1.12 Prison Story
Original air date: February 1, 1997
Written by: Steven Long Mitchell & Craig W. Van Sickle
Directed by: Oscar L. Costo
While Miss Parker struggles with a painful ulcer, Jarod becomes a prison guard in an attempt to save an innocent man from the gas chamber.
Jarod’s Discoveries: Slinkies, Monopoly
Jarod’s Occupations: Prison Guard, Game Inventor
Jarod’s Aliases: Jarod Bradley, Jarod Short, Jarod St. James, Jarod Ventnor, Jarod Chance , Jarod Parker
Jarod goes undercover as a prison guard to save an innocent man from the gas chamber.
At a funeral home, Jarod watches Jessica Mills talk to a funeral director about a casket for her father, Carl. Then Jarod looks at a newspaper story, which reveals Carl Wills is in prison, facing a death sentence for a crime Jessica is convinced he didn’t commit. Later, back at his lair, Jarod watches an old tape of himself as a child, in which he sensed the innocence of executed spy Julius Rosenberg. The next day, Jarod turns up as a guard at the Oakfield Penitentiary. Meanwhile, at the Centre, Sydney and Miss Parker examine a cryptic note found in Jarod’s last lair, saying he’ll be meeting “The Cowboy” at the Top Hat Cafe, regarding the Parker Brothers. Back at the prison, the Warden tells Jarod that Carl Wills is being executed for killing a fellow inmate, and that tensions are running high with the execution only days away. Miss Parker, Sydney and Broots find the Top Hat cafe, and check into the nearby Park Place motel for a stakeout. At the prison, Jarod meets another guard, Tommy Larsen, who assigns Jarod, as the new guy, to perform the “death watch,” guarding Carl until the execution. A bit later, Jarod introduces himself to an elderly inmate, Henry Cochran, but then another guard, Clancy, chastises Jarod for being so friendly.
Later, in his lair, Jarod watches news stories about Jessica’s fight to clear her father…while the Warden, at the prison, tells a group of reporters Carl is definitely guilty. A bit later, Jarod delivers a meal to Carl and says he’d like to hear his story. But Clancy calls Jarod away before Carl says anything. Back at the motel, Miss Parker, obviously not feeling well, gets even more impatient than usual…while Broots is thrilled to find a box containing his favorite game—Monopoly. That evening, Jarod finds Jessica at a local cafe, rescues her from some hecklers, and says he believes her father is innocent. Back at the motel, Broots rambles on and on about the history of Monopoly, and then Miss Parker, now sweating, collapses in pain. Meanwhile, Jarod examines old newspaper stories and learns a number of prisoners have died at Oakfield in recent years.
The next day, Jarod finds Henry Cochran tending his garden, and asks him about Anthony Lewis, the man Carl supposedly killed. Henry says Lewis had only been at the prison a couple of days, and hadn’t had time to make any enemies. That night, Jarod watches his old tapes again, and pauses when his young self realizes Julius Rosenberg was executed simply because the public demanded someone be guilty. The next day, the Warden and the Guards practice dropping cyanide tablets into the gas chamber, and Jarod notices Larsen hesitating at the switch. That night, at the motel, a doctor examines Miss Parker, tells her she has an ulcer, and recommends she learn to control her emotions. The next day, at the prison, the guards break up a yard fight, and Clancy tramples Henry’s flower garden. Jarod attempts to help Henry, who drops a letter from his wife, and when Jarod picks it up, he’s surprised to see the paper is blank. Henry admits his wife died several years ago and says he planted his garden in protest after the Warden wouldn’t give him a pass to lay flowers on her grave. That night, back in his lair, Jarod goes through prisoner records and learns all the inmates who died at Oakfield were transfers from Joliet Prison in Illinois. The next day, Jarod finds Larsen at home, and finally gets him to admit that all the men who were transferred from Joliet, including Anthony Lewis, were members of the same Chicago crime family. Larsen further admits that the other guard, Clancy, has made a deal with a rival crime family to get the inmates transferred to Oakfield, where Clancy arranges their deaths. And finally, Larsen admits Clancy killed Lewis, and framed Carl for the death.
Back at the motel, Broots and Miss Parker finally see a man in a cowboy hat enter the phone booth. But when they confront him, the Cowboy says he was just paid to make a delivery, and hands them a Monopoly “Get Out of Jail Free” card. They run back to the motel, check the register and learn Jarod has been staying in the room next to theirs…which they find strewn with Monopoly cards spelling out Miss Parker’s name. Broots also finds a telescope, trained on a sign pointing to the prison, and Miss Parker finally understands the “Go Directly to Jail” references. Meanwhile, a crowd gathers outside the prison, protesting the now-imminent execution. Inside, Jarod tells Clancy to make one last inspection of the gas chamber. But when Clancy goes in, Jarod locks him inside, confronts him about the prisoner deaths…and broadcasts Clancy’s answers—which reveal all his misdeeds—on the prison PA system. The next morning, as Miss Parker, Sydney and Broots arrive at the prison, the Warden holds another press conference to announce his resignation. Later, we see Henry finally placing flowers on his wife’s grave, while both the Warden and Jarod look on, smiling. Finally, a few days later, Jarod turns up in a new disguise, as an executive at a toy company, where he proposes a new game…called, “Get out of Jail Free.”