Wild Card

Season 1 Episode 1

Pilot

0
Aired Sunday 12:00 AM Aug 02, 2003 on Lifetime

Episode Recap

Opening scene: Zoë is leaving her job as a dealer in Las Vegas and moving to Chicago to look after her late sister's children. As she collects her last pay check she says "I am going to miss these!" Her friend says: "And you are going to have to watch your language!" "Oh crap" says Zoë! "Damn it is going to be hard"!

As she says goodbye to the show dancers – whilst cradling her pet rabbit – Zoë tells them about although she didn't go to college she got a degree in life which will help her look after her nieces and nephew. She is still trying to convince herself as how fit she will be looking after the children talking to passengers on the plane: "I believe that everything happens for a reason, which leads me to believe that all the screws up I've made have lead me to this point … to stop my nieces and nephew from making the same mistakes I have made! That would mean my life had a master plan … that I just wasn't aware of!"

As she arrives at her sister's house she recalls when she and her sister were young and Zoë broke her mother's favourite porcelain figure and her sister repaired it like new. As she stands crying, her old friend and neighbour Jeannie comes out and tells her the children are waiting for her and are so excited she is coming to look after them.

Hannah rushes down to hug Zoë and tells her that she needs a Harriet Tupman costume for school. Zoë gives Hannah some dice that only throw 7s or 11s no matter how many times you throw them. Hannah asks why you would need them; Zoe says it's for Craps – "Crap is a bad word" says Hannah – "Yes it is, but Crapsss isn't!"

Cliff comes down to say hello and notices an ash tray in her bag. "Do you smoke?" "No I got that from the littlest who'… erm ladies house in Texas! You know who got a kick out of it? Your Mum!" Cliff puts on his earphones and walks off. Zoë looks bewildered.

Taylor comes down to say hello! Zoë says that her outfit makes her look very grownup and tells Taylor she has something for her. Taylor says she will pick it up later because she has orchestra practice and can't be late. "What do you play?" "The drums!" "The Drums?"

Zoë runs after Taylor to find out what time Taylor will be back from orchestra but she has gone, so she asks Hannah. "I know another secret … Taylor is not in orchestra!"

The alarm clock is ringing and Zoë rushes downstairs for the children but they have got themselves ready. Hannah says "Mummy used to say that you would never get married because you would sleep through your own wedding!"

Zoë goes out and tries to get a job … without any success!

She then goes to the Insurance Company to try and find out why the children aren't going to get any money from the claim. The woman tells her that they won't get anything because her sister was at fault in the accident and they don't pay out on that. Zoë asks how that can be because her sister was a responsible person and never even had a ticket her whole life. Another investigator comes over and introduces himself as Dan Lennox; he says he is sorry for her loss. He tells her that insurance companies don't pay claims to people who cause their own deaths because "they don't want to pay for suicides … I get it!" says Zoë. But she says how can they prove her sister was at fault? He shows her a copy of the Police report that shows two witnesses and the driver who all said her sister was at fault. Zoë asks Dan who these people are; he asks her out for a coffee! She asks if they have investigated the witnesses – he says no they never investigate when the Police have assigned responsibility. Zoë notices that one witness statement is dated the day after the accident and the other two days after which she finds suspicious. Dan says it is common for witnesses to go back and give a statement. But Zoë says that there was a fatality … "Wouldn't you stick around?" Dan looks embarrassed.

Zoë goes to see one of the witnesses, Ray Ramirez, to try and find out what he saw. "Was she speeding" she asks. "I only know she ran a red light." "Did it seem like she was speeding?" "I really couldn't judge her speed". "But you were at the intersection, facing …? "East …she was driving west." So she came right at you … could you estimate …was she doing 90?" "No!" "20?" "No ... well not 20 … I don't know!"

Zoë goes to see the other witness, Tony Brooks, who tells her "I was at the intersection heading south when her car travelling in a westerly direction entered the intersection against the light. I don't think she was speeding but I don't know for sure." "When you were entering the intersection was that from a dead stop or were you already moving?" Zoë asks. "What difference does that make? You know facts are facts, I can't help it if your sister made a mistake!" he says defensively. "You know I didn't ask if she was speeding!"

Zoë and the children are all sitting depressed at the table; they are picking over their macaroni cheese with "green stuff" which are broccoli and peppers! Zoe tells Taylor not to do homework at the table. Taylor says she has orchestra practice … "Oh no you don't have orchestra practice and no you won't catch us later!" "You know you are not the first one to get busted for an excuse and by the way …orchestra … lame … because sooner or later I would want to go to a concert! "What excuse did you use?" asks Hannah. "I'll tell you when you are 20!"

Zoë tells Taylor that if she wants to go out she will have to ask permission. "Fine, can I go out?" "No, not on a school night … house rules!" "But I have to go to the library." "Fine, then we will all go!" "Shame on you if you fool me once. Shame on me if you fool me twice. You are grounded for two weeks!" says Zoë. "My mother never grounded me so it shows what you know!"

Zoë tells Cliff not to wear his headsets at the table. "Is that a house rule too?" "Would your Mother have allowed it?" "Now I am really not hungry!" and Cliff walks off and asks Taylor if she wants to be fostered. Zoë tells Hannah that she can't wait to see her classroom on Hero's Day. Hannah tells Zoë that it is only for parents and she is not her parent. Zoë is left totally deflated.

Next morning Taylor tries to convince Zoë she shouldn't be grounded because she has a school dance. Zoë tells her to bring her boyfriend home, but Taylor tells her not to embarrass her. Cliff tells Zoë she has to pick him up later and take him to ball practice.

Zoë continues looking for a job without luck.

She goes to the garage to try and get her sister's car. When she sees the damage done to it she is devastated. The garage owner says he can never understand accidents as in who lives and who dies. He shows her the other driver's car where the driver walked away. Zoë notices a wedding invitation in the car and name of the other driver. She goes to see the other driver, Eileen Draper. She asks her if she saw her sister. Zoë mentions they were no skid marks behind the driver's car.

Zoë turns up late to pick up Cliff and rushes him to school. It comes out that Cliff is blaming himself for his mother's death because his mother was on her way to get something for her. Zoë goes in to see Cliff's coach because he is late and when she explains and asks him to cut her some slack. It turns out that she knows him … they used date !! He asks her to help him out at the school dance.

Zoë meets Sophia at the Insurance Company; she works with Dan. Zoë tells her she is suspicious of the two witnesses because they both used the word 'westerly' in their statements and no-one uses that term. She tells Sophia that there were no break marks. Sophia runs a check on Eileen Draper and asks Zoë doesn't tell anyone in case the "Intimidator" finds out! "Who is the Intimidator?" "My boss!" Sophia says Draper has no red flags against her name and is clean.

Zoë tells Jeannie that she wants to prove her sister was innocent for the children because they will have enough problems in their lives living with her. Jeannie shows her the ceramic figure her sister fixed when they were children telling her the children know their mother admired Zoë because she always picked up the pieces and got on with life. Hannah tells Zoë she now wants to be Joan of Arc!

Taylor's 'boyfriend' Ted comes round and Zoë gets him to write down all his personal info and that curfew is at 11.30pm! "I am surprised you didn't ask him for his fingerprints!" says Taylor. "Oh that's a good idea … Ted …!" "Not Funny!" says Taylor.

Zoë is on her bed looking at the broken figure and photos of her and her sister, then she looks at the wedding invitation she found in the Draper's car.

Next day she goes to the video shop that filmed the wedding and gets the guy to give her the tapes.

She takes the tapes to Dan and Sophia and proves that Draper knew one of the witnesses, Tony Brookes. They are amazed at her work. She asks them to run red flag checks on Tony but he is clean. Dan asks Zoë to go for a glass of win but she says she has to go and be an adult! "Raincheck!"

Zoë is at the school dance with Marcos when she meets Ted who owns up that Taylor is not at the dance but at a Frat party. Zoë goes to find her and gets stopped at the door. The guy tries to stop her getting in and she shouts for Taylor to get out of the house. On the way home Taylor tells Zoë she is the authority on stupid but as she is telling Zoë how cold she is, she passes out.

Zoë rings home from the hospital to say goodnight to Cliff and Hannah and Jeannie tells her Dan has phoned. She tells them Taylor will be fine and won't die. She rings Dan. She says she didn't expect to get to speak to him; he tells her he is trying to impress her! He tells her they got hold of the driver's phone records and it turns out she phoned the first witness a few minutes after the accident which proved she knew him as well. So because Sophia thought it was "curious" they were going to take a formal statement from him in the morning. He also says that perhaps they could go and get that cup of coffee! Marcos turns up at the hospital too.

The nurse tells Zoë that Taylor had been given the Date Rate Drug but that they have pumped her stomach and she will be fine. She tells Zoë that she got her to the hospital in time. Zoë breaks down crying because she did something right. She tells Marcos that she loves the children so much it scares her.

Next morning Dan and Sophia go to see the driver to ask her about the phone calls she made from the scene of the accident; she rang 911, she called for a taxi and then she rang Ray Ramirez one of the witnesses. The driver says she phoned for a taxi because her husband was out of town for the weekend and she rang Ramirez because she had given his name to the Police and she wanted to thank him for coming forward as a witness. Sophia says that the driver made all those phone calls in less than five minutes. The driver says Sophia is trying to make something out of nothing. Dan asks why didn't she take the taxi; she said it was because the Police drove her home. She tells them she won't be intimidated and if they don't leave it alone she will sue them and file a formal complaint with State Department of Insurance. Dan tells her they are only trying to get all the facts, not to intimidate her. Sophia asks her how she knows Tony Brooks and she tells them he was a client of her decorating firm. Sophia tells her they were surprised that she knew him and he just happened to witness her accident.

Back home Zoë tells Taylor that she will never drink a drink she has not poured herself or walk away from a beverage and then come back to it or drink from a bottle or can that has been opened in front of her. Taylor promises she will do that. Zoë tells Taylor she has called the Police but Taylor says she doesn't remember much apart from she got the soda herself and must have put it down, then talking to some guys but she doesn't remember Zoë picking her up; it was as it half her night was erased. Zoë tells her not to worry as the Police can not expect her to remember everything in between … whereupon something dawns upon her! "That's it" she says to Taylor … "I love you … that's it!"

Zoë goes into the office and tells Dan and Sophia of a big red flag -- that Irene Draper and Tony Brooks are lovers! Sophia asks if she has any proof. Zoë says she doesn't have any photos but she can draw them a picture because she has seen it so many times before in Las Vegas – rich older husband, young lover – Dan says she cant rely on a hunch – but Zoë says the Wedding reception ended at 6pm and the accident happened at 9pm – how can they account for every moment in between and how did Tony just happen to near Eileen three hours later? Her husband was out of town! Dan says "But you don't have proof!" Zoë tells him there are 3 hotels within 5 minutes of the accident – Tony Brooks rented a room at the Courtyard Plaza! Sophia says they don't usually give out that sort of information and Zoë says no they don't except those who have worked on the front desk usually bond together!

Zoë says that this is big news! Dan says that the only thing they got from Eileen Draper was the threat of a lawsuit that will cost them 50 times more than her claim is and Sophia tells Zoë that the Intimidator has told them they have to settle the case before close of business that day. Zoë tells them that he sister was not at fault and that her children need to know that; she asks Sophia if she thinks Eileen Draper is a liar – she says yes and Dan says he thinks she is a liar too. Zoë says that means Tony Brooks is a liar too which means so is Ray Ramirez, picks papers out of a box and asks Dan for a folder. She asks them what time close of business is – they both say 6 o'clock!

Zoë goes to see Ray Ramirez who tells her if she doesn't stop bothering him he will call the Police. She says to go ahead because what she has in the papers in the folder they will be calling him soon enough. She says she knows he lied and that when honest people are forced to lie they hate it like when lousy gamblers place a bet when they have bad cards. He says he is not lying! Zoë says that Mrs Draper must have been bleeding pretty badly after the accident. He said he couldn't say because it was dark. Zoë says but he got close enough to give her his number to which he replies he shouldn't say anything more to her. Zoë says that she thinks he should not for her sake but for his own because she is going way out on a limb in telling him that the Police found blood on the driver's car window which has been sent away for testing and that she bets it won't match Mrs Draper's because she wasn't driving. She says if she is wrong about it that Ray is home free but if she is right he lied to protect someone who killed her sister. She tells him that the Police know that Mrs Draper called him right after the accident and they would go easier on him if he confessed before the blood test comes in but if he doesn't he is an accomplice but that he won't want to go to jail for these people. As she walks off Ray smashes pots on the floor and breaks down and says he didn't see the accident and that he wasn't even there!

Zoë rings Dan and asks him if he still wants that cup of coffee and to meet her at Eileen Draper's house. Zoë tells Draper that they know she lied but she says to talk to her attorney and slams the door in their face. They shout through the door that they know she lied to the Police and filed a false insurance claim. The husband opens the door and Dan asks if she wants to go to jail for vehicle manslaughter and Zoë asks whether she would rather tell them what happened to her sister. Draper comes to the door again crying.

Back at home, Zoë gets the children together to tell them that their mother was not responsible for the accident. She tells them that the other people lied. She says that that they will feel bad about it for a long time but Taylor says "not as bad as we feel"! Hannah says she hates those people. Zoë says she hates what they did but loves the fact that one person decided not to go along with them and that one person made all the difference. And what is also good is no-one in the family was to blame so they can't be mad at themselves nor be mad at their mother because she was doing her most favourite thing in the whole world, doing the thing she loved the most – being a mom to them! Cliff puts his earphones back on and runs up to his room. Zoë follows him and tells him she promises it wasn't his fault and he hugs her crying.

Zoë goes back into the office and the staff stand up and give her a round of applause. Sophia tells her they are doing her a cheque and Dan says the police report says that Tony was driving and had a head injury just like Zoë thought but his hair had covered it up. Dan says he will be charged with vehicle manslaughter, leaving the scene, false report, perjury and fraud. Sophia says that Draper is going to be charged as an accessory after the fact, perjury, fraud and filing false police reports and that she had lied because she had a prenuptial agreement that said her husband could divorce her without alimony if she cheated on him.

An employee comes to tell them the cheque is ready and that the Intimidator wants to give it to her personally. Dan and Sophia try to warn her about what she is like. The Intimidator goes through the case and asks how Zoë got Ramirez to confess. Zoë says by exaggerating some facts; the Intimidator says that if her investigators lied like that the company would be at risk. Zoë says that it is a good thing then she doesn't work for them whereupon the Intimidator offers her a job because of her insight and "unusual skills"! She tells her she can start the next day but Zoë says she has something really important she has to do in the morning. The Intimidator asks if it is something to do with school; "Yes, how do you know that?" "Been there done that honey!"

Arriving at home, Zoë shouts to Hannah she has found the perfect outfit for Joan of Arc. Taylor says she doesn't want to be that anymore. Cliff says they have already done her outfit. Hannah comes down dressed as a croupier with a pack of cards saying "Ladies and Gentlemen, place your bets!" Hannah tells Zoë that she can come to Hero's Day if she isn't her parent and asks her if she wants to … "You bet!"
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