Script Coverage                                                                                                         

Reader’s Report                                         






GENRE: Mystery Drama
FORM/PGS:  Screenplay/ 108 pgs LOCALE:  Seattle



DATE: April 14, 1997



BUDGET:              LOW      X      MEDIUM              HIGH


LOG LINE:  A promiscuous and opportunistic anesthesiologist falls in love with the wealthy husband of a comatose patient and becomes involved in his scheme to secretly kill his wife through a medicinal overdose.


COMMENTS SUMMARY: A sexually interesting but dramatically scattered mystery story, which exhibits some good erotic writing and interesting character developments but little story clarity or believability.




































































SYNOPSIS: A drunken Seattle socialite, JESSICA PORTER, falls into her pool while walking around late one night. The next morning anesthesiologist MAUREEN NOLAN (early 30's) arrives at work at the same hospital Jessica has been brought to in a comatose state. To rid herself of stress, Maureen goes to a local gym to swim away her anxieties. Back at the hospital she meets with her longtime friend Nurse FRANCES MARTINEZ and Neurologist PAUL WELLER. Everyone is talking about the new wing dedication and Paul has asked Maureen to go with him to the event. A few weeks later at the gala event Maureen meets GRAHAM PORTER, the husband of Jessica Porter. The sexual chemistry between them is great and neither is shy about showing it. When Graham tells Maureen about his comatose wife in the hospital she is sympathetic toward his problem.


While swimming at the gym, Maureen encounters Graham in the pool. After a flirtatious encounter, she follows him to his home in an exclusive area of the city. They make love in the car and eventually make their way inside his large mansion. The next morning, Maureen visits her father and terminally ill mother. Paying for her mother’s in home care wears on Maureen but she still finds time to read to her. Eventually, she begins to see more of Graham. With her finances tight, Maureen begins to look at Graham’s life style with a more envious eye. The police begin to take more of an interest in Jessica’s case through DETECTIVE OSCAR LAVELLE, a determined and intuitive black officer. Maureen’s affair with Graham becomes more intense.


Returning to the hospital, Maureen is surprised to see Graham visiting his wife with their young daughter CLAIRE (6) whom he had neglected to tell her about. Jessica’s sister, KATHERINE BONNER, also pays a visit to the hospital. Maureen confronts Graham about Claire and rumors that he had married Jessica for her money. He claims that Claire was an oversight and that any money Jessica’s family had was given to them by him. Maureen’s mother dies and with the help of Frances’ husband, she scatters the ashes across the waters near the city. Maureen and Graham begin to talk about what to do with Jessica. After Graham returns from a trip to Hawaii, Maureen mentions that Jessica could die and know one would suspect anything since her religion frowns on autopsies. With a few vials of stolen potassium, Maureen tries to inject Jessica with a fatal mixture. However, after several problems occur, she loses her resolve and changes her mind. Graham eventually completes the sale of his company in Hawaii while Maureen waits back home. Jessica finally dies and is quickly buried. Several days later Detective Lavelle appears at the hospital and confronts Maureen with pictures he had taken of her and Graham in his pool. Frances and Paul ask Maureen why they are being questioned about Jessica’s death. Lavelle interviews several men who claim Maureen had been promiscuous with them. Even Graham tells him that Maureen has been stalking him after their one night affair. Graham denies all this to Maureen and tells her to remain calm. Inside of Graham’s unoccupied resort cabin, Lavelle finds a picture which draws his attention. With no autopsy planned, Lavelle is told to drop the case by his Superior. Maureen begins to have trouble trusting Graham especially after a woman she had met in the hospital claims she and Graham almost got married. She learns from Lavelle that Graham has decided to authorize an autopsy of Jessica’s body. Since certain evidence would point to Maureen after Jessica’s body is examined, Maureen decides to tell everything to Lavelle. He also tells her that Graham’s father had stipulated that Graham had to marry a respectable white girl who could give him children or he would get nothing for his inheritance.


Lavelle leaves Maureen to write a confession but she decides to confront Graham at his cabin instead. Once there she is surprised to see Frances at the Cabin affectionately holding Graham. Frances and Graham had been in love since they were children but Graham’s father was upset with his son’s attraction to a Hispanic girl. Distraught at seeing her best friend with her lover, Maureen runs from Graham until he chases her off a rocky cliff. Lavelle arrives and Graham tries to use his stalking story as a defense. However, Lavelle tells Graham that Maureen is pregnant and although she is now in a coma, they should able to verify the date of his supposed one night stand with her and her date of conception once the child is born. Four years later, Lavelle visits the still comatose Maureen at a convalescent hospital and tells her about her young daughter LILY, now living with Katherine and Claire in Hawaii. He tells her how great a swimmer she is, just like her mother.




GENERAL COMMENTS: Atmosphere and emotional details guide the premise of “XXXXXXXX”, an erotic mystery about an uninhibited and opportunistic woman who is motivated by lust and wealth. However, while the writers show much skill with this genre, they are unable to sustain a clear and sympathetic story.


STRENGTHS OF MATERIAL: Murder among the wealthy is a very attractive premise. The writers have taken this world of excess and greed and placed it in the center of this mystery. The deep desires and sexual needs of the characters are well detailed and the ability of the writers to evoke a sexual chord with the audience is very good. The dramatic layering of Maureen’s character is rich with diverse motivational needs. The sexual symbolisms, which include such things as the weather, water and the spawning salmon swimming upstream are well thought out and, although at times trite, add to the sensual atmosphere. The attractive locations of Seattle are also very well exposed giving the image of a very hip and attractive city.


WEAKNESS OF MATERIAL: After a generally good start, the story begins to get lost in too many distracting genre elements. The writers use too many evidentiary plot points to cover the base of their mystery. Pieces to the mystery puzzle start to come together but in a confusing and too coincidental manner. The relationship between Maureen and Graham begins to stagnate causing the story to slow down and fragment. Maureen’s character is given a great deal of depth in order to define her complex motivations. While this helps create a compelling character her moves toward being an adulteress, attempted murderess and nymphomaniac all seem to be only weakly connected to her caring and sympathetic persona. Detective Lavelle is a weakly conceived character. Egotistical with an unclear motivation, his appearance in the story seems opportunistic and less virtuous than one would expect from someone in law enforcement.


POTENTIAL FOR DEVELOPMENT / IMPROVEMENT:    This story falls short of being a true suspense thriller (there are no immediate threats to the main characters or mounting body counts). While there is no social issue or pertinent moral statement, the story does have a strong tactile attraction to it. Unfortunately there are more exploitative elements here than hard-core drama and anything resembling a CBS level film might be hard to perceive within the primarily sexual nature of this story.