Ally McBeal (1997–2002): Season 1, Episode 4 - The Affair - full transcript

Ally is asked to be a pallbearer at the funeral of her ex-law professor who also happens to be her ex-lover. The widow, thinking her husband was a great mentor for Ally, asks her to give the eulogy. Ally's reluctance leads Billy to find out the truth about her reasons for avoiding the funeral. Billy offers his support to Ally, which unnerves both Georgia and Cheanie.

It's a what?

A face bra.

Next to aging and sun exposure. . .

. . .jogging is a leading cause
of wrinkles.

The motion breaks down
the skin's elasticity.

This holds the face in place.

You look like Hannibal Lecter.

I may look silly,
but this thing is a gold mine.

We can get a patent,
do an infomercial.

This is my best invention yet.

Even if we do get rich off of this. . .

. . .I couldn't tell people
how we made our money.

There's no embarrassing way
to make money.

What's with the jockstrap?
Somebody lay a trap?

It's a face bra. I invented it.
I plan to get a patent.

Run, don't walk.
I need to talk to you in private.

Remember Professor Dawson?

Why? What are you saying?

Well, evidence! Crim pro. You know.

Of course I remember him. Why?

He died Monday.

-Heart attack. Jogging, just dropped.

Ironic, really. Decides to take
up running and just drops dead.

He died?

I know you two were pretty tight.

Why do you say that?

You researched a lot
of his publishings, I assumed so.

Oh. Oh, yeah.

Anyway, evidently you were
his favorite student.


-That's what his wife says.

His wife? His wife said that?

She asked if you could be
a pallbearer.



Seemed important to her.



I've been down this road

The Affair

Walking the line
That's painted by pride

And I have made mistakes in my life

That ljust can 't hide

Oh, I believe I am ready

For what love has to bring

I got myself together

Now I'm ready to sing

I've been searching my soul tonight

I know there's so much more to life

Now I know I can shine a light

To find my way back home

Oh, baby, yeah

Oh, yeah

We could drive up to Maine.
The foliage is peaking.

And this friend has
this great place in Camden.

That sounds great. Good.

It's a crystal ball.

It's beautiful.

I figured you'd like it.

-Ally, are you okay?

Well. . . .

She has to bury a dead mentor.

Hard enough to grieve without the
added pressure of lifting the coffin.

Could you guys both excuse me
for a minute?

I have to go check on something
and I'll be right back.

Maine sounds nice.

I like pretty leaves and. . . .


Are you into venture capital?

What's up?

Not Professor Dawson. He's dead.

Oh, I heard.
I didn't really know him too well.

I did.

Oh, I'm sorry, Ally.

His wife wants me to be a pallbearer.

I guess you were close.

I slept with him.

What was that again?

I had an affair with him
3rd year of law school.

You had an affair
with Professor Dawson?

-Didn't you know he was--?

You obviously knew this.

Well, you said the marriage was over!

Of course I knew he was married.
I just didn't want to face it.

I couldn't think of myself
as a home-wrecker.

And the idea of him
being in the same bed as. . . .

So then what?

I broke it off immediately,
about five months later.



Of course not.
Only two. . . . Little ones.

I was in a monogamous relationship.
I wasn't betraying anybody.

You let me talk because you know
hearing my words is punishment enough.

I know what you're doing.

How am I going to be a pallbearer?
They want me to carry his body. . .

. . .which brings up my whole. . .

. . .death phobia,
and I'll have to deal with that too.

I got to carry something dead.
In a box.

I got to deal with two sure things
in life: death and adultery!

Stop letting me talk.

When you jog, the face goes
up and down.

I don't really invest in infomercials.

Is she okay?

She's fine. She's always a little
tickled by drama.

In time, she'll look back at this day
and want to relive it.

-Hi. Elaine.

It's not a good time, Georgia.
Ally's in there having an upset.

-What now?
-A dead professor.

Excuse me.
I'm looking for Ally McBeal.

I see. And you would be?

The dead professor's wife.


Forgive my bluntness.
It's a device I use to cope.

Let me go get her for you.

And I am very sorry for your loss.

Thank you.

-Door's closed.
-They have knobs.

Billy, Georgia's waiting for you.
And, Ally. . .

. . .Professor Dawson's wife is here.


She'd like to meet with you.

Well, she knows I'm here?

Yes, I told her I would get you.


Tell her I'll be right there.


What do I do?

She doesn't know about. . . .

No! I don't think so.
She knew he had an affair. . .

. . .because they split up for a while,
but she didn't know it was with me. . .

. . .or maybe she does. That's why
she's here, maybe with a weapon.

She asked you to be a pallbearer.

Obviously she doesn't know about you.

Or some sort of sick revenge,
making me carry him in a pine box.

Oh, God, she knows.

Ally, go see her.

Easy for you to say.
You didn't do it with her husband!

Ally, hi!

She's in your office.

So, about the weekend,
I'll just call or. . . .

Mrs. Dawson.

Hi. I'm so sorry about your loss.

Thank you for taking the time
to see me.

Don't be silly.

I know you and my husband were close.

He spoke of you so often.

Oh, well, he was a wonderful. . .

. . .professor.


And I know he was close
with many of his students but. . .

. . .the way he spoke about you. . . .

Oh, my God.

-May I ask you a question?

Just give me an honest answer.


Would you mind speaking
at the funeral?

Excuse me?

It wouldn't seem right not to hear
from a former student.

You seem like the natural choice.

I, well. . .

. . .my voice doesn't carry great
in large rooms. . .

. . .and my throat,
I've been feeling a polyp.

It would be important to him.
And to me.



Thank you.

The wake is tonight,
and the funeral service is tomorrow.


Thank you.


This is Daddy's friend, Ally.

-Hi, Cara.
-She works with Daddy. . .

. . .and is going to the zoo
with us today.


You scared me.

What happened?

-She doesn't know.
-That's good.

That's good except that she asked me
to speak at the funeral.


As his favorite student.
And I said, "Yes. "

You're going to eulogize a man--

I pulled some bio stuff
on Professor Dawson.

It might help to be intimate
for the eulogy.

Thank you, Elaine.

And Ronald Cheanie is on line 3.

Tell him I'll call him back.

His voice is taking on
a perturbed quality.

Tell him I'll call him back.
And excuse us, please.


So, I guess if I can be
an adulteress. . .

. . .it shouldn't be a stretch for me
to get up and--

You were close to him as a student.
Just talk about that.

I shouldn't work for you anymore.


Well, well, lately, it, it. . .

. . .doesn't seem. . .

. . .it doesn't always feel like work.

I have to think hard to even
remember him as a professor.

You never mentioned him before.

Yeah, I couldn't even admit it
to myself.

I haven't even told Renee yet,
or anybody and--

Oh, God, please,
you cannot tell a soul.

I won't.


I wouldn't even have told you except
I really needed somebody to. . . .

Oh, God! How am I going to do this?

The guy is going to be lying there
in a casket.

Just breathe deep, don't talk too fast
and you'll get through it.

Do you want me to come to this thing?

Would you?

I had him for con law.
Guess I could pay my respects.

All set for the big wake?

Ally, come here.

Tonight, try not to look at it
as a negative.

Don't look at it as a negative.

There'll be a lot of his former
students, like a class reunion.

Instead of a punch bowl,
there's a coffin.

Reunions allow the more
successful graduates. . .

. . .to inform the less successful
they're less than.

You and l? We're more than.
Especially me.

I've got my own firm.
I could possibly be the most.

My point is, life is all
about attitude. . .

. . .and tonight, just feel good
about yourself.

That speech was a Fishism.

-No doubt.
-Hug to get started?

Do you know how long
I've thought about doing that?

Ally? Ally?

Do you want me to go with you?

No. No, no, no.

Billy and Richard'll be there,
and I'll be fine.

-I don't need. . . .

-I know the back-story.
-You do?

Who told?

You said you and Billy
grew up together.

Oh, that back-story.

Well, yeah, Billy had him
as a professor and. . .

. . .and I think that he could
commiserate, or. . . .

You're no longer a couple, but
when you're about to hit bottom. . .

. . .he's still the best cushion
in town?

Something like that.

I'm sorry.

That's okay. It's, you know. . . .

But if you and I are gonna,
you know. . .

. . .progress. . .

. . .you're going to have to let me in.

I know.

Wakes are so ghoulish.

Tell me about it. Oh, God!
It's an open casket.

A party for everybody
to come and look at you dead!

An embalmer does your makeup.

-Are you okay?

Breathe through your nose.
Don't talk too fast.


I simply loved the man. The word is
so overused these days but. . . .

Thank you for coming, Richard.

If not for him, I would not be
where I am right now.

I'd be in a lounge smoking a Cohiba.

Hi, Ally.

Hello. Oh, hello.

Hello. Thank you for coming.
So many people came. It's wonderful.

He was wonderful.
It's a wonderful night.

How are you holding up?

It's all a blur.

I spoke to the minister, and he'll
call you up after one of the songs.


No, no. Tomorrow, at the funeral.

-Right. Fine. Good.

I feel like I might fall.

-You don't have to if--
-No, I do. I do.

I have to stay with my family.

I can't walk out on them.

Yeah, yeah.

This is just a thing, James.
It was a thing, I guess.

No, Ally.

You're the person
I've always dreamed of.

All my life.

I just didn't wait long enough.

Whoever I'll end up with. . .

. . .assuming I end up with anybody,
I cheated on him too.

-How do you cheat on a stranger?

Whoever I marry deserves somebody
who values fidelity.

Obviously more than I do.

If you didn't value it, you wouldn't
beat yourself up about it.


That's too much sex, Georgia.
I'm too old.

Yeah, you felt old.

First, when we go to bed.
Then you wake me up at 3.

And now again.

What's the matter?

Statistically. . .

. . .most married couples make love
3.2 times a month.

I just wanted to get October
over with.

No, really. What's the matter?

Your libido sometimes goes lock-step
with your insecurity.

I am not complaining.

Part of me would like to keep you
insecure forever.

But only part of me.

Have you been reading
that Venus book again?


Katherine Dawson is here
to discuss the funeral.


She has been waiting since 8:30.

Okay. Lie, just lie.

Hi, Katherine.

I'm sorry to intrude, but--

That's okay.
I thought the wake went very well.

Don't you think?

It was you.


My husband left me briefly
for another woman a few years ago.

I always thought it was a member
of the faculty. But. . .

. . .it was you.

Well, what. . .

. . .what makes you think that?

My daughter remembers that day
at the zoo.

James wasn't a womanizer.
He wouldn't stray. . .

. . .unless it was for
something special.

Well, as, as accusations go,
at least that's a flattering one.

ALLY: Where the hell is Elaine
when I need her?

You're the kind of woman
he'd fall in love with.

The way he used to speak about you.

How could I be so blind?

It was right there in front of me.

We went on a couple of dates.

It was a little thing. Small.

Did he love you?

I never meant to fall in love
with you.

I don't know.

Did you love him?

A little.

-She's in there?
-I'm not sure what's going on. . .

-. . .but I can feel it's good.
-Should I go in?

-What's up?
-The professor's wife is with Ally. . .

. . .and whatever they're talking about,
it's not about his makeup.

Maybe it's for the eulogy.

I've actually been hoping
I'd meet you.

For a long time.


-Because I never knew what happened.

For me it was like
this big black hole. . . .

All of a sudden, he wasn't there.

It was a tragedy that I met you.

I maybe had some chance of
convincing myself that. . .

. . .I was happy with my wife.

But meeting you, it's a tragedy.

-What did he say?
-He wouldn't talk about it.

He just said. . .

. . . "I'm back, and it hurts too much
to talk about why I was gone. "

I figured someday we would talk
about it. . .

. . .and then he died.

Where the hell is Elaine?

Do you really want to talk about this?

No. But I need to.

Look, Ally. . .

. . .for me. . .

. . .the problem is,
the man that I knew, he. . . .

But then again,
maybe that's my problem.

Did I know him?
Maybe I never really knew him.

Look, you don't have to tell me

It's just that I'm left here. . .

. . .holding nothing but my memories.

I don't even know if my memories
are true.

I'll-- I'll um--

I'll be right back.

She knows.

She does?

She's waiting back there for me
in my office.

-Are you okay?

Yeah. She's wondering whether
she ever even really knew him.

And I could tell her
that it was just sex. . .

. . .because that would lessen
the betrayal for her but. . . .


But I think she's clinging on to
the idea that he was a good man.

Which he was.

And sex, I mean, a cheap affair,
that cheapens him.

I'm not sure she wouldn't rather
hear we were just in love. . .

. . .because as painful as it is. . .

. . .it doesn't destroy her idea
of who she thought he was.

Does this make any sense?

What's the truth?

The truth?

That the biggest tragedy of his life
was not spending it with me.

You can't tell her that, Ally.
You cannot tell her that.

And what it does is holds the skin
in place.

Next to aging and sun exposure,

Isn't this fabulous?

Medical studies do show
that jogging causes wrinkles and. . .

. . .people run to preserve their youth
and it makes them look old.

And if you treat this mask with a
moisturizer, it could even be better.

I never thought of that.
Maybe Retin-A.

Elaine, will you excuse us
for a minute?


Retin-A. I wonder if you could
time-release that.

So. . .

. . .where did we leave off?

You were going to give me a clue
as to why my husband betrayed me.


That, well. . . .

Your husband and, you know. . . .



I wish I could say it was just
some midlife crisis.

It was just a midlife crisis.

I wish I could say I was. . . .

Being sophomoric one last time.

But it's not that.

That's all it was.

I love you.

He loved you.

If I didn't have any kids. . . .

You were all that ever mattered
to him.

Ally, I have two children. . .

. . .who need me to be there.

He loved you.

Well. . . .

I think. . . .

God, l. . . .

I had hoped there would be
some explanation. . .

. . .that'd take away some of the. . . .

I'm sorry.

Look. . .

. . .under the circumstances, maybe
you shouldn't speak at the funeral.

Maybe I know that he's been cheating

Maybe I know that he's been untrue

But what can I do

Those things are so disgusting.
They also can cause cancer.

-Why do you smoke them?
-We look good doing it.

They're expensive and people know it.
Do you think she'll plug the firm?


Ally, in the eulogy.
Think she'll plug it?

Not right off.

Do you think she likes me?

Not as a man but as a human being?

How could she not?

Sometimes I toss jewel Fishisms her
way, she just stares back with blanks.

She gets thrown by profundity

I'll go change my suit.
Let's meet in half an hour.

-We can all go together.
BILLY: Good idea.

So. . .

-. . .will we ever talk about it?
-About what?

About you being so hot by night
and so cold by day.

It's just a little odd. . .

. . .how Ally keeps going into your
office and pouring out. . .

. . .whatever it is she's pouring out.

I know. She just has stuff going on.

Like what?

Well, I kind of promised her
it'd be confidential.

I'm your wife.

Isn't the theory that husbands and
wives tell each other everything?

Yes, but I did promise her on this.

Whatever I add up to. . .

. . .I'm not her, am l?

Whatever she adds up to,
she's not you.

I've never been happier
being anything. . .

. . .than your husband.

I know everything's great between us

But you got to figure over the course
we'll hit a few bumps.

I'm just nervous about Ally being
in the next room when that happens.

Do you really doubt how much
I love you?


I know that he's been cheating

Maybe I know that

he's been untrue

I can go with you.

It's okay.

We're all going to. . .

. . .meet back at the. . . .

You know, Ally. . .

. . .you're not the first woman to have
an affair with a married man.

Somehow that doesn't
make me feel better.

What I did was worse than what he did.

He was the one with the family.

Yeah. He took a risk.

And me, I didn't even think about it.

He had a wife. . .

. . .kids.

I didn't give it a thought.

The marriage was over.

But it wasn't over.
He stayed with her.

It was never really over.

It may have been close, but it. . .

. . .it wasn't over when I got in there.

I put pain in that house, Renee.


Those kids lost their dad for a while
because of me.

And the little girl at the. . .

. . .zoo. . . .

If a child can't trust her parents to
love each other or to be honest. . . .

I didn't even give that a thought.

I stayed late on account
of the funeral.

I know how things can slip through
the cracks during times of wallow.

You're a godsend.

I know how you hate to walk
into your office and be surprised.

Who? The widow?


You told him I was coming back?

I did.


-Can we talk about it?
-About what?

Come on, Ally. Something's. . . .

You go behind closed doors with Billy,
it may be innocent. . .

. . .but to go into a relationship
being confused isn't my favorite way.

-Are you two--?

Then what?

I had an affair
with the dead professor.

I was conflicted about being the
keynote speaker at his funeral and. . .

. . .the widow needed to know
whether it was a sex thing. . .

. . .or a love thing.

And the truth seemed brutal,
and I'm not a good liar.

And so I've been going
behind closed doors with Billy. . .

. . .to confess and get his advice.

An affair with your professor?

I knew you'd get stuck on that.
Did you not hear the rest?

Why didn't you come to me
to confess or for advice?

I don't know. I didn't think
we were quite ready for that.

Well. . . .

I think you're right.

I know that tone.

Look, I'm still interested.

I still. . . .

I'll change "overmatched"
to just "over my head. "

The last few days have hardly
been typical.

Oh, but they have.

The next high-wire act comes tomorrow.
We just don't know what it'll be yet.

Even if I was mature enough to handle
this Billy thing, I don't want to.

I don't want to be.

I like being jealous, possessive.

Just give me a couple more days.
Can you do that?


I realize it's probably my loss.
But. . .

. . .there are just some victories. . .

. . .I'm not equipped to handle.

We're all going to a funeral.
Join us. It will be fun.

Rain check.

-Is it Ally?
-He just dumped her.

Ally, is it true? You and Cheanie?

I'll try to convince him not to
fire the whole firm.

It's been a hard two days.

You lost a professor
you were close to.

Katherine told me how close.
That gave me a jump.

One of the keys to life. . . .
The fast-forward.

Every movie has its lousy parts. The
trick is to fast-forward through them.

As time passes, you'll look back and
say, "Oh, that little adultery thing. "

You fast-forward to then right now.
And you're over it.


It's the Fish way.

That's your best one yet.

Is it? Well. . . .

Glory be to the Father

And to the Son

And to the Holy Ghost.

As it was in the beginning

Is now and ever shall be.

World without end.



We tend to judge people
by the last chapter.

Like the defining part
of a man's life. . .

. . .is where had he come to by the end.

And it would be easy to do that here,
wouldn't it?

James Dawson was
a successful professor. . .

. . .a wonderfully loving father
and husband.

But don't do that.

Think of James yesterday
as well as today.

Think of what he might have been
doing, say, 4 years ago.

There's a whole life there.

He didn't just love his family.
He loved others.

It was once said to me. . .

. . . "One true measure of a person is
how much pain he or she causes others. "

Because it occurs to me. . .

. . .that one can cause pain,
enormous pain. . .

. . .simply by leaving.

We hurt because he's gone.

Before we continue on
to our next hymn. . .

. . .we shall hear from one of James'
former students. . .

. . .Ms. Ally McBeal.

Ms. McBeal?

-What do I do?

-How can I go?

Ms. McBeal?

I'm terribly sorry,
but Ms. McBeal has been canceled.

They said she was suddenly

Oh, it appears she is available.

We'd be delighted.

Plug the firm.

Well. . .

. . .the. . .

. . .thing about funerals. . .

. . .the guest of honor is always dead.


And. . .

. . .we hear people talk
about the deceased and. . .

. . .then we hear all these things
we never knew and we think. . .

. . . "Oh, I wish I had known that. "
Or, "I wish I had known him better. "

And we think, "Maybe that person up
there is just saying nice things" . . .

. . .because, of course, you have to.
You can't be at a funeral. . .

. . .and say something not nice.
You have to say something good.

There's that story about
the terrible. . .

. . .awful man who died and nobody could
say anything nice about him. . .

. . .until finally somebody got up and
said, "His brother was worse. "

That. . . .

That story doesn't apply here,
does it?

And, but what my point is. . .

. . .is, lost, this.

You. . .

. . .hear. . .

. . .all the things that we've heard
about James Dawson and. . .

. . .they're all true.

Sometimes you think you know a person,
and then you're not sure. . .

. . .but with James, you really did. . .

. . .know him.

And he is everything the canned
funeral book words say he is.


And he was all the professor. . .

. . .and the good soul
and the charitable.

He was everything that
we're hearing, but. . .

. . .mostly. . .

. . .mostly he was a man hugely devoted
to his family. . .

. . .his daughters, his wife. . .

. . .and. . .

. . .I think in the end that's how he
would have liked it to be said.

He. . .

. . .he loved his wife and kids. . .

. . .more than life itself.

And that's something.

A good father and a good husband,
a good man and. . . .

We don't get to say that very
often about people these days.

You thought you really knew him?

And you did.

Go with Granny and Grandpa.
I'll meet you in the car.


Thank you for your kind words.


Well, he meant a lot to me.

I mean. . . .

I know.


Good speech.

Yeah, right. What are you doing here?
It's almost midnight.

Just checking on you.

Oh, well, um. . . .

Well, I'm fine.

How did you know I was here?

You usually work through things
with work.

And I didn't figure you'd be with
Cheanie. I'm sorry about that.

Oh, hey, for the best.

-There were so many ways. . .

. . .he just wasn't you.

Wasn't right.

Anyway. . .

. . .thanks for checking on me.


You remember when you thought
you flunked Property. . .

. . .and the stereo was broken
and we just pretended to hear music. . .

. . .because you said you needed
to dance?

Yeah. What was that? That was. . .

. . .a Johnny Mathis song.
The one about the pyramids.

Yeah. I think you could use
one dance.

Yeah, right.

-It always made you smile.
-My smiling license's been suspended.

One dance. Goes no further.
Remember the song?

-You do too.

See the pyramids along the sand

-It was sand.

-It was sand.

It was wall.

See the pyramids along the Nile.

Watch the sunrise on a tropic isle

Just remember during all the while

You belong to me

You stinker!

Subtitles by
SDI Media Group