Jan. 9, 1999
Andrew Dettman, Daniel Truly
AT THE CENTRE Miss Parker gets a call from Jarod. "How well do you know your father" he wants to know. "Better than you know yours" she replies. "Yes, well I'm working on that one" Jarod says and wants to know if Mr. Parker has told his daughter about the "big developments in his life". Ending the conversation, he tells her to check her mail "Because we all have a lot to learn. Including me. Gotta go, don't wanna be late for my first day of school".
In her mail, Miss P. finds a letter from her father's attorney, concerning some changes in his will.
Broots comes in with a message that Jarod had been spotted somewhere.
AT THE UNIVERSITY OF HANOVER, CONNECTICUT, Jarod greets his students by producing a squealing noise on the blackboard with his fingernails. " THE CRIMINAL MIND " he writes on the blackboard, and then presents himself as professor Jarod Gardner. He is teaching "psychology of the criminal mind" to the members of a special program: The Vanguard Program - Challenging the genius mind (perfect place for Jarod...). He refers to his students as the "finest minds of the university". He has just asked his students to call him Jarod, when all of a sudden the door opens and two men in black suits enter the room. When Jarod sees them, he gets up and tries to escape through the back entrance, but two more men get in his way. As he turns around and tries to run away, one of the men shoots him in the back; then they pull him out of the room. The students are scared and scream, they find blood on the floor where Jarod had been lying. "Call 9-1-1" somebody says, when Jarod comes back in, very much alive and holding a bottle of fake blood. "You can cancel that call", he says, "I may be a little sticky, but, otherwise, I'm just fine". Jarod has created this little "incident" with the help of some drama students, in order to show his students how difficult it is for witnesses to describe what happened in a crime. He asks the students to describe then gunmen, but they can only give vague answers. Jarod explains that in a situation like this, even the most brilliant mind can miss a thing or two. "Speak for yourself" one of the students says and then goes on giving a detailed description of "the killer", from his height and weight, over his hair and clothes down to his shoes, saying that "nobody with even 10 bucks in their pockets would be seen wearing those shoes ". The student's name is Claire Dunning. Apparently, she's one of the top students of the class, very smart, but extremely arrogant as well. Jarod has a special project prepared: Together with his students, he wants to solve the mystery of the disappearance of his predecessor, professor Alden Clark. Rumor has it that he had cleaned out his bank account and left with his mistress, but Jarod is not convinced by that. Professor Clark had written a book about "The Perfect Murder". So what if, Jarod suggests, the professor had been the victim of what is described in his own book?
AT THE CENTRE Miss P. is angry because Broots' tip turned out to be a false alarm. When she sees that her father is talking to another man, she asks Broots if he knows him. Broots tells her that he's a doctor. This news upsets Miss Parker because she remembers that her father is changing his will.
IN CONNECTICUT Jarod visits Alden Clark's wife (or widow?), who had been pregnant when her husband disappeared and was now left behind with her baby son. He tells her that he has taken over Alden's classes and that he wants to help her find out what really happened to him. Mrs. Clark can't believe the stories about her husband running away, she's sure that he would never do anything like that. She knows that there's no way he would have missed his son's birth if he was still alive.
AT THE CENTRE : When Miss P. opens the door to her father's office, she sees how the doctor hands him a few bottles of pills.
AT THE POLICE STATION IN CONNECTICUT Jarod talks to the detective who had investigated Alden Clark's disappearing, in order to find out what is still being done to discover the truth. The detective says they have every reason to believe that the stories about him having an affair and running off are true. Apparently they found e-mails from the "other woman" that would indicate such plans. Jarod replies that he had a baby on the way and that it doesn't make sense. The detective says they found no body nor anything else that would indicate a crime. He explains that they have enough work handling their real cases, and after all it has been a year since Clark disappeared.
AT THE UNIVERSITY Jarod asks his students how they would commit the "perfect murder", but they can't come up with anything. When Jarod says that he thinks they can learn a great deal from this and asks them to just play along with him, Claire replies, a coy smile on her face "I'm willing to go along with any game you wanna play, Jarod". So the "games begin". Jarod asks what ways there are to kill someone. The students come up with about 20 ways. But what about the body? Burying it in the woods would be too risky. Making it look like a suicide would still raise questions and provoke an investigation. Claire finally states that the perfect murder is not a murder, but an accident. The other students agree, saying that it should be something that fits into the victim's daily routine. In Clarks' case: Maybe up on the road to his cabin, where he used to go on Fridays to have a calm place to write. And he did disappear on a Friday...
IN HIS LAIR Jarod watches a DSA of himself. It seems young Jarod has been feeling bored. Sydney says that they need to keep his mind from becoming idle, instead of making him solve the same problems over and over again. Young Jarod sees some people working on a new security system...
Back in the present Jarod gets a phone call from Mrs. Clark, who tells him that Alden didn't go to the cabin the day he vanished, because it was the day that she found she was pregnant, and they were going to celebrate. That's why the police never even searched the road up there.
ON THAT SAME ROAD at night, Jarod is looking for signs of an accident. He finally finds Alden Clark's car which had gotten off the road and down a hill. Inside it there is a skeleton along with a bunch of money and his book "The Perfect Murder". Jarod gives an anonymous call to the police and shows up at the scene of the accident again later, in order to talk to the detective. The police had found two plane tickets, one for Alden and one for a woman named "Karen Sweet", along with pictures of a half-naked woman. There were also 40'000 $ in cash and a six-pack of empty beer bottles. To the police, the story is totally clear: Clark was going to meet his mistress in the cabin in order to take off with her, had a few beers and lost control over his vehicle.
AT MRS CLARK'S HOUSE Jarod tells Alden's wife not to give up on her husband yet and that it may not be what it looks like. She doesn't know what to believe anymore, but Jarod tells her to believe what's in her heart.
AT THE CENTRE Miss P. asks her father if he is dying, telling him that she knows about the doctor and his will. Mr. Parker laughs and shows what kind of pills the doctor gave him: Vitamin E, Ginseng and...Viagra. Miss Parker is very surprised (if not shocked...) and wants to know who "she" is. Mr. Parker replies that they will meet each other soon enough. He also lets his daughter know that he's engaged, which upsets Miss P. a lot. Mr. Parker tells her that after all these years, he's finally found someone who makes him happy.
AT THE UNIVERSITY Jarod is talking to Claire and her two friends Grady and Matthew. Matthew says he's kind of sad about Professor Clark's death, but Claire seems very excited about it. "This will make 'The Game' so much more fun", she says, "Now it's real. Much more...dangerous". Then, coming closer to Jarod and straightening his jacket, she goes on, smiling "You know, Jarod, if you ever wanna...get together, pick each other's brains...little...one on one..." - "Careful Claire", Jarod replies, "don't cross a line you can't come back from". Disappointed by the rejection, Claire says "Oh, well, I guess my friends will have to do", walks over to Matthew, sits down on his lap and kisses her slightly confused friend passionately.
Jarod's mind flashes back. Young Jarod is sitting at a table by himself, obviously bored. He gets up and goes over to the security box, where the people had been working on earlier. He fumbles around with the wires and thus makes the alarm go off and the lights go out. Sydney, in another room, gets up confused, but realizes quickly that this was Jarod's work. Young Jarod, in the meantime, sits in a chair, smiling satisfied at the confusion he's created.
IN HIS LAIR Jarod checks out the university's database. First he gets Matthew's file and grade history and realizes that his grades had become worse after Clark's death, as if something had been bothering him. Claire's grades, on the other hand, got better.
BACK WITH HIS CLASS Jarod tells his students that he may have been wrong and this wasn't the perfect murder, because the killer(s) had made a serious mistake: Alden Clark's body was found on the road to his cabin, although he wasn't headed there that night. He had changed his routine, but the killer didn't know that.
Jarod asks his students how they would fake a car crash. Ramming the car off the road would leave paint evidence and cutting the brakes would be much too obvious. Claire adds that drugs could be found in an autopsy. "Not necessarily" Jarod contradicts and asks Matthew to tell the class about "Di-methyl-phenol", since Matt is the ace of his biochemistry class. Matthew explains that it's a drug that works as a heavy sedative, which would knock the victim out, but could not be distinguished from alcohol when found in an autopsy.
Jarod announces that tomorrow they' re going to do a little role-playing exercise to find out about the killer's motivation. Jarod assigns one student to be the "cop", one to be "the other woman" and Claire, Matthew and Grady to the role of the "killer" and his "accomplices". Jarod reminds the class; however, that this is still, "just a game". "Let the games begin", Claire replies.
LATER, IN A DIFFERENT ROOM OF THE UNIVERSITY Jarod watches Claire doing an experiment involving a rat, and his mind flashes back once again.
"Did you think you'd get away with it?", Sydney asks young Jarod. Jarod says that he just gets so bored sometimes. Sydney replies that a sharp mind left idle can become a very sharp weapon.
Back in the present, Claire asks why Jarod doesn't come in. Jarod watches her experiment: It's a rat in a labyrinth consisting only of dead ends, with no reward and no way out. "There's no way the rat can win", Jarod says "seems pointless". "Maybe that's the point" Claire replies, explaining that the rat is just not smart enough to realize that. "He with the biggest brain wins, is that it?" Jarod wants to know. "Or she ", Claire says, "Certainly not them ", looking at the rat. They're just too dumb, that's why they'll keep going round and round. "Very...cruel, Miss Dunning", Jarod says. Claire tells him that sometimes even the dumber animals do something unpredictable, that's when it gets fun. "Fun, till you get bitten", Jarod says. Claire answers she hasn't been bitten yet. " Yet being the operative word", Jarod replies. "Everyone's gotta go sometime", Claire says, "The question is: Who will go first?". Getting up and looking down at Claire, Jarod replies "Which brings us back to: The biggest brain rules". "The superior brain", Claire explains, "always has a way out. A little tiny door marked: EXIT". "Well maybe it's time to run for it", Jarod suggests. As he leaves, Claire calls him and takes a Polaroid picture of him as he turns around. "I keep it in my glove box" she says smiling, "just like professor Clark".
AT THE CENTRE Miss Parker talks to Sydney about her father. She can't believe that he's just going to replace her mother. Sydney explains that it's only natural that Mr. Parker doesn't want to spend the rest of his life alone and that he feels the need to move on. "It just gets more complicated when children are involved" he says. "I'm not a child" Miss P. replies. "Then you know what you must do", Sydney says.
AT THE UNIVERSITY Jarod starts the role-playing game he has arranged. He begins by asking "the police" what they think about the killer's motivation. The student answers that statistically, money and jealousy are at the top of the list. But it could not have been a robbery because the 40'000 $ were left in the car. So, what about jealousy? Maybe another teacher or Clark's wife if she knew about the affair. Jarod suggests asking the "killers", Claire, Matthew and Grady, what they think. When he asks Matthew, he answers that maybe he didn't like the victim. But Jarod won't let that count as a reason to kill someone. He goes on asking Grady, but he replies he doesn't know. Claire intervenes, saying that there is a million reasons to kill someone: Revenge, revolt, release, superstition, paranoia, bad childhood, bad hair day...But Jarod adds one more: Arrogance. He says the killers think they're smarter than everybody else, that this is all a game and that's the reason why they have accomplices: There's no fun about committing "the perfect murder" without having anybody to brag about with. But professor Clark said in his book that the perfect murder is committed by one person alone, because accomplices can be unpredictable. Jarod goes over to his "killers" and looks at Matthew, saying "What if one of them went to the police and cut a deal?". Claire then reminds Jarod that there has not yet been found any evidence that professor Clark's death was anything but an accident. But Jarod contradicts her, explaining that he talked to the detective, who thinks that the Polaroid's and the other clues are fake, that there was in fact no "other woman" (which is of course a bluff, we know that the police is sure Clark's death was an accident). "As of today", Jarod goes on, "professor Clark's death was reclassified...as a homicide". He takes his lie even further by adding that detective Rusk thinks the killer may even be one of the students.
After class, Jarod watches Claire, Grady and Matthew having an intense argument about something. When Matthew leaves, Claire shows Grady a notebook, puts it into an envelope and leaves as well.
AT THE POLICE DEPARTMENT Jarod waits for the messenger, who is delivering that same envelope to detective Rusk. He stops him and takes the envelope instead.
IN HIS LAIR Jarod opens the envelope. Inside he finds the notebook entitled "The Perfect Murder" and a list of things to do:
1. Track professor Clark's daily schedule
2. Plant e-mails from "other woman"
3. Take Polaroid's of hooker to plant in glove box
4. Hack into Clark's bank account
5. Get Di-Methyl-Phenol from the chem lab
6. Buy airline tickets
7. Fake flat tire
8. Drug professor
.... All that in Matthew's handwriting. "Claire wouldn't", Matt stumbles when Jarod confronts him about the list "she wouldn't do this to me". Showing Matt a picture of Clark's wife and baby, Jarod reminds him that they will never get their father and husband back. Matt explains that it was all "just a game". They were sitting around one night talking and getting drunk. They started tossing around ideas and how to pull it off. One day, professor Clark just didn't show up for class and Claire said "What good is it to build the perfect toy, if you're not gonna play with it?". She and Grady had actually killed him. But Matt didn't do anything about it, he was scared. Jarod tells him that now it's time to do the right thing.
LATER Claire and Grady are talking about Matt and that he's probably in jail by now, when Jarod comes in. A second later, Richard, another student, comes running and says that Matthew had killed himself.
IN HIS LAIR Jarod has a bunch of chemical equipment and is mixing up Di-Methyl-Phenol. He writes a "suicide note", copying Claire's handwriting, which says that she and Grady killed professor Clark. Matt comes in and asks Jarod if they bought his suicide. "Hook, line and sinker" Jarod replies. When Matt asks what Jarod is up to, he simply says he's going to "murder" Claire and Grady.
IN A CAR we see Claire and Grady. Claire seems very happy about the way things turned out. "It couldn't have worked out better if we planned it this way...oh, wait, we did plan it this way" she says, laughing. Grady is still shocked about Matt's "suicide", but Claire says that "he wasn't up to our level". When Jarod gets into the car, Grady tells him that they are mourning their friend. "I know", Jarod replies, "that's why I brought his favorite beer" and offers them some. "To the biggest brain" Jarod says. "To rats in a maze" Claire replies. When Jarod mentions that Matthew was Claire's backup plan, her "little door marked: EXIT", Claire replies self-secure "May he rest in peace". But very quickly, Grady and Claire are getting pretty dizzy from the Di-Methyl-Phenol in the beer. As they pass out, Jarod says "I have a little backup plan, too".
ELSEWHERE : "Claire" we hear Jarod say "no sleeping in class. Claire. Wake-up!" When she wakes up, Claire is standing on a chair with handcuffs and a rope around her neck, holding a gun. Jarod, wearing gloves, takes the gun and advises her to be careful because the chair is a little wobbly. "That's not exactly what I had in mind when I said we should be alone together" Claire says. "We're not alone" Jarod replies as he switches on the lights "are we, Grady?". Grady is tied to a chair. "Is this supposed to be a joke?" Claire wants to know. "Oh come on Claire" Jarod replies, "I know you're full of yourself. But did you really think that you were the only person in the world who could pull off the perfect murder?". Jarod tells Claire and Grady that he was lucky he could learn so much from them and all their mistakes, one of them being Matthew. As he loads the gun, Jarod lets them know that Matthew is not really dead, and that his fake suicide was all part of the plan. he pretends to be shooting at Grady, who gets really scared now and says he'll talk. Claire tells him to shut up and says that no jury could ever convict them. "If...you were going to court", Jarod replies, "but you're not". Then he explains them his little plan: Grady couldn't take the pressure after the "suicide" of his friend and wanted to go to the police. That's why Claire shot him, before hanging herself. All that would be confirmed by Claire's "suicide note". "Go to hell" Claire says. "You first", Jarod replies, and then, on second thought "actually...Grady first. Murder before suicide". he points his gun at Grady who says he'll say anything Jarod wants. When Claire tells Grady that the bullet is just a blank, Jarod shoots her chair to prove it's real. When Jarod puts in a second bullet, Grady confesses the murder. Partly it was the thrill, but mostly Claire was mad because Clark wouldn't sleep with her. "Just please don't kill me" Grady adds. "As far as I'm concerned", Jarod replies "You're dead already". Then he "shoots" him, before going over to the screaming Claire and kicking her chair away to "hang" her. But in fact, the second bullet was of course a blank and the rope around Claire's neck was also attached to her belt, and therefore keeping her from being strangled. Of course Jarod has recorded the whole incident on camera, especially Grady's confession.
As he walks out, leaving Grady lie on the floor, still tied to the chair, and Claire in her hanging position, Jarod tells Claire that she's in fact not a genius, but "as common as they come". After all, she had mainly killed Clark because he had insulted her huge ego when turning her down.
AT THE CENTRE Miss P. enters her father's office. Hearing a female voice laughing in the bathroom, she opens the door, only to find her father sitting in the Jacuzzi with...Brigitte! The same woman who had tried to kill him!
ON THE PHONE WITH JAROD.
Jarod: "So how well do you think you know your father now Miss Parker?"
Miss Parker, sarcastically: "Coming to the wedding?"
Jarod, smiling: "I'm not big on brides in black leather...although there is a certain enjoyable irony in it..."
Miss P.: "Funny, I'm not seeing it"
Jarod: "Oh, give her a chance!"
Miss P.: "Chance to what?! Suck the rest of the life out of my father?"
Jarod, grinning: "Love can change people, Miss Parker". He hangs up the phone, slightly laughing.
IN MRS CLARK'S GARDEN Jarod says goodbye to Alden's wife and kid. When she asks him how he knew the truth all along, Jarod replies that it was in Clark's book, in the dedication:
"To Chris, whom I've been waiting to meet for so very long..."