Final Vision

Synopsis: The true-life story of crime author Joe McGinniss's journey to write "Fatal Vision", a best-selling book about Jeffrey MacDonald, a Green Beret doctor who's accused of slaying his pregnant wife and their two daughters in the early 1970s.
Genre: Crime
Director(s): Nicholas McCarthy
Production: Lincoln Square Productions


Emergency services.

I need an ambulance.

544 Castle drive.

Is that on or off coast?

544 Castle drive.

I'm going around back.

Yes, sir.


Get Womack asap!

We need an ambulance.

Yes, sir!

Mobile unit to Womack hospital.


He's still alive! Get that

ambulance here on the double!

Yes, sir!

Let's go!

Oh, my god.

What's in here?

Don't touch anything.



Where are you guys?

Um, hey, do you mind taking him?


Come here.

Here you go.

Go to mama.

Did you hear back

from Leslie yet?

No, not yet.

It's okay, just do your work.

Try calling Leslie again.

Call the service.

When you want to take

a break, come find us.

Okay, great, thank you.

Okay. Okay.

Bye, daddy!


Come on, little munchkin.

Let's go play.


Umm, hi, yeah.

This is Joe McGinniss.

Can I have my messages, please?

Bruce Howard's office

called to say

they are passing on the article,

but they want to hear

whatever you have next.


Umm, anything else?

Mr. Rayburn's

office called at Knopf.

Still no information about

a tour for the Alaska book,

but they will let you know

when there is some.


Anything else?

Dr. Jeffrey MacDonald called.

He's a big fan of

"selling of the president,"

and He'd like to talk to you

about covering his trial

in north Carolina.

Do you want the number?


Yeah, I'll take the number.

And give me the number

for "the examiner" archives.

I want to read more

about MacDonald

before I meet him.


Good to see you.

- Joe?

- Yeah.

Jeff MacDonald.


I appreciate you reaching out.

I don't know very much

about your case.

I can hum a few bars,

but I haven't done

any serious research on it.

Okay, so what do you know?

There was a tragedy.

You lost your wife and kids.

The army accuses you

of the crime,

then they change their minds.

They clear you.

You get an honorable discharge.

And now, somehow

after nine years,

you're being dragged

back to north Carolina

to stand trial in three weeks.

Yeah, that's about right.

So, after nine years,

why is this coming back around?

It was all over.

But I spoke to the press.

I wanted people to see

who I was,

hear me talk about

what happened,

how the army dragged me

through a trial

after what happened

to Colette and my kids.

I spoke out against

the army on TV.

And for me,

as an ex-green beret.

Then the army came around

for a second whack at me.

Freddy Kassab,

my father-in-law...

He testified on your behalf

originally, right?

That's a good memory

for just humming a few bars.

So He started to tell anyone

who would listen to him

that I was guilty,

that I did it.

And here we are.

I need someone to help me

tell my story.

I want you to write the book.

I mean, I'm a journalist.

I don't do "as told to" books.

I want real reporting.

I want you to tear

everything up so that none

of these questions

ever gets asked again.

That's why I called you.

I want the truth.

So, you want me to cover

the trial in north Carolina?

Yes, cover everything,

not just the trial.

But be with me, see what

it's like on the inside.

See what I'm going through

for as long as it takes.



I got a lot of irons

on the fire right now, I...

Joe, look, I moved

down to California

because I needed to get away.

I know how I come off.

I drive a nice car.

I date a pretty girl.

A fancy car just gets you

around, man,

and the ocean's just a view.

None of that can fill the hole

of losing your family.

None of that.

Leslie, there's no question

there's something very weird

going on about this case.

It takes the government

four years to get an indictment.

And then it takes them

another five years

to actually bring him to trial

in north Carolina

in a few weeks.

So from where I'm sitting,

this feels like

a nine-year-long

kafka-type ordeal for this guy.

Nine years?

What about the right

to a speedy trial?

Jeffrey MacDonald's defense team

took that

all the way

to the supreme court and lost.

What about double jeopardy? You

can't try him twice, can you?

And that's the second issue that

made it to the supreme court.

But they refused to review it

because He was never

actually tried by the army.


How about Jeffrey MacDonald?

How does He strike you?

I mean, you almost want

to hate the guy at first

because He looks more

like a movie star

than most movie stars do,

but then you realize

at some point that He's haunted.

I mean, you can see it

in his eyes.

His wife and children

were slaughtered.

I mean, what father could

do that to his own kids?

So, what's the angle?

My angle?

What's your angle?

I'm not sure about my angle yet,

but there might be

something to the army,

and now the feds

persecuting him.

It's been a long time, and

they're still going after him.

No, I'm good.

Having access to Jeffrey

and this trial

could mean

another book as big as

"selling the president."

It could be, right?

He wants me on every defense

meeting, every gameplan session.

He wants me to live with him,

for god sakes.

Are you just hopping

into bed with this guy?

No, I'm gonna go down there,

and I'm gonna listen

to his story

with my b.S.

Meter set on high.

All right, even though

I'm a journalist,

I have some integrity.

Come on!

We both want another

"selling of the president,"

but I would be lying if I

told you this smells like that.

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Joe McGinniss

Joseph Ralph McGinniss, Sr. (December 9, 1942 – March 10, 2014), known as Joe McGinniss, was an American non-fiction writer and novelist. The author of twelve books, he first came to prominence with the best-selling The Selling of the President 1968 which described the marketing of then-presidential candidate Richard Nixon. He is popularly known for his trilogy of bestselling true crime books — Fatal Vision, Blind Faith and Cruel Doubt — which were adapted into TV miniseries in the 1980s and 90s. His last book was The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin, an account of Sarah Palin, the former governor of Alaska who was the 2008 Republican vice-presidential nominee. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Final Vision" STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 21 Jun 2024. <>.

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