My Professor's Guide to Murder (2023) - full transcript

Ashley is a creative writing graduate student who is one thesis away from graduating. Miles Blake, a celebrity murder mystery writer comes to her university to teach. She gets assigned to be his TA, and they strike up a sort of fr...

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"She runs through
the dark and cold halls...

Senses heightened to
any sound she makes.

The little light she uses,
bounces from the walls.

Deceiving her with shadows
of false sanctuary.

She's terrified,

but focussed. Ready
to move, until...

she hears him.

His deep and
hauntingly calm breath,

slightly elevated by the hunt,

matches the rhythmic
shuffle of his stride.

She stops and listens,



hoping her nightmare will end.

Her heart breaks until her salvation comes
into view in the shape of an exit door.

She looks behind her, gaining that
last ounce of courage to survive.

And she runs...

towards the exit doors with the anticipation
pounding through her shaking body.

But, by some cruel
twist of fate,

what she finds...

is him.

The horror in her eyes upon
his cold and jarring grasp.

In that moment of cruel fate,

her life flashed before
her eyes in a millisecond.

That horror in his eyes
is what he, the monster,

craved for.

It's what made his appetite grow



with each victim the universe
offered up as sacrifice.

It's what made an otherwise
ungodly man... a god.

God of death. God of terror.

But tonight's sacrificial feast

was just a taste...
of the meal to come."

Thank you.
- Thank you very much.

- - No problem.

- Hi. I mean,
hello. Mr. Blake.

- Oh, true fans call me Miles.

Miles.

Your books, they're...
so addicting.

In a good way. A great way.

Uh, the murders in your books,
they're so macabre. Detailed.

It's like you can see inside
of all of my own fears.

How do you do that so well?

- Do we have time for a fan?
- I think so.

- Anytime I'm writing a new
book, I just think about,

you know, what my own fears are.

You know, my bestseller
before this one,

What Lies in the Woods, that's
just based on my own fears.

And actually writing that story,
I'm... not afraid of the woods anymore.

For that, I'm grateful.

And for you, too, of course,

the reader, for actually
buying the book.

- Oh, thank you so much.

- Thank you so much.

Next.

- Hi.
- Hi, there.

- All right, thanks, guys.

Thanks for coming.
- Thank you.

- Good to see you. Thanks.

- Thank you.
- Thanks.

All right, I checked you
in through the airline app.

I confirmed all your bags
and boxes are already

at the house the
university is providing.

- Okay. It'd be nice to get
settled in before classes start.

- You'll have a few
days to settle in.

- Great.

- Are you sure
you wanna do this?

Teaching a semester of class
could be a lot of work.

We can always back out.
Blame the book tour.

- No, no, it's good for
the soul to be back.

Besides, teaching about
writing's the easy part.

What I'm looking forward
to is the time off.

- Are you promising a draft
when the semester's over?

- Yes, boss.

See you on the other side
of my next bestseller.

- Saved by the bell, Ashley.

- Ha, ha, the
daughter I never had.

- One of these days, I'm
gonna tell your daughter

that you keep saying
that.

- It's good to see you.

- Yeah, it's been
a busy semester.

Sometimes I kick myself
for choosing to write

my first novel as
my Master's thesis.

- You know, I remember my
early days as a writer.

I really loved deadlines.

And the whooshing sound they
made as they sped right by.

- But yeah, deadlines
aren't really real

until they're staring at
you... right in the face.

- Ah yes, your chapters.
- Hmm.

- They are exemplary.

- You're just saying that.
- Well, don't thank me yet.

I'm about to make your
life and your deadlines

a little more busy.

So, we're going to have a
celebrity of sorts on campus.

- Trust me, I know.

I'm already enrolled in his
Dynamics of Murder Mysteries class.

- Yeah, but that's an
underclassman credit.

And you're a thesis away...
- A novel.

- Yes, a novel away from
graduating with a Master's degree.

- He's my favorite author.

So, wait, why is this bad news?

I can still take
the class, right?

- Oh, you'll be in his class,

although from a
different vantage point.

Mr. Blake needs a teaching
assistant, and I've chosen you.

- I'm just... I'm confused.

You have so many other options,

you know, like uh,
David, your TA,

he would love
something like this.

- Yes, yes, David is driven,

but you'd benefit
from this the most.

- Professor, I am flattered,

but I just, I have so much
on my plate right now.

- Ashley, listen to me,
you have more talent

than any student
that has ever passed

through my lecture hall doors
in over 30 years of teaching.

That doesn't come by too often.

Being under the wing of
somebody like Miles Blake

could be all that's standing
between you and your dream.

- Okay.

- All right.

- I'm assuming by
the look on your face

that he told you
the wonderful news.

- Hi, David.

I... didn't want to...
- You didn't want

the opportunity of a lifetime?

Is that what you
were going to say?

- No, I meant...
- Because that would make him

choosing you over me even worse.

- Look, I'm sorry, David.

- Hey, hey, um, listen.

I'm just giving you a hard time.

You gotta learn how
to take a joke, Ash.

No, I'm... I'm, you
know, I'm swamped

with Professor Dorr's
classes anyways.

That's uh... You know, that's
probably why he chose you

over me in the
first place, yeah.

He didn't wanna lose his TA.

By the way, I um...
I read your chapters.

- You did what?

- Yeah, they were just uh,
sitting there on his desk.

I thought they were an
underclassman's project or something.

Oh the... that's not...
that's not what I meant.

Yeah, the pages were great.

There's just one thing missing.

- Yeah? What was that?

- You need a more
threatening villain.

A better adversary.

- He actually said that?
- I know, right?

And the creepy thing
was he didn't even seem

like he was talking
about my book.

Like it was some sort
of threat, or something.

- Okay, you need to introduce
me to this little boy

'cause I'll put
him in his place.

Anyway, I'm sure
he's just jealous.

I mean, you get to work
with "the" Miles Blake.

- It's not that big of a deal.
- Oh, come on!

I bet you have a copy of one of
his books in your bag right now.

Thank you.

Wow!

He's handsome.

Writers aren't supposed to
be that handsome, Ashley!

- Okay.
- Maybe you'll fall in love

and make best-selling
author babies together.

- That is the last thing I
am looking for right now.

I'm just gonna try to
soak up all the knowledge

and experience that I can.

He probably won't even
talk to me that much.

- Can I keep this?
- No.

- Oh, come on.
- Well, enough about me.

How's your last semester
of criminal justice going?

- It's taken a dark
turn this semester.

- How so?
- Another internship,

some on-the-job education.

- Okay, where?

- What's the last place you once
said you'd ever wanna be locked in?

- No!
- Mm-hmm.

This girl's gonna be spending her
last semester in the town morgue.

- I suppose if you're gonna
be a detective, you do have

to get used to looking at
dead bodies, right? But still.

- It is what it is. I'll
be a fly on the wall

for any criminal investigative
biopsies, you know.

- And you'll tell your
best friend everything?

Maybe some inspiration
for her future stories?

- Hmm. Only if you
give me that book!

- No!
- Come on!

But if I ever meet
him, he's fair game.

- All right, okay.
- Sure.

- Sure? What do you mean sure?

- I'm just saying.

- I mean what I say.

- We'll see about
that. We'll see.

- Too much?

You know, I worry with
the younger college crowd

that most likely
haven't read my books,

they won't take me seriously
unless they actually see the work.

- Oh, I think everyone in this
class will know who you are.

Um, I like the books.

It's a good touch.

- Miles Blake.
- Ashley... Ashley Dunn.

- Ah, the prodigy. Nice
to finally meet you.

- Prodigy? I...

- Professor Dorr is
uh, is pretty proud.

- I am so sorry. I did
not know that he was

going to give you
those chapters.

- Ashley...

They were brilliant.

You know, I gotta admit, I get
asked to read short stories,

chapters, full on manuscripts,
pretty much everywhere I go,

so when he put those on
my desk with a smile,

it was a little...
- Cringy?

- Yeah, a little bit, but I told
him I'd read 'em as a courtesy.

You know, rarely do the
pages actually ever live up

to the hype, but you...

Your voice, your
narrative structure,

your syntax, I mean,
it's... mesmerizing.

Impressive.

- Thank you.

Um... I've worked
really hard on them.

- I like that.

It's a strength to know
how to take a compliment

and they come very rarely when
you're first starting out.

Even less so from the critics' corner
when you're actually published.

- I get that from Professor
Dorr all the time.

- Well, he's a wise man.
- Yes, he is.

- So, all I need from you
is some basic assistance,

uh, fielding
students' questions,

help with the assignments
when they get turned in,

you know, I could use
some extra eyes on 'em.

Come on!
- Sorry?

- Let's go for a walk.
- Oh.

- And you have writers that
are far more talented than me

that never got to see
their dreams come true

because the universe had
different plans for 'em

or they didn't take the opportunities
that were in front of 'em, but I'm...

I'm really glad that
you took this one.

I mean, who knows? You
might be looking out

in a sea of hundreds
of your fans soon,

waiting for you to
sign your bestseller.

That's the dream.

Hopefully no stalkers, though.

- Ah. My second book.

You read that too, I assume?

- I've read all of them.

You know, I've always
wondered, is that a true story?

- I've had my share of
uniquely devoted fans,

but nothing that me or my
publicist couldn't handle.

And here we are.

Took you from one side of
the campus to the next.

- You get to stay here?

- Well, more importantly, I
actually get to write here.

You know, when I'm not
teaching, of course.

You know, between you and I,

I had two very specific deal-breaking
requests in my contract.

One, a unique house of my
own with room and board.

And two, teacher's assistant
to pick up the extra work,

so I could actually
write in said home.

This... is where I'm gonna
write my next bestseller.

- Your new book,
what's it about?

- I don't know.

Hasn't told me yet.

See ya in class.

- Hey!

You okay?
- Yeah, I guess.

- Is there a problem?
- Not yet.

- I suggest you
keep walking then.

- Thanks.
- No problem.

- It helps get more money,
it helps with clean up.

- Guess it adds to something.
- Um, Mr. Blake?

Sorry to interrupt.
Hi, Ashley.

- Hi, David.

- Uh, I... I just wanna say
that I... I'm a big fan.

I read all of your books,
a few times over, and I...

I read your book on writing,
as well. So inspiring.

And I've actually written
seven novels myself.

I started when I was 15.

- Very nice to hear.
Congratulations on the writing.

If you'll excuse me, we
have a class to get started.

It was nice to meet you.

I see two types of
people out there.

Those of you who are looking
to learn a thing or two

about the murder mystery genre

and those of you who are
looking for an easy credit.

But each and every one of you
share one thing in common.

We... love... a good mystery.

Since the dawn of mankind,
we have been sharing stories

of mystery, and intrigue,

and none of those stories
capture our imagination

more than those
involving...

Murder!

But why do we kill, right?

What drives somebody
to commit murder?

It's our greatest mystery.

- Can I help you?
- Hey!

Did you write those books?

- Yes. Yes, I did. Let me
guess, you didn't like 'em.

- Miles?

- Hey, man, not here.

- You need to get outta
my face right now.

- I thought I told
you to keep walking?

- Whoa, gentlemen, please!

- Every time you come here,
you're trying to start stuff.

- Now I have a problem
with you, sport.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Jonathan Hansen and Liam Rodgers
of the theater department.

Come on, give it up.

Every murder
mystery has set-ups,

shocking surprises, right?

Now, some of you saw Mr. Hansen
when he walked in, right?

His disheveled,
mysterious, no offense,

somewhat creepy appearance.

Captured your attention, right?

If only for a moment.

Who was he?

Did he belong in this
class? If not, why not?

Was I going to be the product
of a truly deranged individual

who is hellbent on
killing me, huh?

Was he a, uh... I don't know,

an overzealous fan
entranced by my brilliance?

Something I may have written
about in my second book,

for those of you loyal readers.

And also...

Who is this knight in
metaphorical shining armor,

who came to save
the day?

Huh? Now, that...

that, my fellow writers...

and easy credit seekers,

is what makes the murder
mystery genre so enthralling

for readers, and what makes
writing them so much fun.

That's what I hope to
teach you in this class.

Let's give it up
for these two, huh?

- He's amazing, isn't he?

Brilliant. Just a... a
single class with him

has me rethinking
everything I've written.

Can you believe
the... the adrenaline

of watching someone
commit murder?

I mean didn't it send
chills through your bones?

- Maybe not for the same
reasons as you, but uh...

Sorry.

Oh, I'm sorry, David, I have to go
meet someone, but have a great night.

- You need to learn
to charge that thing.

You're gonna be
stranded without it.

- Seriously though, it
was... it was so disturbing,

but thrilling at the same time.
Like, which I hate to admit,

David was a little
too thrilled, though.

That doesn't
surprise me.

- I just can't fathom
seeing something like that.

Like, I've never even
seen a dead body.

I can't imagine what you're
seeing in the morgue.

- Ugh, nothing yet.

I mean, that's a good thing.

But let's forget about
dead bodies, and uh...

tell me about Professor Handsome
and your little walk together.

- I told you, it's
not like that.

It's all about the work.

He... he told me how he
got started and it...

it gave me hope.
Made me feel worthy.

Like, I got home and the
words just kept flowing.

It... it felt like he kicked
a door open for me, you know.

Like, the chapters
just kept coming,

and I can't stop it's...

- Ooh, speaking of
kicking in doors...

- Well, I didn't
expect to see you here.

Shouldn't you be writing?
- Shouldn't you?

- I guess we writers do
have to eat and drink.

- Oh, um, sorry, Miles Blake,

this is my best friend, Jordan.
- Hi.

Nice to finally meet you.

It's an honor.

- Oh, no, honor's all mine.

Any friend of Ashley's.

Can I get you anything?

What do you say, a round on me?

- Oh, let's do this.

- It seems like, you know,
you go in the big city,

you just drink all
night long, right?

It doesn't seem fair.

All right, have a good night.

- Good night.

Come on.

- I could run right now.

I could run six
miles.

- That was beautiful.
- Thanks.

That was
beautiful.

- Oh, you know...

- Details. We have to be
thinking about those details.

Now, I want you
to see the story,

not only through the eyes
of the victim of the murder,

but through the
killer's eyes as well.

Now, how do we do that?

How do we capture the
reality of what it's like

to murder somebody

and give the reader that
authentic experience?

That's a trick question, folks.

I mean...

I mean, we need to do
more than research, right?

I mean, in a...
in an ideal world,

we'd just commit the
murder ourselves.

That's the only way to offer
the reader true authenticity.

But we are not going to be
that dedicated to our work,

my young writers, right?

I need to hear a verbal yes.

Yes,
yes, yes, yes, okay.

Uh, yeah?

Uh... Derek, right?

- Um, David. David Freeman.

- Yeah, David. What's up?

- I read your book on writing.

You... you mentioned that when
you were first starting out,

you would pick a random
person from a crowd

and follow them at night,
trying to remain unseen.

Is that close enough
to authenticity?

- Uh, guilty as charged.

Let that be a
lesson to everybody.

Be careful of the stories
you tell about yourself

because they will come
back to haunt you.

But yeah, if...

in my early days of anonymity
I did partake in that odd,

and let's just call it
out, creepy exercise,

but uh, yeah, no I...
I found a new way.

Controlled and...
appropriate environment.

In here.

We're writers, aren't we?

We use our imagination to
conjure the unthinkable.

And since our readers,
most of them at least,

don't know what it's
like to murder someone,

authenticity is debatable.

Now with that, I have
your first assignment.

How do any of you expect
to write a good book

about murder mystery
if none of you know

how the killer
does the dark deed?

The devil is in
the details, folks.

So, I want each and every one
of you to do the unthinkable.

I want you to plan
the perfect murder.

Three pages. No more. No less.

- How are you not
dying right now?

- I told you it'd be tough.

Try doing this after a 2.4 mile
swim and 100 miles on a bike.

- If there is a swim
involved in this,

then we are not friends
anymore.

So, you're gonna have a class

full of potential
murderers, then?

- It's just an assignment.

- How would you do it?
- Do what?

- Kill me.

- Well, after this workout
you just put me through,

I'd make sure it was slow
and very, very painful.

Like your run out there today?

- Okay, okay.

- Pretty jumpy for a woman
who writes murder so well.

Thanks for coming

all the way across campus.

I thought it'd be more
comfortable to read in here

than some small office
or cold lecture hall.

Can I get you anything to drink?

Coffee, wine?
- No, thanks.

- All right, well, sorry
for the uh, hard copies.

I know your generation has an
affinity for all things digital,

but uh, there is just something
pure about reading actual paper.

- Professor Dorr would agree.

- Mm-hmm. He and I
have a lot in common.

Including you.

By the way, how's
your writing going?

Oh, I know that look well.

- It's practically
writing itself.

- Well, shall we?

- We shall.

So, what'd you
think? Any standouts?

- Hmm, maybe some
potential. What about you?

- Truth?

- Always.

- I think these people have
seen way too many movies.

That's what I see
in their writing.

- You know, the methodology
of a killer is the key

to any successful
murder mystery.

I mean, anybody can just follow
somebody home and attack 'em.

Sadly, we see that
happen every day.

But what sets a great
murder mystery apart

from all of the terrible murders

that we see on the news
every day is... ingenuity.

I mean, that's what makes for
a compelling fictional killer.

- And no one captured
your imagination?

- This uh... David Freeman.

Professor Dorr's
TA.

Yeah, the uh...
- Miles Blake superfan?

- Hmm...

Yeah, I run into one or
two of 'em at every event.

Eh, they're mostly harmless, but uh,
try to steer 'em in the right direction.

- Hey, are you home?

- Hey.

Come in. It's all right.

See? Not that hard.

- I wish I had the
courage you have.

I mean, look at me.

I'm a wreck. I've walked that
campus for six years now.

I've never felt
anything like this.

- Well, you were just
in a creepy old house.

- Beautiful house.
- Okay.

Creepy, old, beautiful house,

with the top murder
mystery author,

reading multiple plans
for multiple murders.

- I suppose it could've triggered
my imagination a little bit.

- You're a writer.

Conjuring scary situations
is pretty much your thing.

Now, let's talk about
this intimate little night

with Professor Handsome, hmm?

- Call him that one more time...

It's not like that.

He's not my type.
- Oh, right.

Successful, charming,
talented, handsome.

Oh, stay clear of that.

- He was so cute though.
- Very.

Let's head over to Fratelli's.

Usually plenty of
cute guys there.

- Uh, I can't. I have
an essay to finish.

- Come on, Kate, peer pressure.

Thanks. Next time, for sure.

- Fine, suit yourself.

You want us to at least
walk you home first?

- I'll be fine.
It's not that far.

And I'll keep my
phone in my hand.

Bye!

- Hey. What are you
doing up so early?

- Just pulled an
all-nighter at the morgue.

- Oh, that sounds fun.
You have any good stories?

- A no dead body
night is a good night.

You
have class today?

- Yep, just getting some
writing done before.

- I need coffee.
- Ditto.

I will see you in five?
- Yep.

But I'll warn you now, I
am in full zombie mode.

- Not for long. See ya.

- Mm, that is so good.

What's going on?

- Look!

- Police investigators
have confirmed

that a university student
has been reported missing

since last weekend.

Freshman Kate Bishop was
last seen this past Friday

as she said goodbye to friends for
the short walk home to the dorms.

Her roommate reported her
missing yesterday morning,

which means her whereabouts

have been unknown
for nearly 72 hours.

Campus police are working
with police investigators

as the search has
officially begun.

- Hey.
- Hmm.

- Oh wow, what happened?
- Oh, yeah, shaving.

Up really late writing.

Didn't get much sleep. Must've
dozed off during the morning shave.

It's fascinating
how such a small,

superficial cut
can bleed so much.

- Did you hear about
the missing student?

- Missing student?

- Yeah, it's all over
the news and online.

- I turn all that stuff
off when I'm writing.

What happened?

- She's been missing
since Friday.

Went out with some friends,
walked home alone and...

- Oh, my God, that's a
shame. Did you know her?

- Do I know her? Um, no, I...

I suppose I've seen her on campus
a few times, but we've never met.

Hopefully she just...
went home or something.

Forgot to tell someone?

- Hmm, nice alternative, but...
probably not likely the case.

Hey, be careful out there, okay?

That's horrible.

- Thanks, I will.

Wow, you're usually
the first one in class.

Are you okay?
You look kinda...

- Yeah, must've just
caught a bug, or something.

- All right, everybody.

I know I look a little tired.

Spent all weekend
reading your stories

on how you plan
to murder people.

Look, you know, for your first
assignment, not bad, right,

but this is the dark
manifestations of the mind

and how to harness them,
so we just need to learn

how to harness these ideas
that you guys come up...

- Hello?!

Please!

I'm sure my... my
family's worried about me!

- Hi.
- Oh, hey.

Whatcha got there?
- I... Gosh, the words

have just been flowing.

I reworked everything, took a
whole different turn with it.

It's... it's become
something else entirely.

Something... something better.

- They do that, don't they?
- What?

- Your stories... they evolve.

I'll read them tonight.
Maybe we can set up a dinner

later on in the week
to talk about it.

- Um...
- A dinner amongst peers.

- Okay, of course,
yes, that sounds nice.

It's been three days now.

Almost four.

Doesn't look good, does it?

- You don't have to do this!

I haven't seen your face!

At least some water!

At least that!

At least give me some water!

- It is not your
job as an author

to give your readers
something expectant.

No. Give them
something unexpected!

That's what they look for in
every book that they choose,

and it is our duty
to provide that.

- Thanks for walking with me.

- Hey, strength in numbers.

- What do you think
happened to her?

- I don't know.

And I don't wanna
even imagine it.

I need a drink.
Dinner and cocktails?

- Okay, I'm gonna tell you
something, but I need you

to promise that you're
not gonna be well... you.

- Huh, can't wait
to hear this one.

- I have dinner plans with him.

- I knew it. Oh, this whole
"he's not my type" thing

that you've been
blabbing on about?

- It's just dinner.
Between peers.

- Between peers?

- Two peers having dinner,
talking about writing.

My writing, specifically.
Nothing more.

- Oh, God, if I was at
dinner with that man,

business would be the last
thing we would be talking about.

I'd be...
- Okay, okay, I get it!

- No! Please!

Come back! I won't
tell them anything.

No! No! Please!

Please! Come back!

- I'm sorry I'm late.

Your book wouldn't let me go.

I'm blown away.

- Really?

- Really.

I want to take this
to my publisher.

Right away. Seriously,
they're that good.

- You're sure? I mean, I
feel like I was kind of going

off the beaten path and...
- That's what I liked about it!

I mean, there's nothing like it.

And that villain...

- Well, there has
to be something.

You say it yourself, Professor
Dorr says it all the time,

criticism is
invaluable as a writer.

Critique the work,
please. Just anything.

- All right. Fair enough.

You could push the envelope
even further, if you're willing.

- I am. I really am.

- All right.

If it's missing
anything, it's um...

- What?

- You haven't fully tapped into
the realistic dynamics of murder.

Not just how the
captive victim feels,

but how the killer feels,
as well, all right?

There is a thrill of getting
into the mind of a killer.

Seeing what they see.

Feeling what they feel.

You have to tap into that

and go to those
uncomfortable places.

- How do I do that?

- I want you to
think about Kate.

The missing student.

- What?

- Look... statistically,

if somebody's been missing
for more than 48 hours,

it most likely means
they're dead, right?

So, that usually
points to homicide.

So, I want you to
not only put yourself

in Kate's mind frame
upon abduction,

but also the possible
killer's mind frame as well.

The possibilities
are enthralling.

That is where you
push the envelope.

You just have to conjure
up what happened to her.

You capture that,

put that on the pages...

you have a bestseller.

I'm sorry.

- Oh no, it's okay. It's um...

- Oh, no, no, no.
It's not. I'm...

Look, I get like
this when I write.

I went too far.

I'm sorry.

- I wanna go swimming.

- Are you crazy?
It's freezing!

- Come on, chicken!

Hey, I know a way we can
keep each other warm.

Coming, or not?

What's wrong?

Lexi, come back over here.

Why? We're just
gonna go swimming.

- Seriously, Lexi!

There's something over there.

- I'm home. Alone.

No Professor Handsome in sight.

- Turn on your TV.

- Authorities have
confirmed that the body

is that of Kate Bishop,

the university freshman that
went missing just last weekend.

Student ID and
other identification

were found near the body.

- I'm glad you're safe.

- I'm fine. It's um... It's
Kate, the missing student.

They've already
identified her body.

- Oh, my God.

- Now, as a visitor
to your university,

I just wanna offer my deepest
condolences to you all.

I can't imagine what you all
are feeling right now and...

I um...

I've decided to postpone classes
for the rest of the week,

in Kate's honor, to give
you all an opportunity to,

you know, mourn her passing.

I am... so sorry.

Thank you.

- I can't, it's just...
it's so horrible.

I thought that they...

- Can't believe how
naïve kids can be.

They think they're
so invincible.

I mean, one minute
they're drinking at a bar.

The next, they're driving
away in their car,

jumping into freezing
cold water. It's just...

so naïve!

- Is that what you think it was?

I mean, you said it yourself
that if they're not found

after 48 hours,
it's likely that...

- This is the real
world, Ashley.

Not everything's a
mystery to be solved.

- Have you noticed that David's
been missing from class?

He hasn't been there in the
past few days, and when he was,

he seemed kind of
um... off and...

- You're not saying...

- No, I mean, um...

I don't know, just...

- There's a line you can't
cross as a writer, Ashley.

A line where you start to believe
your own words are reality.

We're not detectives.

We tell lies for a living, okay?

Dark ones.

- No, I think you misunderstood.

I was just wondering
where he is.

Damn it, Ashley.

David? Hello?

What are you
doing here?

- I am so sorry.

Um... I just walked in.

The door was open
when I knocked,

so I thought you
might be in here.

I just wanted to
come check on you.

You haven't been
in class lately.

- You were checking on me?
- Yeah!

Uh, well not me, Miles...
I mean, Mr. Blake was.

- Miles Blake was
asking about me?

- Yeah.

Yeah, he noticed you
hadn't been in class,

so he wanted to make
sure everything was okay.

- I came down with a flu.

My immune system has
never been that great,

back since I was a kid.

So, when I... when I do get
sick, it hits pretty bad.

- I'm sorry to hear that.

- Um... Do you want...

Do you want some water,
something to drink?

- Oh no, I'm okay. Thanks.

- Sorry, I know... I
know it's a mess in here.

- No, it's um...
- I spent a few nights

at the university hospital.

They saw how dehydrated I was
and it was pretty bad, so.

You know, I normally
clean up during the week

and I missed that,
obviously, so.

- So, you're just
getting back today?

- Yeah, I'm still a little weak.

On the mend, though.

They inspire me.

Yeah, every time I see

something amazing
he's written...

A plot point, a twist,
character arc note...

I make note of it.

I suppose it's a little weird.

- No. No, it's not.

- Not everyone has the
raw talent you have.

Others have to work and study
to write as good as he does.

- Oh, no, I'm nothing like him.

- He thinks you are.

So does Professor Dorr.

Story of my life, Ashley.

Everybody underestimates me.

Underestimates what
I'm capable of.

- Well, not Miles Blake.

- What do you mean?

- Yours was the only one
that he said had potential.

- He said that?
- Yeah!

So, I think if he's ever
short with you or anything,

he's just trying
to push you harder.

So, I wouldn't worry
about it too much.

He's a fan.

- A fan.

- Yeah.

- I was thinking about
maybe seeing him tomorrow.

About my paper.

A new book idea.

- No, you should.
Yeah, go for it!

Writing notes on the
margins of his books.

I'm gonna remember that.

Smart thinking.

- Why did you really come here?

- Like I said, uh, Miles
Blake was asking about you.

Oh, by the way um...

class doesn't pick
up 'til next week.

Thought I'd let you
know. Save you the walk.

- Why?

- Didn't you hear the news
about the missing student?

- Kate Bishop?
- Yeah.

- No.

I was either sleeping or
reading in the hospital.

Did they find her?

- Yeah. Um... her body washed up

on the campus
shores of the lake.

They think she may have drowned.

- Drowned.

That's too bad.

Did you read my assignment?
- No.

We split up the pile. I
didn't get a chance to.

- Did he tell you
what it was about?

- No. Murder, I'm assuming.

- I was thinking about
what he said in class,

about research.

- Research?

- You know, in a perfect world,

the only way to offer
true authenticity

would be to commit
a murder yourself.

- He was joking, though.

You know that, right?

- But imagine...

if someone actually did that?

Where they took it that far...

- Um... Well, I hope
you feel better.

I'll see you in class next week.

In an ideal world,

we'd just commit the
murder ourselves, right?

That's the only way to offer
the reader true authenticity.

- It is such a shame seeing
someone pass away so young.

- Did you have her
in any classes?

- Yeah, I did. She
is... was, very smart.

Very determined.

You know, she reminded me
of a certain other student

that has been in my life
for the past few years.

Ashley, what is it?

- It's nothing.

You know how you told us to
trust our guts, our instincts?

- Yes, of course.

Why do you ask?

- Detectives. Time to learn.

- What is it?

- Well, aside from the
tinting of the skin

and the shrunken eyes, her organs
in the area of the galea over here,

are showing extreme
signs of dehydration.

- Dehydration? She drowned.

- What he said, and
how he said it...

about taking that far.

- Ashley, David is
a unique individual,

I'll give you that,
but he is no killer.

- Haven't we heard that
before in our society?

Right before bodies are found
in our neighbor's basement.

I'm... I'm so sorry.

I... don't know why I said that.

- Have you heard
of Occam's razor?

- Sure, the most
simple explanation...

- Is the most likely answer.

Getting rid of all the
unnecessary information,

speculation, out of the way, is
the fastest way to the truth.

Now, tell me, what
makes more sense,

that David is a skilled murderer

who is able and ready
to hide in plain sight,

or that the girl drowned
in a terrible accident?

- I'm a writer.

I should be able to find
the words for how sorry I am

for the way that I acted.

- It's okay.

Everyone handles these
things differently.

- I was out of line.

- Well, so was I.

- You know, I had a
brother growing up.

He was a few years older
than me, and he drowned

in a river after a
night of drinking.

They didn't find his
body for a few days.

- I'm so sorry. I had no idea.

- No, how could you.

He's not in my bio, I don't
talk about him in interviews.

Grief kinda turned him
into a family secret.

Doesn't give me the permission
to use it against anybody,

especially you.

Anyway, back to writing.

I'll see you in class next week?
- Of course.

Oh, and Miles?
- Yes, Ashley.

- Has the book told you
what it's about yet?

It's about the limits
of human beings.

What happens when we
push ourselves too far.

- That's all you're
gonna give me?

- About a brilliant detective

who's trying to
catch her murderer,

only to fall for the very
traps she knows to avoid.

- Not bad.

- It's a start!

Come on, girl!

It's time for that morning fuel!

Hey! D'you go for
coffee without me?

Are you okay?

- First autopsy last night.

- That bad?

- Normally, it probably
wouldn't have been,

but it was... it was her.

Kate Bishop.
- Oh, my God, Jordan.

- Detectives finally came in.

I was hoping they would've done
it sooner, when I wasn't there.

I mean, I need the
experience, but...

- But like, are you okay?

I will be.

Just need some rest.

- What was it like?

- Not good.

I guess I can tell
you the basics.

But there are details
you need to promise me

you won't share until they're
public... with anyone.

- Yeah, of course.

- She drowned.

But they found some
strange elements.

First off, she was
severely dehydrated.

- Can you be dehydrated
after drowning?

- Yeah, of course.
But... what they saw...

it was consistent with someone
that would've died of dehydration

over the course of a few days.

And from what they
heard from witnesses,

the night she was last seen,

she wasn't even
drinking alcohol,

so how was she
dehydrated the same night

she was throwing back
lemon ice waters?

And that's not even the
weirdest part about the autopsy.

The water in her lungs...

it wasn't from the lake.

- But that doesn't
make any sense.

- She drowned long before
being put in those lake waters.

Look, I'm like the
walking dead here.

How about after
I get some sleep,

dinner and a friendly face?

Ashley?

- Oh, um, sorry.

Can we raincheck?
Tomorrow, for sure.

I just... I'm so close to
nailing that final act and...

I see those gears
turning.

Raincheck for sure.

Good night.

Or good morning, I guess.

- Get some rest.

And hey, everything's
gonna be okay.

- Hey. You think I'm still cut
out for this detective stuff?

- Take a look on that wall
of adventures of yours.

You're capable of
anything, Jordan.

Love you.

- Love you back.

- David.

David uh... Freeman, right?

- Yes.

Um, Mr. Blake...
- No, no. Miles.

Miles. I um...

- I haven't seen you
class this last week.

- That's partly why I'm here.

I wanted to apologize.

I was actually in the hospital.

- Oh no. Everything okay?

- I am. I am now.

- Great.

No apology necessary.
What was the other thing?

- I um... I wanted to talk
to you about my paper.

If you have time. If
you don't, it can wait.

I'm sorry, I shouldn't
have come to your house.

I overstepped.
- No, no, it's uh...

That's all right. Um, would
love to talk about it.

Come on in.

Yeah, come here.

Your paper...

- Did... did you like it?

- You like scotch, David?

- Um... My father
used to drink it.

I had some once
when I was a kid.

- So, your paper... was
really well thought out.

Inventive.

Please.

To writers, may we escape
our inevitable defeat

with grace and humility, before
our inevitable... demise.

- That's from your fourth book.

- I'm impressed.

- I study them all.

- For the writing, I hope.

- Mm-hmm.

Look, uh, Mr. Blake...
- Mm-mm-mm-mm.

- Uh, Miles...

Um, I wanted to...

I wanted to talk to you
about my paper, yes,

but uh, specifically
about the content.

- Did seem somewhat,
uh... familiar.

- That's... that's what
I wanted to talk about.

- Yeah.

"Her body was found in
the cold lake waters,

washed up in the debris
of a fallen tree.

Lifeless, wet.

Waiting to be discovered."

- I had nothing to
do with her death.

I was sick, and then,
in the hospital.

You can check the records.

I'll give them permission
to release them to you.

And when I got and I heard
what happened, I swear, I...

- David...

If there's one thing I've
learned in all my years,

it's that coincidences
are just a curious part

of the reality of the
universe we live in.

They happen, okay?

I felt the exact same way
that you feel right now

when I've read new stories
that had similar details

to my own conjured methods.

Methods of my characters,
mind you, okay.

I won't say a word to anyone.

You don't strike me
as the killing type.

Okay?

Now, what I did find intriguing

was the methodology that
you used for your killer.

It was... inventive.

- I wasn't sure if it
was too unbelievable.

- "They would never know,

their unskilled minds to the
ways of a killer mastermind."

That's a little heavy-handed.
I'm gonna let it slide.

"That the girl, the victim,

never stepped foot in a lake

when she was among the
living, that she, in fact,

drowned 50 miles away in a tub.

Lungs full of fresh,
suburban waters."

Macabre, indeed, but
you've got some talent.

A good eye for a
compelling hook.

Let's have another drink before
I have to go back to writing.

Thanks.

- Um...

I'm actually
starting a new book.

- Oh, good for you!

Care to tell me what it's about?

Promise I won't steal it.

- It's actually inspired by
something you said in class.

About research.

And how the only way to
offer true authenticity

when it comes to seeing the
world through a killer's eyes

is to...
- Commit the murder yourself.

You know I was joking, right?

Just trying to prove a point?

- But what if...
- Oh yeah, the greatest

and most dangerous
question of all.

What if.

Hello there.

- Hi.

It's...
- Jordan.

Yeah, no, I never
forget a pretty face.

Or the name that
goes along with it.

Let me
guess, girls' night out?

Is Ashley coming
to meet you here?

- No.

I'm actually flying
solo tonight.

No wing woman.

She's writing.

- Oh, well done, Ashley.

Well done.

Please, sit. Join me.

Nobody should drink alone.

- Not even you.

- So...

What are we drinking?

Thanks.

Keep the change.

To... newfound friends.

- Hmm. Hmm.

And maybe something more?

- I'm actually afraid
this is my last call.

- Oh. That's what I always say.

And then, many rounds later...

- Would it be too forward to
ask you to go on a walk with me?

It can be strictly
professional if you'd prefer.

- I'm not Ashley, Miles.

We don't need to... talk shop
to enjoy a walk together.

- Just let me freshen up a bit?

- Tell you what, I'm gonna
close out the bar tab

and I will meet you outside.

- Hmm.

- Sorry. Sorry.

- Leave it, man.
Happens all the time.

- It's beautiful out, isn't it?

- Quite beautiful, yes.

It's hard to imagine a life
was lost in those waters.

- I know.

It's sad.

- I hear you're quite
the swimmer, though.

- Been competing my whole life.

I'm starting to train
for another Ironman.

- Interesting.

Wonder
what it feels like.

- What...

What do you mean?

- When you're about to die.

- What did you say?

You?

- Think it through.

Back corner table at the bar.

Away from most people's view.

Had to make sure people
saw me leave alone.

You as well.

Now piece it together. You
wanna be a detective, right?

So, what's missing?

- The drinks.

- Recipe I've perfected
throughout the years.

To a tee.

Quick estimation of body
weight to tolerance,

steady stride to make sure the
blood stream carries the drug.

All timed to perfection.

I mean, I don't wanna brag,
but... it works quite well.

- I don't... I don't...

- Hey.
- I don't wanna die.

- Nobody wants to die.

- Come on!

Hey, it's
Jordan, you know the drill.

I'll get back to you, ASAP.

- Hey, it's me again.

We haven't gone a couple days

without talking
since, well, ever.

I hope you're not ghosting me.

Where are you?

- It was a valiant effort.

It's exactly what I
was hoping for but...

I'm afraid you ran out of time
and it's... it's such a shame.

It would've made for a
much more exciting ending.

- I know who you are.

You don't need the mask.

- We all need masks.

- Is that how you
get through this?

You hide behind it?

You think you're someone else
when you do these sick things?

And then, when it's over,

you take it off and you
feel good about yourself.

Like someone else is doing it.

- That's an excellent profile.

You would've made
a great detective.

- You don't have to do this.

- That's what they all say.

But I do.

It's the only way.

- Only way to what?

- The only way I know how
to write death so well.

Can I offer you some water?

- I remember what happened

the last time I accepted
a drink from you.

- Oh, I assure you, this
water is quite pure.

- Jordan?

- She's not home.

- Are you sure?

- Figured she left
town for the weekend.

Haven't seen her since Friday.

- Friday. That's the last
time I talked to her.

Uh, where was she?

- I saw her at Main Street Pub.

- Alone?
- I think so, yeah.

- You're sure?
- Yeah uh, she and the guy

sat in the back corner,
had a few drinks together.

He was a little older.

- Was this him?

- Yeah. That's him.

Wow, is he uh...
- Did they leave together?

- Uh, no.

She was in the
bathroom, I think.

No, he dropped a glass,
looked a little upset.

You know, I figured it
didn't work out with them.

Um... she left soon after.

- And that was Friday?

- Couple days ago, yeah.

- Could you... could
you turn that up?

- And the death of a
university student.

Another student, David Freeman,

was found dead in his apartment,
of an apparent suicide.

On his body was a suicide note

confessing to the murder
of student Kate Bishop,

originally thought to have
drowned in the campus lake.

The more intriguing
part of this story

is that the note referred to
women, plural, that he killed.

Authorities hope that
this is just a result

of a misspelling on the note,

but are likely to be sending out
divers to the lake once again.

- I was thinking about
maybe seeing him tomorrow.

About my paper and...
a new book idea.

- It was consistent with
someone that would've died

of dehydration over the
course of a few days.

The water in her lungs,
it wasn't from the lake.

- That doesn't make any sense.

- She drowned long before
being put in those lake waters.

- Jordan...

- Help!

- Miles?

Hello?

Miles?

- Please!

Help!

- It's Ashley.
Are you in here?

- Help.

Help!

Please!

- Jordan? Jordan!

- Ashley!

Ashley! Turn off the
water, throw the hose down.

- Okay!

- Turn off the hose.

Throw it down! Throw it down!

It's not safe, you
gotta get outta here.

- She was strong.

Stronger than the
others, just as I hoped.

- How could you?

- I'm not a killer, Ashley.
I don't do this for fun.

I do this because I have to.

At first, I was just
gonna follow 'em,

I mean, just to see,
feel what it was like.

But then...

I couldn't stop.

I mean, with every new method
or murder that I conjured up,

I had to know...

I had to know what it felt like.

I mean, you've read my books,
that's why everybody loves 'em.

That's the draw
they want to know!

- Why Jordan?

- The story.

It's always been
about the story.

I mean, I wanted to explore how
two very different characters

could get killed
in the same way.

I mean, Kate, she was weak.
She couldn't even swim.

But...

Hmm, Jordan...

She was strong.

She almost made it!

Almost!

I mean, that's the story.

A detective who's
searching for a killer,

who drowned his victims
in a particular way.

And then, he got caught
in that same trap.

How would he fare? I
mean, the fact that Jordan

was studying to
be a detective...

That just felt right.

You're sick.

- Yeah, I admit it.

After my last novel, I got
a little writer's block.

- The assignment?

- It's like Picasso
said, "Good artists copy.

Great artists steal."

- David's paper. Why David?

- Somebody had to take the fall.

He was the perfect cover.

- You didn't even have
a brother, did you?

- You haven't been paying
attention in class.

It was a necessary misdirect,

meant to entice some empathy!

That's what I taught
you, and it worked.

Huh?!

- But what about me?

- Every great story has a twist.

I'm sorry.

- Ashley!

- "And as she finally climbed
over the edge, drenched,

but free from her
dark, dire prison,

she lifted her eyes to the sky,

empowered by the
triumphant realization.

His submergence
was her emergence."

- Ashley, I'm going to bring
this amazing reading to a close

with a question that I think
everyone in this room is wondering.

You've topped the fiction
charts for months. What's next?

- I think I may dip my toes
into the waters of true crime

this next time around.

- Ladies and
gentlemen, Ashley Dunn.

Go, Ashley! Woo!