01x08 - Episode 8

Episode transcripts for the TV show "Leonardo". Aired: March 23, 2021 - present.
Series recounts Leonardo da Vinci's extraordinary life through the works that made him famous and through the stories hidden within those works.
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01x08 - Episode 8

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[theme music playing]

[distant hammering]

[eagle screeching in distance]

What's the meaning of this?

Good morning to you, Stefano.

- The meaning of what?
- The scaffold in the courtyard.

I should think it's obvious.

My investigation is not over.

Your investigation is over when I say it is.

[Stefano] Still staring at birds?

Mmm. At my last sunrise.

[breathes deeply]

The last time I feel God's morning light on my face.

There's no more time, Leonardo.
You're about to hang.

Please, help me find a way to save you.

You don't believe my confession.

I believe you destroyed what you loved in order to protect someone you loved even more.

Your son.

My son?

The boy of Niccolini.

The painting I made for him.

The person. Not a painting.

Don't worry, he's still safely hidden with Father Luca at the convent, but he is clearly in some kind of danger.

What is it?

I can't help you if you don't trust me.

He's not my son.

There's no point denying it. He told me...

He told you what he was told!

It's the boy you must save.

Not me.

[door opens]


Hi, baby. Hi. How are you?
Oh, I missed you so much.

Yes. Let's go inside.

[door closes]

[children laughing]

[door opens]

[Leonardo] Caterina.

Were you following me?

- Who's the boy?
- This is not your affair.

- Caterina, please. Please tell me.
- Stop it.

I want to talk to you. Who's the boy?

[breath trembling]

[breathes deeply]

He's my son.

If you must know.

I thought you said you couldn't have children.

- They told me I couldn't.
- But when?

After Milan.

- Who's the father?
- Stop asking questions.

- Who is he?
- It doesn't matter. He's gone.

Why's he living here?

So that he won't suffer the same hardships I did.


Do you know how that boy must feel?

Having a mother who chooses to give him away?

I... You don't know poverty like I do, Leonardo.

Well, I know abandonment! And betrayal!

[breath trembling]
I didn't betray my child.

Ginevra can give him a better life.

- So can I.
- [scoffs] You?

I will not see another boy lose his mother, and least of all, yours.

There's nothing more important to you than your work, do you admit it?

Yes. I admit it.

Then you admit you can never be a father to anyone.

We can raise him together.

- [softly] Stop it.
- Me and you.

- We can raise him together.
- Stop lying.


Your son, he will want for nothing.

- If you give me a chance.
- [sighs]

Give me a chance.

[footsteps approaching]

- Leonardo!
- Oh.

You return to Florence and say nothing?

I confess, Madonna,
I have avoided the meeting.

Have I done something to offend you?

No, no, no, I am the one
who has committed the offence.

I promised you a portrait
that was the truth.

And instead, my arrogance all but ensured
your father would destroy it

and for that, I sincerely apologise.

But he did no such thing.

It is but two-thirds a painting.

Do you know, I think it is more beautiful
because of its scars.

Does that make sense?

Yes, it does.

Over the years,
when I have felt sad or lonely,

I have looked at the way you saw me then.

And each time,
it gives me the courage to go on.

Francesco, this is my friend Leonardo,

- a very great artist.
- Hello.

He has asked that you and I
come live with him in his studio.

Would you like that?

I wouldn't stay here any more?

We want you to live
wherever you'd like, Francesco.


[gasps, exclaims]

[Caterina] Careful!

[glass shatters]



- [sighs]
- I'll make sure he's all right.


[Leonardo] Are you happy in your room?

It's fine, thank you.

Not too many dark corners?


I never liked shadows when I was your age.

How about I give you a candle
and a drawing of your mother?

And you can look at it
when you feel alone, hmm?

- [chuckles]
- Yes.

What are you drawing?

This here is the human heart.

How do you know what it looks like?

A professor in Pavia
gives me bodies to dissect.

You cut up d*ad people?

Very many of them. Look.

Aren't the bodies very smelly?

Yes, they are,
but if I didn't tolerate the smell,

I would never have discovered
their secret.

What secret?

That people are like trees.

- Trees?
- Yes. Yes, look.

You see here our legs are like trunks.

With all of these tubes and veins
running through them.

Oh, like branches.

Yes, like branches.

The world is a never-ending
source of wonder, Francesco.

You can spend your entire life
studying it.

And never come close to understanding it.

Is that what you're trying to do?


That is exactly what I'm trying to do.

But there isn't enough time, I'm afraid.

[Francesco] What else have you got?

Oh, well, here we see
the muscles and tendons

in your arm and your chest.

You see? That's there and here.
This is your shoulder.

[dogs barking]

Good night, love.

I was afraid, you know?

You've never been afraid
of anything in your life.

I was afraid of trusting someone.


needing someone.

I didn't want to get hurt again.

Least of all by you.

That's why I kept my distance. I'm sorry.

[knocking on door]

May I come in?

So, where is your maestro?

[footsteps approaching]


What is it you want?

The wind has put a chill in my bones.
Maybe some wine?

If you please.

You disappoint me, Leonardo.
Il Moro counted on your support.

- That was his mistake.
- I see.

[footsteps approaching]

Well, well. Caterina.

I didn't know the two of you
were together.

You should be imprisoned with your master
for the m*rder of Gian Galeazzo.

Is that why...

you left Milan so abruptly
all those years ago?

If we were in Milan,
I'd have charges sworn out against you.

But we're not. And you have no proof.
So you'd best watch your mouth.


I can't sleep.

My window blew open.

Is that your son, Madonna?

What is your name, boy?

- Francesco.
- Francesco.

You look to be eight, no, nine years old.

- Right?
- Enough.


As old as that?

You surprise me, Leonardo.
I never saw you as a family man.

You tell the Duke that I've had my fill
of w*r and politics.

You bet I will. He won't be pleased.

Salaì, would you please
take Francesco back to his room?

Come on, soldier.

- [grunts]
- [laughs]

Me and Francesco must leave
first thing in the morning.

What's going on here?

I've told you his father was gone.

I didn't tell you who he is.

Florence offers no assistance,
Your Excellency.

Cowards who tremble in fear of the French.

We'll return to power without them.

What of Leonardo?

He refused to come to your aid.


I shouldn't be surprised.
The soul of an artist is selfish.

I found him keeping house
with Caterina da Cremona and their son.

Their son?

Yes. A ten-year-old boy, Francesco.



That means he was conceived
when she was still in Milan.

There is no way
Leonardo is that boy's father.

He could be Bernardo Bembo's bastard.

Or mine.

A false heir.

A bastard the French could use
to make a claim against my throne.

To steal it from us
before we have a chance to retake it.

But the French don't know
he could be your son.

Not yet.

There's only...

one way to be sure they never do.

[horse whinnying]

Where are we?

[Caterina] We're almost there, baby.
Stay hidden.

Come on, Francesco.

I will show you my old studio.
And your new home.

Thank you for being
such a good friend to my son.

He's a good boy. And I can see
how much he means to Leonardo.

I underestimated you.

Because of my dazzling good looks?

I am glad you are here. Both of you.

Me too, Giacomo.

[Leonardo] Well, you've been exploring
in there for quite a while.

Do you think we're safe
in this place, Leonardo?

Ludovico's in custody
and dare not come back to Milan.

Not while it's under French rule.

But we still need to be careful.
We can't let anyone see the boy.

Yes. But we can't keep him
locked up here forever.

No harm will come to him.
I won't allow it.

You can't possibly promise that, Leonardo.

Listen. We cannot live in fear.

We need to live the best lives we can.

And enjoy the time
that God has given us on this Earth.

Am I right?

[sighs deeply]


Why can't you finish it?

I wish I knew.

Does staring at it help?


Not really.

You must be awfully bored,
cooped up in here.

Mother says I'm not allowed to go
outside the house.

You're not allowed to be seen.
But how would you like to go flying?

- Flying?
- Like a bird. What do you say?

Yes, please.

[horse whinnies]

- Okay, come on. Come on, then.
- [chuckles]

When I was your age,
I used to imagine I was a bird.

Just like those up there.

You did?

And I've spent years
designing machines to let people fly.

Do they work?

Not yet.

Then how are you going to fly?

- With this.
- Oh.

Move! Here we go! And up! Up!

That's it!

[Francesco laughs]

We're back!

Salaì has dinner for you.

We'll join you in a minute.

All your talk about being careful.
I'm surprised at you.

No. We weren't seen.
And Francesco needed some fresh air.

He's beaming.

We had a marvellous time.
He really is the most extraordinary boy.


What is it?

When I laid with Ludovico,
I felt I had no choice.

It felt like the person...

I had been all my life was just...


I'm so sorry.

I felt like I was nothing. And no one.

And then when I found out
I was carrying a child...

[sighs] God forgive me. I...

I prayed...

that he not be born.

And now, he brings me a joy
I never could have imagined.

I don't want to lose him.

Would you lie with me tonight?

Like we used to when we first met.

Of course I will.

Paint this.


[Lisa] There is only one truth
we as mortals can ever hope to know.

And that is love.

Love is truth.


- Hmm?
- Caterina, wake up.

- Why?
- I want you to model for me.


I want you to model for me. Wear this.
And come downstairs.

[chuckles] Are you serious?

Come on. Come.

All right. Five minutes
and I'll be downstairs.

Thank you.

- Now! Let's go! Let's go.
- [laughs]

Are you familiar with the myth
"Leda and the Swan"?

From Ovid. Um, Leda is the wife
of the King of Sparta.

Exactly, and then Zeus disguises himself
as the swan in order to seduce her.

She was tricked into sleeping with him.

And then she gave birth to twins,
who in turn gave birth to civilisation.

From darkness, light.

From pain, beauty.

The story of my life.

And mine.

It's a beautiful idea.

How do you want me?


Just as you are.

No, you can cover your scar, if you wish.

I want you to paint all of me.

It's the hammer blows
that make us works of art.

This was to become the painting
Caterina b*rned.

Leda and the Swan.

Was it successful?

It was my most personal painting.

And, I believe, my greatest.

Because it was true.

Because I had a home.


It was a family of sorts.

It was like...

for a moment...

the darkness lifted.

And for the first time in my life,
I could see love clearly.

And she destroyed it.

Time is running out, Leonardo.

Tell me.

How does k*lling Caterina save the boy?

[horse neighing]

[hooves clattering]

[Leonardo] What is it?

[Giacomo] Trouble.

Francesco, go upstairs
to your mother, quickly.

Captain Rossi of the Podesta.
May I speak to your master?

- Yes.
- How can I help you, Captain?

- [Rinaldo] We received a report...
- Be quiet.

...that you are harbouring a fugitive child.

A child? Why would you think that?

Then you have no such child?

Certainly not.

You won't mind
if we search the premises, then.

No, please.

[footsteps echoing]

- What is it you want?
- Search the room.

[objects clattering upstairs]

Search here.



There's someone else here.

Check here.

Okay, let's go.

[footsteps descending]

Anything else
I can help you with, Captain?

- [horse neighs]
- What do you see?

What I feared.
The captain's working for Sanseverino.

[Leonardo] But this city is occupied.
The Captain reports to the French.

The Duke still has loyalists.

[carriage pulling away]

They are gone, Francesco.
You can come out.

What did those men want, Mama?

They were sent by a man...

who would like to take you away from me.

And this man thinks he's your father.

He's not my father. Leonardo is.

Yes, yes.


Come here for a moment.

How would you like to go
on a little trip in the morning?


To the convent.

My friend, Father Luca,

he has all kinds of mathematical puzzles
and tricks he could show you.

What do you say?

I'm in danger, aren't I?

Yes, you are.

All right, then. I'll go.

Salaì, will you help Francesco
gather his things?

Where is he going?

[Leonardo] He's going to Father Luca
for a while.

I'm going to write to him now.

You were the one who said
we can't live in fear.

And we shan't.

I knew you shouldn't have
taken him outside that day.


No, this never would've happened
if I'd left him with Ginevra.

- I never should have listened to you.
- You don't mean that.

I never meant anything more
in my life, Leonardo.

Francesco, this is my friend, Father Luca.

I'm very pleased to meet you.

When will I see you again?

I don't know.

Maybe not for some time.

I love you.

I love you, too.


Nobody told me you were back in Milan.

Burning paintings?

Surely you could find
some less valuable firewood?

I didn't put these in the f*re.

Caterina did.


We had a bit of a quarrel.

I received a letter from Caterina
this afternoon.

May I speak with her?


- Caterina...
- [gasping]


Caterina, what's the matter?

Talk to me. Caterina!

Talk to me, please. Caterina!

Leonardo, what's going on?
She's not breathing!

- She's been poisoned.
- What?

Leonardo, help her!

[stutters] The antidote.
Give her an antidote.

Leonardo, help her, for God's sake!



why aren't you helping her?

You stay here. I'll go get some help.

That's your story, then?

This was all to protect the boy?

Now you know the danger he's in.

The boy you claim to love like a father,
yet you would orphan with your death?

Stefano? Stefano?

Promise to keep his secret.

[Giacomo] Then ask Giraldi, please.

Let me in. I need to see him.
I need to explain...


Let him in.

- Thank you.
- It's a little late for regrets.

They said you are to hang today.

Do not grieve.

[Giacomo] I did as you asked.

Then you did the right thing.

It doesn't feel like it.

Ah! This is Officer Giraldi.

The man who questioned Leonardo.

I'm told he signed a confession.

Here it is.

Just in time to secure your promotion.

I'm nothing without you.

But you are.

You're an artist.

Tell me, Officer Giraldi.

Did Leonardo say anything about a boy?

A boy?


No. There was no mention of a boy.

- Hmm.
- You see? As I told you.

When is Leonardo to hang?

I should think within minutes.

Then I'll stay a few minutes longer.
Just to make sure he's really d*ad.

The sentence will be carried out, Signore.
I'll see to it personally.

All the same, I've seen Leonardo
bring back the d*ad before.

Excuse me.

Salaì! I know you lied to me
and I know why.

I don't know what you're talking about.

Leonardo can bring people back
from the d*ad.

It's not too late to save him and the boy,
but I need your help.

Caterina wrote a letter.
We need to find it. Guards!


I've come to hear your confession.

Through this holy anointing,

may the Lord in his love and mercy

help you with the grace
of the Holy Spirit.


- She left it here somewhere.
- I'll go upstairs.

There's nothing upstairs.

- I couldn't find it.
- Okay. Look over there.

[Luca] Our Father,

which art in heaven,

hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done,

in earth, as it is in heaven.

There's nothing here!

Keep looking. It's got to be here.

[Luca] Give us this day our daily bread
and forgive us our trespasses.

There's nothing here, Stefano!

[Luca] As we forgive them
that trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom,

the power, and the glory.

For ever and ever.


[Rinaldo] Leonardo da Vinci
stands before you,

condemned for the m*rder of the woman
Caterina da Cremona...

[eagle screeching]

...whom he did poison and watch die,

making no effort to rescue
or revive her.

For that monstrous crime,

he will now hang by the neck

until d*ad.

[Stefano] Stop!

Release him! He's innocent.
Lower him down.


What's the meaning of this?

I hold in my hand proof
that Leonardo da Vinci is innocent.

I witnessed her death.

But not her poisoning.

That man is plotting
on behalf of the tyrant, Ludovico Sforza.

He k*lled Caterina da Cremona.

That is a lie. [chuckles]

What is your evidence, Giraldi?

This letter. It was written
by the d*ad woman,

swearing he poisoned
the Duke's nephew, Gian Galeazzo.

He k*lled Caterina da Cremona
in order to stop her

from making her letter public.

This is ridiculous. Leonardo is guilty.

Hang him!

Arrest him.





[breathing heavily]

Thank you.

[Leonardo] Caterina's letter.
Where did you find it?

I didn't.

You bluffed.

It seems that you have
some imagination, after all.

Can't spend all that time
with the great Leonardo da Vinci

- and not have a little of it rub off.
- [chuckles]

Sanseverino knew
he poisoned Gian Galeazzo.

That's all that mattered.

Gian Galeazzo and Caterina, you mean.

No, he didn't poison her. You did.

Perhaps you should make up your mind.

You're not quite a free man, Leonardo.

Not yet.

If you please.

[Leonardo] If you think I k*lled Caterina,
then why have you spared my life?

I said that you poisoned her.
I didn't say that you k*lled her.

[Caterina] I never should have
listened to you.

[Leonardo] You don't mean that.

I never meant anything more
in my life, Leonardo.

[Stefano] You knew there was
only one way to save the boy.

He had to disappear.

And Caterina had to die
so there would be no way to find him.

As you said you would,

you had Salaì deliver
a letter to Father Luca.

He then returned with a message from Luca,
agreeing to take the boy,

the same message
I later found b*rned in the ashes.

- [Leonardo] I don't know what you mean.
- [Stefano] You do.

That's why you b*rned Father Luca's letter

along with all the images
you possessed of Caterina.

No, Caterina b*rned them.

No. You needed me to think she was
so angry that she destroyed your work

so that I would believe
you had a motive to k*ll her.

For your plan to work,

no one could remember
what Caterina looked like.

No images could remain
that might identify her.

It must have been very painful
for you,

an act of supreme sacrifice
to burn your greatest painting.

To destroy what you loved.

Caterina didn't know
what you were going to do.

She would never have allowed it.
And by the time she found out...

- [coughs]
- ...she was too weak to object.

Bembo thought Caterina asked him
to the studio, but no, it was you.

You needed a witness primed to believe
the drama you were about to stage.

Caterina! Talk to me! Caterina!

Leonardo, help her, for God's sake!

You stay here. I'll go get some help.

[Stefano] You lied to me

when you said you didn't possess
the ingredients for the antidote.

- [gasping]
- You brought Caterina back from the d*ad.

Just as you had Ludovico.

You went to the funeral.
You saw her buried.

I confess that had me quite baffled.

Until I remembered
your sketches of anatomy.

I'm just guessing, but I think
after you brought Caterina back to life,

you had Salaì replace her body
with a corpse from your old friend,

the professor in Pavia
you told Francesco about.

And it was that body I saw
buried in the potter's field.

Not the body of Caterina da Cremona.

I also couldn't understand
why you let yourself be captured.

Then I realised maybe you didn't mean to.

For your plan to work,
no images of Caterina could remain.

But there was one missing.
Wasn't there?

And you couldn't leave
until you found it.

Once captured,
you insisted on your innocence,

despite all the evidence to the contrary.

And then told Father Luca
to make sure Salaì did the opposite.

Why would I do that?

Because you needed my mind
focused on you, not them.

So busy trying to understand
why you k*lled the woman you loved

that I missed the obvious.

That you didn't.

[Leonardo] Where are you taking us?

[Stefano] To the end of this story.

Go on inside.





You look tired.

And you look perfect.

I should k*ll you, you know?

- For k*lling me like that.
- [chuckles]

There was no other way.

- You took an awful chance. [giggles]
- I know.

I know.

I did what I had to do.

All those beautiful drawings
you destroyed.

- Oh.
- The painting.

I feel sorry for you, not for me.

For me?

That painting
would have been your immortality.

Now no one will ever know
how much you mean to me.

We'll know.

That's enough.


[carriage approaching]

Take my carriage. Keep them hidden.

[gasps] Francesco!


You know I can't come with you.

Not while the man
who wants to hurt you still lives.

I know.

Come with me. Francesco.


My heart is breaking.

For me,

you have been
and always will be love itself.

You are, without a doubt,

- the strangest man I've ever met.
- [chuckles]


the best.


Goodbye, my love.

You'll take care of him, won't you?

If he'll let me.

[horses whinny]

I don't understand why you did this.

You changed the way
I see the world, Leonardo.

And myself.

Besides, there's a painting
I'd like to see you finish.

The woman with the beguiling smile.
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