a very good student.
But then, the killer wasn't after test papers.
You mean Leon? Look, if Leon had taken it, the police would have found it on him.
Perhaps he destroyed it before they got here.
Would you have taken time to destroy it? All right, I'll see what they've come up with.
Jess, I hope you know that I hate the idea of prosecuting Leon.
I mean, my God, I studied with him too, remember? Yes, I remember.
I remember typing all your papers too.
[Laughing] In that case, let me give you a belated thanks.
Deal? Deal.
Well, I'd better let you go.
I'll go by the station and call you later.
Or better still, why don't I give you the results at dinner tonight? I'd love it.
Pick you up at 8:00? Yeah.
Uh, you sure you're free? Free as a bird.
After all, a bachelor's life is nothing if it's not his own.
[Chuckles] Ooh.
Did I say that? [Laughing] I'll see you at 8:00.
[Engine Starts] Jessica! Hello! Emily! Jessical Oh, Emily, how are you? Oh, I'm fine.
I'm better now that you're- Look at you.
I can't believe this.
Seeing you and Margaret and the old sorority- You know, it's just like old times.
So I noticed.
Well, that was Paul Robbins who dropped you off, wasn't it? I know, I'm a silly sentimentalist.
ButJessica, I don't know if I can ever forgive Paul for what he's doing to poor Leon at this point.
But, Emily, I mean, this is not a job that he relishes.
But Leon's confession has tied his hands.
Jessica, I don't know how a man like Leon could ever know a girl like Rhonda.
You knew her too? Well, of course.
Jessica, dear, she was our sister.
Though how a girl like that ever became a Delta Alpha Chi, I will never know.
She, uh- She lived here as an undergraduate- uh, that is, until the accident.
What accident? Well, last spring Rhonda asked the fiancé of a friend to drive her home from the April Fool's Dance.
And that young man was driving his sports car and lost control and they crashed.
Rhonda escaped without a scratch, and that poor young man died before the ambulance could arrive.
Oh, Emily, I'm so sorry.
Rhonda wasn't.
I shouldn't have let him go.
It was just a stupid quarrel.
You know, I don't even remember what it was about.
Oh, Sarah, you can't blame yourself.
It wasn't anyone's fault.
You've got to believe that.
Would you like a nice hot cup of tea? [Girl] Hi, Rhondal [Emily] Rhonda came back from her doctor's wearing a neck brace.
Since there was no other car involved, she was obviously trying to bilk the boy's insurance company.
Poor Sarah.
It's so tragic.
You're just lucky I was in the car instead of you.
He died in my arms.
What a dreadful, callous thing for you to say.
No, no.
I'm sure she didn't mean it like that.
I think she meant it exactly like that.
Didn't you, Rhonda dear? Why, Miss Dyers, you have a truly vicious mind.
All right, that's enough.
I've been looking for an excuse.
We've put up with you all we're going to.
You pack up your things and get out.
I'm paid up to the end of the semester.
I'll write you a check.
The boy's fiancée, Sarah, never even stayed to graduate.
I guess you could say now that, uh, justice has been served.
Tell me, Emily, did she collect a large amount from the boy's insurance company? Oh, no.
I'm happy to say she didn't even get a dime.
And when she moved into her new apartment, I mean, did you notice any change in her lifestyle? I really didn't see her much, Jessica.
Oh, except once.
I went into Boston to a restaurant.
And there was Rhonda, dressed like a movie star.
Enough of that.
I've got so much I wanna talk to you about.
I may even let you have your old room.
Whoever said you can't go home again? Excuse me, Miss Dyers? Oh, Steve! Hi.
Jessica, you remember Cathy Hampton? Cathy? Of course.
We struggled through chemistry together.
Well, this handsome devil is her son, Steve Chambers.
Steve, I want you to meet a very dear friend-Jessica Fletcher.
Pleased to meet you.
I'm happy to meet you too, Steve.
Now, I suppose you've come here for your wife.
Why? You offering somethin' better? Oh, you devil.
I just might take you up on that.
I'll go get her for you.
It's remarkable.
You know, you look exactly like your mother.
But then, of course, with Cathy eloping as she did, I never really got a chance to meet your father.
Well, unfortunately, neither did I.
My father was killed in Korea a couple of months before I was born.
It must have been very difficult for your mother, raising you by herself.
Yeah, but Mom was a trouper.
She came back, finished up her degree, then took a job in the school's administration office.
So when the time came, I was able to go to Harrison tuition-free.
And after she died my junior year, there was talk of revoking my scholarship.
But, uh, well, luckily, one of the professors went to bat for me.
In fact, if it hadn't been for him, I wouldn't be teaching here now.
That professor wouldn't, by any chance, happen to be Leon Walker, would it? How did you know? Well, I was down at the police station earlier to see him.
And I couldn't help but overhear your discussion with the sergeant.
Leon means a great deal to you, doesn't he? Yeah, though it's hard for my wife to understand.
To her, he's just an interfering old man, but- God, to me, Leon's been like a rock ever since I was a kid.
I mean, he'd see me hanging around the school waiting for Mom to get off work, and he'd take me for ice cream, maybe a movie.
You know, little things.
No wonder you were upset.
I mean, the thought of Leon going to prison is just terrible.
There's no way Leon is going to prison.
I mean, according to the paper, she tried to stab him.
It was purely self-defense.
[Woman] Spoken like a true disciple.
Oh, hello, honey.
Uh, Mrs.
Fletcher, this is my wife, Karen.
Oh, how do you do? Oh, a little worse for having cleaned out the attic.
- Oh.
- Karen is a Delta Alpha Chi too, class of'84.
Eighty-four? Well, then you must have known Rhonda Sykes.
I was already a senior when she pledged.
Besides, Rhonda never got friendly with anyone who couldn't help her with her grades.
Coming, Steve? Nice to meet you, Mrs.
##[Piano] [Jessica] Is it me, or has this place remained exactly the same as when you brought me here at homecoming, senior year? Jess, don't tell me you remember that.
Remember? [Laughs] There you were, ordering the most expensive items on the menu- shrimp cocktail, 75 cents.
Can you blame me for trying to impress you? I would've gotten away with it if I hadn't forgotten my wallet.
Luckily the manager's son was, uh, pledging your fraternity.
Otherwise, we might've been washing dishes to this very day.
I don't know.
I kinda like the image.
You and me up to our elbows in hot, greasy suds together.
Good evening.
Would you care to order drinks? How about some champagne? Mmm.
A bottle of your best.
Right away, sir.
Now, since I know you're dying to find out what I've learned, let's get this business out of the way right now.
I had to pull a few strings, but this is all that the police found on Leon when they arrested him.
Not much here, I'm afraid.
Nothing suspicious at all.
[Leon] My son? No, no.
You're forgetting, Jessica, Martha and I never had any children.
But Cathy Hampton did not long after her sudden elopement in her senior year.
She even sent Emily a photo of herself and the baby.
This baby, Leon- your son, Steve Chambers.
Steve's father was killed in Korea.
He'll tell you so himself.
Oh, I'm sure he will.
But you know better, don't you, Leon? Cathy and I never meant to fall in love.
We never even wanted to.
But love isn't a choice.
Martha never knew, of course.
When Cathy got pregnant, I wanted to marry her.
She refused, saying she couldn't be responsible for what a divorce would do to my career.
Instead, she made up that phony elopement and left to have the baby alone.
Lfinally found her, and I begged her to come back.
She agreed on condition that our relationship was over and that Steve would never be told the truth.
I've kept my promise ever since.
Now I ask you to do the same.
Leon, I know that you love your son.
But if Steve killed Rhonda Sykes, then he has to be held accountable.
No! No! No! Steve never killed anyone.
I did.
And I'll swear to it in any court you name.
Emily? Emily, are you there? Whoa! Wait a minute.
Let me- Let me help you take some of those.
Trying to save myself a few trips.
[Chuckling] Well, what's a sorority sister for, huh? Well, the turnout for the Fall Alumni Cleanup gets smaller every year.
Well, I think it's very nice that you take time to help.
It's not as if I had anything better to do or the money to do it with.
Steve makes so little as a teacher and works so late, I haven't been out a single night in the past two weeks.
It must be very difficult.
You know, I understand that Steve is a very popular teacher.
Is Advertising Writing 401 one of his classes? What you're really asking me is whether Rhonda was in his class.
The answer is yes.
I saw some of her test papers, and they weren't very good.
But the registrar said that she got a "B" for the course.
Draw your own conclusion.
I'm sure you will anyway.
Steve's kind of popularity must be an occupational hazard.
The only hazard is to the health of any coed I catch coming on to him.
How do you think I caught him? Jessica, you're back.
Margaret just phoned, and she's coming over for tea at 4:00.
And you'll stay, won't you, dear? I'm making one of my famous sweet-tooth hot sugar cakes.
No kidding? Um, gee, I hate to miss it, but the thing is, I have a dentist appointment.
People usually go to the dentist after they have my cake.
[Chuckling] I'll save you a piece.
Um, well, if you'll excuse me, I've got some mattresses to air.
[Door Closes] You know, I've always been so fond of Karen, but lately, she's been so- I don't know- distant.
The other night I pulled up beside her at a stoplight, and I waved, and she just drove off as if she didn't even see me.
Are you sure it was Karen? She just told me she hadn't been out a single night for the past two weeks.
Well, she was out Monday night.
Um, I was just comin' home from the movies when I saw her, so it must have been about 10:30.
[Phone Rings] Excuse me.
Delta Alpha Chi.
Oh, hello, Paul.
Yes, she's here.
Just a minute.
[Paul] Jessl I'm sorry I'm late.
I got hung up at the office.
That's why I wanted to meet you here, away from everything.
That's okay.
Get your breath.
You said on the phone it was something important, something serious.
It is.
I'm upping the charges against Leon to murder one.
What? Forensics not only found his fingerprints on the candleholder, but on the letter opener as well.
And Leon has admitted that he planted that letter opener in her hand so he could claim self-defense.
Look, Leon may have planted the letter opener, but he did not kill Rhonda Sykes.
Then why has he hired a lawyer to plead him guilty as charged? But don't you see? It's obvious.
He's deliberately railroading himself.
What can I do? If someone as close to him as you can't stop him, who can? [Steve] Mrs.
This is a surprise.
- Am I disturbing you? - Oh, no, not at all.
The truth is, I could use a break.
I'm outlining study schedules.
Please sit down.
Oh, that brings back memories.
Late nights and hard decisions.
I didn't know you were a teacher.
Oh, yes.
19 years of high school English.
You know, part of me still misses it.
Oh, I know what you mean.
Half the time, I don't know who's learning more- the students or me.
And that's what makes it doubly tragic about Leon.
Not only is a nice, decent man going to prison, but the school is losing a highly gifted teacher.
Fletcher, that's not going to happen.
I've already started a petition for clemency.
There are at least 10 faculty members willing to testify to his character.
I mean, I figure with that, plus the fact that it was clearly self-defense, the court is bound to let him go.
I don't think so.
I mean, Leon has admitted that he planted the letter opener in Rhonda's hand.
And he's also told his attorney to plead him guilty.
You mean, he's not even trying to defend himself? It seems that he wants to be convicted.
But- But they can't do that.
The court has got to prove him guilty, right? Not if he confesses.
But that's crazy.
What's crazy is there's no way to stop him.
No! No.
Fletcher, there's something you have to know.
Leon didn't kill Rhonda.
I did.
[Steve] It started about a month ago.
My wife walked out on me for a couple of weeks after I turned down a high-paying job at an ad agency in New York.
I was pretty upset, and, well, Rhonda had been coming on to me the whole term, so l- I guess I just thought- [Sighs] See, I knew it was a mistake, but when I tried to break it off, Rhonda said she'd tell Karen everything unless I kept seeing her.
The night it happened, I told Karen I'd be working late, and I went over to Rhonda's to tell her we were through, no matter what.
L- I guess I got there about 10:00.
We had a little wine while I tried to find the courage to tell her.
Rhonda, we have to talk.
You know how much I love you.
I'm sorry.
I never should have let it go this far.
Is it Karen? Leave her.
Rhonda, I can't do that.
I've already compromised my teaching job.
Quit your job.
You don't need it.
I struck it rich with that accident.
My secret little gold mine will pay for everything.
Rhonda, listen, please.
Listen, it's over.
I won't let you go.
Rhonda, don't be crazy.
Don't be crazy.
We both knew it couldn't last.
[Grunting] Stop it! Stop it! And when I saw she wasn't moving, l- I panicked and I ran out.
I must've driven around a half an hour tryin' to think what to do.
Finally I decided to go home and tell my wife everything.
But when I got there, she was out, so that's when I called Leon.
But why? Why would you call Leon Walker? I've always gone to Leon when I needed help.
After I told Leon what had happened, well, he said she was probably only knocked unconscious and that I should just sit there and wait things out.
So I did.
It- It wasn't till I read the morning paper that I saw that Leon must have gone to check on Rhonda himself.
And when he saw she was dead, l- Well, I guess he took the blame to cover for me.
I know I should have come forward right then.
But I kept thinking that with Leon's reputation, plus the fact that he was pleading self-defense, that the jury would have to let him go.
While me, they'd lock up for life.
Still, I never would have let Leon go to prison, I swear.
I just didn't have the guts to tell the truth till now.
Jess, you said that Leon was innocent, and you were right.
I'm dropping all charges against him and reinstating them against Steve Chambers.
Yes, but you know, Paul, there are still some very puzzling little things about all this.
What do you mean? He's made a full confession.
I know, and I believe it's sincere.
But the problem is, if he killed Rhonda by the door, as he said he did, why was the body found in the kitchenette? Well, maybe she didn't die right away.
Maybe she came to and staggered into the kitchen, and there she collapsed.
Yeah, but if she had come to, why didn't she call an ambulance for help? Oh, Jess, who knows? With a blow like that, maybe she wasn't thinking.
Besides, no matter where she died, Steve is the one who killed her.
And as soon as I drop you off, I'm starting proceedings.
If you don't mind, I'll- I'll pass on the ride to the sorority.
Of course.
You'll call me? Yeah.
Leonl Leon, waitl Please! I'm so sorry.
You had no right to tell Steve, no right at all.
Oh, but I didn't tell him.
Oh, no? Then why did he turn himself in? Well, because whether or not he knows that you're his father, he cares about you.
Well, look, I admit that there are times when he's weak and afraid.
But when the cards are down, Steve came through.
Not because he thought that you were his father, but because you're his friend.
I always knew Steve had backbone.
Now he's proved it, and they're sending him to prison.
Well, maybe not.
Leon, tell me, can you remember about what time you got to Rhonda's house that night? Uh, it must have been about 11:00.
I, uh- I hung up with Steve, and I left right away.
It would take me about, uh, 15 minutes.
Well, with the half hour that he said that he spent driving around, Steve must have left Rhonda's about 10:15.
And if you didn't arrive till 11:00, that leaves 45 minutes during which anything could have happened.
Are you saying someone else came in and killed her? Well, it might explain why Rhonda's body was found in the kitchen.
I mean, instead of by the door where Steve said that he struck her.
And there's something else.
According to Steve, he and Rhonda had some wine that night.
But when Paul and I were there the next day, there were no glasses out.
When I got there and found out she was dead, I rinsed out the glasses and put them away so the police wouldn't find the fingerprints.
Oh, I see.
Well, then there's only the money.
What money? Rhonda told Steve that the accident she was in last spring provided her with- What did she say? A secret gold mine.
And some of the things in her apartment were certainly very expensive.
Yet, according to Emily, Rhonda never made a dime off the insurance claim.
Well, then what gold mine was she talking about? [Paul] I don't get it.
What does this ridiculous picture got to do with Rhonda's murder? Well, whoever killed Rhonda broke into her desk drawer looking for something, remember? Something important enough to have killed for.
Yes, so? Well, as far as I can understand, Rhonda was far too smart a girl to have, uh- well, to have hidden something that valuable in such an obvious place.
[Jessica] Instead, she might have picked somewhere that no one would think oflooking.
What is it? Just a minute.
April 2 of this year.
The night of the accident, Rhonda was riding back from an April Fool's dance.
This must have been- This must have been developed the day after.
Pretty ghoulish memento.
That's just it.
According to Emily, Rhonda and the boy were riding in a sports car.
I mean, this is a compact.
I don't know what it means, but I'll have the police check the license.
If we hurry, I can drop it off before my 5:00 conference.
5:00? Oh, good heavens.
I was supposed to be at the sorority at 4:00.
Jessica! Jessica, what are you doing? Emily and I have been expecting you for an hour.
And now I'm running late for a meeting.
Margaret, I'm sorry.
I should have called you.
The fact of the matter is, we discovered a photograph at Rhonda's place that may shed some new light on things.
A photograph? Yes, it was developed the day after Rhonda's accident last spring.
It's a picture of a damaged car- a picture of your car, Margaret.
I don't know what you're talking about.
I think you do.
Let's find somewhere quiet where we can talk.
I guess I'd had too much to drink that night.
Guess we all drink too much at those alumni dinners.
Anyway, coming home there was a stop sign.
Suddenly, a sports car appeared out of nowhere.
I mean, it was just there.
And before I knew it- I got out of the car to see what had happened.
That's when I saw Rhonda.
And she saw me.
And what happened? I got in the car and went back home.
Though I do remember calling an ambulance before I passed out.
I didn't know the boy had died until Rhonda's phone call woke me the next morning.
I know it was wrong, but it would have meant losing everything- my work with Leon, everything.
So, when Rhonda offered to tell the police that the boy had simply lost control ofhis car and hit a tree, I let her lie.
And I've been paying for it ever since.
Well, it certainly explains the "A" she got in your American Lit class.
I spoke to the registrar.
It also explains where she got the money for all of her expensive things.
Money? I never gave her any money.
Better grades, letters of recommendation, yes.
But I couldn't afford to give her any money.
On what I make? I always assumed that's why she never asked.
[Bottle Shatters] There's something that you're not telling me, isn't there? The night of the accident, you weren't alone in that car, were you? In fact, in your condition, you probably weren't driving.
Someone else was behind the wheel.
Isn't that the truth? Someone who Rhonda recognized.
You sure the D.
Said this is okay? I'm sure.
He'll be here any minute.
Excuse me.
[Vehicle Approaches, Stops] [Vehicle Door Opens, Closes] What was that all about? [Paul] Jessical Sergeant.
I just got your message.
What's up? You find something else? Yes.
Something occurred to me while I was talking to Margaret this afternoon.
It was about the accident.
You talked to Margaret about that? Why? Well, because it was Margaret's car in that picture.
Though that should hardly surprise you, since it was you who was driving it that night.
Margaret told you that? Yes.
She only confirmed what I already guessed.
After all, Rhonda had to be getting her money from somewhere.
And when I learned that it hadn't come from Margaret, I realized that it had to have come from you.
Why else would you have killed her? Me? Oh, now just a minute, Jess.
All right, I might've been driving that car, and I might've given her some money to keep her mouth shut, but I didn't kill her.
[Sighs] But it has to be you, Paul.
How else would you have known about the wine glasses? Leon's already said he went over to try to talk to her.
They had some wine, they got a little drunk.
The wine glasses hadn't been out when we came over the next day, because Leon had put them away before the police arrived.
Only someone who had been here during the 45 minutes between the time that Steve left and Leon arrived could have known about those glasses.
How on earth would I have known about that 45 minutes? E.
- Rhonda must have called you.
- Why would Rhonda call me? Maybe she decided to hurt Steve in any way she could.
And how more public than in court? Maybe she called the only attorney she knew who couldn't refuse to help her.
Even if this entire fabrication is true, Jess, you'd never be able to prove that Rhonda made that call.
You may not have noticed, but Rhonda's phone has one of those redial buttons.
The last number that Rhonda ever dialed is stored in here.
[Beeping] [Line Ringing] [Ringing Continues] [Paul On Answering Machine] Hello, you've reached the residence of Paul Robbins.
I'm unable to answer the phone right now, but- [Knocking] What happened? Steve tried to kill me.
Oh, damn.
I'm still bleeding all over the place.
I want you to put him away for this.
I'd go careful with that.
A trial could be messy for both of us.
I don't care.
I hate him.
I want him to be sorry for a long, long time.
I'm sure he will be.
[Paul On Tape] I searched her desk for the photograph of Margaret's car, and when I couldn't find it, I took the bloody kitchen towels and left to make that anonymous complaint.
I was more surprised than anyone when Leon took the blame.
Looks like you're both free to go.
And if either one of you were thinking about takin' a sudden sabbatical, don't.
There are still questions to be answered about assault and impeding a murder investigation.
I really wanna thank you, Mrs.
Even I thought I was guilty.
[Laughs] Well that should give you pause.
It does.
Leon, I really let you down.
I should have told the truth from the beginning.
Some truths are difficult to tell.
I just hope you can forgive me.
I almost told him.
I didn't know how to- how to say it.
I think the words will come now.
Why don't you give it a try? Maybe you're right.
Maybe it is time to tell him.