Forgiveness

Screenplay by Eric Christopher Jackson
WGA,W: 1404249 | Complete: 112pgs
Logline: Sometimes, the only answer is to forgive. Synopsis:When four wealthy, Christian families face similar tragedies during the same week, they lean on each other for support.
The funerals are over; the phone calls cease; their loved ones are not coming back. And they cannot accept the answer God gives to their prayers.
(EXCERPT)

FADE IN:

EXT. SKYSCAPER ROOF – NEW YORK CITY – NIGHT

There are five men on the roof of a skyscraper looking over the city. Slender, long coats waving from the wind, barely seen against the night sky.

One man walks forward, stands on the ledge, anger etched on his face. The remaining four men walk up, though keeping their distance behind him. They wait for him to say something.

He glances back at them, then stretches out his arms pointing in two directions.

The four men quickly split up, each man to a corner of the roof. All five men step off. Neither of them hit the ground. They disappear in mid-air.

FADE OUT.

FADE IN:

EXT. INTERSTATE 95 – MIAMI – NIGHT

Traffic is backed up because of a very bad car accident. Ambulances, fire trucks, and policemen are on the scene as traffic stalls to see what happened.

INT. KINSLEY ESTATE – MIAMI BEACH – NIGHT

Policemen are at the front door speaking to DEBRA and CARL KINSLEY. Debra is in tears. Carl tries to console her with no success.

The police leave. Debra quickly sits on the couch and screams uncontrollably as Carl sits beside her, one hand on her back. They have found out that their son, Daniel Kinsley, is dead, killed by a drunk driver.

EXT. NEW YORK CITY – NIGHT

ONE DAY LATER. (O.S.)

RICHARD SHAW and BRAD DOCKETT are driving down the street in the middle of a conversation. Richard is behind the wheel of his Lexus CT200h.

RICHARD SHAW
That was so crazy!

BRAD DOCKETT
I told you that was gonna happen!

RICHARD SHAW
Brad, it doesn’t make any sense! Five seconds left on the clock and they couldn’t even get the ball in-bounds!

BRAD DOCKETT
Never had a chance to take a shot!

RICHARD SHAW
That’s the last game I’m going to this season. The last!

BRAD DOCKETT
Oh, I’ve heard this before.

RICHARD SHAW
I’m serious this time!

BRAD DOCKETT
Yeah, okay. Come on, Richard, we’ll… Watch out!

At that moment, another car plows into the driver’s side of the vehicle. Richard and Brad only see bright lights before they black out.

INT. THE RITZ CARLTON BALLROOM – WASHINGTON D.C.

TWO NIGHTS LATER. (O.S.)

COLONEL JAMES STEVENS of the United States military is at a special event with the members of Congress. The main event is over. Multiple conversations are taking place at one time. Colonel Stevens continues his conversation with CONGRESSMAN STEWARD MITCHELL.

MITCHELL
Colonel, you guys have done a fine job over there.

COLONEL STEVENS
Just trying to keep the peace, Congressman Mitchell.

MITCHELL
Well, we avoided real disaster. It could have been a lot worse.

COLONEL STEVENS
In situations like that, all you can do is pray and execute the operation to the best of your ability.

MITCHELL
I’m glad the troops are back home.

COLONEL STEVENS
So am I.

MITCHELL
Where’s your daughter, by the way?!

COLONEL STEVENS
Ah, she’s ready for war, but not political events.

They laugh.

COLONEL STEVENS
She’s out with friends. There’s a time when even “I” can’t tell her what to do.

More laughter.

MITCHELL
She’s really blossomed, Colonel, faster than anyone expected. There’s talk of her being promoted to “Captain” you know.

COLONEL STEVENS
So soon?

MITCHELL
Tricia blew through practically ever training course we have to offer. She keeps a cool head and sound judgment on the field. You know this better than anyone.

COLONEL STEVENS
I know, I know. I, I still don’t want to put her on the front lines of ever mission just yet. She has to experience more combat situations before then.

MITCHELL
Look.
(pause)
Yes, she’s your daughter, but she’s pushing for Captain anyway and you know it. If you try to hold her back again –

COLONEL STEVENS
– Don’t worry, Congressman, I can handle it. I just, need a little more time.

MITCHELL
Okay.

Congressman Mitchell gives him a smile and pats him on the arm as he walks away.

COLONEL STEVENS
(whispers)
My baby is growing up too fast.

The Colonel begins to walk off when a text message comes up on his phone. He pulls the phone from his pocket. As he reads the message, his expression changes completely.

INT. ETECH CORP. – WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA. – NIGHT

24 HOURS LATER. (O.S.)

The ETech Corporation is an advanced weapons manufacturing company. They specialize in innovative technology that helps U.S. Military Soldiers operate more efficiently in combat situations. The company has been family-owned and operated for ten years.

NICOLE JOHNSON is sitting at the desk in her office. City lights can be seen out of the huge windows in back of her. She is on the phone catching up with one of her sibling and twin, VANESSA JOHNSON.

NICOLE JOHNSON
We are almost finished. This project will absolutely put us on the map!

INT. HOME OFFICE – VAN NUYS, CA. – NIGHT

Vanessa is at her desk organizing folders.

VANESSA JOHNSON
We are on the map.

INTERCUT telephone conversation.

NICOLE JOHNSON
You know what I mean, sis!

VANESSA JOHNSON
Yes, send me the files so I can look over them again.

NICOLE JOHNSON
Alright. Are you coming down?

VANESSA JOHNSON
No, I have to meet Josh in the morning. If he agrees with the numbers, that’ll be another name off the list.

NICOLE JOHNSON
Great!

VANESSA JOHNSON
It is. I can’t wait to tell mom and dad.

NICOLE JOHNSON
Oh, that’s what I meant to ask you. Have you talked to them tonight?

VANESSA JOHNSON
This afternoon. They’re going for “a ride” again. You know how that goes.

NICOLE JOHNSON
Yeah, I was trying to call them a few minutes ago.

VANESSA JOHNSON
It’s romantic! Give them some time to themselves.

NICOLE JOHNSON
Fine. They’ll be excited though.

VANESSA JOHNSON
You think they’ll officially give the company to us, don’t you?

NICOLE JOHNSON
We’re capable, getting new contracts, keeping the current ones. And Chris is thinking of a way to expand –

VANESSA JOHNSON
– I knew he would eventually!
(pause)
Okay. Maybe we should call them right now.

They laugh.

NICOLE JOHNSON
Oh, I’m getting another call.

VANESSA JOHNSON
Me too.

NICOLE JOHNSON
What?

VANESSA JOHNSON
The conference line.

Both young women open the conference line, CHRIS JOHNSON, their brother, is on the phone.

CHRIS JOHNSON
Vanessa… Nicole…

Their expressions change, tears come to their eyes. They grab their coats and belongings, running out of their respective doors.

EXT. HOLLYWOOD HILLS – NIGHT

A police helicopter flies overhead, shining a light on a car wreck below. Two cars are seen badly damaged, other cars are around the scene with dents and scratches. News helicopters from various stations are flying overhead.

Reporters on the ground are trying to get to the location of the accident on the side of a mountain highway. LORI SMITH, a reporter from NBC4 in Los Angeles, is in the middle of her report to anchorman, DERRICK STONE.

LORI SMITH
That is correct! We arrived on scene about 30 minutes ago, but, yes, we’re being told this is the vehicle of Mark and Veronica Johnson. People who live in the area are telling us the couple drives along this road quite often. But tonight, coming around this bend, a driver, under the influence, lost control of his car and crashed almost head-on into their vehicle. As everyone knows, Mr. and Mrs. Johnson are the owners of the ETech Corporation, in West Hollywood, that supplies the military with advanced technology.

INT. NBC4 – LOS ANGELES

Derrick Stone is looking through notes.

DERRICK STONE
Lori, how is the driver of the other vehicle?

INTERCUT conversation.

LORI SMITH
We don’t have his name at this time. We do know, he is in critical condition. They’re going to airlift him to a local hospital. He is being charged with DUI and manslaughter. Reporting from Hollywood Hills, back to you, Derrick.

DERRICK STONE
Thank you, Lori. Such a tragic end to their lives. They are the fourth well-known family to experience a loved one die in a DUI accident this week. I’ve never seen this happen in all of my years of covering the news. We will continue to follow this story throughout the night. Our thoughts and prayers go out to their children, who will probably take over the business from here. Though I’m sure that won’t make it any easier for them to take.
(pause)
We’ll be back in a moment.

EXT. GOOD SAMARITAN HOSPITAL – LOS ANGELES – NIGHT

ONE HOUR LATER. (O.S.)

The hospital parking lot is full. Press photographers, cameramen, and news reporters whirl around the area.

Policemen have set up barricades to prevent the press from blocking the Emergency Entrances.

Lights flash as L.A. Detectives, MARQUIS WALLACE and KELLY PRICE, drive up and exit their car.

Marquis holds up his hands to control the crowd.

MARQUIS WALLACE
Hey, back up! Give us room!

REPORTER #1
Mr. Wallace, did McFarland put you on this case because of your history?!

MARQUIS WALLACE
Okay.

REPORTER #2
Aren’t you a little inexperienced, Mrs. Price, to handle something like this?!

Kelly frowns.

REPORTER #3
Is there any connection between the accidents this week?!

REPORTER #4
Do you think these tragedies are just coincidences?

MARQUIS WALLACE
Back up!

The crowd quiets and gives them room.

MARQUIS WALLACE
(to Reporter #1)
That’s my business.

KELLY PRICE
(to Reporter #2)
Yes, I admit, I was a little surprised to get the call. But I know how to do my job –

MARQUIS WALLACE
– Which is why you need to leave my partner alone!

KELLY PRICE
As far as connection or coincidence, I –

REPORTER #3
– Connection!

REPORTER #4
They’re coincidences!

KELLY PRICE
I don’t know. These tragedies happen everyday. The only difference here is we pay attention to the families involved. Excuse us, please.

The crowd makes a path to the sidewalk. Marquis and Kelly split a barricade and quickly head for the entrance.

INT. GOOD SAMARITAN HOSPITAL – EMERGENCY ROOM

Nicole Johnson is sitting down on a bench, hands over her face. She looks up to see Chris and Vanessa Johnson. She leaps up, they all hug, crying.

Doctors and nurses stand in the room behind them. All of them are sad. Large glass windows reveal two bodies laying on tables, covered with sheets.

Marquis and Kelly walk through the double doors. Kelly puts her hand out to block Marquis from going forward.

Reality is sinking in. The siblings have lost their parents.

FADE OUT.

(END EXCERPT)
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