Episode #427

Previously ...
- Brent had a brainstorm about Nick's shooting and told his officers to bring in Katherine and Lola for further questioning.
- Ryan pressured Claire to sign the divorce papers, and she did.
- Tim left the papers unsigned but promised Bill that he would sign them soon. He expressed confusion over how his marriage could be ending so unceremoniously.


Air conditioning has cooled the interrogation room to a frigid temperature, and Brent Taylor finds it difficult to focus on the business at hand. He folds his arms in front of his chest and tries to ignore the cold.

Seated in front of him is Katherine Fitch Moriani, her hands clasped together on top of the table and her chin held aloft. Brent can tell from her posture that this is going to be a difficult questioning session.

"Thanks for coming in again," he says. His shoes click against the concrete floor, and the sound echoes in the box of a room.

"Yes, well, I would rather have this unpleasantness over with as soon as possible. If we could, I'd like to keep this short. I have dinner plans."

Katherine stares at him with steely eyes, the kind that have spent decades perfecting the art of manipulation. Brent refuses to give her the satisfaction of breaking the stare.

"The gun that you were holding when you found your husband's body," Brent says, "you got it from where?"

"From the safe in the hallway, where Nick kept his guns." Katherine speaks in a bored monotone. "Haven't we been through all this already?"

"You'll have to forgive me. I need to be sure I have the facts straight."

Brent paces silently for a few seconds before speaking again.

"And Nick shared the combination to that safe with you?" he asks.

"Yes." She pauses, then adds with a hint of amusement, "He didn't want to, but I demanded that he tell me. As you can imagine, he didn't have much room to bargain after a certain point."

She seems so pleased with herself, and Brent has to wonder if that is a sign that she could have shot Nick or an indication that she hated him too much to put him out of his misery so simply.

He tries to refocus on his questioning. "Did you go into that safe often?"

"You don't see me wielding firearms all over town, do you? I wanted to know the combination just in case. I had very little actual need to have access to what was inside of it."

"Until the night of the auction."

He can see Katherine's demeanor shift. Her body stiffens; she sits up a little straighter.

"Your tests proved that I never fired that gun," she says.

"True. But tests can only tell us so many things." Brent stops pacing and looks her square in the eyes. "Did you have access to any other guns?"

"What are you suggesting?"

"Did Nick ever buy a gun for you, Katherine?"


"Samantha! Hurry up!"

Tim Fisher's voice carries up the stairs of his parents' house, but its urgency is apparently lost in transit. He hears no scrambling and no hurrying from upstairs.

"Don't make me come up there!" he calls, one foot already planted on the bottom step.

"I'm coming," Samantha responds, but no sounds follow to indicate that she is telling the truth.

Tim is about to climb the stairs when the doorbell rings.

"I'll get it," he calls toward the kitchen, where Paula is busy preparing dinner. He opens the door and finds--

Claire. The sight of her hits him like an eighteen-wheeler. He has managed not to run into her ever since he received the divorce papers; he has tried not to imagine this moment.

"Hey," she says, inhaling sharply as she steps into the house.

Tim moves back to the stairs. "I think I'm gonna have to go up there and get them."

She joins him at the foot of the staircase.

"Travis! I'm here!" she yells.

"Guys, come on!" Tim adds. A moment later, finally, there are the sounds of activity. They wait in silence for several seconds, but Tim finds it unbearable. He has to speak.

"How are things?"

"Good. I mean... normal. Good." She holds her purse against her body. "You got the papers?"

Tim nods.

"Signing them was kind of weird, wasn't it?"

"The whole thing is weird," he says, looking up the stairs. "Can you believe, after everything..."

"We sign some papers, and that's it. Extremely weird."

"Doesn't it seem like it should've been bigger, somehow? More dramatic?"

A laugh escapes Claire's throat. "More dramatic? I'd say we've had our fill."

"The actual thing, I mean. The divorce." Saying the word makes him feel uneasy, and he wishes that he could take it back. "A marriage starts out with this big thing, this huge ceremony, and it just ends like..."


He can tell that she grasps what he is saying, and even that tiny moment of understanding is enough to make him comfortable with the silence. Seconds later, Travis and Samantha come thundering down the stairs.

"Finally!" Tim says. "Come on, Sam. Your mom should be home with dinner by the time we get there."

"Is it pizza?" Samantha asks. Her tone is accusatory, as though she knows that she isn't going to like the answer.

"I don't know. I don't think so." Tim looks at Claire, and they share a half-laugh. "Let's get going, Sam."

He says a goodbye to Travis and then, to the kitchen, calls out, "Mom, we're going!"

Paula hurries out and gives both him and Samantha kisses.

"I'm going to catch up with your mom for a minute," Claire says.

Nodding, Tim moves to the door with Samantha. He gives Travis a final wave but forces himself not to look at Claire. After all that he has done not to lose her... It really is over. Enough is enough.


The overhead lights continue to buzz their timeless, fluorescent glow, but the the fading light outside tells Diane Bishop that it is time to head home. She gathers her things and steps out of her office, only to find that the energy level in the rest of the office has died down considerably.

Only a few employees remain, and Diane scans them to make sure that she does not have any unfinished business with any of them.

"Rachel! Zoe!" she calls to the young proofreaders sitting at their adjacent desks.

The young women look up at her from the manuscripts that they are reading. She has to grant that they do reasonably good impressions of people who have been working hard all day. Then again, she can only imagine how taxing it must be to check their Myspace profiles for hours on end while pretending to look busy in case anyone important walks by.

"You look haggard! Go home," she tells them. She knows that they have been awaiting her approval to take off for at least an hour, and the relief that sweeps over their faces is immediate and joyous.

After finishing up with the two young women, Diane pulls out her cell phone and scrolls through for the number of one of the takeout places that she frequents on busy weekdays. She chooses a restaurant that specializes in pasta dishes and is about to place the call when it occurs to her that she has no idea what to order.

Phone in hand, she heads over to Tim's desk and opens the drawer where she knows he keeps a variety of takeout menus for just this sort of occasion. On top of the file folder containing the menus, however, she finds something that has an entirely different effect upon her stomach.

She recognizes the document immediately: the divorce papers.

She picks them up and flips through the pages. She didn't even know that Tim had received these...

And then she gets to the last page.

She knows that it shouldn't bother her. Maybe he just got them today. Maybe he forgot to do it.

The papers aren't signed.


Katherine stares defiantly at Brent.

"I do not own a gun," she says at last.

"The law would tell us otherwise," Brent says. "One of the guns in that safe was registered in your name."

"But it was not the gun that shot Nick."

"No." Brent pauses; he forces himself to remain calm and focused. "But he did purchase a gun for you. You even signed the registration."

"It was a precaution. Nothing more." She lifts her chin a bit higher, as if all this silliness is so far beneath her that she can hardly stand it.

"You mean to tell me that your husband bought you a gun, registered it in your name, and never bothered to show you how to fire it?"

"No. I mean, yes."

He stares her down. She cracks in an instant.

"He showed me," she spits, "in case of an emergency. That hardly means I was running about shooting tin cans and squirrels."

"But you knew how. Just in case."

The cold continues to nag at Brent, but a surge of adrenaline races through his body and makes the chilly temperature seem irrelevant.

"If you're so intent on making a witchhunt out of this," Katherine says, "shouldn't you focus on more than one or two individuals? That man had plenty of enemies. Is it so implausible that one of the many people to whom he owed money was tired of waiting?"

"Believe me, we haven't ruled out that possibility." In truth, Brent would love to ignore it altogether. Opening the suspect pool to include the entirety of the North American organized crime circuit isn't going to solve this case any faster. Until they get a concrete lead in that direction, he prefers to focus on the known suspects with known motives.

"Then what are you suggesting? That I snuck into Nick's house, shot him without so much as making Lola aware of my presence, and then returned to act shocked by discovering his body?"

Her summary of his theory is so accurate that, for the briefest moment, Brent swears she must have access to the inner workings of his mind.

"I haven't suggested anything," he says.

"Then perhaps you should stop appearing so desperate. At any rate, I left the auction, returned to the hotel to sleep, and went to Nick's after waking up." She pauses long enough to allow her words to sink in. "Are we through here, then? As I said, I have a dinner engagement."

"Go ahead."

He watches her rise and gather herself. Suddenly the cold overpowers him again.

"You'd better hope that your alibi checks out," he says as Katherine leaves the room.


By the time Diane arrives home, with two plastic bags of takeout in hand, Tim and Samantha are already there. Father and daughter sit on the couch, their attention on the television. They perk up considerably when they spot her.

"I take it everyone's hungry," she says as she carries the bags to the dining room table.

"I know I am," Tim says, standing to help her, "and this one's been asking about dinner since I picked her up." He goes to a cupboard and gets plates for them.

Diane takes out the styrofoam containers.

"I didn't know what to get," she says as she opens them up, "but I remembered that you had those menus in your bottom drawer..." She looks up, and sure enough, Tim has stopped moving. Their eyes lock.

He remains still, waiting for her to make the next move.

"Why didn't you tell me?" she asks calmly. She is acutely aware of Samantha's presence in the next room.

"About what? Oh, the papers? It's nothing." Tim busies himself by getting out the cutlery. His casual act doesn't fool Diane for a moment, though.

"So you're going to sign them tomorrow?"

Tim flinches, ever so slightly, before he delivers the plates and silverware to the table.

"I ran into Claire at my parents'," he says. "Something about seeing her--"

In spite of every instinct she possesses, Diane feels her stomach grow weak. He can't do this to her.

"--made it all real," Tim finishes. "It was like I needed to touch base with her on it, know that it really is the time to let it go."

Samantha hops off the couch and comes over to the table. She peeks into each of the containers as Diane opens them.

"So that's it?" Diane asks, her focus still solidly on Tim. "You're going to--"

"Yeah. It ends tomorrow. For good."

"Are we ready to eat yet?" Samantha asks in that demanding tone that comes so effortlessly to children.

Diane turns to her daughter and feels herself relaxing into a smile.

"Yep," she says, "all ready."


Can Diane put aside her concerns once and for all?
Is Katherine truly off the hook for the shooting?
Where should Brent focus his investigation?
Come on over to the Footprints Forum to discuss!

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