True Colors (1991) - full transcript

Peter and Tim are both law students looking to get into the battleground of politics in Washington, but they both have different ideals and ethics. Tim wants to pursue a career in justice, but Peter is determined to be a big political power broker any way he can, even if that means bending the rules. As their careers push them towards political opposites, their friendship must constantly adapt to the new situation.

Good evening and welcome back
to Election '90 at Channel 3.

The polls have just closed
in Connecticut...

Drinks coming through.

Stop it!

- We got it!
- We got Bridgeport!

Did you hear that?
We got Bridgeport. I knew it.

Hey, Pete, Channel 8.

This is Connecticut News Tonight
with the Election '90 Special News.

Telephone. Telephone, Tim.

Thank you. Hello. Yeah, Tom.

Yeah. I hope so. About 15 minutes or so.

With 53% of the precincts reporting in,

Channel 8 now projects that three-time
incumbent Senator James B Stiles

has defeated Stuart Hutchinson,

giving Senator Stiles a fourth term.

In that close race for the fourth
Congressional district, the Gold Coast,

both our exit polls and the precincts
already reporting in...


Peter Tomorrow's-looking-good Burton,

a man I loved,

the kind without the mousetraps
of sex and marriage,

spared the contortions
that families require.

The love men can have for one another,
love without need,

struck in acquaintance,
built on friendship,

and fulfilled in joy
at the other's accomplishment.

We have projections in the races
for the sixth and fourth districts...

God, if only it were that simple.

All yours.

Thank you.

- What?!
- Shit!

- Damn it!
- That's it!

What the hell do you think you're doing?

Witness! Witness!
Witness! Negligent!

- Sorry.
- Sorry doesn't make her cherry again.

- Are you blind?
- You pulled into my spot. It's just a dent.

It's not a big fucking deal!

It's just a dent? Maybe on your car,
farmer, but on mine...

Nobody solved problems with violence.
That's what's wrong with the world.

Come on, break it up!

Stop it, this is so macho!

Hey, how are you doing? I'm...

- Get out of my room!
- Your room?

- This is my room!
- This is my room!

42, I'm afraid so.

- I don't believe this.
- Jesus!

OK, look, what if I apologise, OK?

You're right, it was my fault. I'm sorry.
Really, OK? No hard feelings.

Why fight if it was your fault?

First impressions are important.
I slink out of my car and say,

"Here I am, folks. Say hi to a total
asshole"? No. I stand up for myself.

- I create doubt as to whose fault it was.
- That's what you were doing?

I got the dented car, not you.
It's no skin off your nose.

- Everybody makes out, right?
- Wrong.

First law school, then you become a
sleazebag with no regard for the truth.

- I've met guys like you before.
- Yeah?

You got that face, got that smile,

got that corduroy suit
that comes with elbow patches.

You got one of those suits?

So what?

Just curious.

- Which is 42?
- Over there.

Tim! Garrity, come on.
You can run but you can't hide.

Stubblefield? You dog, I heard an ugly
rumour you were going to be here.

Tim Garrity,
you'll never amount to anything.

- Your mother and I are disappointed.
- You'll have to try harder, that's all.

- How you doing?
- Great. You?

- BJ said there was a fight. See it?
- No...

Yeah, a guy got what was coming
to him and will live in shame for ever.

- I'm sorry I missed it...
- Sorry, Doug Stubblefield, Peter Burton.

Good to know you. I got a keg on ice,
you won't believe who's here, so let's go.

I'll be there.

- Anyone you want to ask?
- Girls? The place is crawling with them.

If you want, I can go and see
about changing rooms.

I'd understand.

I got a colour TV and subscriptions
to Time and National Geographic.

Three credit cards and a guy
at Hialeah phones me sure things.

- I'm Tim Garrity.
- Peter Burton.

- Want to come to Stubblefield's?
- No, don't want to butt in.

Come on. He's a jerk, all right,
so consider it punishment.

- Come on.
- OK.

- Where are you from?
- Providence, Rhode Island. You?

All over. We moved around a lot.

- College?
- Georgetown. You?


Ignorantia juris non excusat.

"Lgnorance of the law is no excuse."
Robinson versus Virginia.

All right, ladies and gentlemen,
who can give me the facts of the case?

Mr Burton.

Proximate cause.
Train conductor pushes a passenger.

Guy's carrying firecrackers. Falls to the
ground. Exploding, injuring bystander.


The railroad company couldn't foresee
the box containing fireworks

or that their employee's actions
could cause injury.

The reasonable man's standard?

Foreseeability and proximate cause
make for a reasonable man?

We may not always get what we want
or what we need,

just so's we don't get
what we deserve.

- So her parents were down the hall?
- We're not fucking in the living room!

I wouldn't imply anything as base and
vulgar as that. Let me get this straight.

It's breakfast. You're sitting with
Senator and Mrs Stiles.

The happy millionaires eat breakfast,
Diana's there, apple of Dad's eyes...


He pulls those telegenic blue eyes
on you and says what?

- Good morning.
- You're missing something.

- What do you do at a girlfriend's?
- They're not senators' daughters.

- Where are you going?
- London, in fact.

My parents are in Geneva.
Some World Bank thing.

Christmas in London?
Plum pudding and Marley's ghost.

It's mostly Arabs and rain. I'm flying
into New York. Want to get together?

The Stiles throw this famous
New Year's Eve party.

I want you to meet Diana.
Here, let me give you the number.

Nobody has a pen in this situation.
What a guy!

- Hey, don't forget your stuff.
- Merry Christmas!

Three turkey white.

Two turtle doves...

And a partridge in a pear tree


- You really got to go?
- I still got some presents to buy.

Believe it or not.
Talk about last minute.

Plus, I promised my sister-in-law
I'd make the desserts.

I'd ask you to come, but it's just family.


I hate to see someone alone
on Christmas Eve.

- Will you be OK?
- I'll be fine.

Merry Christmas.

And they sing of Christmas.
Bah, humbug!

Might as well close shop for the night.
We'll finish tomorrow.

But, sir, tomorrow is Christmas Day.

- Tim! Pete.
- Hey, how are you doing?

- Good. How are you?
- How was London?

- Great. It snowed and everything.
- So, where are you now?

New York City. I've got to visit my
aunt and uncle in Hartford tomorrow.

I was wondering if I could stop in
and say hi.

Come up here New Year's Eve.

I checked, it's fine. Got a tux?

- Sure, no problem.
- All right. Let me give you directions.

- Take the Triborough Bridge...
- Hold on, let me get a pen.

- OK, go.
- New England Freeway to exit four...

- All right, tomorrow afternoon?
- See you tomorrow.

You the owner?

- You want a tux at 9 a. M?
- Why would I call you at home?

- Cash or credit card?
- Big cash.

- Thanks a lot.
- OK, come on in.

Hey, stop that.

- I'm starving.
- We need champagne.

Diana, can you get your father?

- Have you seen my father?
- No.

- Diana, Happy New Year!
- Happy New Year!

- Excuse me. Where's Daddy?
- In there, wrestling with Burt Tuck.

...not the doctors...
- Burt, you're wrong. You're full of shit.

The AMA has got to realise people
don't give a rat's ass about that,

when a simple appendectomy
costs $6,000.

Where does it say Congress answers
to the AMA and not to their electorate?

- I'm sorry I interrupted.
- It's all right. Go on.

People don't want
AMA deciding on health

any more than Exxon
running the Interior Department.

You ever been
on an AMA golf outing, son?

- No, Senator.
- Well, take Dr Tuck here.

He'll fix your bursitis,
sharpen up your short game,

wipe out your campaign debt
before you're off the first green.

Yes, Senator.

You're right. You're there to represent
the people who elected you.

But to do that you've got to get elected,
and that takes money.

So, every day you try to remember
where you drew the line.

- What's your name?
- Peter Burton. I'm at UVA with Tim.

- Nice to meet you, Peter.
- It's an honour.

Now that you've given me indigestion,
Burt, let's eat.

Finally! I'm starving.

You did fine. I'm John Lawry.
I'm an aide to the senator.

Peter Burton. I was just reading
your profile in the Washingtonian.

- Just?
- Just recently.

The article was in
a year and a half ago.

Some stack in the library.

You prepare for everything
the way you prepare for parties?

John, let's get something to eat.

Could you pass these around?

Peter! A special hat for you.
Looks good.

- Bathroom's there.
- Just wanted to get out of the crowd.

Have you seen Tim?

Deep into it with some guy from Justice.

That's not "some guy".
That's the Deputy Attorney General.

It's like the National Review
come to life in there.

And are you impressed by that?

Yes, I am.

- How was London?
- Oh, great. Fantastic.

- You went to school there?
- I've still got lots of friends there.

Shuttle them in for the party?

- You don't remind me of James Dean.
- What?

You remind Tim of James Dean.

If James Dean was a graduate grind.

Tim likes to make the basically boring
glamorous. No offence.

- None taken.
- There you are.

Give me the last kiss of '83.

I haven't seen that much log-rolling
since my father's poker games.

What's log-rolling?

Compromising the duties of office
under the guise of expediency.

Government by cheques and cocktails.

- A system that's worked for 200 years.
- I said nothing about your dad.

- Don't start.
- One minute to go!

- Resolutions?
- Find a good margarita in Georgetown.

- Cop out!
- You?

- Too young and powerless to mention.
- OK, next decade?

Prosecuting half the guest list.

To be in Congress within 10 years.

- That's it?
- But I mean it.

- Is this expensive?
- About $80.

I'll make a bet with you.

Election night '90. If I win,
you each owe me a bottle, by hand.

- If not?
- I'll bring you a case.

Just send mine. I won't want to be
around you the day after you lost.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, Pete.

Happy New Year!

My turn, Tim.

- What's wrong with this party?
- Who told you about it?

I smoked a joint with the caterer.

It's drug-induced? Can we drive
around for hours looking for a diner?

Usher in the New Year with adults
and you'll become one.

- Where is this joint?
- Over by Bridgeport.

- Here we are.
- This looks shitty.

- Let's go to Greenwich.
- It's worse.

- One drink.
- We won't stay long, I promise.

They've written "Party" three times
on the marquee. How bad can it be?

- They've clearly pulled out all the stops.
- OK, OK!

Two draughts, two shooters of Jack
and a Baileys.

- Jack?
- Yeah.

Browns for my friend.
No, Browns for my friend.

Petey Bertkowski?
Is that Petey Bertkowski?

Jesus! Out of my way!
Coming through! Out of my way!

Bertkowski! Petey Bertkowski! Jesus!


- Short hair! It's been a long time.
- Yeah, a long time.

I saw your dad. I work for the city
and he worked with us.

A big snowstorm before Thanksgiving.

- We're just leaving.
- Seen Janine?

- I know she'll want to talk to you.
- Say hi to her...

Baby! Janine, honey!

Baby! Janine!

Come on! We're married now.
We got two kids and it's good.

Hey, Peter.

Hey, Janine. You look good.

You, too. Different.

Happy New Year.
It's good seeing you guys.

- Nice to meet you.
- Nice to meet you, too.

Happy New Year. Let's belly up here.
Couple of beers!

- Just don't judge me, OK?
- I don't even know your name.

Peter Michael Bertkowski.

Born, New Haven, March 91959,
to Mike and Irene.

The mother left when he was ten.
The father, a Cutty Sark fan,

raised the boy, working sporadically
around the holidays.

People got the charitable urge.

Where were you Christmas?


- Why did you lie to me?
- I thought you wouldn't be my friend.

Why would you think that
I'd give a shit about stuff like that?

Most people don't see the world
with the same eyes you do.

They're not so sure who they are,
not so happy with who they are.

You don't have to lie to me.

- You don't understand, man.
- Why don't you let me try?

I'm sorry, Tim.

The thing is,
these personal traits of your father's,

some you can't stand,
these come out in you.

There's nothing you can do,
any more than you can

about getting his ears

or his hairline...

You know, last weekend, right.

Diana, little thing.
Dinner before the movie.

Turns into a fight, no other reason
than me sticking to a goddamn plan.

My father exactly.


He ran his house the same way
he runs his courtroom:

Confusing stubbornness with strength.

I knew what she meant.
Got even madder denying it.

Do you have any idea
what I'm talking about?

But you don't have
to become your old man.

It's not inevitable.

Not if you fight it with everything you got.

- Hey, Tim. Timmy!
- Yeah?

- Mine came!
- You got it!

All right. OK, on three.

Good luck! One, two, three!

- OK. "Department of Justice..."
- "After a considerable number..."

- "inform you of your acceptance..."!
- "...staff of Senator James B Stiles"!


Yes. Look around. Here we are.

A lady writes, "Dear Senator,
My Oscar is a great admirer of yours,

"and every time you come on the TV
he sits in front to watch.

"And when they applaud your speech
he barks right along."

Oscar's her fucking dog!

Now, "Oscar has been sick.

"Could the senator find time
to have a photograph taken with him?

"It would mean so much, you know."

Don't everybody look at once.

Senator Frank Steubens with
an unidentified blonde. Laminated.


- Jesus!
- She's a lobbyist.

America's family man toasted
with a blonde at Wah Fong's.

I like the papers on the table.
Nice touch. Working dinner.

They're drawing up a proposal
introducing his member

into her historic chamber.

- You wished you'd said it.
- All right.

I wish Stiles was here. We got a bill
Steubens' committee's been blocking.

I'd love to see the senator march over
and lobby him with Blondie sitting there.

Why don't you do it? You're the real
brains in Stiles's office.

We know it, but Steubens doesn't yet.

- Take a vacation!
- Drink your drink!

Get him out of here.


We're going to Ronnie and Nancy's.
Want to come?

- Bye.
- Goodnight.

Kentucky plates. Russell Building
parking sticker. Steubens' car.

Wow! Now I've seen it all.
Can we go now?

- Get the jack out of the trunk.
- What for?

Peter, what the fuck are you doing?

Oh, no!

Yeah, they got me, too.

Senator Steubens?

Tim, it's Senator Steubens.

Senator, I'm a great,
great admirer of yours.

Oh, very nice to meet you, sir.
Miss Winston.

- Peter.
- Hi.

Must be a Democratic precinct.

Let me change your tyre.

Oh, no, I couldn't ask you to do that.

- Just take my car.
- I couldn't.

I'm an aide to Senator Stiles.


Good people, Stiles. Good people.

I could just run up to your office
tomorrow, exchange keys.

It would be an honour, Senator.

- I don't know...
- Let's accept.

You think so, honey?

OK. Thank you.

Just let me have a word with our
good friend here. Hold that, honey.

- Nice meeting you.
- You, too.

- Peter Burton, Senator.
- Just call me Frank, Pete.

- I know what this looks like.
- Like a senator working late.

I know what it looks like.
Don't yank my chain.

- No, Frank.
- Just between us men.

- Can't stress the importance.
- No need, Frank.

Thank you.


Thank you again. Come on, honey.


- Thank you.
- Goodnight.

Frank, hurry.

- The moves on this kid!
- You stuck his tyre. That's a crime.

OK, so I created a situation.

So what? I did him a favour,
equals Stiles did him a favour.

So he's on our dance card in
a close vote. What's wrong?

It's wrong.

You think the Department of Justice
never cuts corners? It's a new day.

- What the fuck does that mean?
- Don't get caught.

Lighten up.
I didn't break into Watergate.

I let the air out of a tyre. It's kids' stuff.

Baker's moving to excuse Standish,

so we've got to get into his involvement
with the pipeline contracts.

Hammer Standish
when he twists his watch.


Every time he takes the Fifth
or "can't recall", he twists it.

Like those Lebanese lobbying answers.
He twists his watch, come down hard.

Hey, Pete.

- Your boss is writing "kick me" on this.
- Afternoon, Frank.

- You know Peter?
- Met last night.

We had a nice chat about your
amendment to the Appropriations Bill.

Listen, Jim. Walk back with me
after the hearing. I think we can talk.

See you inside.


- Will you tell me what that was about?
- No time. We'd better get inside.

I told Mrs Santana we'd be out
of the apartment Monday morning.

- Did she rent it?
- I don't know. Why?

I'm staying, Tim.
I'm not going back to school.

- You're kidding?
- No. We're in the best school there is.

College of Ways and Means, DC.

- Let's go.
- Let's do it.

- Take 'em.
- Good shot!

- Are you sure it's OK?
- Yes, I was nodding off, too.

Dinner's not for an hour,
so we can walk...

Or just get a bite. No, I'm not hungry!

- I'm getting fat anyway.
- You are not!

- Maybe if we walked I'd be hungry.
- It's OK.

I'm sorry. You put this big night
together and I'm being a creep.

- What's the matter?
- We're about to be separated again.

And I'm thinking maybe
that's not such a bad thing.

- What?
- I don't know where it's going.

It's going fine. What is this?

Just because you say it's fine,
doesn't make it fine.



I'm listening.


Why are you so set on Justice?
Isn't there another track?

- Why be out of the loop?
- Ass-kiss your way to the middle?

That's not what it is.
My parents have a wonderful life in it.

- You're one of the best.
- You think the DOJ is for rejects?

No, I'm not saying that.

I don't want to spend my life
trying to get votes.

If you're happy with your programme,
fine. But it's not mine, or ours.

I can't say I'd be happy
being basically a cop's wife.

Not a cop, an attorney.

No one said anything about marriage.

I hate the way I sound,
but I have to say these things.

We have to think about them.

So, I'll call you when I'm in town next.

I didn't mean to hurt you. I love you.

Let's get out of here.

I'm going to the bathroom.
Wait for me, OK?


- I knew it was no before I could ask.
- Did she give you a reason?

My career plans aren't glamorous
enough. It seems like that matters.

- What will you do?
- Try and fall out of love with her.

She loves you. It's obvious.

If she loses you over some agenda,
then she doesn't deserve you.

- Am I right?
- Peter.

- Could I speak with you?
- Certainly, John.

- Hi, Tim.
- Hi.

- What's up?
- I just came from Steubens' office.

- Is he behaving himself?
- Maybe you want to talk in private.

Tim's my brother.
He's going to hear it anyway.

Here it is.

Don't you ever, ever go trying to make
some deal for the senator's office.

You want to play maverick,
take it somewhere else.

If you're staying,
you go through channels.

Got me?

- Got you.
- Good.

The campaign staff in Connecticut
is spread too thin. We need a hand.

Take the shuttle to New York,
then the train to New Haven.

- Someone will pick you up.
- Decoration committee?

- Fundamentals. Something you missed.
- Ask you one thing?

- Quickly.
- Is Steubens with the amendment?

- That's not the point.
- I know.

I don't think you do.


He's fucking with me. It's personal.

Now I have to find a way round him.
Shouldn't be too hard.

40 years old and he's still an aide.

Dresses like a leftover campus radical.
John Denver-looking motherf...

Thank you. Thank you very much.

Lyndon Johnson once told me
that a good speech

is measured by how quickly
it gets the audience on its feet.

So, the owner of the black Mercedes
with Connecticut plates,

your lights are on.

Sorry about that.

Not staying for the rest of the speech?

No. I just wanted to see
how my joke went over.

Been here since eight in the morning.

Where are you going?

I'm going to sneak over that fence,
take off my clothes and float in that pool.

I'd ask you, but I hate hearing no.

How do you know I'd say no?

'Cause I don't think those looks
you've been dealing me

add up to you actually doing anything.

I think you're a daddy's girl. And
she doesn't fool around with the help.

- Got me all figured out, huh?
- Tell me I'm wrong.

You're wrong.

- What about Tim?
- What about Tim?

- What are we going to tell him?
- Nothing.

We were both curious.

You've been in my bed every night
this week. That's more than curious.

This doesn't have anything
to do with Tim.

You going back with him?

Peter, I love Tim.

Whether or not I can be with him,
I don't know.

Whatever happens, you're not part of it.

You don't want to be.
You're his best friend.

What if you're what I want?

- What if I fall in love with you?
- God, no. No, no, no.

- This is screwed up enough as it is.
- I could.

You could fall in love with me, too.

- Stop it. I don't think so.
- Why? I'm not good enough?

- Come on, Peter.
- Just say that you could love me.

- No.
- Just say it.

Just say it.


They pay peanuts with 2 weeks a year?

- I just started. It gets better.
- I know waiters with better deals.

- Who'd you say your friend was?
- John Palmeri.

A developer. Took a big initiative
for Stiles last election.

A big initiative?

- A lot of cash and kicked labour butt.
- Did you let him borrow your car?

That's very funny.

He needed the senator's ear,
I was able to help and here we are.

I'm not an intern any more. I got
my own relationship with the senator.

Chief Administrative Aide. Thank you.

- You're right on schedule, aren't you?
- First vacation in two years.

- I'll beat you skiing, too.
- I don't ski on the bunny slopes.

- Think I need a lesson?
- Three or four.

You don't have to decide now.

- If you get tired slogging...
- Slogging?

Turtling... I got you a slot with Stiles.
Me and you together.

- Me under you?
- No, I show you the ropes.

In a week, you'll be writing laws,
not looking them up.

- Enforcing them.
- Try it.

- Why do you want me there?
- For the future.

For when I make the run.
I don't kid myself.

I'm Mr Shine. Give me a baby to kiss
and a filmmaker to shoot it, I'll be in.

- I'll need my legal eagle.
- I like what I do.

Somebody hurts someone,
steals from them, I can right it.

- That's very liberating.
- Why are you so naive?

- Your Washington is not mine.
- You're wrong, man.

It's all the same ball game.
Even at Justice.

You need to realise that.

If you're that good,
you'll have plenty of men to pick from.

If I can ever help from where I am,
all you've got to do is ask. All right?

- Last run.
- Damn, did we do this week up!

Yeah, we did.

God, look at that.

Listen, Tim, I've got to talk to you
about something.

About seeing somebody.
I haven't been straight.

I haven't...

Diana. I've been with Diana.

After you went back to school, I was
around her, around the campaign.

- It's been on and off for a year.
- And now?

- I'm going to ask her to marry me.
- That's your relationship with Stiles?

- Don't think that.
- What am I supposed to think?

It just happened.

I'm taking this. If you want an easier
run, I'll meet you at the bottom.

- Last run. We've got to ski it together.
- It's up to you. Follow if you want.


Pete, stop! No! Stop! Just fall over!

Ski patrol! Ski patrol!

- Don't move.
- My fucking leg!

Ski patrol's on its way.

I didn't hear you soon enough.
I know you were yelling.

- I'm sorry.
- I couldn't hear. I know you were there.

I know you meant to warn me.

- I know you were trying to help.
- I'm sorry.

Ski patrol!

You know with Diana I never meant
to hurt you. You know that?

- Right?
- Yes.

Ski patrol!

Oh, fuck!

Don't move.

Be my best man.

- Good?
- Yes.

So I was absolved
of trying to kill my best friend.

And he was acquitted

of snaking the only girl
that really mattered to me.

Even frozen and in shock,
one leg mangled and two ribs cracked,

Peter Burton
could cut himself a deal.

Louise, that's crazy.

We could hold fundraisers forever.
It wouldn't make up for that kind of cut.

Don't do this! You pull out on this vote
and I'm screwed!

- Hold on. Diana.
- One minute. Could you hold on?

- Warrilow's told Peckheiser to vote no.
- Dick's cutting Meals for Millions.

- Do I care?
- David!

Louise, hi, Peter. And to you.

Don't tell me he feels terrible.

He's going to look terrible
if Diana's forced to fight him.

- OK. Louise.
- David.

Yes, isn't he? I'm back in a week.
Hold him until then.

I'll get my father involved
and we'll figure it out.

You're a saint. Great.
Love to the kids. Bye. Yes!

And this must be Palmeri Bay.

Officially it's still Long Island Sound,
but we're working on it!

- What do you think?
- It's beautiful.

I'm glad you like it. It's yours.

- That was easy. Let's look at Porsches.
- I'm serious.

I know you're going to love it here.
Especially you, Diana.

- Thank you, but...
- But nothing.

I'm looking forward at a man
who's going to be my Congressman.

He needs to establish
residency in this district.

- I couldn't afford this place.
- Your campaign fund can.

- What campaign fund?
- The exploratory money I'm raising.

A portion will be allocated for housing
and office space. This is it.

- Too good to be true?
- There's nothing unethical about it.

If that's what you're worried about.
This is done a lot.

- I didn't know that.
- You live, you learn.

- Diana, I want to show you the rest.
- Sure.

This is the master bedroom.
Most rooms face the water...

If you're not comfortable with it,
just hand those keys back.

The important thing is
I want to help you, work with you.

- Any time you're uncomfortable, say no.
- Any time, on anything?


We're bidding for a federally-funded
low-income project for Bridgeport.

It's a fair bid and we want the job,
but we've got competition.

- You said you've a friend at Justice.
- A good buddy.

- I don't trust him.
- That's prejudice.

No, instinct.

- If his name was Winthrop...
- That's prejudice!

- He's a respected businessman.
- He's a silk suit with tax scams.

You don't trust him because
he fought to get where he is.

- He sees something in me.
- So do I, Peter. I married you.

Quit trying to tear me down. I'm just
trying to get us where we want to be.

- Unbelievable.
- Congratulations.

- Take care. Bye.
- See you later.

- Are others as guilty as Wagstaff?
- Did you think they'd convict?

Are you satisfied
Wagstaff's as high as it went?

I can't answer questions because
of the appeal. I have a statement.

Wagstaff's conviction is not only proof
that the system works,

but that it can work across the board.

No matter how high up,
you're still accountable.

I thank the jury, local prosecutors
and everyone who came forward.

I've a message to the Orlando Sentinel:
Garrity, two Rs and a Y.

- What are you doing here?
- Taking Dick Tracy to the Super Bowl.

- 623. We're here on the left.
- This is great!

- He promised me the 50-yard line.
- Where'd you get the tickets?

Business Round Table.
The NRA's got a sky-box.

Maybe we can hang around there
the second half.

Why are you wasting the Super Bowl
on a lowly DOJ attorney?

Maybe I did waste them.
Fuck you. I never see you now.

I'm sorry. It's this weekend.
Everybody's brown-nosing.

I feel like the third wheel
on your date with destiny.

Rise for our National Anthem.

- If a guy promises the 50-yard line...
- All right. It's the Banner.

What so proudly we hailed...

You've been buying drinks
all weekend for the State of Florida.

Log-rolling. Yeah, I know.
Meet Senator Lackerby.

I don't know.

Just take a bow. Not for me, for you.

- You don't understand.
- I understand plenty. Come with me.

Excuse me. Coming through. Senator.

- Peter Burton. Senator Stiles' office.
- Of course. Welcome to Florida.

Thank you. Meet a friend of mine.

Meet the man
who put Sandy Wagstaff behind bars,

Deputy US Attorney, Tim Garrity.
Tim Garrity, Senator Lackerby.

Sandy Wagstaff stands
for progress in this state.

I don't care what peccadilloes
your witch-hunt has scared up,

it is not justice when
a Sandy Wagstaff goes to prison.

The Department of Justice, the FBI,
Dade County prosecutors, a jury

and some of your own staff
would disagree with you.

If you have a problem, take it up
with them. I'm only here for the beer.

Excuse me.

Did you have to?

- Should I apologise?
- He's a senator.

He's a crook. We could've
indicted him and got orders not to.

You're right and
we go back to the lousy seats.

- I'm kidding.
- It's hard to tell sometimes.

Will you look into something for me?

New Hampton Development.

It's similar to Wagstaff,
bribes from federally-funded projects.

It's on authority.
I told a constituent I'd speak to you.

- What did she say?
- Her father's tests came back.

- An early stage of Alzheimer's.
- Oh, my God!

Jesus, I'm sorry.

Yeah. Me, too.

- I never told you, OK?
- Yeah, yeah.

- He won't even tell his staff.
- How's Diana taking it?

You know, bad.

I mean,
the girl never left home anyway.

- Now it'll get worse.
- Don't look at it like that.

Since we married, I've been living
by this yardstick, James B Stiles.

- She married me.
- He's been nothing but good to you.

As long as I was a kid
hustling floor votes or money for him.

It's different since I married
his daughter. It is.

It's nothing overt, but I feel it.
I'm not one of them.

You're crazy.
They don't think like that.

But, Tim, it's true.

It is.

A knock. That's better.

Clean draft on the Armed Services
report. You're welcome.

Wait a minute. Shut the door.

I'm going to be leaving in a couple
of weeks. Taking some time off.

I'm looking into running
for a seat in the fourth CD.

- Tinker isn't vacating.
- I'm anticipating it.

- Is Stiles backing you?
- I'm just exploring things.

The point is, the senator's going
to want me to realign the office staff,

and I'm going to recommend
against you taking over.

- I'm shocked.
- You think it's personal, but it isn't.

I think you're very good as an expediter.

Very valuable.

I'm not confident you'll focus on the real
business of this office. I'm sorry.

Don't be sorry, John. I'll be OK.

Thanks for the tip.

Oh, yes!

- You hit the shit out of that ball.
- You'd better stick to politics.

OK. Tinker's vacating a seat
in the fourth district.

- I want to run.
- Seriously?

- I'd like to run with your support.
- Did you talk to Lawry?

- He's a manager, not a leader.
- He's got a terrific legislative mind.

- He deserves a chance to prove himself.
- Nobody'll vote for him.

I can do the job.

I need you on staff,
especially with John leaving.

- I'd be more use to you in the House.
- Leave that to me.

- Next term, we'll set you an agenda.
- I've got an agenda, sir.

I want to run in the next election.

A couple of terms
with you as my mentor,

and I hope to fill your seat
when you retire.

- Who said anything about retiring?
- Well...

I assumed with your illness...

Well, don't assume. They've assured me
the progression can take years.

That's great news!
Then, let's look at it long range.

An across-the-board ally
in the House for your final term.

And, more importantly,
someone to carry on your work.

I want to be that man, Senator.

What if I say no, Peter?

Then I have to seek support elsewhere.

Wouldn't that look strange?

Bringing his ammo into another camp.
People hear Alzheimer's, they worry.

- I don't want to think about that choice.
- Don't fuck with me!

I've been playing hardball
since before you were born.

I don't mind playing hardball.
I do mind being taken for a fool.

- Does Diana know?
- She's knows I'm seeking your support.

Which is all I'm doing.

What's your hurry, Peter?

- Got a new cure for this country's ills?
- No, not like that.

Only issue I saw you catch fire over
was where to eat

with those Gucci-assed lobbyists
you're so fond of.

So, what is it, boy? The money sucks.

Food tastes the same.
You still get a year older every birthday.

The future, Senator.

I want to contribute.
I feel my time is now.

You do, huh?

I'm not going to stand in your way.

My last term's too important to me
to take any chances with the election.

But let me tell you something.

You may win an election or two.
You may be able to live with yourself.

But God help you when the people
find out. They always do.

The time is now, John.
Tinker's not running for re-election.

The seat's open.

- Stiles'll back you?
- Yes.

You'll need funding.
Organisation. More funding.

- It's a lot of orchestrating.
- What could I do to expedite things?

Give a couple of tugs. Deadline for
the Bridgeport project's coming up.

If we got that contract 'cause of you,
my friends would be very impressed.

My friend at Justice has been looking
into it, but he's coming up empty.

He's sharp. He's not missing anything.
There's nothing there.


That's possible.

You knew there was nothing
when you had me tip him.

You're letting your line slack.
Look out. Give me that.

I wanted you in a position to help us.


There's a Justice Department

Reveal that, New Hampton's
out of the running. It's a big favour.

- He's a friend. I can't set him up.
- He'd never know.

What could happen? A little hot water.
Isn't that worth it?

I can't do it.

- Come on.
- I got it.

Say I'm the Ghost of Christmas Future.

There you are. Diana, kids, nice fire.
You're counting blessings.

What's making you runny inside?
Your achievements?

A card from what's-his-name?

"Warmest holiday wishes. We must
get together. It's been too long."

I think I know the answer.
I just hope you do the right thing.

This is Sam Minot, New Haven
Sentinel. Is this Mr Garrity?


I'm doing a story on your investigation
of the New Hampton Development.

- This is just a threshold investigation.
- It's an investigation, isn't it?

Well, yes, but...
Who are your sources?

- What's so funny?
- Oh, it's just a little ray of sunshine.

- What were you thinking of?
- He called my direct line.

I assumed he'd been cleared.

You're a US attorney!
You don't assume anything!

- No, sir.
- You were ambushed. Any idea why?

No. My tip-off was
from an aide to Senator Stiles.

He's coming up empty, too.

- What's his name?
- Peter Burton. He's my best friend.

Someone's got an agenda here,
and we're going to find out who.

I'll have to offer you up.

I'm sorry, but you're suspended
until further notice.

Yes, sir.

Thank you.

- Hello, handsome.
- Hello, beautiful.

- Am I the first one here?
- You're the only one coming.

- What the?
- Peter wanted us duded up.

- Thought you wouldn't do it.
- He's right. Where is he?

On the phone. A drink?

- Scotch.
- No ice.

No ice.

The family crest.

- Are you all right?
- No.

- All my laundry's clean, though.
- They must know it's not your fault.

How long are they
keeping you suspended?

Until they can pin it
on somebody else.

- You look good.
- You look good, too.

What's the latest?

I was set up by New Hampton's rival.

- Like another developer?
- Yes.

What do you think?

I frisked Palmeri, if that's what you're
thinking. Diana's got a thing about him.

You think I'm sitting on my hands?
Of course I checked John.

- He had nothing to do with it.
- Justice will get to the bottom of it.

They may doze, but they never close.

Excuse me,
I've got to check on the lamb.

We like it pink!

You can always hang
around here for free grub. Say yes.

Don't start.

The fact is you're out of work.

At least let me offer to help.
I'm announcing Monday.

Come down.
Let me give you the lay of the land.

Meet some people.
Tim, give me that much.

I'll come watch your announcement.
That's it.

We don't have to feed him now.

- What are we covering today?
- Burton, announcing for Congress.

Hope there's something to eat in there.

The senator's cutting it close.

I still think you ought to open
with a fart joke.

- The senator is here.
- Mr Garrity.

Here, Mr Burton. The senator's speech.


There's only one sentence about Peter.

- I said I'd introduce him, that's all.
- What's going on?

- A misunderstanding.
- My ass!

- What good is this going to do?
- What is he talking about?

He said if I didn't back him,
he'd leak my illness.

Not like that!

- Are you saying he's lying?
- Sit down!

He's got his version, I've got mine.
Side with your husband for once.

You wanted this, too.
Did you think it would just come to us?

I hate you!

Diana, get back in here!

I'm going out to introduce you,
and then our deal is done.

And if you ever do anything
to hurt my daughter, I'll destroy you.

- Gentlemen...
- We'll be right out.

Now what do I do?
They're expecting the beautiful wife!

- Hold on.
- I need a joke. She's nervous...

Did you blackmail him?

I never threatened to use it. It's me!

It's you. But it's not a tyre!

- Don't start. I did nothing to you.
- We got to go.

You were right.

Burton was the source of the leak
of the investigation.

We think he set you up
as a favour to John Palmeri.

His associates got a federal project
by taking New Hampton out.

- Burton's had ties to him for years.
- He lives in one of Palmeri's houses.

We believe his campaign is being
backed by Palmeri and his associates.

- You're assuming nothing?
- It's all backed up.

We've had an ongoing investigation
into Palmeri.

He's tied into racketeering,
bribery and fraud in two states.

- What now?
- Nothing.

We've nothing solid enough
to go after Palmeri.

As for your pal Burton, fucking you
over's not a federal offence.

- Let me go after him.
- What?

Let me work undercover
on Burton's campaign.

I could gather evidence on Palmeri.

If Burton's breaking the law,
we take it to Public Integrity.

You're not FBI, you're a trial lawyer.
You're not equipped.

He trusts me.

You have somebody's trust, you've all
the equipment you need to nail them.

Let me make some calls.

- How you doing, Pete?
- Better now. Thank you.

- I haven't done anything.
- Thanks for still having faith.

- Where's the Mean Machine?
- Media guy said it looked flaky.

How's this look?


- End of an era!
- Yeah.

When I hear about tax breaks
for big corporations,

I think, "Why give them a break?"

But unless we attract
new business to this district

and expand our tax base, there won't
be a new senior citizen centre,

or meals-on-wheels
for your housebound friends...

- John Palmeri?
- Yeah?

- Tim Garrity. I'm with Peter.
- How'd you recognise me?

Pete described you.

And you're the only other person here
who can walk.

- He looks good.
- Like a Kennedy.

86 the notes. Get him to memorise.

I keep telling him to.
I wanted to go over strategy with you.

Sure. Get in.

Now he's a candidate, everything goes
through me. Requests, advice, money.

Sounds good. You ticklish?

- What?
- Some guys are.

Come on, let's go.

- He's cherry.
- What?

Careful is happy.
Didn't they teach you that at Justice?

I'm out of there. I work for Peter now.

You never know what's bred
in the bone. Accept my apologies.

- Will you respect me in the morning?
- Speak to me.

It's a crime that people live like that.

I want to find the superintendent, the
landlords. I want some face-to-face now.

How would you do that?

- Can I steal him?
- Just a minute.

Just found out one of Palmeri's
companies owns this property.

- What?
- Back off on your speech.

- What shall I say?
- Don't get specific.

"Tomorrow's looking good."

- How are you holding up?
- Fine.


You were pretty tight with Burton.
It's got to be rough.

My old man said
that friendship is like the dew.

It settles on some roses
and it settles on some dog shit.

Record by pressing the first button.
It's also your mike.

- There's a recorder in the shoulder.
- He has a scanner.

Fibre optics. Doesn't register.

Bond. James Bond.

When's your meeting with Palmeri?

- Tomorrow afternoon.
- Want to go over it again?

- Mr Palmeri.
- This way.

Let him lead, keep it specific, persuade,
don't provoke, always be closing.

- Hey, Tim.
- How you doing?

Are you sure
you haven't slipped anywhere?

Nobody knows a thing.

If it's about playing wifey
at his debate, the answer's no.

- Is that final?
- Yes.

- OK.
- Damn it!

That's why you came here, isn't it?

Reconnaissance on his marriage.
That's really pathetic.

- I said I'd talk to you, that's all.
- You did your job, you can go.

No, you can go. I'm going to stay
and finish my drink.

I'm sorry.

- Want something?
- I'd love a double Stoly.

- Double Stoly...
- No, club soda with lime.

- What's that?
- A new trick I'm learning.

Helps me see things for how they are,
instead of how I wish they were.

What do you see?

I see how Peter gets a hold on people.

He's so good at telling you
what you want to hear.

How much we want to believe
everything he says.

- It's very powerful.
- It's not just Peter, that's politicians.

Successful ones. You can't condemn
them. It's the nature of the beast.

- Don't condemn him?
- He broke no law.

Any more than your father did
by letting him do it.

It's a system that's worked
for over 200 years, remember?

I think he had something to do
with setting you up.

He had nothing to do with that.

What are you doing with him?
This isn't you, playing his game.

I am sorry you got hurt.

But just because
he wasn't your goddamn perfect man

doesn't mean
I have to cut him off, too.

I am helping out an old friend,
that is all.

- You don't understand.
- No, I don't understand.

You're right.

Diana, be there on election night.

Bring that bottle of champagne you
bet him, 'cause I think he might win.

And bring a little faith in me.
You won't be disappointed.

Good evening and welcome
back to Election '90 at Channel 3.

Did you hear that? We got Bridgeport.

Hey, Pete, Channel 8.

This is Connecticut News Tonight
with the Election '90 Special News.

Hey, Tom. Yeah.
Well, 15 minutes.

So, we're not sure who's won...

In the US Senate race, with 53%
of the precincts reporting in,

Channel 8 now projects that Senator
James B Stiles has defeated

challenger Stuart Hutchinson, returning
Senator Stiles for a fourth term.

Turning back
to the Congressional election...


In that close race for the fourth
Congressional district, the Gold Coast,

it's been between former assemblyman
Kevin McQuade and Peter Burton.

We now project
Peter Burton to be the winner

by a narrow margin
over Kevin McQuade.

Come here!

- Congratulations, Mrs Burton.
- Thank you.

Come here! We fucking did it, man!

It's great!

Way to go, Pete!

Pardon me.

A bet's a bet.


Listen, Diana,
maybe we can sort things out.

No, Peter.

I've filed for a divorce.

McQuade's on the phone.
He's ready to concede.

In a minute. Diana.

Go ahead. You've been waiting
for this moment your whole life.

Don't start getting regretful.
It's not your style.

Peter, come on. This is it!

Kevin. Thank you.

What was I supposed to have faith in?

Sometimes the system works
and people are what you'd hoped.

I've lost the faith.

Did you know Peter
set me up, or just suspect?

- What?
- Did Palmeri ask him?

Or did he just offer me up?

Oh, God. You've known all along.

- Long enough to do something about it.
- Tonight?

The fat lady's warming up.

I'll see you down there.

Peter's accepting in about 20 minutes.
We'll see you in the ballroom.

- Everybody out. Give him some air.
- As your new Congressman,

I propose you all go downstairs
and get a drink.

See you later.

- See you down there.
- All right.

Seven years, my friend.

- Bet settled.
- Unbelievable.

This stuff's a lot more expensive
than it was in 1983, I'll tell you that.

We may not always get
what we want or what we need,

just so's we don't get
what we deserve.

- Congratulations, Congressman.
- Thanks, brother.

No, no. Hey, I appreciate it, really.

All right. Give me 15 minutes.

- Where the hell's Palmeri?
- I thought he'd watch his horse come in.

He's going away. Maybe he's choosing
which 100 suits to take.

Shoes to match. What does he do
at his construction sites?

- Do they vacuum before he arrives?
- That's if he ever arrives.

Some piece of work.

- Please! You don't know the half of it.
- How much do you know?

More than you. He's got
a hammer-lock on a few union locals.

You don't run a carting company
without John as partner.

His wife's got a "catering service"
with half the state's hospitals.

- Bitch wouldn't know Jell-O from steak.
- How do you do it? I'd be nervous.

- We got an arrangement.
- Go along, get along?

- He knows the parameters.
- What if he changes them?

It won't happen. I'm not a puny
local official taking envelopes.

- What do you mean?
- I'll tell you a story. Town supervisor,

I forgot where, reneges on a variance
for one of John's developments.

Comes home one night,
found his house burnt down.

Didn't even let the dog out.

Come on, let's drink up.

I got a lot of people to thank.

How did he get so much money
into the campaign?

Holding companies, brothers-in-law,
friends. Man's got a lot of friends.

And you owe them all?

Yeah, I owe them all.

Now I'm elected, I'll take care of them.
My time, my way.

Just leave the dog with a neighbour.

What do you owe them right now?

- What is this?
- What's what?

All these questions about Palmeri?

What's with you
not looking me in the eye?

Palmeri's being arraigned right now.

They're gonna nail you for
accepting illegal kickbacks, conspiracy

and obstruction of justice.

You son of a bitch!

You set me up at Justice.
Why did you do that to me?

That's a lie.
I'll deny we ever had this conversation.

Yes, we did. Say "cheese".

Fuck you!
Come on, tell me about justice!

Tell me it has nothing to do
with me getting Diana.

Tell me this isn't about me
coming out ahead of you.

Get up, you self-righteous
son of a...

It's easy for you to screw people.
If everyone's out for you, then it's OK.

Garrity! FBI!

Get out!

I'm sorry for what I did to you.

- I had no choice.
- Course you did.

I got instinct and some moves.
Choice is for guys like you.

Diana married you.

You chose to make her regret it
with everything that you had.

Stiles took you under his wing
and you chose to blackmail him.

I was your friend
and you chose to betray me.

You did this to yourself.


I needed more than you could give,
you or Diana or any one person.

They say great men are embraced
by thousands of strangers.

I want to be great.

So you sacrificed a few
to reach the many.

They believe in me down there.

And you can't take that away.
They won't let you.

Thank you.

Thank you.

You know, for the past couple
of months, I've been saying

tomorrow's looking good.

I'll tell you a secret,
tonight's feeling great.

First of all, I want to thank
my campaign family.

Because of your fantastic dedication
and energy, we're here tonight.

With your hopes and dreams in our
hearts, we're going to Washington.

In the past few months, as I've met
the fine people of this district,

I've come to think of you not just
as voters, but as family, as friends.

And that's how I want you to think of me.

As your friend in Washington,
as your brother in Congress.

I'm listening,
and what's more, I hear you.

One of the questions

I've been asked, over and over again
during the campaign..., "Peter Burton,

"why should I trust you?

"Why should I believe in you?"

It's a tough question.

The tough answer is because I'm not
afraid to admit that I'm human.

I'm one of you.

I'm motivated, I'm proud,

I'm competitive and, yeah,
sometimes I'm a little headstrong.

- Does that sound familiar?
- Yes!

I'm one of you.
And I'll tell you something.

Where there's an "Us" there's a "Them".

In smoky back rooms,
here in our district,

they're trading on our tomorrows
for their own gain.

In the past few months... of these men invited me in,

and I let him think I was for sale.

Not Peter Burton!

As you'll soon find out,

I was so good at it

that some lawyers from Washington
really thought I was for sale.

That's the case they'll try to make.

I put it to you, was I too motivated?
Is it possible?

Too headstrong? Perhaps.

Less than circumspect? Definitely.

But I did what
any one of you would've done.

Tell it to the people
who can't find a home.

Tell it to the people
who can't find a decent job,

who can't send their children
to decent schools.

I did what you would've done.

I saw an opportunity to get a jump on
these guys, and I seized it.

I took that risk for one reason.
I took that risk for you.

We love you, Peter!

In the hopes that one day
I would be here with you at my side,

to take back our tomorrows from
these crooks and these schemers,

and to send a message to Washington

that we're in charge
and tomorrow's looking good!

Garrity's on his way down.

Here he comes.

A damn good job.

- Ready?
- He's in his suite.

Let him call his lawyer,
then bring him down the back way.

- Good work.
- Get enough?

- Plenty.
- Good. That's good.

- You OK?
- Fine. Wish he'd lost.

Spare him humiliation
on the front page.

Win or lose, he's front page. If not you,
it would've been somebody else.

But it is me.

He was my best friend
and I used that to fuck him.

Just like he did to you. You're even.

You signed on to Justice all full of fire
to set things right. And you're good.

But until tonight, it never cost you.
You don't own it until it costs you.

They're bringing him down.

If I lost,
I'd bring you a case of champagne.

Well, I got elected, but doesn't look
like I'm going to get sworn in.

So, there's the champagne. Bet settled.

I'm sorry it ended up like this.

- I second that.
- What are you going to do?

They offered me immunity
if I testify against Palmeri.

Nobody said anything
about immunity from Palmeri.

Or I can take my chances. I heard
you took yourself off the case. Thanks.

- No deal and I'll have to testify.
- I know.

- I've got to get going.
- Yeah.

But save a bottle of that champagne.
We'll make it an ongoing bet.

You know the old saying
in Washington.

Only two things can
truly wreck a man's political career:

Getting caught with a live boy
or a dead girl.

- Good luck, Pete.
- See you around campus, man.