The Staircase (2022) s01e08 Episode Script

America's Sweetheart or: Time Over Time

FEBRUARY 24, 2017
DAY OF THE ALFORD PLEA
What is it you wanted
to talk about, Michael?
Baseball.

Baseball?
Don't worry about the time.

Why are we really sitting here, Michael?
THE STAIRCASE
That's all I got to say.

Jean, we're friends, right?
Please don't say anything to Sophie.

Just let her see it.

Of course.

Yeah!
Come on.
I got you.

I got you.

Are you cold? Did you have fun?
Can I take my floaties off?
Yes, we can take
your floaties off.

DECEMBER 9, 2011
NIGHT BEFORE RETRIAL HEARING
Okay!
So, guys, Happy and Healthy
coming to you live from
Durham, North Carolina.

As you can see,
I'm not on the Cabo diet today.

Beef sliders are not part of the regimen,
but I'm back home with my brother
on a very important family trip.

- No.

- Clay.

- Clay-Man, say hi.

- Get the fuck outta here.

Well, he has always been
the shyer brother.

Anyways, thank you guys
so much for checking in,
and I hope to be back soon
with some good news.

How many people watch that?
Well, it's like a little
over 100 every post.

But it's all about
consistency and quantity.

That's how you build the following.

Do you think people
are there because of Dad?
Yeah, absolutely.

There's people that
are fans of the doc,
true crime fans.

Even people that don't like Dad
are happy to see me doing well.

You're doing great, man.

Thanks, Clay.

Are you reading Dad's book?
Yeah.

My therapist recommended
reading it years ago,
but I just started.

There's a lot to dissect in there, Margie.

I'm sure.

You have a match.

You want to see?
Can you check it?
Yeah.

She's cute.

Yeah?
Let me see.

Why are you smiling?
I don't know, you just,
you never said anything to me.

You never asked.

Like, no one ever asked me.

I would have told you.

I just
figured you didn't want to talk about it.

That's the whole fucked-up thing
about our family, Margie.

Like, nobody,
ever really just
talks about anything, ever.

Like, we haven't talked about
my trip, about Germany.

Yeah, we did.

You said it was enlightening.

Okay.
Yeah, but, like,
don't you want to know why?
Jesus, Martha.
Why does everything have
to be so serious?
It's my birthday tomorrow.

Can we just eat a bunch of candy
and act like 15-year-olds
who've never had
a hotel room to themselves? Please.

I know, I know.
I just
want to celebrate this moment.

Celebrate how?
Fuck.

DECEMBER 7, 2001
ONE DAY BEFORE KATHLEEN'S DEATH
PLANNING & RETIREMEN
NORTEL NETWORK CORPS
- Hello.

- Hey, Candy.

Hey.

I know we haven't spoken
since Thanksgiving.

It's all been really crazy.

Yeah.
Same here.

Right.

Anyway, I wanted to say
thank you for hosting us.

Of course, was happy to spend
some time with Mike.

I hope everyone got enough to eat.

How's work? Is it any easier this week?
Well, no, they're sending me
on this last-minute trip to Toronto.

- Everything okay there?
- It's fine.

Full steam ahead for Christmas.

I'm at the doctor now.

- You okay?
- Yeah, fine.

Just routine.

Can never be too careful.

Are you doing okay?
I was really worried after you left.

Hey,
what if I ditched the Toronto trip
and you leave Ash with Mark
and we get a flight to Turks and Caicos?
What are you talking about?
Yeah.
Or Aruba.

We deserve it, right?
Are you joking?
Of course.

Yeah.
That's funny.

Yeah.

Alright.
Well, I got to get back to it.

Okay.

Love to Mark and Ash.

Yeah.
Thanks for calling.

Bye.

INBOX 16 UNREAD MESSAGES
MICHAEL PETERSON
FROM MICHAEL PETERSON
TO KATHLEEN
TICKETS TO THE DURHAM HERALD
CHRISTMAS BALL
I MANAGED TO SCORE A COUPLE TICKETS
TO THE DURHAM HERALD CHRISTMAS BALL.

IT WAS SOLD OUT BUT I PULLED SOME STRINGS.

YOU LOOKED GREAT LAST NIGHT
Kathleen?
Kathleen.

Every time
you call my name
The passion's so complete
It's never ending
As long as I
Oh my god!
You're home early.

Jesus.

Here, zip me up.

Thank you.

Thank you very much.

- Hey!
- Good to see you!
- You're glowing.

- Yeah?
You ever know, maybe I'm pregnant again.

- God.

- No, no.

You think the beef will be like
shoe leather again this year?
Like shoe leather?
I'm pretty sure it was shoe leather.

We'll be too drunk
at that point for it to matter.

Cheers.
Merry Christmas.

Merry Christmas.

NEVER FORGE
9 11
I love your makeup.

Thank you.

Enjoy your Prince Charming.

Yeah.

- Merry Christmas.

- Happy happy.

Excuse me.

Time to go, Peterson.

We're transferring you
to County for the hearing.

Do I take everything now
or do I come back?
How lucky do you feel?
THE RETRIAL HEARING
That's the girlfriend.

Poor, stupid woman.

All rise.

Oyez! Oyez! Oyez!
This honorable court
for the County of Durham
is now open and sitting for
the dispatch of its business.

The Honorable Judge
Orlando Hudson presiding.

God save the state
and this honorable court.

Please be seated.

THE ALFORD PLEA
Wonder where everyone is.

I guess they finally
came to their senses.

You feeling okay?
Oh, sure.

No more second thoughts?
I'm here, aren't I?
Jesus.

Alright.
Before we proceed,
does the district attorney
want to call up anyone
to make a statement?
Yes, Your Honor.

Kathleen's family would like to be heard.

I'd like to call Candace Zamperini.

- Good morning.

- Good morning.

I'm Candace Zamperini,
one of Kathleen's sisters.

Not long after my sister's death,
I went for the first time
to meet with District Attorney Jim Hardin.

Inevitably, I didn't want to believe.

Obviously, I didn't want to believe
that my sister had been murdered.

I was sure this was an accident.

At that meeting, Jim Hardin asked
if I wanted to see the autopsy pictures
and some crime scene photos.

It was my Pandora's box.

All the evils of my sister's death
leaped into my eyes.

The horrors of my sister's
beating were shown.

And because of you,
my sister has been gone
from this world for ten years.

Ten years ago today, she was murdered.

Her 35 cuts, bruises, wounds, contusions.

Yes, she was strangled.

And the seven death blows
to the back of her head,
causing her to bleed slowly to death.

My sister has lied
in her grave for 16 years.

Ten years
Lori and I have been without our sister
and ten years her daughter hasn't had her.

You took the life
of the one that provided for you
and guided your children.

She loved you guys.

She loved you.

Kathleen was the best thing you ever had.

Michael Peterson was correctly charged,
and he is pleading guilty today.

The words "Alford plea,"
they're meaningless.

Alford schmal-ford.
Means nothing.
Guilt.

An innocent man doesn't plead guilty.

A guilty one does.

And that's why I'm asking you,
Judge Hudson, today
to immediately dismiss
this retrial hearing.

Please.

Please.

Do not give this killer
a chance at freedom.

Thank you, Your Honor.

Your words are very moving,
Mrs.
Zamperini.

Your sister's memory
is not lost on this court.

Come on.
Come on.

The court, in its discretion,
will deny the motion
to dismiss the hearing.

The court is ready to proceed
with the hearing for a retrial.

Your Honor, I would like to call
Evelyn Ivins to the stand.

I was specifically
focused on Greg Taylor,
who was wrongfully convicted,
which led me to Duane Deaver
and the inner workings
of the North Carolina SBI.

What did you learn?
For years, the SBI has been engaging
in unconstitutional behavior,
hiding exculpatory evidence
from the defense
in order to ensure
convictions for the state.

Thank you, Ms.
Ivins.

And why should we trust you?
Well, sir, I've written
over 200 bloodstain reports
and overseen 500 scenes.

No further questions,
Your Honor.

Have you had a chance to review
all documents provided by the State
related to Agent Duane Deaver's
20-year career?
I did.

Well over 100,000 pages.

And you reviewed all of that?
Unfortunately.

Yeah.
Alright.
Alright.

How many cases were there in total
in which Agent Deaver
just observed bloodstains,
either at the scene,
at the SBI laboratory,
or by looking at photos?
Only 54.

In how many of those cases
did Agent Deaver provide
a bloodstain pattern analysis opinion?
Thirty-six.
Not 200.

Not 200.

How many cases were there
in which Agent Deaver
actually performed tests
or experiments
before the Peterson case?
Three.
Only three.

Mr.
Guerette, if someone
claims that they've worked
on hundreds of cases over a 20-year career
but actually only worked
on less than five,
what would you call that?
- Lying.

- Objection, Your Honor.

- That is a lie.

- Sustained.

No more questions,
Your Honor.

As Mrs.
Zamperini mentioned earlier,
today marks the ten-year anniversary
of Kathleen's death.

Ten years ago,
Michael and Kathleen Peterson
enjoyed a night in with a movie
from Blockbusters,
"America's Sweethearts.
"
After she finished with a work call,
they decided to go out by the pool
with a bottle of wine.

They talked about the kids
and Christmas.

They were looking towards the future.

Then she said good night.

Michael stayed out by the pool.

And when he came back in later,
he found his wife,
the love of his life, barely breathing
at the bottom of the steps from a fall.

A tragic accident.

But in large part because of Duane Deaver,
the DA convinced the jury
that this was murder.

What we know now is that
Deaver had a habit
of preparing misleading reports
and presenting misleading testimony
under oath.

We never asked for a perfect trial.

But we at least deserved a fair one.

I'm therefore going to ask
the court at this time
to grant Michael Peterson a new trial
at which the evidence can be presented
in a fair and unbiased way.

Then
let a jury of 12,
sort it out.

Thank you, Your Honor.

Alright.

Would the defendant please rise?
Do you understand, sir,
that you do have the right
to plead not guilty and have a jury trial?
- Yes.

- Mr.
Peterson,
you're pleading guilty pursuant
to North Carolina versus Alford case
of voluntary manslaughter.

- Do you understand, sir?
- Yes.

Has Mr.
Peterson proven
that Duane Deaver misled this court?
The answer to that question is yes.

Has Mr.
Peterson proven
that Duane Deaver misled
the jury on the validity of his argument?
The answer to that question is
yes.

Was Deaver's misleading testimony
critical and material
to the conviction of Mr.
Peterson?
The answer to that question is
yes.

Alright.

Do you understand that
when you enter a plea of Alford,
the court will treat you
as though you're guilty
for the purpose of sentencing?
Yes, sir.

So, Mr.
Peterson,
to the charge of voluntary manslaughter
in the death of Kathleen Peterson,
how do you plead?
Guilty.

I plead guilty.

The court finds
that the defendant
will receive a new trial
at a time that the State deems fit.

The court will begin the process
of releasing Mr.
Peterson immediately.

The court finds that Mr.
Peterson
has fulfilled his obligation
pursuant to the Alford plea
and has no further obligations
to the State of North Carolina.

You're free to go.

Court dismissed.

Congratulations.

Alright, let's
You have a 10 p.
m.
curfew
that will be strictly monitored.

Be right back.

Do you want to shower and get some rest?
No.
No, no, absolutely not.

No, no, I'm okay.
Thank you.

So, you old man, where do
you want to go celebrate?
Clay, let's go to Amalfi.

I feel I could eat
an enormous, obscene bowl
of spaghetti and meatballs.

- Can you get on that?
- On it.

Amalfi.
This is Jessica.

How may I help you?
Yeah, I need to make a reservation
for a large group, 12 for tonight.

Certainly.
What's the name?
It's for Michael Peterson.

Michael Peterson,
Michael Peterson?
- Yes.

- Okay.

Just a moment.
Please hold.

Hello.
Are you calling
about Michael Peterson?
Yep.
We used to go there all the time.

Yes.
Well, the thing is
we don't seat convicted killers.

Thank you.

In 2011, Michael Peterson
was granted a retrial
and released from prison
based on a technicality.

- We good?
- Amalfi can't take us.

We're too big of a party.

How does everyone feel about Baja Palace?
Peterson remained out of prison
for the last six years
awaiting the retrial.

But the negotiations between the State
and the defense ended in a stalemate,
with both sides conceding that
a retrial could be difficult.

Today, Michael Peterson
entered an Alford plea,
thus ending the 16-year saga
of the State versus Michael Iver Peterson.

Tune in later tonight
for my sit-down interview
with Michael Peterson himself.

You want me to keep going?
Sorry.
Give me a minute.

Yeah, of course.
I get it.

CLAYTON
VIDEO ATTACHED
ABC NEWS
24/7 COVERAGE OF BREAKING NEWS AND EVENTS
Hi, everybody.

Come on, Nate!
You got this!
TEAM'S LOOKING GREAT!
DID YOU GUYS SEE DAD TOOK THE PLEA?
THANK GOD
FINALLY
SHOULD WE HAVE GONE TODAY?
NO.
IT'S STILL HARD TO BE AROUND HIM.

Don't be afraid to possess
the space that you need
to express these feelings.

You're safe here.
This is a safe space.

I AGREE.
WE ALL HAVE BETTER THINGS
TO THINK ABOUT.

BREAK A LEG TONIGHT, MARTHA.
SEND PICS!
I SHOULD LAND JUST IN TIME
TO MAKE CURTAIN CALL.

- You okay?
- Yeah.

- Let's get back to it.

- Alright.

What was the worst part?
Do we have to show my face?
Of course not.
No.

Whatever makes you comfortable.

Tilt down, please.

Hey, guys.
Todd here.

Every day I wake up just so grateful.

Grateful to be alive and to be healthy
and to be talking to you guys.

I know last week I was a bit confused
in anticipation of today.

A lot of you guys reached out to me
to check in to see if I was okay,
and that meant the world to me.

I don't know, Candy.

I feel nothing now.

Well, then something maybe
is wrong with me
because I still feel pissed.

We waited six years for a retrial.

You have to let it go.

We knew.

I knew
something was wrong with him.

Why didn't
we say anything to Kathleen?
To be polite?
We couldn't tell our sister
to leave her husband
because we thought that
he was an arrogant jerk.

No.

It was more than that.

I had a feeling.

You can't stop fate.

Kathleen died the day that she met him.

AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS - PG-13
What are you thinking about?
I'm thinking about going to Aruba.

Then Paris.

Or Paris then Aruba.

And then I'm thinking about how I can't
afford anywhere but Durham.

Well, honey, we can afford
pasta and Blockbusters.

Maybe they have
It's him.

Should we say something?
No, just ignore it.

We have nothing to hide.

What would you like?
Well
Here, Dad, you need help?
Fuck.

Clayton, can you pick for me?
- Sure.

- You do it.

I haven't had good food
in a century.

He'll have
the steak fajitas, please.

Excuse me.

Can I get a double tequila neat, please.

Yes, sir.

Dad, I have a surprise.

What is it? What is it?
It's just a silly cup
that Kathleen and I bought.

I hid it so it wouldn't get sold.

Who'd want it?
- Dad.

- Please, no.

Please, don't start with me.

Okay.

Sophie,
thank you for
being there for our dad
and for fighting for him.

You never gave up.

And I don't think
my dad would be here
if it weren't for you.

To Sophie.

To Sophie.

Could you pass it?
It's your turn.

- To Margaret.

- No, you pick someone else.

Okay.

Okay.

To Martha.

Well, from the first footage
that Jean sent to Paris,
I knew you were bright and sensitive.

It wasn't easy with the cameras
in your face all the time.

But you had courage.
You didn't hide.

So thank you for letting us
into your life.

- To Martha.

- To Martha.

And know all of you that
Paris is your second home.

Great.
Thank you.

- Cheers to that.

- Here you go.

- Just don't come all together.

- Thank you.

Thank you.

To Patty.

Thank you for your kindness.

What I've learned about just empathy
and understanding from you has
- You alright?
- Yeah.
I'm okay.

To my eldest.

A husband,
a father in his own right,
and a hero to his own father
all these years.

How you turned your life around.

And I wasn't going to tell you yet,
but I have decided
to relocate to Durham
to be closer to you, Michael,
and to everyone here.

Surprise!
To my brother.

My best friend.

I'm inspired by you
and all the people that you've
been reaching with your videos.

Fuck!
Sorry.

Just another one, please.

Sorry, Clay, go on.

That's it.
To Todd.

To Todd.

Yeah.

To Dad.

Welcome home.
We missed you.

You made me the man I am today.

Thank you.

- To Dad.

- To Dad.

To everybody.

There's a moment,
the thing is,
after all this time,
Kathleen would
I need to go to the bathroom.

I'll come with you.

What am I, incontinent?
I can still piss on my own, thanks.

Oh my god.
It is so stupid.

Hello?
Hey.

- Hey, love birds.

- Hey.

What you up to?
Watching some delightful crap.

What are you doing here?
I'm going to Nate's
Christmas party with Christina,
and I thought
I would come crash here.

Christina Tomasetti?
She's engaged, right?
Yeah.

Just like your father.

Let's go to the kitchen.

We need a refill.

Alright.

I'm reading your books.

No shit.
What do you think?
I was wondering when one
of you kids would be curious.

I recognize a lot of you in it.

There's the soldier and the father
and the Renaissance man
and the nun.

Well, you know,
Kathleen said the same thing.

"You know you're everyone
in your books, right?"
There's even that queer character.

I just thought it was so honest.

The moment he comes out is so painful.

I feel like I finally understood
what it must have been like
for you to be a teenager back then.

Yeah?
So, which book was that?
- "A Bitter Peace.
"
- Not my best work.

We have so much to talk about, Dad.

Alright, who wants dessert?
- Yes, I do.

- I'm in.

How about some sweets, huh?
Birthday girl gets to decide.

For everyone, huh? The pressure.

Okay.

Sweetheart, do you need
some help with that?
No, I'm good.

I will have the cheesecake.

Who the fuck orders cheesecake
at a Mexican restaurant?
Okay.
So someone else choose.

Margie the Martyr.

Don't be so dramatic.

Just get the cheesecake.

I don't even like cheesecake.

I just picked it
because it's what I thought
everyone else would choose.

So, I'm sorry.
I'm sorry I picked
the wrong dessert.

It's been a very emotional day
for everybody.

Anyway, there's
no time for dessert.

The curfew?
From a pencil.
Yeah.

Okay.

I'll check in
with you tomorrow, okay.

- Thank you.

- Yeah.

Okay.

- Love you.

- I love you.

David said it could be years
before a retrial.

What if they send me back?
They won't.

How am I going to survive?
- I'm broke.

- I'm here.

The kids are here.

We'll take care of you.

And you're free right now.

That's all that matters.

Hey.
Hey.

It's okay.

I'm such a fuck-up, Clay.

You're just drunk.

You're drunk.

My dear boys.

It has been a long, long day.

Come.
Come to your dear mama.

Clayton, help me.

- Come on.

- Okay.

- Come on.

- Come on.

I'm such a fuck-up, Mom.

No, no, no.
You need some sleep.

Oh shit.
I forgot.

I got you a birthday present.

Don't say I never got you anything.

What is it?
It's the view
from our bedroom
in Germany.

We used to see that every morning
when we were little.

It just seemed so peaceful
that I thought it would be a nice memory.

I'm sorry.

Why?
You're the only one in this family
who's actually trying to be honest.

And I lied to you.

Not lied like,
but I
kept something from you.

Dad tried to
separate us when we were kids.

Give you away and keep me.

And
I was so scared that if it got out,
it would hurt him.

And
I wasn't thinking about you.

You weren't.

I'm sorry.

You don't need to protect me
or anyone else, Margie.

Not anymore.

It's okay.

Just promise me.

Well, we'll promise each other.

From here on out,
we just live our own lives.

Okay?
Don't cry.

- It's okay.

- I'm sorry.

It's nice.

It's nice.

Shit.
It's stuck.

Let me help you.

This thing got stuck.

I got it.
Alright.

Thank you.

It's been a while.

Me too.

Lots to do before we leave.

Now we caught up with Michael
days before the Alford plea.

What have the years following
your release been like?
Well, they've been good.

I spent some time
with my granddaughters
and traveled about a bit
once they took my ankle monitor off.

Don't you get tired
of watching yourself?
Come on! You can pack and watch TV.

When an investigation
into the SBI
allowed Peterson's defense to argue
that a key witness,
SBI agent Duane Deaver,
perjured himself on the stand.

A retrial was granted.

Did you pack it?
- What?
- My passport.
I can't find it.

And they decided
that the best route
was an Alford plea.

I wanted to go on fighting.

The last thing I ever wanted
was to say the word.

Where'd you put it?
I didn't put it anywhere.

But I'm 73.

I have to think of the time I have left.

And the risk of losing was too great.

You spent eight years in prison.

What was that like?
The experience of prison is
possibly even more dehumanizing than
- It was next to the bed.

- the experience of going to war.

So,
I notice you're still
wearing a wedding ring.

Yeah.

Is she still
a part of your life.

Yes.

I think about Kathleen every day,
all the time.

I can be standing in the kitchen here
and think she's just going to walk
through that door any moment.

Well, Jim, for now,
it looks like Michael's content
living a solitary life
and being a grandfather.

Come on, let's get to it.

Will you just give me a minute
to catch my breath.

Jesus.

What's wrong with you?
I'm just tired.
I'm sorry.

I'm sorry.

Maybe you want to go on
tomorrow without me.

I'll just come on my own later.

Go to Paris without you?
- Yeah.

- No!
I don't want that.

Well, I need a second.

This is all happening so fast, too fast.

Too fast?
Do you not want to go?
God, I'm just too tired to pack.

I'll finish up packing here this week.

Let's just relax and enjoy the night, huh?
I can't just rush off.

We've been planning this
for months, for years.

So what's another week then?
If you don't want to move to Paris
that's fine.

Just tell me.

No, it's not that I don't want to go.

I'm just worried about
leaving my kids, my grandkids.

- They still need me here.

- Your children?
They don't need you anymore.

Clearly.

They didn't even come today.

I told them not to come.

You didn't have to tell them anything.

In that interview, they asked,
"What have you been doing since prison?"
You say everything but being with me.

What about me traveling with your family?
What about me taking care of you?
You keep saying this bullshit
about Kathleen walking through the door?
I walk through the door, not her.

Those people don't need
to know my business.

What do you care if I mention you?
I'm the editor, not you.

Okay?
I can edit me out if I want.

You don't edit me.

So that's it, huh? Control.

You and Kathleen always trying
to control everything.

Control?
I've been taking care of you
like Kathleen took care of you.

You always act like
you know everything about me.

I had a whole life before that documentary
that you know nothing about.

- Are you coming with me tomorrow?
- I'm not.

You're the one who said
you wanted Paris.

Paris, Paris, Paris, Paris, Paris.

Shut up.

I've given you everything I had.

Everything!
I built my life around you!
Jesus.
Shut up.

For what?
For what?
I don't wanna fucking live
with women anymore, okay?
Is that so hard for you to understand?
I'm done!
I am fucking done!
Did you ever love me?
I don't know.

I don't know.

It's okay.

Sophie.

- I'll
- Sophie.

What is it you wanted
to talk about, Michael?
Baseball.

Baseball?
Don't worry about the time.

Why are we really sitting here, Michael?
I used to play baseball
when I was 11 or 12.

And one night, I was
fantasizing about this girl,
my neighbor's daughter, Melanie,
and suddenly he was there in that fantasy.

And I was very confused by that.

We played on the same ball team.

Wait, who was there?
The shortstop.

At that moment, I realized that I had
a great attraction for females,
but for guys also.

And that that was something
I was going to have to hide.

Did your parents find out?
One night, my father found us,
just experimenting.

He got so mad.

Violent.

I remember sitting in our car
outside the garage listening to the radio.

Just me, my mother,
Mahler's Fifth Symphony,
and my black eye.

After that, I knew it was easier to lie.

It was safer.

Is that it?
Is there something else you wanted to say?
I always felt
there was something you were holding back
during the first trial.

I don't know what,
but there was something.

I was.
There is.

I lied about Kathleen.

She never knew.

I never told her about that side of me.

In the beginning
when people asked,
"Did she know about the men?"
I told them, "Of course, she did.

She knew me.
"
And I'd hoped that would be enough.

But then people ask again and again.

But no, we never talked about it.

I could never make the leap to say to her,
"This is who I am.
"
To make that leap is
very difficult and
I didn't make the leap with Kathleen.

I'm sure I felt guilty.

But when you get away with something
and you keep getting away with it,
it becomes, "Oh, it's alright,"
you see?
I wish I could have told her.

I wonder what she would have said.

She'd have made it right.

Did you kill Kathleen?
Kathleen's death was an accident.

THIS MAN
THIS MAN IS A LIAR.

HE LIED ABOUT EVERYTHING.
EVERYTHING!
THE WHOLE TIME HE LIED.

YES, HE DID, BUT MAYBE THIS IS HIM
TRYING TO STOP.

YOU REALLY THINK SO?
I DON'T KNOW
WHAT TO THINK.

I DON'T KNOW.

BUT, I KNOW
YOU WILL BE HAPPIER WITHOUT HIM.

Jean.

HE DIDN'T.

HE COULDN'T.

Hey, Mom.
Hey, Mike.

I'm starting to get packed up
to see you guys soon.

I was thinking of driving down
if the weather wasn't so bad
and maybe seeing some friends on the way.

But anyway, I can't wait
to see you guys for Christmas.

I really need a watch, wink wink.

I love you.

Hey, Kathleen.

Sorry to call so late,
but we have to do
a conference call tomorrow
to get on the same page about Toronto
before you fly out.

A work call on the weekend.

It sucks, I know,
but I need to send you the presentation.

Call me back, okay.

Hey, Helen.

Shit, you're not sleeping, are you?
Yeah.
Okay.
So what is it?
Shit.
I forgot my laptop at the office.

I've been so out of it.

You know what?
Send it to Mike's e-mail.

Yeah.
It's Mike?
Mike, what's your email?
What? Why?
Well, I just need it for work.

Okay,
it's mpwriter@gte.
net.

Mpwriter@gte.
net.

That's it.
Alright.

Okay.

And thanks, Helen.
Good night.

What was that about?
It was Helen.

- Helen?
- Prislinger.
She works under me
and there's a presentation
I have to review.

So, I'm gonna have
to check it on your email.

Okay.

- Is that alright?
- Of course.

Don't work.

Just look it over in the morning.

Let's relax and enjoy
the rest of the night.

Caitlin called.

Oh yeah? What'd she say?
She's driving down for Christmas.

She's bringing the baby.

He's getting really chubby.

Mmm.

You talk to Margie?
Not yet.

I'll talk to her when she's back up.

You have to talk to her, Mike.

You really upset her.
You never even
talked to her about her divorce.

- You can't put these things off.

- I will.

Martha's doing better, at least.

She's finally doing what she wants.

She's got this dance recital tonight.

Margie's there.
They're together.

The way they should be.

Really?
I thought she was working.

That's what she said,
why she couldn't make it.

Well, she wasn't gonna miss the show.

They're all okay.

You'll be okay too.

Why didn't you tell me?
There was a moment
where I knew who I was.

But it was just a moment.

And I became one thing after another.

I got further and further
from that moment.

And then you came along,
so far from that moment.

It wasn't a lie.

It just wasn't the whole thing.

But what two people ever know
each other really?
Most of it is just smoke and mirrors.

People don't actually know
who they're with.

Hey, I tried all you guys now,
but I guess everyone is pretty busy.

So it turns out I'm not going to Paris.

It's for the best.

I know it's been a while, but maybe we can
all get together soon.

Miss you.

DESPITE THE FREEDOM TO GO ANYWHERE,
MICHAEL NEVER LEFT DURHAM, NC
HE STILL MAINTAINS HIS INNOCENCE
IN THE DEATH OF KATHLEEN ATWATER PETERSON
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