01x05 - If This Is a Lie

Danny: He was murdered.

Scottie: He was murdered, Claire.

Journalist (O.C.): Who murdered him?

Danny: I don't know.

Scottie: British MI6, the Chinese Ministry for State Security, American CIA, Israeli Mossad... We're not up against one intelligence agency, we're up against them all.

Danny: That conversation took place in my bedroom. We were face to face!

Journalist: Why did they murder him?

Marcus: Alex decided to apply his concept to speech.

Claire: A lie detector.

Danny: He did it for me!

Scottie: He knew you'd find out that he had lied about much of his life. He must have worried that you'd end up hating him. He must have worried about that moment every day. I would like to finish this particular adventure with you, Daniel Edward Holt, if you'll have me?

( Phone rings )

Danny: Scottie?

Scottie: Danny... there will be a note.


Danny: I have a question. How do we live without the people that we love?

Danny (O.C.): I can hear his reply.

Danny: "We must figure this question out for ourselves." He's right. He was always right. Except, my friend... I don't want to know.

Danny: I don't want to know how to live without you. I don't want to figure out how to stop feeling this sad.

( Inaudible )

Claire: Marcus, this isn't the time...

Marcus: Yes, it is, Claire. It's exactly the right time. I have destroyed my copy of Alex's research. You should destroy yours. You asked for my advice. There it is. You can take it, or not. But I won't help you...

Claire: That's enough.

Marcus: It was... a nice idea.


London Spy
Episode 5
If This Is a Lie
Original air date: December 7, 2015


Sara: Danny! Come on!

Danny: OK.

Pavel: Sorry. Goodbye.


( Big ben tolls )

( Seagulls caw )

Detective Taylor: This is where you two met.

( Danny nods )

Detective Taylor: I visited the nurse who took your blood sample. I was curious, because it's not procedure. So, I asked a straightforward question. "Why did you do it?" This man was afraid. Afterwards, I'd barely left the room, my phone rings. It's my superiors, demanding to know why I'm interrogating him. You know what I said? "No reason." It wasn't much. But it's as far as I'm prepared to go.

Danny: Why?

Detective Taylor: Listen, this is what's going to happen. You'll be the early, innocent suspect and I'll be the simple-minded copper. That's the account that's going to be written.


Claire: With Scottie, we had a chance. Without him, we haven't.

Danny: I don't accept that. We knew him better than anyone. What would he do?

Claire: You're confused, Danny... between trying to prove how much you loved him and trying to prove a conspiracy. You're confused, and I wonder if you haven't always been.

Danny: What does that mean?

Claire: Scottie was... sentimental about you. You're doing this for him. He was doing it for you. Maybe I was doing it for him. But it's not real, Danny. It won't work. Whatever you do, whatever you try, it won't work. He sent me this. There was a letter. It read, "Ambition, but no conviction. Love, Scottie". Walk with me. I'll be here, when you're ready.


( Slam )

( Dogs bark )

( Clanging )

( Clanging )

( Vehicle approaches outside )

( Doorbell rings )

( Doorbell rings )

( Doorbell rings insistently )

Danny: How did you find me?

Danny's Mother: You gave us this address.

Danny: 11 years.

Danny's Mother: A long time.

Danny: And now?

Danny's Mother: Dan, your dad's dying. We weren't much as parents...

Danny: You read about me in the paper?

Danny's Mother: We read about you.

Danny: But that's not why you're here? You need money?

Danny's Mother: No.

Danny: No?

Danny's Mother: No! This was a mistake.

Danny: Tell me why. Why now? Why today?

Danny's Mother: Weeks - that's all he's got left.

Danny: We've said goodbye.

Danny's Mother: Want to do a better job of it? There's something we'd like to show you.


Danny: If this is a lie, please stop the car and let me out. Because I've been through too much for this to be another lie. I won't be angry. I know it's not your fault, but just stop the car and let me out. But if you drive me home, after I've given you this chance, I... Mum?

( Laboured breathing, camera turns on )

Danny's Mother: All right if I...?

( Camera beeps )

( Camera clicks )

Danny: I wish this could be true. Shh. People can change this much, you know? For real, I mean.

( Laboured breathing )

Danny: You're not dying. Not today, not next week.

Danny's Mother: They're scary people, Dan. They know everything about us. Everything we've ever done wrong. What did you do? This isn't like pinching stuff from the shops.

Danny: Why am I here?

Danny's Mother: Why are WE here? Being made to do this? Being threatened? What have you dragged us into? How could you do this to us? To your father?

( Her voice fades to echoes )

Danny: They gave you this, didn't they? They told you to take a photo. Why?

( Camera whirrs, beeps )

Danny: I always wanted to know... wouldn't it have been easier to have loved me?

Danny's Mother: I can't say why we never did.

Danny: I'm not angry anymore.


( Door opens, shuts )

( Beeping )

( Computer beeps )

( Printer whirrs )


HIV Group Chair: Have you been to any forums on living with HIV before?

Ryan: No.

HIV Group Chair: If you take a seat, maybe over there. All right? Hi, guys. I'd like us to welcome Ryan.

( Applause )

HIV Group Chair: A lot of people don't speak until they've been a few times, so you shouldn't feel any pressure. But I wanted to give you the chance. And remember, there's no point talking unless you feel able to tell the truth. Maybe you're not ready?

Danny: I'll go.

HIV Group Chair: Danny.

Danny: My partner, his name was Alex. He died some months ago...


Danny (O.C.): .. and I've been trying to find out why he was killed...

Alex: Are you OK?


Danny: .. and he was working as a spy for MI6. Although, when we were together...


Policeman: Get down!

( Sirens blare )


Danny: .. An attic in his apartment, and one of the ways they did that was to... inject me with HIV virus.


Danny: You have to believe me! If you don't believe me, I don't have anyone else, Scottie. I don't have anyone else.


Old Guy: What are you going to do now?

Danny: I'm going to do nothing.

Woman: (to Ryan) You OK?


Danny: I wish this could be true.


( Knocks at door )

Frances: I rather thought it might be you.

Danny: Is it too late to talk?

Frances: Too late? Perhaps it is.

( Thud )

Frances: What harm can it do?

Charles: What good can it do?

Frances: "What good"? What possible good? What good can any of us do? Better leave him be. He's just a boy.

( Charles laughs )

Charles: Just a stupid boy.

Frances: I take it you have something you wish to discuss? More than that - you intend to accuse me?

Danny: I have a question.

Frances: A question. I'll permit a question. But just one. That will be all. We both loved him.

Danny: Yes.

Frances: Can't we pretend, for a while, that's all we need to say? There was always something of the mystic about you. Fortune teller-soothsayer, a person who knows nothing, yet sees everything.

Danny: Alex was the last person to hold your hand.

Frances: Question?

Danny: Statement.

Frances: Yes. Yes, he was.

Danny: You blame me for his death.

Frances: Question?

Danny: Statement.

Frances: Yes. Yes, I do.

Danny: How can you blame me... unless you know why he was killed?

Frances: It is a good question. For all your efforts, all your loss, all your grief and sacrifice... you have nothing. You accept I'm continuing this conversation solely for my own personal reasons?

Danny: Which are?

Frances: It's very important to me that you understand how much I loved my son.

Danny: Show me his room.


Frances: Alistair spent more time in this room than any other.

Danny: How do you know? How?

Frances: No! No, no, no! Stop... No! No, no, no, no! ( Frances sobs ) Please...

Frances: Because he was my spy. I made him a spy. I told you, my husband was an important man. An important man, with a second-rate mind. We were together at Cambridge. The tutor who recruited him was as blind to my talents... as he was to Charles' flaws. Nonetheless, in the gentlemen's club of MI5, Charles flourished, while I was relegated to... hosting dinners and cocktail parties for his spies.


( Gentle conversation )

( Laughter )

Frances (O.C.): Three moles at the heart of his organization... and Charles didn't see them.

Frances: They were men like him - talked like him, dressed like him, f*cked like him. Well, two did, anyway. They were his friends. Agents were lost, operations compromised. When the three finally defected, we were disgraced, removed from the service, exiled from power, left to rot in this place, guarded night and day by agents, for fear that we too might be traitors. I took to drink, for a while. I became promiscuous, for a while. Scandal engulfed me. I couldn't go on behaving that way. You either step into the abyss... or step back from it. You cannot walk along its edge for long.

Frances: You know this edge? Don't you?

Danny: Yes.

Frances: Yes. Alex was your step back? He was mine, too. I decided to have a child. He'd be my future, my saviour, my second chance. I'd make him into the spy I should've been. My spy, made by me... It was a mistake.

Danny: Not a lie. Not the truth.

Frances: For once, your intuitions let you down.

Danny: You decided to have a child? What, f*ck old Charles and see what happens? Not much of a plan, considering how stupid you think he is. But luck was on your side. Your child was a genius.

Frances: Be very careful what you say next.

Danny: I want to tell you a story... about a man. While other people were laughing and drinking ... this man would just walk.

Alex voice: .. Until he reached the exact same spot - where he'd sit, with his back to all those people.

Danny: And while he did everything to signal to the world that he wanted to be left alone...

Alex voice: More than anything, he hoped that someone passing would understand that what he really wanted was the exact opposite.

Alex: And that this someone would sit next to him...

Danny: Strike up a conversation.

Alex (O.C.): I was that man.'

Alex: You were that someone.

Danny: Why was he so lonely?

Frances: I put too much pressure on him. I made him too important in my life. It was unfair. I see that now. No child can redeem their parents.

Danny: Hard to connect to people. Especially when you're not sure how they're connected to you. For an hour or so, I hoped that my real parents were real parents.

Frances: Daniel!


Nanny: I was in a state. I didn't deserve to be his mum.

Frances: Surely you can't be so conventional as to think there's only one way to bring up a child? We are both his mother. Neither one less nor more real than the other. I took care of his mind and she took care of his other needs.

Danny: He didn't know?

Frances: No.

Danny: Except he did. Didn't he? He knew.

Frances: On some level, maybe. He was very young when it happened. At the time, she was working for me and stealing. I went to her house, to threaten her with the police if she didn't return the items. I've never seen anything like it.

( Tap drips water/ fly buzzes )

Frances: No father, no mother to speak of ... She thought the boy disturbed, damaged by her drink and drugs. I saw how precious he really was. We came to an arrangement.

Danny: "An arrangement?"

Frances: I would be his mother.

Nanny: I'd be his nanny.

Frances: He would be provided for in every way - every opportunity, every comfort.

Danny: And Charles agreed?

Frances: He resisted, initially. Then, he was persuaded.

Danny: You could persuade anyone... of anything. Couldn't you?

Frances: In this society, it's not enough to be born brilliant. I opened up a world that would've been closed to him.

Danny: He didn't belong there. He's not you. He wasn't like you.

Frances: Just a few years, that's all I asked, then he would be free to do whatever he wanted.

Danny: Such as end all lies?

Frances: Oh, such a sentimental, ridiculous notion. I warned him. I tried to save him. I tried...


( Buzzer )

Sir.

( Knocks at door )

Mrs Turner.

( He hyperventilates )

Frances: Alistair?

Alex: ( cries out )

Frances: Shh.

Alex: Frances!

Frances: Shh.

Alex: Aghh!

Frances: Shh... Alistair. Shh... Listen, we have very little time. Listen to me. You're in a great deal of trouble, but there is a way out. Do you understand?

Alex: I understand.

Frances: It's all been arranged. This is a warning. You'll go to America, for a few years, to work. A new identity. A new life. A new name. But you must leave everything behind. This project - what were you thinking? All you have to do is say yes. You'll be flown out tonight. No belongings. No bags. Alistair, all you have to do is agree. All you have to do is agree.

Alex: ( yells, sobs )

Frances: Alistair? All you have to do is agree.

Alex: I agree.

Frances: You will go to America?

Alex: I'll go.

Frances: You must speak clearly.

Alex: I will go to America.

Frances: You will destroy your research?

Alex: I will destroy it.

Frances: You'll never work on it again?

Alex: I'll never work on it again.

Frances: You'll leave it all behind? Alistair, you must never make contact with anyone from this life again. Alistair?

Alex: His name is Danny.

Frances: Danny.

Alex: I'll never speak to him again.

Frances: This can be a new start for us, too. You'll hate me for a while. But I love you so much.

Alex: I love you too. Get me out of here! Get me out! Get me out!


Frances: You must be clearer.

Alex: I'll go to America.

Frances: You will destroy your research?

Alex: I'll destroy it.

Frances: You'll never work on it again?

Alex: I'll never work on it again.

Frances: You'll leave it all behind? Alistair, you must never make contact with anyone from this life again.

Alex: His name is Danny.

Frances: Danny. Alistair?

Alex: I'll never speak to him again. Frances! Frances!

Frances: This can be a new start for us too. You'll hate me for a while. But I love you so much.

Alex: I love you too. Get me out! Get me out! Get me out of here!

Frances: Well, it's wrong. It's wrong! I'll go back up there. I'll talk to him. I'll explain. He'll listen to me. He didn't understand, that's all. I can persuade him. Alistair, Alistair... Listen to me. Listen to me... Let me speak to him! Let me speak to my son! Let me speak to him! Let me speak to my son...


( Frances weeps )


Danny: I know a police officer.

Frances: You fail to grasp what has been done to you. The fact that you know the truth is irrelevant. No-one is going to publish anything you say. No-one is going to investigate your claims. No-one will believe you.

Danny: But they'll believe you. You're his mother. What do you owe them? You gave them your son!

Frances: Tell me... were I to agree... what would we do?

Danny: We'd tell them the truth.

Frances: I can't. She can't.

Danny: I want to hear it from you. You heard it from me. His name is Alex. His real name. The name you gave him.

Frances: She won't help you.

Danny: She renamed him, but you let it slip. Deliberately?

Frances: She can't help you.

Nanny: ( Sobbing )

Frances: It's time you left. She's gone.


( Flames crackle outside )

Danny: For her son. For Alex. All she can do. It's all she can do!

( Door opens )

Danny: Just a stupid boy?

Music: My Tears Are Becoming A Sea by M83

( Door opens )

Frances: Let's burn them down for real. We'd probably better hurry. You understand we don't stand a chance?


`
Danny
Ben Whishaw

Claire
Harriet Walter

Scottie
Jim Broadbent

Sara
Zrinka Cvitesic

Pavel
Josef Altin

Professor Marcus Shaw
Adrian Lester

Detective Taylor
Samantha Spiro

Danny's Mother
Lizzy McInnerny

Danny's Father
David Meyer

HIV Group Chair
Sam Kenyon

Ryan
Deon Lee-Williams

Oldest Guy
Louis Saint-Juste

Alex
Edward Holcroft

Frances
Charlotte Rampling

Mr Turner/Groundsman
David Hayman

Mrs Turner/Nanny
Lorraine Ashbourne

Charles
Nicolas Chagrin

Young Alex
Matthew Stagg

Agent in Attic
Nicola Grier

Director
Jakob Verbruggen

Producer
Guy Heeley

Executive Producer
Tim Bevan

Executive Producer
Eric Fellner

Executive Producer
Juliette Howell

Executive Producer
Tom Rob Smith

Writer
Tom Rob Smith