4-14 The Agent of Year Zero

4-14 The Agent of Year Zero

The Agent of Year Zero

If you’re thinking of jumping, I suggest you go up on the roof and do it right.

Miss Parker

The Agent of Year Zero

If you’re thinking of jumping, I suggest you go up on the roof and do it right.

Miss Parker

Original air date: March 11, 2000

Written by: Drew Hammond & Tommy Thompson

Directed by: Rodney Charters

The spirit of a young girl who died at the Centre appears to both Jarod and Miss Parker after Jarod’s plane crashes in the wilderness and Miss Parker falls deathly ill.

Jarod’s Discoveries:

Jarod’s Occupations: INS Agent

Jarod’s Aliases: Jarod Ellis


Behind the scenes insights and the Creator’s Take

Official Synopsis

Jarod helps expose the true identity of a Cambodian colonel who Lyle plans to use as a pipeline for smuggling heroin into the United States.


Surrounded by Sweepers, Lyle and a well-dressed older Asian man saunter into a government chamber room where a citizenship swearing-in ceremony is about to commence.  Lyle calls his companion, Mok, who has a snake tattoo on his hand. However, Mok actually is Colonel Chen Thon, who headed an elite Asian killing squad responsible for butchering thousands of innocent Cambodians.  For reasons unknown, Lyle volunteered as Mok’s American sponsor and arranged a confirmation hearing for him and a position as a cultural liaison with the local Port Authority.

Jarod curiously watches Lyle and his entourage and follows them into the chamber room.  A blind Asian woman named Kim Che bumps into Jarod.  As the ceremony begins, Kim notices a familiar odor.  As Mok recites his oath, Kim edges her way through the crowd, confronts Mok, and screams in Cambodian, ”Butcher!”  Instantly, Mok turns to Lyle, who orders a Sweeper to pull out a fire alarm.  Chaos ensues, and Lyle and Mok slip away.  Jarod watches an I.N.S. agent escort a shaken Kim away to a car.

Later, Jarod poses as an I.N.S. agent assigned to Kim Che. Agent Nancy Berger eyes Jarod suspiciously and demands more confirmation about his background.  While Agent Berger makes inquiring phone calls, Jarod slips into Kim’s interrogation room and offers to help the linguistically challenged agents.  Jarod speaks to Kim in Cambodian and gains her trust as he gently tries to get Kim to explain her earlier outburst.  Observing Jarod’s success with Kim, Agent Berger stops her background checks and returns to her office…only to be met by two of Lyle’s Sweepers, who are also impersonation agents.  Jarod sees the sweepers and escapes with Kim to his current lair.

As Kim reaches for her purse, the contents spill out.  Jarod picks them up and finds an aged photograph of Kim’s family—father, mother, brother and little Kim, and a small, battered book of poetry with what appears to be bloodstains on the binding.  Kim quickly reaches for the photo and the poetry book.  Jarod asks Kim about the whereabouts of her family and she tells him Mok murdered them all.

Back at the Centre, Miss Parker and Broots are keeping tabs on the unusual relationship between Lyle and Mok.  Miss Parker confronts Lyle, who confesses that, years ago in Thailand, Mok helped him out of a dicey situation.  Lyle tells Miss Parker to keep out of his business and leaves her with even more unanswered questions.  But Parker’s tenacity uncovers Lyle’s latest secret indiscretion:  Lyle was arrested for assaulting prostitutes in Thailand, and Mok secured his release from the authorities.  Even more appalling, as Parker will discover even later, Lyle is planning to use Mok as a direct pipeline to smuggle heroin from Southeast Asia into the United States.

Jarod embarks on a fact-finding mission of his own.  While Kim sleeps in his room, Jarod follows a lead to Li Ho’s Grocery.  Sixty-six year old Li Ho, the store owner, offers his help.  Jarod sets Kim’s prayer beads on the counter and says he is a friend of Kim.  Che Li immediately wants to know if Kim is in trouble.  Jarod produces a Polaroid photo of Mok.  Li’s eyes fill with rage.  Li leads Jarod into a darkened make-shift Buddhist shrine littered with tiny candles.  Li shows a box of horrific photos of tortured bodies and burning villages, the legacy of the Khmer Rouge.  Li tells Jarod that Kim’s family was executed in front of little Kim.  The girl attacked the officer in charge (Mok) and tried to save her family, drawing his blood with her bare hands.  Li identifies the photo of Mok as Khmer Rouge Colonel Chen Thon, who fled and flourished in the heroin trade.  Li believes Kim’s and Jarod’s lives are in great danger.

Jarod returns to his lair to find Kim gone.  He spots Kim’s rosary under the bed and hears church bells outside his window.  Jarod finds Kim outside the church, returns her rosary and gently asks her about her family.  She tells him that her parents were poets, and that the bloodied book of poetry holds their work.  Jarod looks closely at Kim’s eyes and sees no sign of damage or disease.  Kim’s blindness, it turns out, is a result of “terror silence.”  People who witness horrific savagery develop a psychosomatic disorder like Kim’s unexplained blindness.

In an unidentified warehouse, Lyle sits in the center of a tiny, cluttered room, tied tightly to a metal chair with a black hood over his head.  Lyle wears no shirt, revealing a snake tattoo like that of Mok’s.  Jarod forces Lyle to call Miss Parker and tell her that he has captured Jarod and to meet him at the warehouse.

Later, at Mok’s confirmation hearing, Jarod passionately recounts Mok’s bloodied past before being silenced by a security guard.  The confirmation committee remains unconvinced, until the soft, determined voice of Kim states, “I can confirm all those accusations.”  As she recounts her tragic story, Kim’s world gradually comes into focus…and she looks directly at Colonel Thon.  The committee chair orders the building sealed.

Another citizenship swearing-in ceremony in the government chamber room commences.  This time it ends in joyous applause.  Kim Che is now an American citizen.  Jarod tells her that Colonel Thon died in a car accident.  But Kim says that he died when she had the courage to face him.

4-14 The Agent of Year Zero

The Agent of Year Zero Transcript


  Teaser Scene 1 
Blue Cove, Delaware. The Centre. The Centre atrium.   Mr. Lyle and an Asian man, Ki Mok, walk toward the elevators.
Mr. Lyle   After the ceremony I’ll have you transferred back to the hotel. I’ve also taken the liberty of contacting a real estate agent.
Miss Parker   [coming toward them] We need to talk.
Mr. Lyle   I’m busy.
    [Miss Parker stops the elevator doors and stares at Ki Mok, who is smoothing back his hair with a tattooed hand.]
Miss Parker   Who’s the guy?
Mr. Lyle   Not now, OK?[The elevator doors close. To Ki Mok:]My sincerest apologies.
Scene 2   Virginia, Patriotic Hall,
    A car pulls up: Lyle, Willie, and another sweeper get out with Ki Mok. As they enter the building, someone is looking at them through the viewfinder of a camera and taking pictures, Jarod, watching from behind a pillar. They enter a room crowded with people in indigenous as well as Western dress, with a female judge in robes presiding in the front. Jarod watches from the doorway. A small Asian woman bumps him in entering.
Jarod   Excuse me.
    [He stares as she unfolds a white cane and makes her way through the crowd with the cane guiding her.]
Judge   to what I’m sure is the beginning of exciting new lives as United States citizens. If you’ll raise your right hands and repeat after me: “I hereby declare on oath-“
Ki Mok [and others]   I hereby declare on oath-
Judge   “-that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure-“
Ki Mok [and others]   -that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure-
    [The small woman, Kim Che, is pushing her way forward through the crowd.]
Judge   “-all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince-“
Ki Mok [and others]   -all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince-
Kim Che [speaking in Cambodian]   Kitakah! Thon a Kitakah! [Butcher! Thon the Butcher!]
Judge   “-potentate, state, or sovereignty-“
Ki Mok [and others]   -potentate, state, or sovereignty-
Kim Che [still in Cambodian]   Thon the Butcher! Thon the Butcher!
Judge   [rapping with her gavel as everyone turns to stare]Ma’am, please!
Kim Che [still in Cambodian]   Butcher!
Judge   [rapping]Ma’am!
Kim Che   [still in Cambodian, pointing her finger in Ki Mok’s face, while the judge continues to expostulate]Thon the Butcher!
    [Lyle nods at Willie, who pulls the fire alarm.]
Judge   Order, please! Please remain calm! Remain calm and file in an orderly manner to the nearest exit!
Kim Che[still in Cambodian]    
    [A police officer removes Kim Che, who is still shouting, while everyone else hurries out. Jarod watches Lyle leave with the three men and hurries after them. When they get into a Centre car and leave, he hurries after Kim Che and the policeman, who puts her into an Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) vehicle.]
Woman   Did you see the look on that poor woman’s face? I know she’s blind, but she acted like she seen the devil himself!
Act 1   Scene 1
The Centre, Sydney’s office.   Sydney, Miss Parker, and Broots sit around Sydney’s desk.
Broots   I pulled a still frame off the front gate security camera.
Sydney   Well, he signed in under the name Ki Mok.
Broots   Sounds Thai.
Miss Parker   [looking at the picture]Cambodian. Run it through our Interpol server. See what pops up.
Broots   OK.
Miss Parker   He has a tattoo.
Broots   Tattoo?
Miss Parker   On the back of his right hand. It’s a snake eating itself.
Broots   I’ll make a note.
Sydney   Think Lyle is up to something?
Miss Parker   I know Lyle is up to something. The question is what?
    Scene 2
Immigration and Naturalization Services, Riverview, Virginia.   Agent Berger speaks to a colleague.
Agent Berger   Just make sure the invoices are signed and initialed. Thanks. [Answers the phone.]Agent Berger, INS. Um-no, sir, I can’t deport someone because you don’t like the price of cigarettes. Well, I suggest you shop at another store. No, sir , that’s not a joke; that’s America.
    [Jarod enters in suit and trench coat, with a name tag and briefcase. He sees Kim Che in a windowed room at the end of a hall of cubicles. Agent Berger hangs up and gives him a friendly grimace.]
Berger   Can I help you, Mr.-uh-
Jarod   Agent. Ellis, Jarod Ellis. I was sent down about a blind woman.
Berger   Sent down?
Jarod   Yes, from D.C. I was working a case outside of Stockbridge when we got the call from your office.
Berger   From what agent?
    [Jarod glances at her desk and sees “J. Rinker leaves for vacation” scrawled across a calendar page.]
Jarod   Rinker.
Berger   Mike Rinker?
Jarod   Jack.
Berger   Excuse me. [Picks up her phone.]
    [Jarod sees a security officer receiving an alert and hurrying away.]
Berger   [on phone]Carol! Is Jack Rinker still in his office? He’s gone. Would you get me his car phone? Thanks. [She hangs up as an Asian INS agent walks up.]
Agent   I give up. One hour and all I get is her name and the same thing over and over: “Knyom sum pok teh. Knyom sum pok teh.” I’m fluent in five Asian languages, but I’ll be damned if I know what she’s trying to say.
Jarod   She’s thirsty. She would like a drink of water.
Berger   You speak Cambodian?
Jarod   Doesn’t everybody?
Another agent   I’ve got Jack Rinker on the car phone. Should I put him through?
    [Berger stares at Jarod, then sighs and pours a glass of water from a bottle.]
Berger   Tell him to have a good vacation. [Gives the glass to Jarod.] She’s all yours.
    [Jarod walks toward the windowed room with a sigh of relief. Kim Che is sitting at a table telling her Buddhist rosary, which is a bracelet. Her ornate gold purse and blind cane are on the table. Jarod enters, sets the glass and his briefcase on the table, takes off his coat, and sits down.]
Jarod   Kim Che. Knyom ch’moo-ah Jarod.[My name is Jarod.]
Kim Che   Lu-ni-yiay pee-ah-sah kyam?[You speak my language?]

Ahj so jeh.[Not very well.]Banaley tah Knyom damiem gumna supao. [The library I went to had a limited number of books on the subject.]

Could we try this in English?

[Kim Che nods.]
Could you tell me what happened today at the ceremony?

[Kim Che looks uncomfortable. Jarod takes her hand and puts the glass of water in it.]

I mean you no harm.

    [Back at Agent Berger’s desk, Willie and his fellow sweeper are posing as federal agents.]
Berger   Well, you’re my second surprise visit for today.
Willie   Second?
Berger   Agent Jarod Ellis?
Willie   Jarod? Six-two? Hundred and eighty pounds? Dark hair, dark eyes?
Berger   You know him?
Willie   We’ve met.
Berger   May I see your identification?
    [They pull out their fake IDs.]
Willie   I’m Agent Green, this is Agent Hill. Internal Division.

[to Kim Che] I realize this is all very confusing, but I can’t help you unless I know what is going on. [Kim Che says nothing.]It was reported that you kept saying the word “butcher” over and over again at the ceremony. Can you tell me why?

[Kim Che says nothing. Jarod looks through the window and sees the two sweepers.]

Willie   Where is he?
Berger   He’s in the last interrogation room, right down the hall.
    [They pull out guns as they approach the room, but the room is empty. The opposite door is open.]
Willie   Damn!
    Scene 3
The Centre, Lyle’s office.   Mr. Lyle is sitting at his desk, and Ki Mok is pacing in front of him with a Chinese cup of green tea.
Ki Mok   This problem must be dealt with immediately!
Lyle   I don’t understand.
Ki Mok   The woman you saw at the ceremony this morning is an unfortunate link to my past. [Sits on the edge of the desk.]Which now makes her a link to yours.
Lyle   I am sensitive to your concerns, but if I’m not mistaken, she was also blind.
Ki Mok   [yanking off Lyle’s black glove to reveal his thumb-less hand]Underestimating the meek has brought more than one army to its knees.
Lyle   [grabbing Ki Mok’s hand with the glove in it]We have a very good army here.
    [The door opens, and Willie enters to see them hand-in-hand, glaring at each other. He coughs. Lyle gets up and comes near him, and both speak in low voices.]
Lyle   Did you find her?
Lyle   Taken? By whom?
Willie   [sighing]By Jarod.
Ki Mok   I suggest you tell your soldiers this is war.
    Scene 4
Virginia, evening. An apartment.   Jarod is looking out of the window at the rain, Kim Che sitting at the table. She accidentally knocks her purse off the table and bends to pick it up. Jarod comes to help.
Jarod   Here, let me get that.
    [As he picks up the things, he finds a book in Khmer and a photograph of a Khmer family of mother, father, son, and daughter. He gives them to her, and she takes them hastily and holds them tight.]
Jarod   Is that a picture of your family?
Kim Che   Mother…father…brother.
Jarod   Where are they now?
Kim Che   Dead. All murdered by the Butcher. All murdered by the Butcher.
Act 2   Scene 1
The Centre, a conference room.   Parker, Broots, and Sydney talk around a table.
Broots   Mok came to the United States three months ago from Venezuela.
Miss Parker   I’m more interested in his connection to Lyle.
Broots   Well, I don’t know if it’s related, but Lyle’s made three business trips to Caracas in past twelve months. As far as I can tell, the Centre has no ties to anyone or anything in that country.
Miss Parker   Not on paper, you mean.
Broots   [shrugging]I did hear something else. I was in the bathroom, and I overheard a couple of sweepers saying that Willie had a close encounter with Jarod today.
Miss Parker   Where?
Broots   The men’s room, SL-10!
Miss Parker   The encounter with Jarod, you boob.
Broots   Oh! Virginia, across the river. But that’s not all! Willie has been assigned special temporary duty to Lyle’s team.
    [Miss Parker shoves back her chair and gets up.]
Sydney   Where are you going?
Miss Parker   To have a little talk with Baby Brother.
    Scene 2
Virginia, evening. Jarod’s apartment.   Kim Che sleeps on the bed. Jarod gently covers her with a blanket and then looks through the contents of her purse. The Cambodian book has dried blood on the cover.
Kim Che’s voice in Jarod’s memory   All murdered by the butcher.
    Jarod finds a neatly-folded stack of receipts, for Li Ho’s Grocery. He takes them, the photograph of Kim Che’s family, and her rosary bracelet, and quietly leaves the apartment.
    Scene 3
The Centre, nighttime. A hallway.   Mr. Lyle comes out of his office and strides down the hallway, not noticing Miss Parker waiting for him.
Miss Parker   In a hurry?
Mr. Lyle   [sighing]Extreme.
Miss Parker   Hey, did you ever wonder why a Cambodian citizen would choose to live in Venezuela? Is that interesting? I suppose it could be the climate. Or the coffee. Or is it perhaps…Venezuela has no extradition treaty with the West?
Mr. Lyle   Something on your mind, Sis?
Miss Parker   Who’s Ki Mok? And why is Raines’ guard dog babysitting him?
Mr. Lyle   Shouldn’t you be out hunting for Jarod?
    [He walks away into the men’s bathroom, leaving her glaring after him. She follows him into the bathroom and finds him at a urinal.]
Miss Parker   It’s funny you should ask that, considering that I heard your people had a close encounter with him today.
Mr. Lyle   Can I get a little privacy?
Miss Parker   No. Now, do you want to talk to me, or should I go put my foot down on Willie’s throat?
Mr. Lyle   [sighing and looking under the stall walls to make sure no one is there]Mok is a former leader of the Cambodian Freedom Fighters. He fled southeast Asia after Saigon fell. He went underground for his own safety.
Miss Parker   What’s he doing here?
Mr. Lyle   We met in Thailand about five years ago. He helped me out of a situation. I promised to return the favor. Trust me, our little brush with Jarod was purely coincidence.
Miss Parker   Go on.
Mr. Lyle   Mok needed a sponsor to become a U.S. citizen. I pulled some strings, got him a commission as Cultural Liaison at the local Port Authority. Now I suggest you focus your attention on Jarod and climb off my back before I run out of patience.
Miss Parker   [smiling]Oh! Is that a threat?
Mr. Lyle   What do you think?
    [She continues to smile as he walks out, but when the door closes, the smile drops off.]
    Scene 4
Virginia, nighttime. An Asian grocery with Khmer and Chinese lettering on the front.   Jarod brings a stack of about a dozen small boxes of sugar dates to the counter, where a short Asian man chuckles at him.
Li Ho   You must really like sugar dates.
Jarod   Actually, they’re for a friend. [He pulls out Kim Che’s rosary and hands it to Li Ho.]
Li Ho   These prayer beads belong to-Who are you?
Jarod   I’m a friend of Kim Che’s. I need to ask you some questions.
    Scene 5
Virginia, a Buddhist prayer room in the back of Li Ho’s Grocery.   Li Ho lights a candle before a statue of Buddha and other Buddhist figures. A few people sit praying.
Li Ho   I built this for the other Cambodians in the area. A little piece of what we left behind. Come. We talk in the back room. [He leads Jarod through a side door.] Please. [Jarod looks around at the pictures and photographs from Cambodia on the walls.]
Li Ho   My country is very beautiful, but it has seen much pain. The war with America, the genocidal march of Pol Pot.
Jarod   The leader of the Khmer Rouge.
Li Ho   Yes. Please, sit.
    [He takes a box down from a shelf and puts it on the desk in front of Jarod, indicating that he should open it. Jarod opens it and finds photographs of the killings in Cambodia.]
Li Ho   Nearly twenty-five years has passed, but I can still smell the burning bodies. I keep these to remember, to never forget what man is capable of.
Jarod   Kim Che was tortured by the Khmer Rouge.
Li Ho   Worse, I’m afraid. I had a brother who lived in her village. Kim Che’s family was at home when the soldiers came. Her father, her mother, her brother were executed in front of her. You see, she wasn’t born blind. It is told that she attacked the officer in charge to try and save her family, that she drew his blood with her bare hands. She was six years old.
Jarod   [pulling out one of his photographs of Ki Mok] 
This man.
Li Ho   Yes. This man is Colonel Chen Thon. He was officer in the Khmer Rouge, an evil, killing monster.
Jarod   Did you witness Thon commit these murders?
Li Ho   No. The only witness still alive is Kim Che. Some of the worst officers fled to the Golden Triangle and flourished in the heroin trade. If Colonel Thon is here, then Kim Che’s life is in great danger. And now I fear, so is yours.
Act 3   Scene 1
The Centre, nighttime, Sydney’s office.   Miss Parker and Sydney sit over coffee and documents.
Miss Parker   It turns out Mok is being sworn in by the Port Authority tomorrow afternoon.
Sydney   And you intend to be there.
Miss Parker   Lyle knows his ticket to the top is still Jarod, but all he seems to care about is making good on a promise he made five years ago to a virtual stranger.
Sydney   Your point?
Miss Parker   There’s more to this than we know. And this Mok character is the key. Hell, maybe Jarod’ll even make a surprise appearance.
    [Broots enters, sighing and shaking his head.]
Miss Parker   Well?
Broots   It’s like Mok just appeared out of thin air. There’s no birth certificate, school records, nothing!
Sydney   Records can disappear.
Broots   They can also be erased. I tried to open up a computer file on Mok I had found earlier today to double check some information. It was gone! Wiped out. It’s like any history of this man is-
Miss Parker   Being destroyed before our eyes.
Sydney   Lyle.
Miss Parker   He told me he met Mok in Thailand. Broots, take that photo, run it again for a visual match, and this time isolate the primary search to southeast Asian targets-books, magazines, newspapers-and hurry! This guy could be gone before we find out who he really is.
    [Broots hurries away.]
    Scene 2
Virginia, nighttime. Jarod’s apartment.   Jarod enters his apartment and finds the bed empty.
Jarod   Kim Che!
    [He looks hurriedly around the apartment. Outside, the bells of a large Gothic church ring the time. He pulls the prayer beads out of his pocket, hurries out of the room.]
    Scene 3
Virginia, nighttime. A fountain in the garden of the Catholic church.   Kim Che sits listening to the sound of the water and the church bells. Jarod comes up behind her.
Jarod   Kim Che.
    [He takes off his jacket and puts it around her shoulders, then sits beside her.]
Jarod   I know you don’t want to talk about what happened, but I’m not going to just go away.[He puts her Buddhist rosary into her hands.]I never had a real home. I understand pain. And loss. Tell me about your blindness.
Kim Che   It was the time of Year Zero. Pol Pot and his followers wanted to stop time, begin the world with themselves as only power. The killings began with the teachers, then the spiritual leaders, and finally the artists.
Jarod   Your mother and your father.
Kim Che   They were writer of poetry, words of comfort and joy to the people. Colonel Thon make my father read from his own book. Then he kill him and the other members of my family. This was the day the sun went away.
Jarod   I want to help the sun return for you, but I have to examine your eyes. Can I do that?
    [Kim Che reaches out and puts her hands on his face, feeling his features.]
Kim Che   I feel your pain and loneliness. You have lost many people that you love.
Jarod   Yes.
    [Kim Che takes his hand in both of hers and holds it.]
    Scene 4
Virginia, daytime. Jarod’s apartment.   Jarod shines a light in Kim Che’s eyes, then makes a phone call.
Sydney   This is Sydney.
Jarod   I checked Kim Che’s eyes. There’s no sign of damage or disease. Have you ever encountered something called terror silence?
Sydney   Those cases surfaced after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Hospitals began seeing patients quiet unable to communicate.
Jarod   And yet these people showed no signs of physiological damage. Their afflictions were psychosomatic reactions to horrific savagery they witnessed. I believe that Kim Che’s blindness is a form of terror silence.
Sydney   Well, the human mind is capable of almost anything in order to protect its host.
Jarod   She doesn’t deserve a life of darkness, Sydney. What approach should I take?
Sydney   In some cases, the stricken have responded by confronting the object of their terror. But be very careful. If she’s pushed too hard, she may never emerge from the darkness.
    [Miss Parker knocks on the glass wall of Sydney’s office.]
Miss Parker   Sydney!
Sydney   [checking his watch and motioning at her to wait]Oh, by the way, ah-Miss Parker is planning a little trip across the river this afternoon. It seems she has become interested in local politics, a certain Port Authority Commission hearing to be more precise. I thought you’d be interested to know.
Jarod   Very interested. [He hangs up and goes to sit across from Kim Che.]Kim Che, I believe you have something that’s known as a conversion disorder.
Kim Che   I do not understand.
Jarod   When something emotional, something traumatic happens to a person, it can manifest itself in a physiological way. In your case, blindness.
Kim Che   Can this disorder be cure?/td>
Jarod   I believe it can. But-
Kim Che   What?
Jarod   You’re going to have to face the thing that triggered it. You’re going to have to face Colonel Thon.
    [Kim Che shakes her head and gets up, goes to the window and sits down in the window seat, crying. Jarod sits next to her.]
Jarod   He’s going to remain a free man unless you step forward. Kim Che, there’s so much beauty in the world! Don’t let this monster take it away from you!
Kim Che   [crying]I have lived in the darkness for so many years, trying to erase the face of the killer. I cannot let the monster back in again. I’m sorry.
Jarod   [putting an arm around her and pulling her close comfortingly]OK, OK, OK. We’ll find another way. We’ll find another way. Shh.
    Scene 5
The Centre, Sydney’s office.   Broots runs into Sydney’s office, where Miss Parker is looking at documents with Sydney.
Broots   I ran the picture of Mok and got a hit from a Bangkok newspaper. [Miss Parker looks at it. In the photograph, Lyle is getting into a car with Mok.]It’s a story that ran five years ago. Turns out Mok’s real name is Chen Thon and that he was some military bigwig with the Communists.
Miss Parker   So Lyle lied about Mok. What a surprise.
Sydney   What’s it say?
Broots   Well, I would have take the time to have the newspaper translated, but I knew you spoke the language. [Glancing at Miss Parker.]
Miss Parker   Well, I’m not getting it all, but apparently Lyle was arrested for assaulting a couple of prostitutes.
Broots   [shocked]
Lyle? What-what is with this guy? First it’s the murder of Xue Lin, then it’s the two sisters in college, and then the bloody torture chamber? And-and now this?
    [Sydney is staring at Miss Parker, who is reading the newspaper with a stunned expression.]
Sydney   Parker? You okay?
Parker   Fine.
    Scene 6
The Centre, the women’s bathroom.   Miss Parker is in a stall throwing up. She emerges slowly, pressing a tissue to her mouth, goes to the sink and washes her hands and rinses out her mouth. She looks at herself in the mirror; she looks ill.
    Scene 7
The Centre, Lyle’s office.   Mr. Lyle paces up and down on the phone.
Voice on phone   I’m sorry, sir, I don’t know what happened.
Mr. Lyle   I don’t need excuses. Just get it done! I want any remaining trace of Thon’s previous life wiped out. Oh, and make sure the suppliers in Thailand are ready to move.
    [He hangs up the phone and sits down wearily. A beautiful young Asian woman in a black cheong-sam enters.]
Lucy   Excuse me, Mr. Lyle? Mr. Mok called and asked if you could meet him right away. He says he has new information concerning the woman from the ceremony. He is waiting for you downstairs in his car.
    [Lyle looks her over thoroughly as she turns to walk out.]
Mr. Lyle   Um, Lucy.
Lucy   Yes, sir?
Mr. Lyle   That’s a lovely dress you’re wearing.
Lucy   Thank you, sir.
    [She walks out with a smile, leaving him staring thoughtfully after her.]
    Scene 8
Outside the Centre.   Lyle gets into Ki Mok’s limousine.
Mr. Lyle   Driver, where’s-
    [The doors lock automatically. He tries to open one and can’t.]
Mr. Lyle   What the hell is this? Where’s Mok?
Driver   I am sorry, sir. [He turns around and lifts his cap to reveal he is Jarod.]But there’s been a slight change of plans. [He closes the opaque window between them and takes off with a squeal of tires.]
    Scene 9
A basement somewhere.   Lyle, without a shirt on and with a bag over his head, sits tied to a chair. Jarod stalks around him.
Jarod   You didn’t think I’d let you sleep through all the fun, did you?
Mr. Lyle   [struggling]
Take this thing off my head!
Jarod   Oh, quit your whining! [Jerks the bag off.]
Mr. Lyle   You won’t get away with this. They’ll be looking for me.
Jarod   Meaning Colonel Thon? You didn’t think I was going to allow you to let that genocidal maniac free in the world again, now, did you?
[He turns on water in a sink.]
Mr. Lyle   That’s a done deal.
Jarod   Oh, yes. That Port Commission thing. Not a totally idiotic plan. You have your guy appointed to the Port Commission, and then you have an open pipeline to smuggle in heroin from southeast Asia.
Mr. Lyle   It’s just business.
Jarod   Just business. With a man who butchered thousands of innocent people in cold blood.
Mr. Lyle   [laughing]
You know my philosophy, Jarod. Don’t ask, don’t tell. Besides, you and I both know you can’t show your face at that hearing. Miss Parker’ll have a small army waiting for you.
Jarod   Oh, Miss Parker. Well, that could pose quite a problem, couldn’t it?
[Pulling a metal bucket of water out of the sink.]
[He lifts Lyle’s bare feet and puts them in the bucket.]
Mr. Lyle   What do you want from me?

[He pulls a cell phone from his pocket.]
I’m going to dial Miss Parker. You’re going to tell her that you captured me. You’re going to give her the address here. She’s going to come down those stairs, trip this wire, and-
[He pulls the wire, and a heavy metal door slams closed.]
I think you can guess the rest.

Mr. Lyle   If I refuse?

That’s not really an option. [
He pulls back a sheet to reveal four car batteries connected together with jumper cables, striking sparks with one. Mr. Lyle looks rather uncomfortable.]
When you used to torture me at the Centre, I had to apply a technique that I learned as a little boy.
[He clips the red clamp to Lyle’s bucket. Lyle pulls his feet out of the water just in time as Jarod clips the black clamp on.]

To help block out the physical pain, I had to go to places in my mind. You, on the other hand, have not perfected this particular survival technique.

[He picks up a second bucket of water and flicks water at Lyle.]

Have you?

[He pours the water over Lyle’s head, then picks up a cattle prod and turns it on.]

Intimidating, isn’t it? I took it off this rancher in Montana who was abusing his cattle. I know, you’re thinking it’s not the same thing. And you’re right.

[He points it at Lyle.]

The cattle didn’t deserve it. Shall we make that phone call?

Act 4   Scene 1
The Centre, Miss Parker’s office.   Miss Parker stares at the Thai newspaper article with its picture of her brother. Sydney comes to the door.
Sydney   Interesting reading? Or can’t you believe what it says? I’ve known you since you were a little girl, Parker. I can tell when you’re trying to hide something.
Miss Parker   It just didn’t seem like the kind of thing you could say about a blood relation.
[She lets out a heavy breath.]
The story isn’t about an assault. It’s about a double murder. Lyle was the prime suspect.
Sydney   Hmm.
Miss Parker   And according to the paper, he used an unidentified military source to cut a deal with the police.
Sydney   Colonel Thon.
[He sits down near her.]
And that isn’t all, is it?
Miss Parker   These girls weren’t just killed. They were mutilated.
Sydney   Mutilated?
Miss Parker  

Some of their…internal organs were removed. [Her phone rings. She answers.]What? [Her eyes grow big.]

Are you sure?

[She writes.]

I hear you. I’m on my way!

[Closes the phone.]

That was Lyle. He’s captured Jarod.

    [She hurries out. Sydney follows.]
    Scene 2
Virginia, Port Authority Commission.   Four officials sit at a table at the end of a room full of pews and a few observers, with two policeman, a court reporter, and Ki Mok sitting at a table to the side.
Ms. Lowing, Port Authority Member   I call this appointment session of the Port Authority Commission to order. Today’s business includes the confirmation of Mr. Ki Mok as Cultural Liaison to the PAC. Good morning, Mr. Mok.
Ki Mok   Ms. Lowing, Gentlemen.
Lowing   As I review the data before me, I have to say I have never in my twenty-three years as a member of this council come across such an exemplary list of recommendations.
Ki Mok   My life has been dedicated and devoted to serving my fellow man. I believe each of us is given the opportunity to make a difference. It is our obligation and duty to do our very best.
Lowing   Well, if there aren’t any objections, I suggest that we dispense with formality and proceed to the vote.
Jarod   [entering]That would be a very bad idea.
Lowing   Who are you?
Jarod   Oh, that’s not important. It’s the man to whom you are about to give the keys to the city you should correctly identify. You know him as Ki Mok, scholar, humanitarian, family man, but his real name is Colonel Chen Thon, and his legacy consists of the torture and genocide of thousands of people!
Lowing   Mr. Mok, do you know this man or understand any of these outrageous accusations?
Ki Mok   Madam, my life is an open book, one you have sitting before you. As for this man, I can assume he’s confused me with someone else.
Jarod   What’s confusing is that you’ve been allowed to live this long. Colonel Thon was the commander of an elite killing squad responsible for the cold-blooded murder of innocent men, women, and children.
Ki Mok   [springing up]This is nonsense! Look, I demand that you remove this man-
Jarod   [speaking over Ki Mok]I know this sounds incredible, but if you would just suspend these proceedings-
Ki Mok   I did not come here to hear slander and false accusations!
Jarod   -long enough to investigate these charges, you would uncover a life fraught with torture, murder, and death!
Lowing   Mr. Mok, can you speak to these charges?
Ki Mok   America stands as the last, great hope for liberty, a liberty many of my countrymen have fought and died for. Let me just say, if I am this-this monster that I am being accused of, let there be one voice, one person to step forward and prove that I’m guilty.
Lowing   I agree. Clearly this is meaningless without eyewitness testimony. Is there anyone that can confirm these horrific accusations?
Kim Che   [coming in behind Jarod with Li Ho]I can.
Lowing   And you are?
Kim Che   My name is Kim Che. I was born in the Siyam Valley of northern Cambodia, and the man standing before you is responsible for the murderous deaths of my mother, father, and brother.
Lowing   You witnessed these killings?
Kim Che   I did.
Lowing   And you can confirm the identity of this man that stands before us as this Colonel Thon?
Ki Mok   This is ridiculous. This woman is obviously blind. How can she actually identify anyone?
    [Kim Che folds up her cane and hands it to Jarod, and as she looks around, her sight begins to return. The first thing she sees is the cord dividing observers from officials. She unhooks it and steps inside. Then she looks up and sees Jarod smiling at her. She touches his face with a smile and turns to confront Ki Mok.]
Kim Che   For so many years I have lived in the dark, afraid of the memory of your face. I will not be afraid anymore! This is the man who killed my mother, my father, and my brother. [She pulls out her Khmer book.]And this is his blood, blood drawn by a terrified six-year-old girl, and that was me. [After staring at him a moment, she turns and walks back to Jarod, who puts his arm around his shoulders.]
Lowing   I suggest we seal the building and have security to hold the accused for proper authorities.
    [Two policemen seize Chen Thon. He struggles, and one calls for help through his radio. Thon screams in Cambodian, pointing his finger at Kim Che. Jarod holds Kim Che comfortingly.]
    Scene 3
The Centre, the atrium.   Miss Parker walks, and Broots runs after her.
Broots   Miss Parker! I know you’re not in a very good mood having to spend the night trapped with Mr. Lyle-Lord knows, anybody would be bummed out, not to mention being duped by Jarod again-I mean, it’s like the guy-the guy gets inside your head! You know, you can’t make a decision without him being two steps ahead of you-
Miss Parker   [making fists at him]Go away!
Broots   [hurrying after her]I found out what the tattoo on Thon’s hand means!
Miss Parker   Congratulations. [She hits the elevator button, hard.]
Broots   It’s the Cambodian symbol for cannibalism.
    [Miss Parker turns around slowly and stares at him as if seeing a ghost. She remembers being trapped with Lyle, going to untie him, and seeing the same tattoo on his upper right arm.]
    Scene 4
The Centre, Lyle’s office.   Mr. Lyle stares out of the window. Miss Parker enters.
Miss Parker   If you’re thinking of jumping, I suggest you go up on the roof and do it right.
Mr. Lyle   You still haven’t mastered the curiously simple art of the knock. Oh, you look terrible.
Miss Parker   I had trouble sleeping last night. Couldn’t stop trying to figure out why Jarod didn’t finish you when he had the chance. I now know the reason.
Mr. Lyle   What’s that?
Miss Parker   He didn’t want to kill the drama. I mean, there are so many tasty little secrets left to be served up. [She tosses the Thai newspaper article on his desk.]
Mr. Lyle   Not a very flattering picture, is it?
Miss Parker   I know you killed those girls. [Lyle stares.]And after seeing that artwork on your arm, I can only imagine what happened to the rest of them.
Mr. Lyle   Well, you must not have finished the article, because I was acquitted of all the charges. And, as for the tattoo, well, it’s just one of several. Want to see the others?
Miss Parker   You bought yourself out of jail, and you used a war criminal to broker the deal.
Mr. Lyle   Well, you have been a busy little beaver, haven’t you? OK, for the sake of argument, let’s say that I did these horrible things you’re accusing me of. There’s still no way to prove it.
Miss Parker   I have Mok. Or Colonel Thon, as it turns out. I put the right deal on the table, he’ll offer up you and your psychopathetic sins on a silver platter. No pun intended.
Mr. Lyle   And to whom are you going to give this information?
Miss Parker   The Triumvirate, for starters. I’m sure they’d be very interested to know they have a flesh-eating serial killer running their organization. I cut a deal with Thon, and you’re finished.
Mr. Lyle  

Oh, um, I’m sure the Colonel would be interested in your offer, if, of course, he could hear it! [Picks up a newspaper off his desk, laughing, and gives it to Miss Parker. It has a picture of Thon and another of a smashed car and reads “Accused War Criminal Killed During Transfer.”]So I guess you didn’t read the paper this morning, huh? [He throws down the paper and opens his small refrigerator.]

The authorities are calling it a tragic accident.

[He pulls a Chinese takeout box from the refrigerator.]

I prefer to think of it as karma.

[With the chopsticks he pulls a piece of meat from the box and offers it to Miss Parker. When she doesn’t respond, he eats it.]

Oh, I’m just crazy about leftovers. Aren’t you?

Miss Parker   My God. You’re insane.
    [She jerks out of the room, leaving him grinning behind her, but when the door closes, the smile drops off.]
    Scene 5
Virginia, Patriotic Hall.   The same judge presides over another citizenship meeting. This time, Kim Che is there in the front row taking the oath.
Judge   “-and that I take this obligation freely-“
Kim Che [among others]   -and that I take this obligation freely-
Judge   “-without any mental reservation-“
Kim Che [among others]   -without any mental reservation-
Judge   “-or purpose of evasion-“
Kim Che [among others]   -or purpose of evasion-
Judge   “-so help me God.”
Kim Che [among others]   -so help me God.
Judge   Congratulations. You are now all United States citizens.
    [Cheering and clapping. Kim Che, smiling broadly, walks toward Jarod, who laughs and claps.]
Kim Che   I didn’t think that you would come.
Jarod   Are you kidding me? I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. How does it feel to be a citizen?
Kim Che   Like I finally have a home.
Jarod   You heard that Colonel Thon died in a car accident.
Kim Che   I saw the paper. But you are wrong. He died when you gave me the courage to face him.
Jarod   What made you change your mind about confronting him?
Kim Che   A friend reminded me how much beauty there was in the world. Thank you, Jarod.
    [She steps forward and hugs him. He holds her tenderly. When the step apart, she takes off her prayer beads and puts them in his hand.]
Kim Che   I hope you find a way to let the light back into your life.
Jarod   [smiling painfully]Thank you.
    [He walks away through the crowd of new citizens, looks around with a smile, gives a slight sigh, and leaves the room.]

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