State Of Play

Synopsis: A petty thief is gunned down in an alley and a Congressman's assistant falls in front of a subway - two seemingly unrelated deaths. But not to wisecracking, brash newspaper reporter Cal McAffrey who spies a conspiracy waiting to be uncovered. With a turbulent past connected to the Congressman and the aid of ambitious young rookie writer Della Frye, Cal begins uprooting clues that lead him to a corporate cover-up full of insiders, informants, and assassins. But as he draws closer to the truth, the relentless journalist must decide if it's worth risking his life and selling his soul to get the ultimate story.
Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery
Director(s): Kevin Macdonald
Production: Universal Pictures
  2 wins & 4 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
127 min

Oh, the night

that Paddy Murphy died

Is a night I'll never forget

Some of the boys

got loaded drunk

And they ain't got sober yet

As long as

a bottle was passed around

Every man was feeling gay

O'Leary came

with the bagpipes

Some music for to play

That's how they showed their

respect for Paddy Murphy

That's how they showed

their honor and their pride

They said it was

a sin and shame

And they winked

at one another

And every drink in

the place was full

The night Pat Murphy died

As Mrs. Murphy sat

in the corner

Pouring out her grief

Kelly and his gang came

tearing down the street

They went into an empty room

And a bottle of whiskey stole

They put the bottle

with the corpse

To keep that whiskey cold

That's how they showed

their respect for...

They took the white

kid to the hospital.

He's in a coma.

Officer, you should

check in with the family.

Whatever you're selling,

I ain't buying.

Okay, guys, take off.

Yes, sir.

Coffee's free for

friends of the press.

I heard Metro ballistics

was just here.

Who told you that?

You just did.

You got the names of

the victims for me?

You gotta be kidding me.

You know I'm gonna

find out anyway.

Not from me.

Okay. You want to play

a little confirm or deny?

I'm not playing this

game with you, Cal.

Look, Don, I got a living to make, all right?

I got mouths to feed,


No names, no quotes, all right?


Two victims,

one shooter?


One dead,

one in the hospital?


Drug related?

Confirm, but deny later if I have to.

- Good morning.

- Good morning, sir.

Okay, I'm late. I know.

I don't need to

be reminded of it.

I've been over the briefing notes 1,000 times.



Metro Police just called.


Sonia Baker was killed in an

accident on the Metro this morning.

They identified her

by her staff badge.

Horrible news

for all of us.

But, Stephen, we're scheduled to start now.

What do you want to do?

Morning, Pittsburgh.




Talk to me

about this shooting.

You know,

one guy's still alive.

Deshaun Stagg?

No, he's dead.

The other guy on the bike,

Vernon Sando.

Hey, Gene, did you read

the guinea pig piece I filed?

Yeah, I'll get

to it, Ferris.

Because it's a great human interest

story. Yeah, human interest.

So what's the deal?

Stagg's drug deal goes wrong,

and this guy just rides by?

Yeah, something like that,

I think.

That's a remarkable

feat of survival.

Well, at least it's got a

little bit of a zip code to it.

Georgetown's the angle,


No, no, the angle is

that this guy Vernon Sando

has got an MBA from Duke.

What's he doing on a bike?

He's buying

a pizza franchise.

You know,

they make you ride the bike

for the first six months,

learn the ropes.

He's got a wife, two kids,

mortgage, total citizen.

What's his condition?

Critical, non-reactive.

Paragraph three. He's in a coma.

Okay, let me know.

I will.

Good morning.

Good morning.

Welcome to our hearings with private

security contractor PointCorp,

part of the inquiry

into the Defense Department's

privatization and

outsourcing practices.

Before we begin, I've just

received some terrible news.

Sonia Baker,

who was the lead researcher

for this committee

and a valued member of my

staff, died this morning.

The circumstances of her

death are not yet clear.

Well, I'd like to send my

condolences to her family.

Oh, my God,

are those tears?

he's balling her.

Wait, you owe me 50 bucks.

Bad Congressman! Bad.

What a scumball!

Somebody get me

a picture of the girl.

Let's hope she's not

Gene, Gene, what is your

obsession with fat girls?

If you want to have sex with

Pete, you should just say it.

Not tonight,

I got a headache.

Say it. Say it, Gene. Say it.

Picture! Picture!

Reaction to the tragic death was initially,

and understandably,

one of shock,

yet questions immediately

began to surface

as soon as Ms. Baker's death

was announced.

Hey, Joe, Cal McAffrey over at the Globe.

Just calling about that shooting

in Georgetown last night.

I heard the dead kid had a couple

of priors as a purse snatcher.

Got any more details for me?

Call me back?

Yeah, yeah. You, too.

Hey, I got

a question for you.

Stephen Collins.

He's an old friend of yours,

is that right?


I'm Della. Della Frye.

I write

the Capitol Hill blog.

All right.

Online side.

I'm a big fan of your work.

So, I'm writing this piece

on personal relationships

in the political sphere,

"single girl in the corridors

of power" kind of thing,

and as you probably know,

there was this incident

this morning on the Hill,

at your friend's hearing.

Is there a question

on the horizon?

Yeah. Have you spoken

to him today?

Are you trying to make me

part of your story?

No. I'm trying to get

a little context.

Context, re:

Well, do you think he was

having an affair with that girl?

Gee, Della.


I don't know. I'd have

to read a couple of blogs

before I could

form an opinion.

Okay. Thanks for your help.


Capitol Hill may be rocked

with another bombshell.

Speculation is rife

that Stephen Collins

may have been

romantically linked

with the young aide found dead this morning.

His spokesmen call this

another political cloud...

The timing couldn't

be worse for Collins.

He needs all the political

leverage he can get

as he begins looking

Rate this script:3.7 / 3 votes

Matthew Michael Carnahan

Matthew Michael Carnahan (sometimes credited as Matt Carnahan) is an American screenwriter who wrote the feature film The Kingdom (2007), and the film adaptation of the hit BBC television drama serial State of Play. Carnahan also wrote the screenplay for Lions for Lambs for United Artists. His brother is Joe Carnahan, who wrote and directed Narc (2002), Smokin' Aces (2006) and The A-Team (2010). More recently, he worked on the screenplay for the zombie film World War Z (2013). He wrote the screenplay for the film adaptation of Nemesis with his brother Joe Carnahan. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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