"Goodbye Charlie"


Written by Richard Whitley

Directed by Ken Fink

Edited by Chris Willingham, A.C.E.

Aired January 9, 1998

Summary: Murders in the guise of assisted suicides bewilder Frank Black and Lara Means, whose primary suspect is a charismatic nurse convinced he is ministering to the terminally ill.


  Season Two on DVD


Quote:  "Let us go in; the fog is rising." — Emily Dickinson, her last words, 1886


Synopsis:  Inside a cheap motel room, Steven Kiley uses a "suicide machine" to end the life of a terminally-ill middle-aged man, Preston Williams. As Terry Jack's song "Seasons In The Sun" plays on a boombox, we see that Preston is, in fact, tied to a bed, his mouth covered with gray duct tape. Steven takes Preston's hand and forces the man's thumb down on an injection button, causing a lethal solution to enter his bloodstream. 

Both Lara Means and Frank Black are contacted by the Millennium Group regarding Williams' apparent suicide, the latest in a series of such deaths. Though a note in the victim's handwriting suggests the death was self-inflicted, and an autopsy confirms Williams suffered from a terminal illness, Frank notices evidence — contusions on the wrist and adhesive particles on the mouth —  indicating Williams was, in fact, murdered. 

Meanwhile, Steven, who works as a volunteer manning the phones at the Seattle Crisis Center, locates his next victim: an anonymous female caller too afraid to speak freely about her illness. Steven locates the woman, whose name is Eleanor, and eventually befriends her. Eleanor is stunned when Steven describes her condition to the last detail. 

Frank and Lara attend the funeral of another victim. A card attached to a display of flowers catches their attention. The oddly worded message is signed "Dr. Steven Kiley." A computer search turns up no physicians by that name, though Frank and Lara are certain they've heard the name somewhere before. A police officer staking out the motel where the suicides took place alerts Giebelhouse about a possible suspect. Frank and Lara rush to the scene, where they discover an unconscious Eleanor hooked up to a suicide machine as the song "Goodbye Charlie" plays in the background. But Steven was tipped off about their arrival, and has disappeared into the night. 

Frank and Lara realize the suspect has been looting an abandoned hospital for the construction of his suicide machine. There they discover corpses stored inside slab drawers. Based on internal visions, Frank realizes the suspect is, or was, a doctor at the hospital. At some point, the doctor experienced an epiphany — and began trying to save lives by taking them. 

Faking mental illness, Frank and Lara attempt to flush out their suspect at the crisis center. Through a process of elimination, the pair zero in on Kiley. They find him at a hospital, where he is employed as a nurse. Suddenly, Lara realizes the name "Steven Kiley" was a doctor on the Marcus Welby television series. 

"Kiley," or Ellsworth Beedle, is taken to a police interrogation room for questioning. Records indicate Steven graduated from Harvard Medical School. Steven explains he switched from the role of doctor to nurse because the latter help people. During the conversation, Steven mentions another plane of existence that cultures in Tibet, West Africa and Mexico all believe in. Steven explains that he found the other plane when he assisted a terminally ill elderly woman end her life. Steven is released from custody due to lack of evidence. 

Steven and several people from the terminal crisis center gather at the home of Mabel Shiva, the motel clerk who alerted Steven of the police raid when he was assisting Eleanor commit suicide. Frank realizes that Steven needs a release from the anxiety he experienced during the interrogation. He and Lara ride back to the motel, where they realize Mabel is Steven's assessor. The pair race to Mabel's home, but they are too late: everyone inside has taken their own life. Everyone except for Steven, who left behind a note reading: "It wasn't my choice."



- Frank observes a note left at the scene

- Frank and Lara search a home

- Kiley prepares patients for their journey

- Kiley sings one last karaoke song

- Frank checks a woman for a pulse

- Kiley tears a strip of duct tape


Media Review: "There is a key line in this episode, something that signals the direction being taken throughout season two. Lara and Frank are staking out a funeral when he makes some crack comment about all the cases the two have worked. Lara argues that they haven’t been cases but tests, ways for the Millennium Group to measure their respective gifts. This interesting installment in the show plays directly into that dichotomy. No matter how you feel about assisted suicide, the police treat it as a crime, a case that needs to be solved. But the solution comes early on and is rather obvious from the fact pattern. The more interesting aspect comes when Frank and Lara question the suspect and begin to learn just what the Millennium Group is all about. Their suspect seems to be super-human, without a murderous motivation or immoral fiber in his being. There are even hints he’s been sent to do this work by some higher power. It is up to Frank and Lara to determined his Heavenly or damning purpose. This gives this episode a real resonance that a straightforward hot button issue exercise would have missed." —Bill Gibron, DVD Talk


"Even the late, lamented Bobby Darin fits into Morgan and Wong’s storytelling model, his music acting as background commentary for the first third of the season before a sublime sendoff-via-monologue in the tenth episode, 'Goodbye Charlie.'" —Keith Uhlich, Slant Magazine


Trivia:  Guest star Tucker Smallwood, who portrays the impassioned Stephen Kiley, is another of those performers who is considered one of the alumnus connected with writer/producers Glen Morgan and James Wong. In addition to starring in Space: Above and Beyond, Smallwood has been seen on The X-Files, The Others, and in the feature film The One.


Death Toll:  7


Title:  This episode is named for the Bobby Darin song that Steven Kiley sings for Eleanor Norris while preparing her death. The song, which bids farewell to an ill-fated mobster, was written by Andre Previn with lyrics Dory Langdon and was featured in a 1964 comedy of the same name. The Bobby Darin rendition of the tune was heard twice on Millennium, in both "Monster" and "Goodbye Charlie."



"Season in the Sun" by Terry Jacks

"Goodbye Charlie" by Bobby Darin

"The Right Side of Wrong" by Marty Jensen and Jessie Fanion



Lance Henriksen as Frank Black


Guest Starring:

Kristen Cloke as Lara Means

Tucker Smallwood as Stephen Kiley

Stefan Arngrim as Delbert

Deanne Henry as Eleanor Norris

David Hurtubise as Russ

David Mackay as Jeff Lubo

Klodyne Rodney as Nurse

Bethoe Shirkoff as Mabel Shiva

Gina Stockdale as Tammy

Dan Weber as Preston

Production Credits:

Production #5C10

Music by Mark Snow
Production Designer Mark Freeborn
Director of Photography Robert McLachlan
Associate Producer Jon-Michael Preece
Consulting Producer Chip Johannessen
Consulting Producers Darin Morgan
Co-Producer Robert Moresco
Co-Producer Paul Rabwin
Producer Thomas J. Wright
Co-Executive Producer Ken Horton
Co-Executive Producer John Peter Kousakis

Executive Producer Glen Morgan

Executive Producer James Wong

Executive Producer Chris Carter