Jill Tells Seneca Nell Would Want Him to Forgive Himself
(June 1976)

(Seneca and Clem are discussing Faith's return to work at the hospital - Seneca suggested they do it now, while they have the chance - when Jill appears in the doorway.)

JILL: Seneca, the clerk just called. The jury's about to reach a verdict. The clerk wanted to make sure you were on tap.

SENECA: (getting up somewhat nervously) Well, I guess this is it.

CLEM: Seneca, I told you, they're on your side. They've been out a long time. If they wanted to convict you, they'd have gone and done it a long time ago.

SENECA: Jill, what do you think?

JILL: (apprehensively) Well, they're having trouble deciding, that's pretty clear.

SENECA: Either for me, or against me.

JILL: Yes. You see, they may have found you guilty of some charges, and innocent of others.

SENECA: (nods) That's what you expected though, isn't it?

JILL: (with compassion) Seneca, look, there's no point in speculating.

CLEM: Hey, listen, I'll let you two alone, okay? (Seneca walks him to the doorway.) Seneca, good luck.

(They shake hands.)

SENECA: Thank you. Hold the fort, huh?

CLEM: (nods) Hold the fort.

SENECA: (shrugs) Well, at least it will be over soon.

JILL: (shrugs) Yeah.

SENECA: How bad is it for a lawyer to lose a case?

JILL: (turning away and looking out the window) Well, you don't win any brownie points for it.

SENECA: (goes over to her) Sorry I blew it for you, Jill. You worked so hard.

JILL: Hey, we don't know that you did yet. Anyway, it is up to the attorney to control the client.

SENECA: Now,hat's ridiculous. There is no way that you could have stopped me from doing what I did.

JILL: No, I suppose not.

SENECA: Are you still angry with me?

JILL: I was never angry at you, just sad.

SENECA: "I'm not mad at you, my boy, just disappointed in you."

JILL: Oh no, much more than disappointed! You see, I wonder if you will ever think that you paid enough.

SENECA: What do you mean?

JILL: Do you remember the day that those subpoenas were served?


JILL: Do you recall our conversation?

SENECA: (evasively) Vaguely.

JILL: Well I should have known then that I couldn't control you! You've wanted to be convicted from the very beginning!

SENECA: Come on, Jill.

JILL: Oh, come on, Seneca, you are so consumed with guilt over the way you led Nell's life and put your own career first that you can't bear not being punished for it. And since she's not around to do it, the jury will have to do.

SENECA: (shakes his finger, but not assuredly) That is amateur psychology.

JILL: Okay, maybe it is. But it's true, isn't it?

SENECA: (sits down at his desk) Possibly.

JILL: See, no matter what the verdict is, that's the thing that you have to deal with.

SENECA: (tries to protest, but is unable) How did you get so smart?

JILL: (smiles) I care what happens to you.

SENECA: After all the trouble I caused you? I can't imagine why.

JILL: Well, for one thing, as your attorney, I have been thinking about you and your life day and night for weeks.

SENECA: Is it, uh, hard, letting clients go?

JILL: (nods) If they're nice people, yes, sometimes. It's an incredibly intense relationship.


JILL: And an honest one.

(Seneca looks a bit taken aback.)

JILL: See, in a case like this, there's no time for games and politeness. There's too much at stake.

SENECA: (smiling) You're just trying to make me feel better for yelling at you, aren't you?

JILL: Oh, come on, we both yelled! The point is that in the end, we really knew what each other felt about things. How we got there doesn't matter.

SENECA: I guess you're right. It was like we were colleagues, in a way, except the project was...a little personal. You know, I think...yeah, you know more about me than any human being except my mother.

JILL: (laughs) That is why it is called a privileged relationship.


JILL: Seneca?


JILL: How will you deal with it?

SENECA: I don't know.

JILL: See, that's the awful thing about guilt. You never seem to be able to atone enough. I mean, even if they sent you to jail, that still wouldn't be enough. It's gotta happen here (puts her finger on her head) in your own head. You've got to believe that Nell forgave you for all those years, and then you've gotta forgive yourself.

SENECA: (trying to avoid facing it) Yeah, what she probably doesn't forgive me for is my outburst in court. You know, I am a kind of surprised that she didn't have me struck by lightning. Not fatally, just...singed a little. (Jill puts her hand on her hip, rolls her eyes, and shakes her head.) Aah, counselor, you're making a lot of sense.

JILL: Now he listens to me. Now!

SENECA: You know, that's interesting. Counselor. "One who advises." Now, I think Nell forgave me (nods) but, forgiving myself, that's something else again.

JILL: You'll have to work at it. You're a good man, Seneca. You made those decisions because you thought they were best for you and Nell, and...

SENECA: (cutting her off) And there's really nothing I can do about it now, is there?

JILL: (sighs) That's right. Seneca, you have so much to offer. Please, don't do this to yourself.

(He sits down and covers his face.)

SENECA: Jill, if they take away my license...

JILL: Then you'll appeal. We'll deal with that when it happens.

SENECA: That's right. We'll deal with it. (nods) You know, that helps a lot? Well, there's one good thing I got out of this whole mess - a friend.

JILL: (laughs) Yeah.

(The phone rings. Seneca answers it.)

SENECA: Hello? (pause) Yes, she is. One moment, please.

(He hands her the phone.)

JILL: Jillian Coleridge. Yes, thank you very much. (She hangs up.) The jury's reached a decision. Let's go.

(They leave as hauntingly ominous music plays.)

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