Night Stalker: Pilot

by AB Chao October 4, 2005
Night Stalker: Pilot

Back in the newsroom, Cotter Smith confronts Kolchak: "No one actually gave you the assignment, did they, Carl?" Perri sits next to Kolchak, smug as can be. Kolchak reminds his boss that he was asked to cover crime. Cotter Smith tells him that Perri is the senior crime reporter. Kolchak's all, "HER?" Perri snaps that she's been at the paper for four whole years. Kolchak seventh-grades, "Do you know how long I've covered crime?" Perri sixth-grades, "Like I care." Hee. Cotter Smith tells them both to shut it; they're expected to get along, is that clear? Kolchak, who has now decided he's John Bender, answers, "Crystal." Perri: "Yes." Cotter Smith: "Good. The story's hers." Perri smirks. Kolchak pouts. I kind of hate Kolchak. That's bad, right?

Shots of the newsroom. People researching, layouts being...laid, general bustling. The smarties in the forum keep talking about how awesome it is that the original Kolchak was CGId in, but since I never watched that one, I haven't caught it yet. Perri gets on the phone with a "Detective Cray." She says she heard they were treating the Emily Gale case as a murder. Cray says he can't give her anything but the official statement, so she finds Kolchak and says she needs to know who his sources are. Kolchak says a good reporter always protects his sources, but she's welcome to use his information. Ugh. He needs to start protecting me from his stupid attitude. Perri says she won't use any information without knowing who his sources are, and starts to walk off. Kolchak reels her back in: "Perri. You do want to know the nice, juicy motive, right?" First of all, can we stop saying the motive is "nice and juicy"? Because that's gross. And secondly -- man, I can't believe I waited so long to say this -- shut up, Kolchak. Perri sighs and tells him to spill it. Kolchak says Emily Gale was pregnant, and that's why they think her husband killed her. Perri just stares at him, because while he is very annoying, Kolchak is also kind of hot.

Desert. Some kids are riding their motorbikes. One of them crashes down a hill, looks over, and what to his wondering eyes should appear? Why, it's Emily Gale (and eight tiny reindeer). Emily is very dead. We quickly cut to Henry, being hounded by reporters. Someone asks this other guy standing there if he thinks his brother-in-law killed his sister. BIL doesn't get a chance to answer, because we cut over to Perri and Sidekick. Perri tells Sidekick that Henry Gale is being questioned, and also that Emily's fetus was torn out of her body. Nice! Perri adds that they're still looking for the murder weapon. Sidekick asks how Kolchak knew. Perri shakes her head.

Over at the morgue, BIL and his wife and daughter are there to identify Emily's body. Mom tells the little girl that she and Daddy need to see the doctor alone for a minute, and asks her if she's okay waiting outside. The kid doesn't answer, probably because she can't believe her mom BROUGHT HER TO THE MORGUE IN THE FIRST PLACE, AND NOW IS LEAVING HER ALONE OUTSIDE IT. I mean, seriously. I'm all for family activities and everything, but whatever happened to the park? Finally, the little girl nods, and her parents go inside the scary double doors where the dead people live. Kolchak appears behind her. He says he knows it's scary, and that "bodies of dead people" used to scare him, too. LORD. He informs the girl that it's not so scary when you realize that the people living in those bodies aren't there anymore. The girl rightly responds that she's still afraid. Then she turns toward the window and whispers ominously, "Of what's out there." Before we can realize how ridiculous this show is, the girl's parents walk out and ask what the hell is going on. Besides leaving your six-year-old by herself to get abducted, you mean? Kolchak introduces himself and says he's writing about Emily's death. "The police think your brother-in-law killed her." Mom ushers her daughter away, and Daddy tells Kolchak, "Of course he did! How dare you come in here?" Now is maybe not the best time to get high and mighty, Father of the Year. The entire family gives Kolchak the stink-eye as they walk out. Kolchak calls out to the wife, but she gives him an extra special stink-eye and turns back around.

Meanwhile, back at the newsroom, Perri is struggling with her story. Kolchak walks over, and Perri asks him if he's come to gloat, since she still has the same story as everyone else. Kolchak is all, "Not necessarily." He says he had a little chat with Emily Gale's brother and his wife, and hands Perri his report. He thinks that the wife isn't sure if Henry killed Emily. Perri flips through the report, and asks where she said that. Kolchak says she didn't, exactly, but..."she gave me this look." Now, I am not a reporter, but I interpreted that look more as the kind moms like to give to potential pedophiles. Also, that is retarded. Perri reads my mind: "She gave you a 'look.'" Kolchak says she obviously believes Henry is innocent. Perri: "I see. So...who does she believe killed Emily Gale?" Kolchak smugs, "Well, that's up to you to find out." SIGH. Perri asks him why he can't let this story go. Kolchak gives her what is clearly meant to be an adorable grin in response, and walks off.

Cut to Emily's brother and fam, in their hotel room. The little girl is watching a Porky Pig cartoon. Daddy announces to his little "petunia" that he's running out to the store. Mom is in the bathroom getting into the shower. Wait, nothing bad is about to happen, is it? A shadow appears outside the room's window. Petunia doesn't see this, but she does notice the door handle rattling. The room is dark except for the light of the TV, and the tiny sliver shining from the bathroom. SPOOKY! Petunia starts walking over to the door, which is shaking and rattling with much more force now. It suddenly bursts open, and Petunia scrambles under the bed. The cartoon music swells. Petunia watches tearfully from her hiding spot. Mom blissfully showers until the bathroom light goes out. She turns off the water, pulls back the curtain, and...GRRR! Big scary Emily-killing dog-thing! Mom screams a lot, and Petunia can see the struggle reflected in the bathroom mirror. She shrinks back further under the bed, and we're treated to shots of blood splashed on the walls, then dripping on the floor, and Mom falling down in the shower. Petunia waits in terror as the scary monster appears to take a little rest on the bed she's hiding under. There's a beat as the bed squeaks, then we switch to an overhead shot as the bed's lifted forcefully up and away from the wall, revealing the poor girl. Petunia screams bloody murder, and wonders if she should maybe work on her Hide 'n' Seek skills. Okay, that was pretty scary, I admit it. Commercials.

We come back to several different shots of Los Angeles at night, kind of like the slowest blipvert ever. And hey! There's Kolchak, driving again. He must really love a hamburger. Cut to Mom being loaded into an ambulance, and then to Daddy telling reporters that he's just returned from the hospital, where his wife is in the ICU. He holds up a picture of Petunia, whose actual name is Julie, and tearfully begs her kidnapper to return her safely. More shots of Kolchak driving. What is UP with that? Kolchak finds Perri in the newsroom, and she asks him what's going on. He tells her that the police's new theory is that they're dealing with a serial killer. He suggests that she call Henry Gale's attorney now that the charges have been dropped. Perri says she would have thought he'd try to get that interview for himself. Kolchak admits that he did, actually, but the attorney wouldn't return his calls. He adds, in a very kiss-ass way, "Seeing as you're the senior crime reporter, hm?" Perri tells him with no small amount of glee that she already got the interview. She winks at him all sassy-like. "Wanna come?"

Back in Kolchak's car, Perri catches sight of double-amputee Gumby. "Gumby do something to piss you off?" Heh. Now, see? Here's what we need more of. Dear Night Stalker people whose names I do not know yet: More of that, please. I could like you if you acted right, really. Thank you for your cooperation, AB Chao. Perri thinks a minute, then asks Kolchak, "You knew I had that interview before you asked, didn't you?" Kolchak says he did. Perri says she thought so. They both smile to themselves. Man, this already?

Perri interviews Henry as Kolchak looks on intently. Sidekick takes photos. Where did he come from? He certainly wasn't in the car with Perri and Kolchak, sittin' in a tree. Perri asks Henry if he's spoken to his brother-in-law since he accused him of killing his sister. Henry says people get desperate for an explanation when there are no answers, enough to believe the unbelievable. Kolchak jumps in to ask Henry if he saw or heard anything weird before he left, like say, oh, Kolchak doesn't animal? Perri gives Kolchak a look. Henry says sometimes coyotes come down and get into their garbage cans. Kolchak asks if Henry actually saw this alleged coyote. Henry says no. Kolchak thanks Henry and walks out. Sidekick whispers in Perri's ear, "What was that about?"

Perri doesn't know what that was about, but it sure is keeping her up at night. She gets up at three in the morning and walks downstairs, and by the way, nice underwear, to search Kolchak's name on her computer. She finds a bunch of listings for journalism awards Kolchak won when he was working in Las Vegas, and then one that reads "FBI Murder Investigation: FBI investigators questioned Carl Kolchak regarding this murder..." Unfortunately for Perri, the link pulls up a 404. What, it's not in Google's cache?

Newsroom. Hey, I think I see Famous Original Kolchak! Perri has changed into something a little less comfortable, and is on the phone with a Las Vegas FBI agent named Fain. She tells Agent Fain that she's with the L.A. Beacon, and is calling about Carl Kolchak. Agent Fain asks Perri where Kolchak is. She tells him that he works with her in L.A., and was curious about the murder investigation he was questioned for back in Vegas. Agent Fain asks her if she's planning to write a story about it...since none of Kolchak's colleagues in Vegas would. Perri asks him if there's a story at all. Agent Fain says there is, if she's willing to write it: "Carl Kolchak is a murderer." Well, excellent, then! Commercials.

Sidekick finds Kolchak in the newsroom, and asks him if he's got a minute. Kolchak does, of course. Sidekick says he heard what Kolchak said about the animals during the interview with Henry, and it got him to thinking. He shows Kolchak some photos that he took at both crime scenes. There are tracks in the dirt at both sites, and in one of the pictures, there's a blurry shot of what appears to be a coyote. Or a SCARY KILLING MONSTER!!! Sidekick asks worriedly, "What the hell is it, Kolchak?" Dramatic music plays.

Meanwhile, Perri is having a little meeting somewhere in the desert with Agent Fain. Perri asks Agent Fain, who is wearing the requisite dark suit and sunglasses of Real Live FBI Agents, what it is he wants her to see. Agent Fain tells Perri that this right here is where Kolchak killed his wife. "Of course," says Agent Fain, "that's not his story." We flash back to Kolchak and his wife driving down this same road. Agent Fain voice-overs that Kolchak claims he swerved to avoid a head-on collision, then pulled over to the side of the road. "Then it happened." We see something smash through the windshield on his wife's side. Perri asks what it was. Agent Fain says sarcastically, "He says he never got a good look at it. But whatever it was, it 'wasn't human.'" We flash back again to Kolchak waking up some time later, with a huge hole in the windshield and the remains of Gumby swinging from the rearview mirror. Is it kind of gross that he kept that? Anyway, Kolchak's neck is bloody, and his wife isn't in the car. He finds her body in the brush a few feet from the road, a huge bloodstain on her abdomen. Where, perhaps, a baby would have been. Back in the present, Agent Fain says it's mighty convenient that his wife was killed and Kolchak was left alive. Perri asks if he was charged. Fain says there was insufficient evidence. "I've answered your questions, Ms. Reed. Now, answer mine. Why are you investigating Carl Kolchak?"

The world may never know, because we cut to Kolchak and Sidekick back at the motel crime scene. Sidekick points out where he took the picture that captured their little doggie friend. Kolchak finds two sets of footprints, but no drag marks. Sidekick's all, "I would like you to explain." Kolchak says maybe instead of dragging Petunia off, "they" carried her off. "Instead of looking for that little girl's body, they should be looking for her alive." Sidekick would like to know, please, what kind of animal carries off a little girl. Kolchak says grimly, "Who says it was an animal?" Who, indeed, Carl? Perhaps the FBI will help you figure it out, because here they come. Perri steps out of Agent Fain's big black FBI sedan, looking guilty. Fain points out to Kolchak that these new crimes are strikingly similar to his wife's murder. Sidekick's all, "Murder?" Poor Sidekick. Agent Fain cuffs Kolchak, as Perri stands around looking at the ground. More commercials? ABC is weird.

Bossman Cotter Smith finds Perri outside the L.A. County Jail. "I understand I have you to thank for this?" Perri's like, hey, thanks for telling me you hired an accused murderer. Cotter tells her that's nobody's business, and besides, he's just an accused murderer. Heh. Perri is not reassured. Cotter says it's not his job to reassure her. Perri asks him if he was aware that Kolchak claimed some kind of beast killed his wife, and was then held for psychiatric evaluation. Cotter says Kolchak recanted that story, and was always just a suspect, nothing more. Perri counters that you have to wonder why Kolchak is so interested in these new murders. Cotter: "You mean why a man would be interested in a story that so closely mirrors his own?" Perri has no answer to this. Cotter sighs heavily, then tells her that Kolchak was a journalist superstar five years ago in Vegas, when he broke some kind of corruption story that made both of their careers. The kicker, though, was that Kolchak wasn't even there the day the guy was convicted, the biggest day of his career, because he had stayed home to take care of his wife. So, see, he couldn't have killed her! He loved her enough to call in sick for her! Perri is finally chastened. Kolchak walks out the door just then, saying they had to let him go, because all they had was "their fevered imaginations."

Perri drives Kolchak home. He thanks her for the ride. Perri apologizes for getting him arrested, and says she was just asking questions when she went to the FBI. Kolchak gives her a funny look. "But you're not sure I'm innocent, either, right?" Perri looks away, in the direction of Kolchak's house. She asks him why his front door is open. They go inside, and -- surprise! -- the FBI has trashed the place. It's a shame, too, because Kolchak's house is incredible, all modern glass and glowy Asian lamps. Oh, and look, there's an Eames chair all smashed to bits. Sad! Perri says she'll help him clean up, but Kolchak says he needs a beer. While Kolchak fetches the drinks, Perri takes this opportunity to snoop around in his home office. She finds, conveniently lying on the floor, a folder full of crime scene photos of his wife. Kolchak creeps up behind Perri and says as much, scaring the shit out of her in the process. Perri asks him why he would keep these. Kolchak: "Look at her left hand." Perri does, and sees the same red mark on her wrist that we saw earlier in the episode. She asks what it is. Kolchak says he doesn't know -- but she didn't have it before she died. He shows her a bunch more pictures of other dead people with the same mark. Perri asks if he thinks these people were killed by the same thing that killed his wife. Kolchak says that's the weird thing -- none of them were, since they all died in different, but admittedly strange, ways. One woman, who was convinced someone was going to burn her to death, pretty much spontaneously combusted in her own bathroom; one committed suicide, after confessing to three murders in his suicide note that were committed after he died; an entire family reported hearing strange sounds in their new house, and then were all found hanging in their attic. Perri doesn't understand the connection. Kolchak says he doesn't either, but there is one.

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