"Alcatraz" Clarence Montgomery (TV Episode 2012) - Plot Summary Poster

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  • The team soon believes the next man to return, Clarence Montgomery, a gifted colored cook to the warden's taste, may well have been innocent of the bloody, senseless murder of his white girl friend on a country club golf course. He was the first subject of Dr. Milton Beauregard perverse crime stimulation experiment, but in the present he copycats his own alleged crime.

  • Clarence Montgomery, the only innocent man in Alcatraz, returns to present day, but is now committing crimes.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • CURRENT - At a fund-raising event at a country club for the Alameda County Childrens Hospital, Clarence Montgomery catches the eyes of Megan Palmer. She follows him outside and flirts with him. He recommends they go for a walk; she instead takes him on a joyride in a golf cart. He blurts, I got us a house. She has no idea what he is talking about.

    Next we see him running down a fairway, carrying her lifeless, bloody body, muttering, Oh, my God. What happened? He stops and puts her down, carefully posing her limbs at certain angles. He keeps repeating, Who did this to you? 1960 - At mess time, whites are let into the mess hall first and then the colored inmates, including Clarence, of C-Block, follow. A guard pulls Clarence out of the line saying that the warden wants to see him in the kitchen. In the back of the kitchen, the warden is cooking a sauce and asks Clarence to taste it for him. He says its good but the warden asks him to taste it again. This time, Clarence recommends that it needs more butter to keep the flour from seizing, and a softer touch with the whisk. Apparently, this passes the wardens test and he invites Clarence to prepare the menu and supervise the kitchen at the next Chefs Meal. Clarence demurs saying the last time he cooked for white folks he ended up at Alcatraz. The warden corrects him and says the last time Clarence took his chefs knife to a white girl is how he ended up at Alcatraz. The warden offers this as an opportunity at redemption.

    CURRENT - Dr. Diego Soto is in the dungeon scanning current crime reports for matches to the 63s crimes. He sees Megan Palmers crime scene photo and pulls out the file of Ellen Casey from 1958. The positions of the bodies are similar.

    Clarence goes to Emmits apartment, saying he had nowhere else to go. Emmit is surprised to see Clarence having been told that he had died at Lompoc Federal Prison. Clarence opens his coat and reveals a blood-soaked shirt. He says he thinks he killed a girl but Emmit says hes not making sense, saying that Clarence never killed anyone, that he was innocent.

    Clarence says that at Alcatraz they took him out of his cell, night after night, took his blood, and messed with his head. Clarence says hes not innocent; not any more.


    1960 - Dr. Lucy Singupta is interviewing Clarence. He blames his imprisonment on white folks doing what white folks want to do, and that it was inevitable that this would happen, implying the same will happen to Lucy. Clarence was imprisoned for slitting the throat of his white girlfriend on a golf course.

    CURRENT - At the crime scene, Soto shows Emerson Hauser the crime scene photo of Ellen Casey. And then a photo of Clarence who was the first black chef at a local country club, working there for seven years, but falling in love with the owners daughter, Ellen Casey. Rebecca Madsen notes that Megan Palmers body was moved from where she was killed, to the 13th hole, just like what happened in 1958.

    Rebecca interrogates a representative of the club, and Megans friend who is still wearing the clothes from last nights fundraiser. Neither is helpful, so the only connection they have is the coincidental body positioning. Emerson tasks them to find another connection.

    1960 - Clarence is getting a shave while one of the younger prisoners, Emmit Little, is urging him to take the chefs position as there is a movement coming and that Clarence could be a symbol of progress. The deputy warden walks in and crows his skepticism about the wardens plan.

    CURRENT - At the medical examiners office, Vicki points out the two victims were slashed differently - the 1958 victim by an unprofessional, novice with a knife; and the current victim by a professional, decisive knife-wielder.

    The murderers were also different-handed. Vicki concludes they were not the same murderers.

    CURRENT - Back at the dungeon, Soto wonders if its a copycat. Rebecca dismisses that, because the cases are 50 years apart. Emerson says that since the M.E. concluded the murders were conducted by two different men, that must mean that Clarence did not kill Megan Palmer [totally precluding the fact that Clarence may have been wrongly convicted in 1958] and thus this is not one of their 63s. Rebecca points out to Emerson that the crime scene photos were never released to the public so that Palmers killer must either be Clarence or someone who knew Clarence. Emerson reluctantly gives them 12 more hours to investigate.

    In Clarences box, they find penicillin and vitamin B-6. They find newspaper clippings with Emmit Littles name circled. Soto knows him to have been released in 1961 and became a big player in the Black Panther Party.

    Rebecca and Soto go to Emmits apartment in Oakland. He was active in the war at home until he was shot in the back by police and is now in a wheelchair. They ask about Clarence and he says he thought Clarence was dead. He says Clarence was in love with Ellen Casey and that they were going to run away that night to a house he had just bought for them.

    Vicki calls and says that she found a hair on Megan Palmer and it belongs to an African-American male with Wilsons Disease. It causes copper retention which causes disability such that the victim can hardly move or even think properly. It is treated by penicillin and vitamin B-6.

    Clarence drives a catering truck to an engagement party and tells an assistant to prepare the meal. Clarence takes a folded suit he had brought with him and walks inside.

    1960 - The warden comes by the kitchen as Clarence is cooking. The warden tastes and complements him on the food. Clarence thanks the warden for the opportunity.

    The warden walks into the mess hall. The blacks and whites sit separately at opposite sides of the main aisle. For grace, the warden waxes philosophical about how sharing a meal with ones enemies is a sign of civilization. The blacks dig in to their meals but the whites push their trays aside and glare across the aisle. As the tension grows, the deputy warden tells the warden, Rome wasnt built in a day. The warden walks off with his guards, leaving the deputy warden in the middle of a food fight which slowly gets worse. Clarence has walked out from the kitchen to the mess hall to see what was going on and the guards close the gates behind him. As fights break out all around, several white prisoners gang up on Clarence. The guards flood the room with tear-gas.

    CURRENT - Clarence has mixed in at the engagement party. A woman flirts with him and he tells her, Its a lovely night for a walk.

    CURRENT - The womans body is wheeled off in a body bag. Its the same m.o. as for Megan Palmer. Emerson concedes that Clarence did not commit the murder in 1958. Soto wonders why Clarence would start killing now. Rebecca notices the Chief of Police. Emerson frowns and goes to talk with him. The Chief says they should talk but not here. Emerson recommends their usual place.

    Rebecca and Soto wonder how Clarence got into the party and then see the catering truck and the menu for the dinner - which includes Clarences specialty pork ribs.

    1960 - A guard drags Clarence out of his cell and takes him on a slow walk down the white cell block corridor. He is taken to a dark room, strapped into a chair, and has his eyelids taped open. Dr. Milton Beauregard injects Clarence with a hypodermic and tells him to relax. Dr. Beauregard starts a movie projector which shows images of violence (including crime scene photos of Ellen Casey) with a soundtrack repeatedly proclaiming Clarence guilty of murder. Dr. Beauregard says to himself, If it works in one direction, I dont see why it cant work in the reverse. As the images continue, Dr. Beauregard electroshocks Clarence.

    CURRENT - Rebecca and Soto go to the catering company, but Clarence sees them and runs.

    1960 - The deputy warden comes in to the laundry room where Clarence is bundling clothes, using a box cutter to cut the twine. He taunts Clarence and leaves.

    A white prisoner comes by to pick up the bundles, recognizes Clarence and praises him for his cooking. As Clarence listens to his blabbing, he has flashbacks of the images from the Beauregard movie. He slashes the prisoner with the box cutter. Before the guards storm in, Clarence poses the body in that same position.

    CURRENT - Rebecca has lost Clarence but thinks they can track him because he will need his prescriptions. At the M.E. office, Soto sneaks peeks at Vicki as she checks the scripts written recently in the San Francisco. They find twelve listed, including one naming Emmit Little, and Rebecca thanks her by offering to buy her a drink. Soto agrees, and Vicki asks, How about tomorrow? Soto, confused, looks to Rebecca wondering if Vicki meant the three of them or just him. Rebecca rolls her eyes and walks out. Vicki meant just him.

    At Emmits apartment, Emerson, Rebecca, and Soto knock and Emmit shoots a shotgun through the door. He refuses to be part of Clarence returning to prison, saying the Lord gave Clarence this second chance, and that they (the police) werent going to take this chance away from him. Clarence is huddled, popping his pills in the back room. Emerson slips outside and sneaks around the back.

    CURRENT - Emmit keeps shooting out the door. They try to tell him that Clarence HAS been killing people, but Emmit accuses them (the system) of making him that way.

    Emerson peers into the back bedroom window and calls to Clarence. Emerson says he knows that Clarence was innocent in 1958. Clarence says that doesnt do him any good now. And that hes not innocent now.

    Clarence goes out to the front room and confesses to Emmit that he killed the two girls and that he cant stop himself. He begs Emmit to help him not get put back in prison. Emmit shoots Clarence in the chest. Rebecca and Emerson storm in and Emmit surrenders.

    Clarence is in a body bag, which Emerson orders to have put in his SUV. Emmit is taken away in a squad car.

    Emerson meets with the Chief at the Palace of Fine Arts. The Chief says the morale of his men is going down because they have been kept from investigating Emersons cases. Emerson offers him an envelope with evidence of the real murderer of Ellen Casey.

    Back at the dungeon, Rebecca and Soto watch a TV report showing the arrest of that murderer, along with news that Clarence has been exonerated of that crime. Unfortunately, Clarence died at Lompoc Federal Prison after being transferred from Alcatraz in 1965.

    Rebecca thinks its all wrong and wonders what turned Clarence into a killer. Soto says that 1950s prisoners were subject to much experimentation including one where radioactive substances were mixed with their blood and re-injected into their bodies. But he didnt think that happened at Alcatraz . . . until now.

    1960 - Lucy shows Clarence a photo of the prisoner he killed in the laundry room, pointing out the same pose as Ellen Casey. Lucy thinks Clarence is suffering from a psychic roadblock since Ellens murder. He repeats that he did not kill Ellen but he did kill that prisoner. Lucy says she can clear that roadblock of memories if he allows her. He says she cant, and that she cant stop him now. No one can.

    The warden and Dr. Beauregard look on. The warden knew Clarence was innocent but had asked Dr. Beauregard if it was possible to do the reverse of what Lucy was doing.

    Dr. Beauregard then asks the warden what he was doing with the blood that he (the doctor) was asked to draw and then re-inject into the prisoners. The warden says nothing was done to the blood, What kind of warden would I be if I kept secrets from my staff?


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