Another behind the scenes story. This one from The Wall. An attempt at answering unanswered questions.
Spoilers: The Pilot and The Wall
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Gary Hobson didn’t think he’d ever stop shaking. He didn’t think he’d ever be able to sleep again. He’d just been through one of the most emotionally and psychologically traumatic events in his life. Even being held hostage at gunpoint by an unemployed, desperate man during a botched bank robbery couldn’t compare to this.
For several months now he’d been receiving a mysterious newspaper. It started shortly after his wife locked him out of their house on their anniversary. The Chicago Sun-Times may have been his newspaper of choice but he had never anticipated that he would suddenly begin receiving a paper dated for the next day filled with articles that he came to realize he could change if he tried. After he came to realize this he started spending his days helping people avoid disasters that would harm or kill them.
Then just a few days ago, the paper started arriving with blurry headlines. It had taken him several days to figure out what this all meant. In the meantime he had had to prevent Editor Harry Hawks of the Sun-Times from being killed by a letter bomb in his office. His intervention had placed him under the scrutiny of a man who claimed to be Secret Service Agent John Dobbs. Now Gary knew the truth and it had nearly cost him his life and the life of the President of the United States.
Having finally figured out what the blurry headlines on his “early edition” were trying to tell him he was shocked to see that the President was going to be assassinated on his visit to Chicago and that he, Gary Hobson, would be the responsible party. And that he would kill Agent Dobbs as well. The incidents that drove him into a night of exile on the streets was when the cops showed up at his apartment while his friend Chuck was there and found a map of the presidential motorcade route and a hand gun in his desk drawer. They had obtained a search warrant when Dobbs tipped them off about Gary’s sudden financial windfall. The money had actually been won legitimately at the track but the police didn’t know that. The other incident was the murder of Harry Hawks at the Sun-Times. Gary was the last person known to have been seen in Hawks’ office before he was murdered. He had fled to the Sun-Times offices in hopes that Hawks would be able to help him. Instead he had found the man sitting in his chair, dead, with a gunshot wound in the middle of his forehead. Frightened and shocked Gary had fled spending a somewhat sleepless night on the El until a Security Guard awakened him from his brief slumber by poking him in the ribs with his nightstick.
Several hours later Gary went to warn Dobbs that a certain J.T. Marley, rogue agent, was still alive. He was shocked beyond belief when Dobbs revealed to him that he already knew about the assassination to take place. Dobbs was really Marley and the real Dobbs lay dead on the floor in another room close by. Attempting to stop the assassination by seizing the rifle had done Gary no good because the rifle wasn’t loaded yet, Marley was armed and Gary had left his own fingerprints on the rifle when he picked it up.
After a brief struggle, Marley had struck Gary on the back of the head with his pistol and while he was stunned handcuffed him to a railing a few feet away from the table on which the assassination weapon sat awaiting the President’s arrival. Marley had taunted Gary with words about how he knew Gary wanted to take the shot. Gary had tried to talk Marley into releasing him. No good. Marley wasn’t going to take the chance. And he already had Gary’s fingerprints on the weapon. After assassinating the President he would simply kill Gary and leave his body and Dobbs’ for the police to find. The headline in Gary’s paper would come true.
Fortunately for Gary, Chuck Fishman and Marissa Clark, with help from Mr. Morris of the Sun-Times archives, had been working on a photograph that would prove a key to solving the mystery. Detective Marion “Zeke” Crumb had been reluctant to listen to them at first. He’d had enough of them, Hobson, Dobbs and the name Marley. After a letter bomb went off in his office he realized that he should listen to them. Marissa had been sworn to secrecy about Gary’s whereabouts but Crumb made her see that it was imperative because wherever Marley was was where Gary would be and his life was in danger. He didn’t mention that part but Marissa gave him the address.
Arriving just moments ahead of the presidential motorcade Crumb and his detachment of officers rushed to the room where Gary was struggling to free himself while Marley lined up his shot. Crumb yelled at Marley to drop the rifle but he refused and turned back to take his shot. Crumb fired a shot of his own and Marley fell to the floor dead practically at Gary’s feet. Gary, unused to such things, had gone several shades paler than he already was his eyes wide with shock.
Searching Marley’s body for the key to the handcuffs the old cop released Gary from the handcuffs. When Gary went to stand however, his knees buckled.
“Easy does it kid,” Crumb said as he and his partner caught him and sat him down in the spot he had just vacated. “Maybe you better sit down again.” Turning to one of the uniformed officers he said, “Call in the paramedics to take a look at the kid and the coroner’s wagon for Marley.”
“I...I...I...I’m fine,” Gary stuttered. “I j…just want to get out of here and go home.”
“Sure you are,” Crumb said. “We’ll just have someone look you over to be on the safe side.”
Sirens could be heard outside. A couple of minutes later a paramedic team came into the room and took charge of a very shaken Gary. Against his wishes they escorted him down the stairs and into a waiting ambulance. At the hospital the Emergency Room doctor gave him an ice pack for his head and some sleeping pills to take when he got home.
Released from the hospital Gary was happy to see Chuck and Marissa, along with Spike, waiting for him. Detective Crumb had notified the station where he had left them that Gary was unharmed but quite shaken up.
“Gar? You okay?”
Chuck reached out toward his pale and shaky friend and took him by the arm. Marissa, sensing how shaky he was, reached for his other arm. Together the three friends walked out to a waiting cab, which took them to the Blackstone Hotel. Once there Chuck paid the cabby and he and Marissa walked with Gary to his room.
“Here, Gary,” Marissa said, “Let me take your jacket.” Taking it from him as he slowly removed it she placed it on a nearby chair while he sat down in another. Then she went to the kitchen for a glass of water.
“Here you go buddy,” Chuck said handing him the dosage of medication recommended on the bottle as Marissa returned with the water. “Take these. They’ll help you relax.”
“Thanks,” Gary took the pills Chuck held out to him and the water Marissa held out to him. His hands were shaking so badly that he spilled some of the water. When he was through Chuck took the glass from him and handed it back to Marissa who put it in the kitchen.
“Come on, buddy, let’s get you into bed,” Chuck said as he helped Gary out of the jeans and shirt he was wearing. Gary’s hands were shaking so badly that he couldn’t manage his belt or the buttons on his shirt.
In a matter of no more than a couple of minutes Chuck had helped Gary out of his clothes and over to the bed. Throwing back the covers he helped Gary sit down and then made him lie back. Gary was still shaking but the medication was beginning to take effect. After another minute he started to lose the battle to stay conscious and began to drift off. Soon he was sound asleep with the help of the pills and his shaking began to ease.
As his friends started to leave, both looked over to where he lay, secure in the knowledge that their friend was no longer a wanted man and was safe and sound in his own bed. They left Gary sleeping with the help of the medication and went on their way to their respective homes. They fervently hoped that he would never have to go through anything like that again.
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