Early Edition (1996–2000): Season 2, Episode 2 - The Medal - full transcript

Guilt stemming from an incident in Vietnam pushes a vet toward suicide.

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MAN 1: This is Alpha Zulu.
MAN 2: What is your position?

Heavy casualties.
I repeat, heavy casualties.

(rapid gunfire)

We can never escape our past.

No matter how hard we run,
what we've been

is what we are.

(gunshot, screaming)


Man down!

B-line! Copter in!
Copter in!

Sometimes that past
is a friend.

it's our greatest enemy.

It can make us heroes,

or hunt us down.

(rapid gunfire)

I'm hit!


Leave me here.


(door opens)


It's 4:30.

Oh, I know. I've, I've got
to get to the site early.

We're demolishing a building.

Go back to bed.


You sure
you're all right?

Will you go back to bed?


(theme music playing)

CHUCK: What if you
knew, beyond a doubt,

what was going
to happen tomorrow?

What would you do?

There's no easy answer

for a guy
who gets tomorrow's news today.

You listen to me.

I know seafood.

Seafood is my life.

If I say the calamari's bad,

then it's bad. Got me?

Hey! I used to be
a spear fisherman.

What's that all about?
Executive action.

Well, well, who do you think
you're dealing with?

Some sort of amateur here?

Of course I know
what calamari is.

It's squid, right?

And yours stinks.

I wouldn't feed it to my cat.

Oh, yeah? Go ahead
and laugh, mister.

'Cause as of today, your
contract is officially canceled.

Your fish is no longer
welcome here.

(phone beeps off)

Chuck, that
was the biggest

seafood supplier
in the entire city.

Oh, really?
I don't care.

I don't like his attitude.

It's squid, right?

Look, why don't you
let me call him back?

No, no, no, no, no.

At least let me
find a new company.

No can do, lady.

Why not?

Don't you have a busload
of nuns to save

or something?

You handle the miracles,
I'll do the fish.

Listen to this.

"The body
of an unidentified man

"was found
in Lake Michigan today,

the apparent victim
of random violence."

(gun chamber clicks)

"Police can provide
no motive for the slaying,

but refuse to rule out
the possibility of robbery."

"A report that
the victim's belongings

"were found in a nearby
trash can is not confirmed.

Fingerprints and dental records
are now being examined."

It's not much to go on.

No, it's too messy.

You'd better
go to the cops.

"Go to the cops." I go to
the cops one more time,

they're going to lock me
up, throw away the key.

Well, it does sound
kind of risky, Gary.


Well, I'll just, uh...

just go take a look around.

All right.
Be careful.

Yeah, yeah.


Oh, boy...

Don't worry.

It's easy
for you to say.

Where am I going
to get more calamari?

I knew it.


She's not coming, is she?

She sent you instead.


I didn't know
she was married.

I swear.

It was happy hour in Chinatown.

We, we shared
a pupu platter.

She ordered
a mai tai.

I had a fog cutter.

But I swear to you,
it will never happen again.

You've got to believe me.

Mister, I, I got no idea what
you're even talking about.

You're not married
to Mary Lou Witty?

No, I'm not
married to Mary Lou Witty.

I'm not married to anyone.

If I was married....
Mary Lou?

Mary Lou!

Just keep walking,
I suppose.

That is what
I call calamari.

That is calamari,
isn't it?

Hey, the best.

Is it fresh?

If it was any fresher,
it'd bite you in the heinie.

Smells a bit fishy.

Well, so would you,
if you'd been

swimming around in the ocean
all your life.


Hey, it's not a room
deodorizer, pal.

It's a squid.
Yeah, well, look,

I run a very high quality
seafood restaurant,

Mr. Smith... Look, I'm
ready to talk a deal here.

You want to talk quality,
talk to my daughter.

She was born
on a fishing boat.

Besides, she has more patience
with amateurs than I do.

Wait a minute. You know what?
Hey, May!

I don't have
to stand around here

and take these kind of insults!

There are a million other place...


On the other hand, uh,
name is Fishman.

Chuck Fishman.
McGinty's Restaurant,

seafood server to the stars.

Oh, you don't
want to shake my hand.

You don't know where they've
been today, believe me.

I'm May Smith.

You're Smitty's daughter?

The one from the fishing boat?

Vietnamese fishing boat.

Smitty adopted me after the war.


So, I hear you're
looking for quality.

Yes, and obviously,
I've come to the right place.

Excuse me.

Uh, I'm sorry.
I'm with the, uh,

city's pier inspection
unit, and, uh,

well, I'm out
inspecting the piers.

This pier, it, uh,
appears unsafe,

because the, uh, the pilings
are unstable, and, uh...

What I'm gonna have to do is, if
I can just ask you to step off.

Why don't you "step off"?

Well, I'm the pier inspector
and, uh...

Well, you see, if anything

happens to you...
That's my business, isn't it?

Isn't it?

Mr. Inspector.

Yeah, I guess it is.



Don't do it!

Are you crazy?
Get off me!

You had no right.

You stay out
of my life.

Mister, I... I don't know
what's bothering you...

What do you care?

It's my life.

Okay. Look, I, I, I just...

Butt... out!


I just don't like to see a good
life wasted, that's all.

That makes two of us.

Look, mister, I, I, I...

I'm just trying
to help, okay?

You think you did me
a favor just now, huh?

Well, you think again.

Mind your
own business.

Medal of Honor.

They don't give
many of these out.

No, they don't.

Highest military honor
the country has to give.

"For conspicuous gallantry
at the risk of one's own life."

And he threw it away.

How do you go from being

a Medal of Honor winner
to an attempted suicide?

That's a good question.

How do you even know
it's his medal?


Guess you could find out
at the ceremony.

What ceremony?
The ceremony.

They're dedicating some
war memorial next week.

I read about it in the paper.

The real paper...
today's paper.

Here, I'll show you.

It's right here.

"Medal of Honor winners
to attend ceremony."

That's Matthews.
That's the guy.

That's his picture.

I got an idea.

Give me the phone book.

Serviceman's Special.

Every Wednesday night.

You bring in a medal,
you get a free shrimp cocktail.

Found him.

Watch your
step, amigo.

Excuse me.

Uh, Mrs. Matthews?

Uh, is Jim around?

Well, he's at work.


You a friend of his?

Uh, well,
my name's Gary Hobson,

and I met him this
morning at the lake.

No, you must be mistaken.

My husband went to work
early this morning.

Hey, I guess he took
a side trip or something.

No, no, Jim wouldn't do that.

What do you want?

I wanted to return
this to him.

Well, what is this?

That's his Medal of Honor.

I don't know what kind of game
you're playing, mister,

but you don't have
no business here.

Mrs. Matthews,
I just need to talk to Jim.

Excuse me.

Mrs. Matthews,
I think your husband

may be in some sort of trouble.

Look, I don't know
who you think you are,

but I do know you never
spoke to my husband.

For your information, my husband
doesn't have a Medal of Honor.

Well, yes, ma'am, he does.

I think I'd know, don't you?

Well, if you look in the paper,
it's in today's paper.

I have to go.

Mrs. Matthews, please...

Mrs. Matthews...

I see you around here again,
I call the police.

Mrs. Matthews,

I need to talk to your husband.

This restaurant,
it's only the beginning.

No, no. I smell...

(sniffs) the future.

And you know what
its name is?

Asia. (chuckles): Oh, okay.

Do you know there are

over 1.3 billion people
in China alone?

Now, that is an awful
lot of seafood to sell.

And they love
anything American.

Especially Irish-American.

This looks very fresh,
by the way.

I've even made inquiries
into opening up a McGinty's

out in your neck
of the woods...


Oh, how very impressive.

Well, you know,
I'm into the whole

visionary kind of thing.

You know, long-range planning.

Mm-hmm. So when's this
going to happen?

Well, we're still working out
a few of the details,

but it should happen very soon.

MAN: This is the way
it's got to be.

You can't do that.

You just raised the
rate last quarter.

Cost of business, Smitty.

You know, inflation.
That's outrageous!

What's, uh, what's happening?
It's nothing.

It's nothing.

Yeah, this is a dangerous
neighborhood, Smitty.

I'd hate to see anything bad...
Wait a minute.

Chuck, please don't get involved.
I'm already involved.

Chuck, please...
You know, uh,

something smells a little
fishy around here, fellas,

and I don't think it's me.

Is that right?

It's okay. These
fellas are my, uh...

Security service.

Yeah, right. Security.

Is that a new name
for a protection racket?


Who is this?

The name is Fishman.

Chuck Fishman.

And I'll have you know

that my third cousin
Elaine's husband

happens to be very good
friends with the nephew

of Police Lieutenant
Dennis Riley.

I don't think
you understand.

Security's our business.

Here, there's my card.


Now I know where
to find you.

Now, why don't you boys
take my advice,

and turn around

and leave these very
nice people alone, huh?

Jeez, I didn't know
we was bothering anybody.

No, no.

No, we can take a hint.

If our company's
not wanted...

Fellas, please,
wait a minute.

You have a nice day now.

SMITTY: Look, I'm sure we
can work something out.

Not anymore.

Yeah, you see?

You just have to know how
to talk to people, huh?

SMITTY: I hope you're
right, mister.

Now, Smitty, how about
showing me that tuna, huh?

It's downloading now

from the Medal of Honor
Web site.

It's in Braille.

What'd you expect?

Hand it over.


Well, this is just
explaining that Matthews...

Wait a minute.


It says here
that he was

a combat engineer in Vietnam.

He rescued a soldier
while trapped in a tunnel.

They were ambushed on
the way to the helicopter.

While holding
off the enemy,

Matthews sustained a bullet
wound to the chest.

He saved
the entire rescue party.

Well, he's a survivor.


So why wouldn't
he want this medal?

Got me.

Could be for any one
of a hundred reasons.

All right, his wife
won't talk to me.

I don't know
where he works.

I've got to find him before he
tries something again.

Now, how am I going to do that?

Maybe his son can help.

His son?

Says here he's a sophomore
at Northwestern.

Frank Matthews?

Hi, Gary Hobson.
I'm with the Sun Times.

One of your dorm mates pointed
you out to me. Uh-huh.

Uh, I'm doing a story
on Medal of Honor winners,

and I'm wondering if I can have
a minute and talk to you

about your dad? Yeah.
My dad?

He won the medal in '69.

What are you talking about?

Well, it's, uh,

it's in today's paper.

I don't believe this.

You really didn't know?


He's a war hero
and he doesn't tell me.

I mean, I knew
he was in Vietnam.

I used to ask him about it
when I was a kid.

You know, back when I had
this crazy idea

that fathers
talked to their sons.

What'd he do?

Well, he pulled several men
out from under a heavy fire.

He was shot in the chest.
He almost died.

You had no idea at all?

Well, he was always tough,
I'll give him that.

Did, did he ever say anything
about this at all?

I have no idea
who my father is, mister.

I mean, this is
a perfect example.

How you going to grow up
with somebody

and not tell them about
something like this?

I don't know.

No biggie.

I'm out of that
now, anyway.

How's that?

I'm on full
scholarship here, football.

I don't need his money.

I don't need
a thing from him.

I've got to be somewhere.

Uh, Frank, is there
anywhere you know we can

get in touch
with your dad?

Our records are kind
of out of date.

I don't know, man.

Talk to the union.

Hey, Frank?

I hope everything works out
between the two of you.

Hey, don't bother.

There's nothing to work out.

(waves crashing, gulls calling)

(kids laughing)

Tango, Bravo.

Tango Bravo.
Do you read me?

Tango leader,
what is your position?

Tango, Bravo.
Tango, Bravo.

Do you read me?

Tango leader,
what is your position?


We're at the mouth
of the tunnel.

I'm about to go in.

MAN (over radio):
Roger that.

You be ready
when we need you.

(kids laughing)

(kids laughing)

(indistinct chatter)

Stop it!

Stop it!


Surprised to see me?

Had some down time.

Thought I'd come
by and say hi.

I called over.

They said you never came
in to work this morning.

What's going on?

Just wasn't feeling
all that good, you know?

Something to do with this?

A young man came by today.

Brought your Medal of Honor.

I thought
he was crazy.

Looks like I'm the crazy one.

I knew they'd run something.

Why didn't
you tell me?

You know, you told me that
you were never in combat.

You said that scar came from
a construction accident.

I didn't think it concerned you.

Didn't concern me?

I'm your wife.

Well, we met
after the war ended.


You think that
makes a difference?

You think it gives you
the right to lie to me

about your past?

Well, I didn't lie to you, exactly.
I... Jim...


(phone ringing)

You going to answer that?

(ringing continues)

Go ahead, baby.

Answer that.

Lake Shore Shipping.

Uh, 5:00 weekdays.

7:00 Saturdays.

I'll check your order.

You're welcome. Jim?!


(indistinct chatter)

Hey, where's your
brain bucket?

One of these.

Oh, no, I'm looking for
someone... Jim Matthews.

The union said
he'd be working here.

I'm looking
for him, too.

He didn't show up
for work this morning.

Matthews is one
of my best guys.

It's not like him
to miss work,

without calling.

MAN: Get that high
lift back here!

Get it over here.

Him again.

I'll check
the schedule again.

I could be wrong,
but I don't think so.


Hey, Matthews!

Hey, come here.

I found this taped
to his locker.

Loves his family?

Doesn't deserve
his wonderful life?

"I can no longer live
with what I've done."

This sounds like
a suicide note.

It sure does.

And once I left
the brokerage firm,

there was no turning back.

I knew "restauranting"
was my life.

I'm my own boss.

I make the decisions.

If I mess up,
I face the consequences.

It's all on me.
Wait a minute.

I thought you
had a partner.

Isn't he involved?

I love Gary.

My best friend.

But he's not exactly
the hands-on

management type guy.

You know what I mean?

If we were
a basketball team,

I would be the point guard.

I'd be calling all the plays,
leading the team,

And Gary...

And I mean this
in the nicest way,

Gary would be over
on the bench,

folding the towels.

Now, he'd do it very well,
but that's where he'd be.

A team does need towels.

Oh, yeah, yeah.

So, how'd you get started
in the restaurant business

in the first place?

Well, Gary actually

took the place over
from its former owner.


Well, that's pretty good
for folding towels.

Of course, then he called
me up to manage the place.

What choice did he have?

So if it weren't for Gary,

you'd still be
at the brokerage firm?

I don't know about that.

I come from a long
line of restauranteurs.

Oh, no.

MAN: Another hundred
pounds of ice!


They slashed our tires!

The security
service at work.

I knew something like
this would happen!

Those punks.
I'll take care of this.

Chuck. Chuck!

No, no. You've got to know
how to deal with these people.

That's what you
said last time.

Obviously, I was too subtle.

Now, they're going to get
Fishman unchained.

Chuck, please...

(car starting)

Consider it done.

I don't get it.

I think it has something
to do with this.

Medal of Honor? Most guys
wouldn't keep that secret.

What do you think happened?

I don't know, but whatever it
is, it's catching up to him.

I got to find him
before it does.

How? Should we
tell his wife?

You know where she works?

I think so.

Some shipping
outfit on Touhy.

Lake Shore Shipping,
that's it.

Lake Shore Shipping.

Hey, you don't have any idea
where he might have gone?

Places he hangs
out or...?

Not really.

The guy really
kept to himself.

All right.

Hang on a second.

You know, a couple of years ago,
we're working

an office tower job.

He's welding some beams
28 stories up.

The wind kicks up, this guy
next to him starts to slip,

Matthews reaches down,
grabs him by the belt

and pulls the guy back.

I mean, the guy would've
been a grease spot

on the sidewalk if it
hadn't been for Matthews.

We tried to thank him.

Tried to make a fuss.

He wouldn't let us.

He turns around,
he goes back to work.

He never
mentions it again.

I don't get it.

I don't know.

Listen, thanks anyway.

I don't understand.

What's wrong with him?

Ms. Matthews,
they want to honor him

at a memorial service
next weekend,

and I think that might have
something to do with it.

Might have set
this all off.

He was the sweetest man
when we first met.


But kind of sad, too, you know.

It was after the war.

He just moved here
from St. Louis.

Said he wanted to
make a fresh start.

Why didn't he tell me?

Why didn't he trust me?

Mrs. Matthews,
do you have any idea

where your husband might be?


Wait a minute.

There was a message
on the machine

at home this morning.

Here it is. Uh...

called Childwatch.

They said he missed
his appointment,

whatever that means.

I was going to go there after work.

I never heard of it before.

Here you go, Mrs. Matthews.

Mr. Hobson, will he...

We'll find him.

God, I hope so.


So, for whatever reason,
when something

goes wrong concerning
an international adoption...

death, legal troubles,
you name it...

we step in to help
care for the child.

If we can't place them
with another family,

then they stay
here with us.

That's why student
teachers and volunteers

like Jim are so
important to us.

Jim's been doing
this for years.

You're a friend of Jim's?

Uh, yeah, I guess so.
Me, too.

My name is Madeleine.

It's very nice to meet you,
Madeleine. How do you do?

Madeleine and Jim
are special friends.

He reads to her
every Tuesday.

Where is he?

Well, I, I don't know.

Is he okay?

Oh, he's fine.
He's just... well, he can't

uh, he just couldn't

be here today.
Finish your homework,


He's not okay, is he?

No. He, uh...

well, he's disappeared.

I was afraid this might happen.

What's that?
People volunteer here

for all sorts of
reasons, Mr. Hobson.

After a while, you get
to recognize the patterns.

With Jim, it was guilt.

He's a lovely man.

He's great with the kids.

But I don't think
that he believed that.

I got the sense he was always
trying to make up for something.

I tried to talk
to him about it once,

but he just
froze me out.

MAN (over P.A.):
Blue line now arriving.

Next stop...

All right, what's an
eight-letter word for expired?

Starts with a "D"?

Try deceased.

Which is what you clowns
are going to be

if you keep bothering
my friends.

it's the tough guy.

Hey, it works.

Obviously, I didn't
make myself clear

to you mamalukes the last time.

People need security,
tough guy.

I'm warning you.

One more thing
happens down there,

I'll have the cops
on you so fast,

your heads'll be spinning.
Oh, right.

What was the name
of that cop you know?

Dennis Riley.

Lieutenant Dennis Riley.

Hey, boss,
you got a visitor.


Long time, Fishman.


Well, what I say still goes.

I mean it.

Stay away from them.


Over and out!

Ten four!

And, Dennis,

my family is going to be
very disappointed.

I'm losing time.

He's out there somewhere.
I've got to find him.

How am I going to do that?
Check the paper.

I already
checked the paper.

Well, check it again.
I already checked it.

Oh, no. I messed up.

I messed up bad.
What'd you do?

Gare, I need your help.
Not now, Chuck.

Look, my friends are
in a lot of trouble.

What friends?
May and Smitty.

It's all my fault.

He's going to do it again.

(people screaming)

You sure he's here?

I'm sure.


You get back!

You don't want to do this.

You don't want to throw
your life away.

What do you know about it?

I know what matters.

Your wife.

Your son, Madeleine...

You stay out of my life.

I can't do that.

I'm part of your life now.

I don't even know you.
How the hell did you find me?

Who the hell are you?

Look, I can't
explain that.

But for whatever
reason, I did.

You get back!

MAN (over P.A.):
Blue line now arriving.

Next stop...

what happened?

Please talk to me.

Why should I tell you?

Because it's
your last chance.

You don't talk to me now,
no one's ever going to know.

And that would
be a shame.

Because you should
talk to someone.


It was a...

it was a rescue operation.

One of our guys was stuck
in this tunnel complex.

He was hurt bad and we, we...

We had to go in and get him.

I found him okay.

Patched him up,
started bringing him out.

It was all pretty routine.

We were almost at the top
when I heard something.

(indistinct chatter)
Hold it.

Go. Go.

We had reports of enemy troops
all around us.

When I saw that light,
I expected the worst.

My only hope
was to hold them back

long enough for my platoon
to get out of there.

I took the only shot I could.
(faint groaning)

And that's when I realized...

there was only one of them.

It was a little girl,
maybe 12 years old.

Her only weapon
was a flashlight.

She wasn't a soldier.

She was just a kid.

And I had taken her life.

We headed back
to the landing zone.

Half hour later, we got hit.


MAN (on radio):
L.T. at Alpha Comm,

this is Tango leader.

I need medevac support!

It was bad.

Medevac support!
We were sitting ducks.

They were moving in.

Suddenly, I didn't care...

about living or dying.

All I wanted was to get out,

one way or another.


I thought to myself,

"I deserve to die.

I'm ready to die."

I killed an innocent kid.



I wanted them
to leave me there.

That would have
been the best thing.

There's not one day
that goes by

that I don't think
about that little girl.

Then they, uh...

gave me th-that medal.

I don't feel like
I ever came home.

You couldn't have known.
You were defending yourself.

I killed her.

Because you wanted to live...
that's not a crime.

Tell her that, huh?

Jim, it was a war.

You know better
than I do what happens,

but it was
a horrible accident.

Killing yourself,
what good are you going to...

I can't live with it anymore!
Can't you understand that?!

Listen, it may take
more courage

than it did to save
those men, but you can.

No, I can't.
I-I can't.

Look, what you're doing,
you're only punishing

the people that love you,
the people that you care about.


Look, your son needs you.

Your wife needs you.

If you're gonna honor the memory
of this little girl, you...

you got to do it by living.

You can't do it by dying.

Gare! Gare!

You left the paper in the car.

Look at this.

What's happening?

Do you have a car?

Yeah, I've got a truck
down there, but...

This is life and death.

Will you help us? Please.

All right.

What's wrong
with my car?

Just don't worry about it.
I'll tell you later.

My car works fine.
Yeah, that's great.

Don't worry about it.

(tires screeching)

Come on.

It's locked.

Get out of the way!



Matth... Hey, easy, hey!

Gare! That's them.

Right there.
Those are the guys.

You go take care of that.


Take care of it.


(tires screeching)

MAN 1:
What's with that idiot?!

MAN 2:
Left! Go left!

(tires screeching, shouting)

(sirens approaching)


Over here!

Right here, sir.

These are arsonists.

These are arsonists.
Get them!

Freeze, right there!
Hold it right there!

Hold it right there!
Don't move!

(Smitty coughing)


Easy, now.

May. Where's May?!

I'll find her.
GARY: Matthews, wait a second.

Hey, wait a
minute, Matthews!

Get him out of here.


(loud clatter)

Oh, thank God.

(men shouting in distance)

You need help?

It's all right.
I got her.

Let's get out of here!

(indistinct radio chatter)



Is she gonna be okay?

Take it easy
with her.

It's gonna be all right.

I-I'm gonna go with her.


All right.

I know it wasn't easy,
but you did it.

Welcome home.

A little bubbly, my dear?

Veuve Clicquot,
(chuckles softly)

the choice of kings
and Chuck Fishman.

And I think you'll be pleased
to know that in your honor,

tonight we are having calamari
salad and trout almondine.

I know I-I've only known
you a little over a week,

but, um... I can't
take it anymore.

I know, I know.

You can, you can
spare the speech.

I've heard it all before.

I know, I'm...

self-absorbed, conceited,
neurotic, a bit pushy,

and some might think

No, that's not it.

What? There's more?

I just don't know
what women want.



Prime rib, meatloaf, hamburger.

I mean, I'm up to my elbows
in seafood every day, Chuck,

and then you're stuffing it
into me every night.

I want steak.

I'm sick of

You know, I would like

to say something, uh,
if it's all right.


First of all...


You know, I feel like
I've just come home,

but there's been
somebody here all along,

and I know it hasn't been easy.

That's my wife.

I'll never let
another chance go by

without saying
"I love you."

I love you.

And to my son, I don't blame
him for not being here.

But I'm proud
of the, uh,

fine young man
he's, uh, grown up to be.

I was never there the
way a father should be,

but, uh, that's just because...

I didn't think I deserved

a young man
as, uh, fine as he is.

You know, I had a nice family
and a nice life,

and I didn't, uh...

just didn't know why.

But I do now.

(slaps face)


Present arms!

(trumpet playing somber music)

CHUCK: There's all kinds of
courage in this crazy life.

Not just the John Wayne
save-the-world kind.

Sometimes you need
a ton of courage

just to speak your mind,

follow your heart.

Opening up, telling someone
how you really feel,

there ought to be
a purple heart for that.

And then there's the courage it
takes to live with a mistake,

go through the worst
and start over.

There is all kinds
of courage out there.

Hey, that person standing
next to you on the subway car

or in the supermarket,

take a closer look next time.

Who knows?

Might be, you're standing
next to... a hero.