Introduction and plot description
"Goodbye Lover" can perhaps best be classified as a crime drama with a quirky and darkly humorous tone. It is not really very funny (although perhaps it tries to be), so I would not call it a comedy. But it is not entirely realistic either. The film's characters are intentionally exaggerated and not completely believable. The events take place in a slightly unreal Los Angeles, cast in a highly-stylized Neiman Marcus sheen, perhaps reflecting the main character's off-kilter hopes and perceptions of reality.
The movie features an ensemble cast consisting of six main players, one of whom is a devout Latter-day Saint. (He is the 5th-billed actor in the closing credits.) Academy Award-winner Ray McKinnon has the movie's 6th-billed role as "Detective Nathaniel Rollins." Rollins is apparently a rookie detective, and he has been newly assigned to work with "Sgt. Rita Pompano" (Ellen DeGeneres).
Rollins is an unusual film character for a few reasons. For one thing, he is a Latter-day Saint, a fact which is not simply hinted at or mentioned at one time, but is central to his every appearance on screen. He is devoutly religious in a way that most viewers will probably consider annoying, as does his partner Rita. Perhaps half of Rollins' lines pertain directly to his devout religious beliefs and practice, sometimes in a general Christian sense and sometimes in ways specific to him being a Latter-day Saint.
Pretty much everything Rollins says are things that most people would agree are true, sensible statements. At a murder scene he points out the destructive effects of alcohol. He expresses optimism and faith in people. The things he says might seem entirely appropriate if he were a teacher or doctor or a kindly grandfather. Yet because he is a big city police detective investigating a series of murders, the things he says somehow seem wildly inappropriate. He seems like an idiot, a doofus.
Rollins' devoutly religious nature stands in stark contrast to that of his partner (Ellen DeGeneres). Sgt. Rita Pompano is deeply cynical, but her hard-boiled persona is much more what we expect from an onscreen detective. Sgt. Pompano's speech is laced not only with vulgar and profane language, but also outright racist, homophobic and prejudiced utterances. She even manages to slur a man in a wheelchair. Sgt. Pompano seems simply cruel in the way she treats her new partner Rollins. Yet she is an experienced, intelligent investigator who is able to accurately see through the lies told by the suspects she interviews.
Rollins seems like a negatively drawn character. He is a nerd and a country bumpkin among sophisticated, well-dressed, intelligent Los Angeles urbanites. Yet of the six main characters, Rollins is the only one who can even remotely be called a moral, ethical character.
To say that Rollins is the film's only moral main character is not making a religiously-based judgment. This evaluation is not dependent on looking at the characters' actions through a Latter-day Saint Christian perspective. All of the other five characters are overtly, aggressively immoral in ways that are universally deplored by everybody except sociopaths.
Aside from the detectives (Rollins and Rita Pompano) the other four main characters are all close friends, co-workers and family. Yet they all plot to murder each other. This overshadows their many other moral failings, including the fact that they are all adulterously disloyal to each other.
"Sandra Dunmore" (Patricia Arquette) is clearly the lead character. She is a real estate agent who desires to have more out of life. She is married to young advertising/public relations executive "Jake Dunmore" (Dermot Mulroney). But she is having an adulterous affair with her husband's brother, "Ben Dunmore" (Don Johnson), a successful adverting/public relations executive that Jake works under. "Peggy Blane" (Mary-Louise Parker) is a lovely and seemingly reserved assistant working for Ben Dunmore, who lures him into desiring a settled down, long-term relationship with her. The lies and alliances between these four are more complex than I can commpletely describe here, but it can be summarized by saying that all four of these characters plot to kill each other.
Sandra manipulates Ben into attempting to kill his brother by pushing him off a balcony. But instead, Sandra and Jake combine their efforts to push Ben off the balcony, murdering him. The affair that Ben thought angered Jake so much when he found out was really just part of a plan hatched by Jake and Sandra to kill Ben and collect on a $2 million life insurance policy (double indemnity for accidental death) that their company has for each of its executives. Jake and Sandra tell detectives Rollins and Pompano that Ben fell accidentally to his death.
But before Jake, as Ben's brother, can collect any insurance money, Peggy reveals that she married Ben just three days earlier on a trip they took to Las Vegas. So Sandra and Jake plot to kill Peggy, the only one standing between them and the money. Yet Jake is really working with Peggy. In fact, it was actually Jake, pretending to be his brother Ben, who "married" Peggy in Las Vegas. He did so to create the legal paper trail that would make Peggy Ben's legal heir. When Sandra realizes that she has been double-crossed by Jake, she murders both Jake and Peggy. She wisely makes it look like an accident, so that she stands to collect on Jake's insurance policy as well well as Ben's.
Detective Rita Pompano is no better than the Sandra, Jake, Ben and Peggy. She is a police detective sworn to uphold the law. Yet when she sees the opportunity to make some money, she covers up three murders, personally kills a fourth person herself, and lets a murderer go free in exchange for half of the insurance money obtained from the killings.
After Rita figures out that Sandra was responsible for these murders (staged to look like accidents), she collects enough proof and evidence to send Sandra "to the electric chair." Yet instead of arresting Sandra, Rita confronts her with the evidence and coerces her into agreeing to split the $8 million in insurance money that Sandra stands to receive as the only surviving heir to her husband and brother-in-law. Rita also kills the assassin that Sandra's husband had hired to kill Sandra -- not out of civic duty but in order to protect her cash cow. Although Rita did not plot to murder anybody, many people might see her actions as even more immoral because of her status as a police officer.
Rollins, on the other hand, is ceaselessly moral, ethical, upright and honest. His biggest flaw is that he is completely incapable of discerning the criminal natures of the people he interviews. He is ineffective as a detective. (Of course, he was a rookie on his first case, so perhaps he should be cut a little slack.)
In the very last scene of the movie there is one moment in which it appears that the story might re-align itself with the traditional moral universe. One year after the many murders have taken place, Sandra and Rita Pompano are in a bank signing papers to equally divide the $8 million in insurance money that Sandra has received as the only surving heir to her husband and brother-in-law.
Sandra and Rita are both wearing expensive designer clothes, and sporting fabulous hair styles. As they leave the bank, each with their half of the $8 million windfall, they unexpectedly run into Rollins. Rollins looks better dressed than before in the film. He has a serious look on his face, and does not look like the doofus he was earlier. He looks like a real detective. In a serious voice, he tells Sandra and Rita, "You're both under arrest."
For a fleeting second it appears that Sandra and Rita have been found out, that Rollins is smarter than he had let on, and that the last surviving killers in this case will go to jail for their crimes. But then Rollins' face dissolves into its usual goofy demeanor and he chuckles, telling the women that he was just kidding.
Rollins is simply on that particular sidewalk by coincidence, helping direct traffic for a vice-presidential visit. Rollins exchanges some small talk with Sandra and Rita. He tells Rita that she looks good in retirment from the police force. He sends them on their way in their fancy sports car.
Rollins then looks into the camera and states, "I just love it when good things happen to good people. I mean that. Really."
Rollins is positive, moral and trusting to the end. He is also completely clueless.
I have no idea what the point of "message" of this movie is. "Moral people are losers"? "Take what you want, but be stylish while doing so"? Is the film ironic? Is it an indictment against religion? Or against the non-religious? One could easily say, "It's just a movie, meant simply to entertain." True... But this is a movie about in which a cold blooded killer and the crooked cop that protects her each pocket $4 million with, apparently with zero negative consequences. The only character making moral decisions and earnestly striving to serve his community is so negatively portrayed that it is difficult to believe that viewers are meant to identify with him rather than the film's beautiful and intelligent murderers.
Perhaps the movie is simply meant as a parlor trick: The writers did their best to craft a tale that was as much as possible the opposite of traditional Hollywood "bad guy gets it in the end" morality. I don't know.
I'm also not sure what to think of the character of Rollins. Many movie reviewers were critical of the way his character was mistreated by Ellen DeGeneres' character. Many people probably saw Rollins as a stereotype-ridden character, born of anti-Mormon and anti-Christian sentiment. Yet if the film is meant to cast Latter-day Saints in a bad light, it has an odd way of doing it: making a Latter-day Saint the story's only moral, law-abiding, honest character.
Rollins may be caricature. But I'm not sure he actually does anything or says any one thing that a professionally inexperienced but religiously devout Latter-day Saint police officer, set down in the middle of Los Angeles, might not do or say. I can't imagine any Latter-day Saint detective, no matter how green, saying ALL the things that Rollins says. But each of Rollins' statements, taken individually, seems believable.
Of course, in real life, the top cops and even the police chiefs in many cities are devout Latter-day Saints. But is it possible that Rollins' naivete, his Mormon impulse to see the good in everybody, really did hinder his effectiveness as a detective?
To what extent is Rollins cut from the same cloth as Sheriff Wes (Richard Dutcher) in the movie "Brigham City"? Both seem hindered by their desire to see only the good in people. Both may have been hampered in their investigational skills by their positive perceptions of the people around them. To what extent does New York City FBI agent Meredith (Tayva Patch) really see Sheriff Wes in the the same way that Sgt. Rita Pompano sees Rollins? Sheriff Wes is an utterly sympathetic character, while Rollins is disagreeable and pitiable. The real difference may simply be that "Brigham City" was directed by a Latter-day Saint, while "Goodbye Lover" was not. If one gets past that, the essential essence of the actual characters may not be so different.
I do not recommend that people watch "Goodbye Lover." Most critics were very harsh in their evalutation of it. Out of 32 movie reviews tabulated by RottenTomatoes.com, only 31% were positive. Moreover, the film has an excessive amount of vulgar language, plus some nudity and many depictions of sex (only partially glimpsed, and usually partially clothed, but understandable and prurient, nonetheless). Despite the presence of "Detective Rollins," this certainly isn't LDS Cinema. I'm not sure what this movie is. I'm not sure what the motivations were behind the story. But I don't think it is meant to be an "anti-Mormon" film.
The Religious Films of Director Roland Joffe
Featuring a devout, overtly religious character in a movie is not an aberration for non-LDS film director Roland Joffe. His past feature films include the highly acclaimed historical dramas "The Mission" (1986), which focused on Catholic characters, including a priest protagonist; and "The Killing Fields" (1984), set in heavily Buddhist Cambodia. He also directed "City of Joy" (1992), set in predominantly Hindu India; and "The Scarlet Letter" (1995), the classic story of a love affair between a woman and a clergyman in a devout Puritan town in 1840s Boston. Both "The Mission," in which religious topics are especially prominent, and "The Killing Fields" garnered Best Director Academy Award nominations for the director. "The Mission" received five other Oscar nominations (including Best Picture), and a win for Best Cinematography. "The Mission" and "The Killing Fields" are considered by far Joffe's best films. "Goodbye Lover" was generally regarded as another disappointment amid a string of disappointing movies from a director whose earlier work was so widely acclaimed. Joffe even directed "Super Mario Bros." (1993), the universally panned adaptation of the popular video game series that began with "Donkey Kong."
It is interesting to compare the attitude toward religion and religious characters in "Goodbye Love" with the roughly similar attitude in Joffe's previous movies. These movies recognize religion as a vital, powerful force in the lives of many individuals. This alone makes Joffe's films distinctive, as most contemporary Hollywood films ignore this entire area of life completely, opting instead to concoct an entirely artificial reality in which traditional and organized religious life has no influence. As in previous movies, the depiction of religion and religious characters in "Goodby Lover" is neither entirely positive nor entirely negative. Joffe's devoutly religious characters are generally portrayed as complex and interesting, just like other characters. Unfortunately, "Rollins" in "Goodbye Lover" is less developed than the Robert De Niro character (convert to Catholicism) and Jeremy Irons character (Jesuit priest) characters in "The Mission," or the Demi Moore character (Puritan woman Hester Prynne) and Gary Oldman character (Rev. Arthur Dimmesdale) in "The Scarlet Letter."
In all of these movies, devoutly religious characters are portrayed as having both admirable qualities as well as undesirable traits. When it comes to religion, religious leaders and followers, Joffe neither puts them on a pedestal nor in pillory stocks. Joffe's most clearly anti-religious film is "The Killing Fields," which exposes the genocidal agenda of the atheistic religion of Communism in Cambodia. Yet most people would not classify "The Killing Fields" as anti-religious because Communism is usually seen as a political movement rather than a religion. (In reality, it is both.)
Ron Peer: Mormon Film Writer
While director Joffe is clearly attracted to film projects which tackle religious topics, it was not Joffe that put the Latter-day Saint detective character into "Goodbye Lover." Credit for that goes to Ron Peer, who wrote the original screenplay for "Goodbye Lover" while holding down a full-time job as a computer technician in his native Phoenix, Arizona.
Latter-day Saints are one of the predominant religious groups in Phoenix, Arizona, particularly in the major Phoenix suburb of Mesa, Arizona (home of the Mesa Temple, one of the oldest temples in the Church). Even if one did not know that Peer was born and raised in a predominantly LDS community, the unusually accurate dialogue of his "Detective Rollins" character makes it obvious that the writer has had extensive first-hand experience with real-life Latter-day Saints.
Regardless of Peer's actual religious affiliation, the importance of the Mormon character in his film makes "Goodbye Lover" a Mormon film, among other things. As the writer of this LDS film, Peer joins a long list of other screenwriters who have written Hollywood feature films about Mormon characters, a list that includes William Goldman, Paul Attanasio, Paddy Chayefsky, Alan Jay Lerner, Frederick Loewe, David Ayer, Ted Griffin, Steven Kloves, Bo Goldman, Louis Bromfield, John Ford, Wendell Mayes, and Trey Parker.
Peer had no Hollywood connections, but sent his screenplay to Austin Film Festival's screenwriting contest and the Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting -- two of the most prominent competitions for film writers. Peer did not win either contest, but his script came to the attention of a producer who bought it. Peer's low-six figure earnings from "Goodbye Lover" allowed him to quit his day job and begin writing full time, and he has since had two other screenplays filmed in Germany.
Peer said the finished movie was very different from what he imagined. After the script was sold and after director Roland Joffe signed on to direct it, the production company had Peer himself work on rewrites for another five months. Finally Joffe told him, "I think we've gone about as far as we can. We're going to bring in another writer to enhance the creative team." Hollywood veteran writers then tinkered further with the script. He told CNN (http://www.cnn.com/SHOWBIZ/Movies/9904/15/goodbye.lover/): "Truthfully, the first time I saw it I was kind of in shock, and I shouldn't have been. I saw all the changes on the script. There's just something about seeing it on film; it's quite different."
The CNN interview with Peer reported: "Peer says he has no plans to move from Phoenix. He likes keeping Hollywood at a safe distance, both geographically and spiritually."
About differences between his script and the finished film, Peer told the Arizona Republic (16 April 1999, http://members.cox.net/ron.peer/fenster.htm): "My version was darker The jokes weren't quite so obvious. But I can understand that they wanted to make it more mainstream, so they lightened it up here and there. I chose to write an erotic thriller because I thought I could sell it. Basic Instinct was big back then, and I knew my story could be made for not a lot of money." Peer said he first conceived "Goodbye Lover" as a stage play (he has written many plays), "but it contained too much sex for the theater. So he changed it to a screenplay."
In "Goodbye Lover," Mary-Louise Parker is the actress who plays "Peggy," one of the key witnesses/suspects interviewed by Latter-day Saint detective Rollins, a native of Salt Lake City, Utah. Parker later received a Golden Globe Award and an Emmy Award for her role as "Harper Pitt" in the HBO miniseries "Angels in America." Like Detective Rollins, "Harper" is also a Latter-day Saint from Salt Lake City, Utah. But Harper moved to New York City with her attorney husband, while Rollins moved to Los Angeles.
"Goodbye Lover" may not be the first time that Georgia native Ray McKinnon has played a Utahn. McKinnon had the part of "Charlie Campion" in the Stephen King miniseries "The Stand," much of which was set in Utah.
Below is the dialogue from scenes in the movie, as it can be heard in the movie:
38 minutes, 27 seconds after start of film:
[Scene: Inside the high-rise apartment of Dermot Mulroney and his wife Sandra. Police detectives Rita Pompano and Rollins are interviewing Jake and Sandra. In the previous scene Jake and Sandra pushed Jake's brother (and Sandra's lover) Ben Dunmore off of the balcony, so that he fall to his death.]
JAKE DUNMORE (Dermot Mulroney): [Crying when he isn't speaking.] You're right, Detective. I killed my brother.
DETECTIVE RITA POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): Where exactly were you when his brother took a header?
SANDRA DUNMORE (Patricia Arquette): I was in the kitchen making ceviche.
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): Are you out of your f---ing mind?
[Focus on Detective Rollins (a Latter-day Saint), who is sitting in a chair close to Jake and Sandra Dunmore, who are sitting on the couch. He doesn't say anything, but he hears his partner's cursing, and does not appreciate it.]
SANDRA: It relaxes me.
[Detective Pompano looks inside the refrigerator while Detective Rollins continues the interview.]
DETECTIVE ROLLINS (Ray McKinnon): So-- So then what, Mr. Dunmore?
JAKE: I just told him to leave me alone.
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: So let me get this straight... You wanted to kill yourself.
JAKE: Something like that.
SANDRA: Jake's been going through a rough time lately.
JAKE: Yeah. I'm, um, I, uh... I'm an alcoholic.
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): Hey, welcome to the club.
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: [Looks at Detective Pompano, his new partner, his face showing concern and perhaps disapproval.] So your brother came over to try to stop you?
SANDRA: I tried to get Jake to come down, but he wouldn't listen to me.
SANDRA: So I called Ben.
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: So then what? He came in and sat down next to you.
JAKE: No, he was-- He was behind me. Oh! I just wanted to die.
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): Don't we all.
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: [Another look of concern about his partner.] Mr. Dunmore, did you threaten to jump?
JAKE: I-- I-- I said a lot of things. I-- I was confused. I don't--
[Continuing to look around the apartment, Detective Pompano finds a casette tape that somebody has evidently listened to recently. The tape contains music from "The Sound of Music." It is a tape Sandra frequently listens to and sings along to.]
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): What'd your brother do then?
JAKE: [Sobs. Appears unable to answer or speak.]
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: He fell.
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): [Standing behind her partner, out of the line of sight of the interview. She shakes her head and rolls her eyes, thinking her new partner Rollins is naive.]
JAKE: [Sobbing] I tried to grab him, I did. I tried, and tried.
SANDRA: It's okay. It's okay, honey. I never thought that something like this could happen. [Sandra continues rocking Jake back and forth, as he sits next to her, with his head on her shoulder, her arms around him. He sobs uncontrollably.]
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): [To Rollins, as she walks toward the door.] Come on. I want a tuna melt.
[Rollins stands up and exits the room.]
[Cut to the pool at the base of the skyrise building. When Jake and Sandra pushed Ben off the lobby, he fell into the pool. The fall killed him. A crime scene investigator wearing gloves fishes his shoe out of the pool. The area is a crime scene, with other police officers and crime scene investigators doing their jobs there. Detectives Pompano and Rollins stand looking at the pool.]
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): So what do you think?
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: I think it's sad how many lives are destroyed by the abuse of alcohol in our society.
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): Are you f---ing for real?
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: Yes, ma'am. In that apartment there's a lost soul who compounded that tragedy by turning to the bottle. And now his brother is dead and his poor wife has to pick up the pieces.
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): Where are you from? Mars?
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: Salt Lake.
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): Great. I got partnered with Brigham Young.
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: I don't see what relevance that has to my job.
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): That's my point, pencil-dick.
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: If you're insinuatin' a person can't be spiritual and still be effective--
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): Relax, John-Paul. If we're gonna work together we're gonna have to let a little more sh-- roll off our backs. [The detectives have walked through the crime scene during this conversation, and have not gotten into their unmarked car. Pompano looks up one mor time at the high rise building.] I don't like it. I don't trust anybody over ten who listens to "The Sound of Music." [Stars the engine.]
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: Buckle up.
[Cut back to the interior of Jake and Sandra Dunmore's high rise apartment. Jake expresses worry, saying that the detectives didn't believe a word he said (he is half right). Sandra expresses confidence that their plan to obtain millions of dollars in insurance money by killing Jake's brother will succeed.]
[New scene: Interior of the police station. Detective Pompano is lying down on the surface of a table in an interview room or perhaps a small conference room. The lights are off in the room, but some light comes through a window between this room and the main room of the police station. Through the window one can see a few police officers trying to control some unruly female suspects. Pan from the window to the door of the room. Detective Rollins enters the room.]
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: Detective. Guess what.
[Detectie Pompano appears to be asleep. She is listening to music on headphones. Rollins taps on the table next to her foot.]
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: Guess what.
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): You're quitting.
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: No. Ben Dunmore is heavily insured through his company.
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): [Lifts her head from the table. Takes off her headphones.] Oh. Louganis. Let me guess who the beneficiary is. [In saying "Louganis" she was jokingly referring to Ben Dunmore, who died falling off many stories into a pool, as Olympic gold medalist Greg Louganis.]
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: Well, now-- now, the woman I talked to didn't now. Said that she'd have to check. But... the parents are dead, and the only living relative is the brother.
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): Well, doesn't that just about shatter your faith in mankind? [Gets off the table, leaves the room with Rollins.]
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: [Emphatically.] No.
[New scene: The morgue. The medical examiner is doing an autopsy on the body of Ben Dunmore. Detective Pompano hardly seems to be paying attention to what the medical examiner is saying. She is watching the television, watching lottery numbers being read. Detective Rollins is intent on listening to the medical examiner.]
MEDICAL EXAMINER: Now what we've got is a death consistent with a long fall. Uh, forty-seven fractures of the legs, arms, hands and skull. Massive laceration of the liver, spleen and lung. Well, not pretty, but, uh, nothing to indicate foul play.
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: [Nods his head.] Still could have been an accident.
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): [Nods his head.] Yeah, and this is my real hair color.
[New scene: Bradley's office at the ritzy public relations agency that Ben Dunmore worked for. The detectives are interviewing Bradley, who was Ben Dunmore's boss, co-worker and friend. Rollins is taking notes.]
BRADLEY (John Neville): Very regrettable. A real tragedy. A real tragedy. Ben was... six-headed Vishnu of public relations. I'm gonna miss him. Very focused. A great closer. Just like his old man.
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): What's the brother like?
BRADLEY: Jake? Very creative, but unfocused. Genuine artistic temperment.
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): Why'd he work here?
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: Mr. Bradley... What set him to drinkin'?
BRADLEY: He, uh-- He lost his center. I don't know why. What starts anybody on the sauce?
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: Financial difficulty. Maritial problems. Stress. Poor self esteem. Emotional trauma. Genetic imprinting.
[Bradley's jaw drops, a bit shocked at Rollins' litany.]
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): [By way of explanation for Rollins' odd behavior.] He watches too much daytime TV.
RECEPTIONIST: [Entering the Bradley's office, carrying a company binder.] Like I said, Ben had our standard life policy, which we provide for all our executives. Two million dollar coverage, with a double indemnity clause for accidental death. [Hands a piece of paper to Rollins.]
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: That's four million dollars.
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): Who's the lucky beneficiary?
RECEPTIONIST: Since his parents are dead, Jake would receive the entire estate.
[Sound from outside the room: a ceramic vase shattering as it falls on the hard marble floor. Camera shows outside Bradley's office. Peggy screams, bites her hand. She is kneeling on the floor, upset, sobbing. Rollins rushes to console her.]
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: Ma'am? Can we get a chair, please! [Another employee brings a chair. Rollins helps Peggy stand up off the floor and sit down in the chair.] Easy. Easy.
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): What's her deal?
BRADLEY: Her name's Peggy Blane.
PEGGY BLANE (Mary-Louise Parker): Is it true about Ben?
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: Well, I'm-- I'm, uh-- I'm afraid so, ma'am. Um...
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): Okay. Okay, honey. I know. I know, it's a shock. I'm Detective Pompano. Just curious, did you work with Ben?
PEGGY (Mary-Louise Parker): [Manages to stop sobbing. Composes herself slightly.] Ben was my husband.
[Various workers in the office have gathered round. Upon hearing this, they look at each other in shock and surprise.]
PEGGY (Mary-Louise Parker): He was my husband. We got married three days ago in Las Vegas. Ben was going to announce it this week. We were going to have a big party. How long were you together? Not-- not very long. It was love at first sight. At least for me. Ben and I didn't advertise it.
[CUT TO: INT. Inside a food court in a shopping mall. The detectives have brought Peggy there to interview her further.]
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): So you're f---ing this guy, and no one in the office knows it.
PEGGY (Mary-Louise Parker): Well, you know how office gossip is.
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: [Very earnestly.] Yes.
[Rollins has been drinking milk. He has a pronounced milk moustache on his upper lip. Detective Pompano looks at him. Rollins thinks she is questioning him saying 'yes.']
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: Well, I do.
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): Wipe your mouth.
[Rollins wipes his mouth with a napkin.]
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): We talked to Jake last night. He didn't know his brother got married.
Peggy (Mary-Louise Parker): Well, we just got back from Las Vegas when Jake called.
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): Jake called. Are you sure?
PEGGY (Mary-Louise Parker): Yeah, I think so. I mean-- I don't know. Maybe. I-- Ben answered the phone. Maybe it was Sandra. I thought it was an accident. Why are you asking me all these weird questions?
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): Are my questions weird, Detective Rollins?
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: Rude, maybe. But not weird.
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): They're not weird. See... Didn't you get suspicious when Ben didn't return to the honeymoon suite after he went to see Jake?
PEGGY (Mary-Louise Parker): Um, well, we... Just, we had our first fight. Stupid stuff. And, um... Then I went back over to my place because I thought that he would come over... and apologize. I'm such an idiot.
[Rollins' face shows he is very concerned about Peggy, as she once again starts to cry. Detective Pompano continues to casually eat a corn dog.]
PEGGY (Mary-Louise Parker): The last words I said to him were in anger.
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: Ma'am. It's all right. His soul is with God and he knows that you love him.
[End of scene. 45 minutes, 16 seconds after start of film. Length of this section: 6 min 46 seconds.]
[Cut to interior of Jake and Sandra Dunmore's apartment. They have now heard about Ben being married to Peggy. Jake is very angry. They argue about how their plan has gone wrong. Jake explains that Ben died without a will, which means that his estate has to go through probate. Jake says that Sandra killed him for nothing, to which she responds: "We killed him. We did it together." Sandra persuades Jake that they will need to kill Peggy as well, so that they can get the insurance money that is "rightfully" theirs.]
[Funeral scene. Eulogy for Ben Dunmore. After listening to the eulogy, Peggy approaches Jake and slaps him. The detectives are watching from a short distance.]
51 minutes, 49 seconds after start of film:
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): Girl's got a good right hook.
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: I hate funerals. They're an undeniable reminder of man's mortality.
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): Are you gay?
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: No. No, I'm not gay.
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): Just curious.
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: Why would you think I'm gay?
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): No reason.
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: Then why-- Why did you ask?
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): [Getting into their car.] Let's get lunch. You hungry?
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: Why would you think I'm gay?
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): What are you in the mood for? Tacos? Burgers? Quiche?
[End of scene. 52 minutes, 21 seconds after start of film. Length of this section: 32 seconds.]
54 minutes, 41 seconds after start of film:
[Scene: Inside a restaurant.]
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): Big drinker?
BARTENDER: Let's just say non-stop.
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: Non-stop, huh?
BARTENDER: The guy could drink for a month in one night.
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: Oh yeah? What about him? [Shows the bartender a photograph of Ben Dunmore.]
BARTENDER: Him? Black coffee. Occasional Diet Pepsi. They were brothers, right?
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): What makes you ask that?
BARTENDER: Well, they look alike. 'Sides, he was always in here nagging Jake about his drinking. I mean, he was a nice guy. He was sincere. It's a shame about what happened.
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: Oh yeah? Well, maybe if you cut him off from time to time none of this would have happened. Alcohol pollutes the soul of society and destroys lives. Don't you ever think about that at all? Doesn't that just eat at your conscience?
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): Thanks for your help. [Walks away from bartender, with Rollins following her. Speaking only to him:] What the hell is wrong with you?
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: I'm just tired of people shirking responsibility for their actions.
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): News flash. The world is sh--. People are bad. We're all gonna die. Deal with it.
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: How do you wake up every day being so dog-gone cynical?
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): Because Rollins, somebody killed Bambi's mom.
[Detective Pompano continues walking out of the room. Rollins has a puzzled look on his face.]
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): [Loudly, as if addressing the restaurant/bar staff.] Be back for happy hour.
[End of scene. 55 minutes, 42 seconds after start of film. Length of this section: 1 minute, 1 second.]
1 hour, 1 minute, 11 seconds after start of film:
[Scene: Inside police station.
Detective Pompano is idly pushing a push stamp up and down.
Detective Rollins is looking through files.]
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: [Clears his throat.] You, uh... You got them, uh, lab reports on Ben Dunmore?
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): We got those a week ago.
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: Yeah, yeah, I know, uh... Can't seem to find them.
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): Lesson number one on being a detective. Follow me, Barney Fife.
[CUT TO: Interior of a cluttered locker in the police station. Shot seen from within the locker. The locker door opens up, revealing Detective Pompano, who is opening the locker door, and Detective Rollins, who is standing behind her. Detective Pompano eyes the locker with disgust.]
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): This is your locker. It is not a medicine cabinet slash closet slash refrigerator. It is for important papers. Anything you need stays in here. Once it enters the general population you are f---ed.
[Detective Pompano closes the door to Rollins' locker. She walks over to her own locker and opens it up, revealing a well-organized stash of files and evidence.]
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): You'll lose it. It'll get pissed on. It'll find a way to walk outta here. Your locker is special. Keep it clean. Don't let anybody near it. It's kind of like your dick.
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: You don't have to talk to me like I'm an idiot.
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): [With sincerity.] I'm sorry. [Picks up a file off the top of a stack of files in the locker and hands it to Rollins.] Dunmore.
[End of scene.]
[CUT TO: EXT. A patch of nicely planted flowers and shrubs in front of a sign that reads "Woodland Hills College." It is raining. Police and crime scene investigators are walking around with rain coats and umbrellas. A college-age woman lies dead among the plants in front of the sign.]
POLICE OFFICER: [Voiceover] Unit 5 to Northridge Campus. Unit 5 to Northridge Campus. Do you need any assistance?
ANOTHER POLICE OFFICER: [Voiceover] That's a negative... [unintelligible]
[A crime scene investigator walks over to the dead body, where Detective Rollins and Detective Pompano are standing over it, looking down at it. The detectives are huddled under a single black umbrella, held by Detective Rollins.]
CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATOR (Charles Gladney): The equipment guy found her about an hour ago. Student at the college here. We've alerted the parents.
[Close-up on the body. There is some kind of puncture wound on her neck, as if a hypodermic needle has been used to forcibly inject the woman with something deadly. Detective Pompano picks up the need; her hand is gloved.]
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): Least he used a clean needle.
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: I can't imagine how frightened she must have been.
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): I can. I was married to a dentist.
[End of section showing Detective Rollins. 1 hour, 2 minutes, 48 seconds after start of film. Length of this section: 1 minute, 37 seconds.]
1 hour, 5 minutes, 55 seconds after start of film:
[CUT TO: INT police station
Detective Rollins is looking at photographs through a magnifying lens. Detective Pompano is behind him. A couple other police detectives are in the room.]
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): Okay, look for the needle in the sh-- pile. These are crowd shots from all five murders. We wanna separate potential suspects from your average scumbag citizen.
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: Ma'am, you know, we're sworn to serve and protect. If you hate everybody so much, why are you doin' this job?
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): Because every once in a while I get to shoot somebody.
[The other police detectives chuckle.]
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): Look for anybody who pops up in more than one crime scene.
[Another police detective drops a large pile of folders on Detective Rollins' desk.]
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: Okay...
[End of scene. 1 hour, 6 minutes, 24 seconds after start of film. Length of this section: 29 seconds.]
1 hour, 11 minutes, 43 seconds after start of film:
[CUT TO: INT police station.
Along with Rollins and Pompano, three other police detectives are standing or walking, still looking at photographs of crowds at crime scenes.
Detective Rollins is sitting at a table, rubbing his eyes and forehead, feeling miserable. His necktie is tied around his head. Some open cans of soda are on the table.]
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: I can't take this any more.
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): Hey. Who snuck the bourbon in Mr. Rogers' sodey pop?
ANOTHER DETECTIVE: I did.
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: It equalizes the pressure by constricting blood flow.
[Apparently Rollins is answer his partner's question about why he has a necktie tied around his head.]
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): Oh? I thought you just couldn't find a lampshade.
ANOTHER DETECTIVE: I think I got something. This one from Northridge. This one from number two at the Rosewood.
[CUT TO shot of two photographs placed one above the other, seen under a magnifying lens. Camera pulls back to reveal that the lens is part of a simple projector machine. Camera pulls back and pans up, showing a whiteboard, onto which the projector is projecting the two photographs.]
ANOTHER DETECTIVE: [Pointing] This guy and this guy.
[The image on the whiteboard is blurry. One of the detectives is adjusting it.]
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: Focus!
DETECTIVE POMPANO AND 3 OTHER DETECTIVES: [In unison.] Shut up!
[Detective Pompano uses a dry erase marker to circle the face of a man of a man in each photograph on the projected images.]
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): All right. We got him.
ANOTHER DETECTIVE: Excellent!
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): And we got him.
ANOTHER DETECTIVE: Bingo!
[The other 3 detectives all start congratulating Detective Pompano on her discovery.]
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: No, no, no! It's not him.
ANOTHER DETECTIVE: What?
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: That guy's got an earring in his nose. The guy on the bottom doesn't. Whoa, whoa, whoa. Wait, wait, wait. Maybe he had it put in.
ANOTHER DETECTIVE: Yeah.
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: That's a later picture.
ANOTHER DETECTIVE: This one?
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: Uh huh.
ANOTHER DETECTIVE: Oh, man.
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): [Sighs, realizing that Detective Rollins is correct.] Well, I guess he's earned his cookies for the today. Back to the drawing board, gentlemen.
[End of scene. 1 hour, 12 minutes, 42 seconds after start of film. Length of this section: 59 seconds.]
1 hour, 17 minutes, 49 seconds after start of film:
[From her apartment building, Sandra Dunmore (Patricia Arquette) calls Detective Pompano, who answers the phone at the police station. The night before, Sandra killed her husband (Jake Dunmore) and Jake's lover (Peggy) by using a car to run they motorcycle they were riding off a cliff. Detective Rollins has no lines during this phone conversation, but he is seen behind Detective Pampano as she talks to Sandra.]
ANOTHER DETECTIVE: Hey, Rita! You got a call on three.
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): Yeah?
SANDRA (Patricia Arquette): [Crying] Hello? Detective? This is Sandra Dunmore. I think something's happened to my husband.
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): Whoa. Easy now. Wh-- What makes you say that?
SANDRA (Patricia Arquette): Well, he didn't come last night, and he's been very despondent since his brother's death.
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): When was the last time you saw him?
SANDRA (Patricia Arquette): Yesterday morning. He said he was going to the office. But, I called him. They said he never showed up.
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): I wouldn't be too worried. Chances are he'll wake up in a pile of his own fluids.
SANDRA (Patricia Arquette): [Gasps in faked exasperation.] I do not appreciate your attitude, Detective.
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): Nobody does. [Pause] I-- I'll put an APB out on your husband's vehicle, and when I know anything I'll give you a call.
SANDRA (Patricia Arquette): Thank you. Thank you. [Hangs up the phone]
[CUT TO: EXT. Road next to the cliff where Jake Dunmore and Petty were forced off the road by Sanra. A tow truck is using a crane to pull the burned motorcycle up the cliff. Detective Rollins stands part of the way down the embankment, watching. Detective Pompano is on the side of the road. A body wrapped entirely up in a black plastic body bag lies on the side of the road. Two workers in orange coats are pulling a second body in a body bag up to the top of the hill.]
HIGHWAY PATROLMAN: Two bodies. One bike. Two bodies.
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: Did you I.D. 'em?
HIGHWAY PATROLMAN: Well, uh...
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): One's regular. One's extra crispy.
[Detective Rollins displays mild disgust at his partner's joke.]
HIGHWAY PATROLMAN: We just know the bike's registered to Gerald Dunmore.
[Detective Rollins unzips one of the body bags part way. He sees a burned hand, wearing two rings.]
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: This one's wearing jewelry. Probably a woman.
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): Thank you, Sherlock.
[Rollins quickly zips closed the body bag, his face indicating he is slightly perturbed at having just been insulted yet again by his partner.]
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): [To the highway patrolman.] What do you make of this?
HIGHWAY PATROLMAN: Looks like they tried to take that turn there a little too fast. This is a dangerous road, here, especially at night. Me and ol' Willy there, we-- we come down here two or three times a year, picking, uh, somebody up out of that burned meadow. [Chuckles]
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): Let's get out of here. The fresh air's making me sick.
HIGHWAY PATROLMAN: [Laughs. Then, addressing somebody off screen.] Hey, Willy, you got my thermos?
[CUT TO: INT. Morgue. A medical examiner is holding up dental X-rays. Standing next to him are Detectives Rollins and Pompano.]
MEDICAL EXAMINER: It's a positive I.D., based on this dental chart.
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): Jake Dunmore.
MEDICAL EXAMINER: And Peggy Blane.
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: They were having an affair?
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): No, they were celebrating Earth Day, you f---ing mook.
[Rollins shows he is a little annoyed at being insulted again.]
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: Well, I guess we should go over and tell Mrs. Dunmore.
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): The widow Dunmore can wait. There's something I want to check out first.
[CUT TO: INT. Peggy Blane's apartment. Detectives Rollins and Pompano are looking through the apartment carefully.]
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: Do you realize anything we find here would be inadmissable in a court of law?
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): Are you confusing me with somebody who gives a sh--?
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: Oh, no. Wouldn't do that.
[Detective Pompano opens a music box. On top of the items in it is a photograph showing three people. She looks at the photograph briefly.]
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): Gotcha!
[Close-up shot of the photograph in Detective Rollins' hand.]
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): Not since the Kennedy boys have two brothers had so much fun with one bride.
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: [Puzzled.] What exactly are we lookin' for?
[Detective Pompano continues searching the apartment, looking in drawers. She finds a fancy envelop with a marriage certificate in it.]
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: Pompano, I said what are we looking for?
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): I hope you don't get car sick.
[Detective Pompano walks out of the apartment, tapping Detective Rollins on the head with the marriage certificate when she passes by him.]
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): Let's go a--wad!
[CUT TO: Las Vegas. Detectives Rollins and Pompano are driving down "The Strip," a main thorough-fare of the city. It is night time, and the neon signs of Las Vegas are seen reflected in their car window. Detective Pompano is driving. Detective Rollins is craning his neck, looking out the open window.]
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: I never had the occasion to come here before.
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): I'll give you some advice. Bet it all.
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: I don't gamble, Detective. Though I'd love to see Siegfried and Roy.
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): Oh, I'm sure you would.
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: Whaddya mean by that?
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): Nothin'!
[Their vehicle pulls into the parking lot of a cheesy Las Vegas wedding chapel. The outside of the chapel is adorned with what appear to be Christmas lights is set up in front. The flashing sign out front reads "Botticelli WEDDING CHAPEL."]
[CUT TO: INT. of Wedding Chapel. The chapel has a chintzy Italian or Venice theme to its decor. A man a cheap suit, the wedding chapel officiator, is holding the marriage certificate that Detective Pompano found in Peggy's apartment.]
WEDDING CHAPEL OFFICIATOR: Margaret "Peggy" Blane. Benjamin E. Dunmore. Oh, yeah. That's one of ours, all right. Witnessed by Homer, there.
[The wedding chapel officiator nods his head in the direction of a very short, older man who is smiling broadly and playing the accordian. It is Homer (played by actor Leslie Jordan).]
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): Put the accordian away, Homer. We're not getting married.
[With a dejected look on his face, Homer stops playing the accordian.]
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): [Pointing to the marriage certificate.] So you remember what these two look like?
CHAPEL OFFICIATOR: Oh, Lordy! Do you realize how many couples we wed in holy matrimony? They tend to blur.
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): Well, here's a picture of the two you married. They look familiar?
[Detective Pompano hands him the photograph she found in Peggy Blane's apartment, showing the brothers Jake and Benjamin Dunmore standing with Peggy in between them. The wedding chapel officiator looks at the photograph.]
CHAPEL OFFICIATOR: Oh, they do. They surely do. But again, you two look familiar to me.
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): Huh. That's a lot of help.
CHAPEL OFFICIATOR: Why don't we look in the album?
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: What album?
CHAPEL OFFICIATOR: The photo album. An archive of every loving soul we've united. The date you're looking for should be right about... here.
[The wedding chapel officiator slowly flips the pages of a large photo album. Homer sits at the table holding the photo of Peggy and the Dunmore brothers in one hand, and intently looking back and forth between that photo and the photogaphs in the album. Detectives Pompano and Rollins stand behind Homer, also looking at the photo album.]
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): Hold it.
[CLOSE UP on one photo, taken at this wedding chapel. In the photo, Peggy is wearing an inexpensive wedding gown and white hat, but she is standing next to JAKE Dunmore - not Ben Dunmore, which is the man whose name is on the marriage certificate. Next to the photograph is a handwritten label:
Los Angeles, CA]
HOMER (Leslie Jordan): I do remember this guy. He pitched a fit when I took this picture. He took it with him. But what he didn't know was, the camera makes two prints.
[Detective Rollins leans closer, staring at the photograph with a look of shock on his face. Detective Pompano smiles, and nods at her partner.]
[CUT TO: INT. Sandra Dunmore's apartment. Sandra is relaxing under a sun lamp wearing a black bikini (or black bra and matching underwear) and eye coverings. A small television is turned on next to her. The scene starts out with the camera focused on the television screen. A political ad is being shown, with a gentleman in a suit shaking hands with constituents in one scene, and giving the "thumbs up" sign to a crowd in another scene.]
VOICEOVER: Roy Lassiter. Proven character. Conservative values. Thirty years ago he...
[A knock at the door.]
SANDRA (Patricia Arquette): Who is it?
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): Detective Pompano.
SANDRA (Patricia Arquette): Who is it?
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): Rita Pompano.
[Sandra removes the eye coverings from her eyes. She stands up and covers herself with a robe.
CUT TO a few moments later. Sandra is sitting on the couch next to Detective Rollins. She is struggling not to cry while she talks (or at least pretending to cry). She rubs her wedding ring nervously. Detective Rollins pours her a glass of water from a bottle. Detective Pompano is standing behind them in the kitchen.]
SANDRA (Patricia Arquette): You're tellling me that Jake and Peggy had an affair?
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): That's right.
[Rollins shows Sandra the photograph.]
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: Ma'am, this photo was taken at the gambling on Love Chapel in Las Vegas. Your husband and Miss Blane were married there under the names Ben and Peggy Dunmore.
SANDRA (Patricia Arquette): My Jake. [Sob] That doesn't make any sense.
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): The night that Ben was killed... Were you here?
SANDRA (Patricia Arquette): Yes. I already told you that.
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): At the time of his death?
SANDRA (Patricia Arquette): Yes. I was in the kitchen, making a casserol.
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): I thought you said you were making ceviche?
SANDRA (Patricia Arquette): Right! Ceviche.
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): You're sure now? Ceviche?
SANDRA (Patricia Arquette): [Crying.] I can't believe it. Jake had an affair.
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: Mrs. Dunmore. We think that your husband pushed his brother off that balcony. We think that he conspired with Peggy Blane to kill his brother for the insurance money. Jake impersonated his brother, and by marrying Peggy, he took the suspicion off himself. There was no motive for the crime because Peggy got the money.
SANDRA (Patricia Arquette): He was already married to me! [Sobs]
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: Ma'am, I-- I know this is tough, but... we feel that Jake and Peggy were planning on killing you too. Luckily for you, they didn't live to carry out that plan.
SANDRA (Patricia Arquette): [Crying.] Impossible. My husband... He doesn't cheat on me!
[Sobbing in "anguish," Sandra puts her head down. She puts her hand on Detective Rollins knee and slides it up his thigh many inches. He looks to his partner, Detective Pompano, unsure what he should do. He is uncomfortable, but does not want to move away from Sandra, who is clearly in need of comfort. He puts his hand on her shoulder in a comforting gesture.]
SANDRA (Patricia Arquette): [Sobbing] He loves me!
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: Yes, ma'am. It's gonna be okay. You just have yourself a good ol' cry.
[CUT TO: INT. Hallway outside Sandra's apartment. Detectives Rollins and Pompano are leaving Sandra's apartment, getting on an elevator, and discussing the case while the elevator descends.]
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: You think she'll ever come to accept the truth?
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): Well, she's got eight million bucks worth of time to swallow it.
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: Why would anybody ever cheat and conspire on a woman like that?
[CUT TO: EXT. Just outside Sandra's apartment building. Detectives Rollins and Pompano are approaching their vehicle.]
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): Hey, Rollins, why don't you head back to the station. I feel like taking a walk.
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: You sure?
[Detective Pompano opens the driver's side door of the car, and picks up her purse from inside the vehicle.]
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): Yeah. Yeah, I need to clear my head.
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: Well, everyone needs to find their own homeostasis.
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): Rollins, what's your first name?
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: [Sheepishly.] Nathaniel.
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): Well, good work up there, Nate.
[Detective Pompano hands Detective Rollins the keys to their car. She pats him on the shoulder. Then she pushes his head down to speed him along into sitting down in the driver's seat of the vehicle.]
DETECTIVE POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): Watch your head.
[Detective Rollins starts the engine, and then looks up at Detective Pompano and smiles. She has a serious look on her face as he drives away.]
[End of scene. 1 hour, 26 minutes, 18 seconds after start of film. Length of this section: 8 minutes, 29 seconds.]
[Immediately after this scene, we see Detective Pompano back at Sandra Dunmore's apartment. After Sandra lets Detective Pompano into her apartment, the detective immediatly tells Sandra to quit her fake crying, saying "You're wasting good mascara." Detective Pompano confronts Sandra with the fact that she knows about Sandra's complicity in the murders she is investigating, and she shows her the overwhelming evidence she has collected which incriminates Sandra -- evidence which she has not yet shared with anybody else in the police department. When Sandra moves toward the phone, saying that she is going to call Detective Pompano's superiors, the detective holds a gun on her, saying she's calling Sandra's bluff. Detective Pompano ties Sandra up for a long time, and forces her to go along with a plan to split the $8 million in ill-gotten life insurance money with her, with Sandra and Detective Pompano each receiving half.
One year later, Sandra and Detective Pompano are seen in a bank together, collecting the cash from the insurance payout, which has finally been released after the conclusions of investigations and bureaucracy. Sandra is a little sad that she must give up half of the $8 million that she earned through her murders and scheming, but she is resigned to this fact, and she knows that half of $8 million is better than no money plus prison.
After collecting their money, Sandra and Detective Pompano are next seen talking like old friends after doing some shopping on ritzy Rodeo Drive. In the film's final scene, Sandra and Detective Pompano are walking out of an expensive boutique when we see Detective Rollins for the last time.]
1 hour, 34 minutes, 47 seconds after start of film:
[Detective Rita Pompano and Sandra, carrying shopping bags, walk out of a ritzy shop on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. They have clearly been shopping, and both of them are wearing new outfits and fancy new haircuts. It is not entirely clear whether it is still the same day on which they collected their money, or if it is a later that same day. But given the degree to which they have been transformed into wealthier, more pampered-looking women, it seems likely that this is a later day. Either way, Rita Pompano and Sandra have clearly been talking and shopping together for at least a few hours.
As the door opens, Detective Rollins' reflection can briefly be seen in the glass window at the top of the door. Detective Rollins is talking into a walkie talkie.]
SANDRA (Patricia Arquette): Do you think people can change?
RITA POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): Oh, I don't know. I think they only get worse.
SANDRA (Patricia Arquette): I was able to change. Because inside I knew I was much more than what I was living mentally and emotionally and spiritually. And I was able to find my passion.
RITA POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): You sure did.
SANDRA (Patricia Arquette): That's what most people haven't done. Most people don't know what they really want, and they're not able to tap into their drive. And then they don't discover what they're really capable of.
RITA POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): Well, I know what you're capable of.
[Rita Pompano playfully swings a shopping bag at Sandra, but actually swings it over her head. Sandra ducks slightly.]
SANDRA (Patricia Arquette): [Giggles like a school girl.] I feel I have so much to give.
[Detective Rollins sees Sandra and Rita Pompano as they walk from the shop to the luxury convertible that one of the Rita now apparently owns. As they women put their shopping bags in the back of the convertible, Detective Rollins walks up to them from behind. He has a deadly serious look on his face, and takes the women completely by surprise when he speaks.]
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: Hey.
[Rita Pompano and Sandra turn around. The instantly recognize Detective Rollins' voice and face. They are momentarily speechless, but their faces show they are stunned. They struggle to maintain their composure while staring at Rollins, perhaps fearful that he is about to deliver the news that they have been under surveillance all this time.]
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: You're under arrest.
[This is clearly Detective Rollins, but with the serious look on his face and his stolid, resolute stance, he seems like a completely different person. Then his face breaks out in a wide grin, reminsicent of the goofy way he always looked earlier in the movie, a year previous.]
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: I-- I'm sorry. I c-- I couldn't resist. I saw you two walking and I just thought that--
[Rollins starts laughing.]
RITA POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): Oh!
[Rita Pompano and Sandra realize that Rollins is joking with them. A look of relief engulfs their faces. They force themselves to chuckle and laugh along with Rollins.]
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: I-- Wow! You-- You both look so... so... so... uh... So, uh, what are you doin' here?
SANDRA (Patricia Arquette): Well... What are YOU doing here?
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: Well, I sort of got my hands full with, uh, Vice-President Lassiter being in town.
[Detective Rollins looks across the street to where the Vice-President is. Apparently Rollins is working on the security detail for the Vice-President's visit.]
[CUT BRIEFLY TO: EXT. The building across the street. A politician and his entourage exit a building. The brassy music of a patriotic march can be heard. Supporters hold up red, white and blue signs around the entrance to the building. A number of Secret Service agents scurry around. A beautiful woman presents a large bouquet of flowers. A man can be heard shouting "You've got my vote.]
SANDRA (Patricia Arquette): Vice-President Lassiter? Wow. You've got your hands full.
RITA POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): Yeah, you do have that. Terrific seeing you, Rollins. You look absolutely the same.
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: I didn't think it would, but retirement sure suits you.
[Rita Pompano taps Rollins on the shoulder in a friendly way. She rushes around the car to get in the driver's side. Rollins follows her. Rollins opens the car door for Rita. She gets in.]
RITA POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): Yeah. Thank you so much. Really.
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: I-- I just want to tell you, that I have the cleanest locker in the precinct.
RITA POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): I'm sure you do.
SANDRA (Patricia Arquette): [Claps her hands.] It's next to godliness.
RITA POMPANO (Ellen DeGeneres): Oh, okay. That's terrific.
SANDRA (Patricia Arquette): Good-bye.
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: Bye. Don't be a stranger.
[Rita drives off in the convertible, with Sandra next to her shouting "Whoo!" and waving back at Rollins.]
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: Wow.
[Detective Rollins watches them drive away for a moment more. He then turns and looks directly into the camera.]
DETECTIVE ROLLINS: Sure is nice to see good things happen to good people. I mean it. [He grins.]
[CUT TO: BLACK. "The End."]
[End of scene. 1 hour, 36 minutes, 18 seconds after start of film. Length of this section: 1 minute, 31 seconds.]
[NOTE: The dialogue above is an exact transcript from the film as it actually was released. Where there are discrepancies between our transcript and the optional English subtitles shown onscreen on the DVD, it is the transcript that is correct. Mistakes in the DVD subtitles are usually a result of presenting subtitles based on the shooting script rather than transcribing the audio track.]
The total length of time for the scenes featuring Detective Rollins, a Latter-day Saint from Salt Lake City, Utah, is 19 minutes, 47 seconds, or 19.6% of the film's total running time (101 minutes).
GOODBYE LOVER is the kind of nihilistic entertainment that gives you a few giggles while watching it, then leaves you feeling dirty for not loathing the whole enterprise. Aptly labeled a "film-gris" in the production notes, it's a convoluted comic thriller centered around Sandra Dunmore (Patricia Arquette), a real estate agent with dreams of the good life and a car full of motivational tapes reminding her that she can have it. Standing in her way, unfortunately, is her alcoholic husband Jake (Dermot Mulroney), which leads her to an affair with Jake's more successful brother Ben (Don Johnson), while Ben also romances a co-worker named Peggy (Mary-Louise Parker) on the side. When the tangled interactions of this quartet leads to murder, Det. Rita Pompano (Ellen DeGeneres) comes on the scene to investigate and discovers that very little is what it appears to be.
The reason nothing is what it appears to be is that GOODBYE LOVER is a film about twisty-turny plotting...and, essentially, that's _all_ it's about. Allegiances shift, backs are stabbed (figuratively and literally), and greed is the order of the day. It's the kind of stuff that usually makes a film interesting to watch thanks to its unpredictability, but GOODBYE LOVER becomes strangely predictable in its unpredictability. It's so instantly obvious that it's a film about hidden agendas that it becomes a matter of waiting until the next character's obviously hidden agenda is revealed. There's not much fun in the zigs and zags the story takes because every 20 minutes or so you know it's going to be time for the next zig or zag, and the next permutation in a series of unholy alliances.
There's still something over-the-top goofy about GOODBYE LOVER which makes it possible to slip into its sociopathic world. Patricia Arquette is an ideal cast as Sandra, a driven Barbie doll who sees herself as the cutthroat reincarnation of Julie Andrews' Maria from THE SOUND OF MUSIC. The performance is only so-so, but the character is such a wild blend of madonna and whore that she's enjoyable to watch. Ellen DeGeneres gets most of the prime punch lines as the embittered Det. Pompano, most directed at her morally upright Mormon partner (Ray McKinnon). The real key to appreciating GOODBYE LOVER, however, is slipping into the slickness of a production which takes the image of Los Angeles as duplicity capital of the world and blows it up to billboard size. From the encounters with spin-doctoring publicists to the ubiquitous use of mirrors, GOODBYE LOVER has a blast with tarted-up sleaze and the way motivated misanthropes can create an image that allows them get away with murder (literally and figuratively).
In fact, GOODBYE LOVER is so gleeful in its complete absence of humanity that it may take you a while after it's over before you feel the need to shower its decadence right off of yourself. It's too self-aware of its lack of real characters to inspire too much head-wagging, but it's still one of those films that finds it cool to set up the only person with an ounce of optimism as an object of ridicule. GOODBYE LOVER is full of ugly-on-the-inside types who feel justified doing whatever it takes to grab the golden ring because, after all, everyone else is doing it. There's just enough residual cheesiness to keep the film in the realm of the surreal, with just enough bleak attitude to blunt its surreal appeal. It's not a thriller so much as it is an ultra-black comedy, where part of the joke is on you for leaving your moral outrage at the door.