EXT. BROOKLYN BRIDGE -- NIGHT
A wrecked Ford Mustang burns in the middle of the empty
bridge. Empty. No other cars, no people in sight..
There is a gaping hole in the windshield on the driver's
side. Flames consume the backseat. Smoke spills out the
windows. The radio still plays, however: The Band's "I Shall
be Released." .
One of the Mustang's front tires has blown out. Scraps of
black rubber litter the accident scene.
As the camera pulls in, we see HENRY LETHAM, twenty, sitting
in front of the ruined car. His eyes are closed.
He looks sick-- pale, skinny, disheveled-- but he has a
presence, a magnetism that compels you to look at him.
Finally Henry opens his eyes. After a moment he stands and
walks away from the burning car, never turning around, .
heading for the illuminated towers of Manhattan.
Somewhere nearby a BABY is HOWLING, though no one is in
INT. MORNINGSIDE HEIGHTS APARTMENT -- MORNING
The baby's HOWL continues, faintly, in the background.
DR. SAM FOSTER, a psychiatrist in his early forties, wakes up
in bed, disoriented, sunlight shining on the disheveled
For several seconds Sam looks about the apartment, confused,
as if he's never seen the place before. .
EXT. OLLIE'S NOODLE SHOP -- 116TH AND BROADWAY -- MORNING
Sam parks his old, battered Volvo in front of the Chinese
noodle shop. He checks his watch and curses under his breath.
Sam's hair is beginning to gray, but he's still built like a
college tennis player. He smiles readily but there is a
brooding quality about him, in his dark eyes, that suggests
he has seen things most of us have not.
EXT. COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY -- MORNING
The bells are tolling. Sam dashes through the campus gates.
Under his tweed blazer he wears a frayed navy-blue cable-knit
As he rounds a corner he checks his watch, and before he
looks up collides with LILA CULPEPPER, knocking her styrofoam
cup of coffee to the sidewalk.
With her stylish haircut and clothing, Lila looks more like a
young editor of a fashion magazine than a graduate student.
Only the thick philosophy textbooks she carries and her red-
ink stained fingers give her away.
She shoves him.
Watch where you're going, old man.
Jesus, kids these days...
He kisses her on the lips.
I don't have time to stand here
flirting with you. I've got to give
a test to Grunbaum's undergrads.
Sam stoops to pick up the empty cup, stands straight,
crumples the cup, tosses it into a nearby garbage can.
Thank God none of the TAs looked
like you when I was a student. I
would've flunked every test.
Oh, that's sweet. Can I tell you
She sidles up next to him and fixes the collar of his jacket.
You owe me a cup of coffee.
EXT. TURNER HALL -- MORNING
Sam hurries inside the sleek, angular, glass-and-steel
INT. TURNER HALL -- MORNING
Sam gets out of the elevator and waves to a RECEPTIONIST
sitting behind a desk. A sign on the wall behind her reads
COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY COUNSELING AND PSYCHOLOGICAL SERVICES.
Hey, Sam. Henry Letham's waiting in
He walks down the hallway and opens the last door on the
INT. BETH LEVY'S OFFICE -- CONTINUOUS
Henry, wearing paint-spattered army pants and a black long-
sleeve tee-shirt, stands at the window of the bookshelf-lined
office, looking out at the sky. He stares at Sam when Sam
enters the room. Sam smiles and nods.