"Omerta"

#MLM-308

Written by Michael R. Perry

Directed by Paul Shapiro

Edited by James Coblentz

Aired December 18, 1998

Summary: On a Christmas holiday in Vermont, Frank and Jordan Black become involved in the plight of a resurrected mobster and two ethereal women with miraculous healing powers.

 

  Season Three on DVD

 

Synopsis:  In 1989, three armed mobsters — Donnie, Paolo and Boney — march a fourth man through a pine forest located near Coker Creek, Vermont. Their prisoner is Eddie "Scarpino" Gianini, a former colleague who none-too-wisely had an affair with a powerful mob boss’s wife. Shortly thereafter, the mobsters open fire, killing Eddie. Later that night, a female form finds Eddie’s body and drags it into the forest.

In the present day, Frank takes Jordan Christmas shopping. Jordan takes special interest in a nail polish display. She tells her father the polish is identical to the to the kind she purchased for Catherine the previous year, which is still in its original wrapping back home. Frank decides to spend Christmas in Vermont. As he and Jordan enter the town of Coker Creek, they spy a small monument in front of town hall. The monument is a carving of a hairy creature known as "Littlefoot." A short time later, Sheriff Earl Parker arrests a man wandering almost-naked through town, his body clad only in Eddie’s bloodied, bullet hole-ridden jacket. The man, Al Ryan, claims he cannot remember how he came upon the jacket. Realizing he will need help with the case, Parker turns to Frank. At the sheriff’s station, Al tells Frank and Parker that he had been attacked and killed by a wolf during a hunting trip. When he regained consciousness, he found himself inside a cave, a feminine figure leaning over his body.

Frank, Parker and Al travel to the pine forest. There they discover the remnants of torn, bloodied clothing. At first, Parker believes that Al attacked and killed a victim. But a wallet found inside a pair of shredded blue jeans identifies them as belonging to Al. Frank concludes that Al probably was attacked by an animal, though he is unsure why he shows no signs of having been mauled. As Frank and the others follow the tracks through the woods, they come upon a figure of a man. A chase ensues. The figure suddenly leaps from the brush. Frank tackles the figure, which turns out to be Eddie Gianini.

Emma Hollis travels to Vermont to help Frank with the case. She explains that Eddie had worked as a hit man for the Santo crime family. Donnie, Paolo and Boney eventually confessed to killing Eddie, and have been imprisoned ever since. When police received word that Eddie is still very much alive, the threesome was released from jail. Unfortunately, Eddie’s reappearance also jeopardizes the government’s case against Santo and his top operatives, who were imprisoned when the three mobsters testified against them (as part of a plea bargain arrangement).

Frank and Emma meet with Prosecutor Polgreen, who helped bring down Santo’s operation. Polgreen interrogates Eddie, and questions him about the murder of some dead mobsters. To Polgreen’s surprise, Eddie confesses to the killings. He admits to having carried out some twenty-seven murders in all. Polgreen is deeply suspicious, especially when Eddie refuses to identify where he has been hiding for the previous nine years.

Frank concludes that Eddie used the "Littlefoot" legend to draw attention away from something else hiding in the pine forest. He, Emma and a search team return to the wooded area, where they discover a small cave. Inside are two waifish women. The women, Rose and Lhasa, are brought to the Coker Creek clinic for treatment and observation. After performing a physical exam, a doctor determines they are both in perfect physical and psychological condition. The women are, however, unable, or perhaps unwilling, to speak. A short time later, Frank watches in amazement as Lhasa heals the battered face of a woman who had been the victim of domestic violence.

Frank begins searching through some photographs that Emma brought with her. Lhasa and Rose see the photos and recognize Eddie’s face amongst them. They also recognize stills of Donny, Paolo and Boney. Both women tell Frank and Emma that the threesome "whacked" Eddie, and that later, they brought him back to life. Polgreen realizes the women can testify to this in court, and thereby prevent the case against the Santo family from unraveling. A short time later, Frank learns that Eddie made bail and his whereabouts are unknown. It doesn’t take long for Frank to realize that Eddie has again taken refuge inside the cave. Frank pays Eddie a visit, and during their conversation, it becomes clear that during Eddie’s nine-year stay in the cave, he told the women about his exploits as a mobster in great detail. He realizes that once word gets out that Rose and Lhasa are cooperating with the government, the mobsters will have them eliminated.

When Eddie and Frank return to the clinic, they discover that Rose and Lhasa have disappeared. But their fears are quickly put to rest when they find Jordan teaching the women how to use a swing set in a park nearby. An amazed Frank notices that Jordan’s broken arm is now completely healed. Jordan tells her father that Lhasa performed the miracle. As Frank and Jordan walk back to the hotel, Jordan wonders if the women might be able to bring Catherine back to life. A short time later, Boney, Paolo and Donny open fire on Eddie and the women. Lhasa is hit by the gunfire and falls to the ground. Lhasa is rushed to the clinic, where she is placed under constant surveillance. Shortly thereafter, Eddie tells Frank that the prosecutor’s office declined his offer to testify in court, due to his reputation as a mobster who faked his own death.

Jordan and Frank return to the clinic. There, Jordan unwraps the nail polishes and begins painting Lhasa’s hand. Lhasa squeezes the girl’s hand in her own. Later, Frank tells Eddie that authorities will move Lhasa from the clinic that night.

At the clinic, orderlies lift Lhasa into a waiting ambulance. Rose climbs inside to be near her sister. As the ambulance pulls away, Frank notices that Eddie is behind he wheel. As the ambulance turns a corner, it bursts into flames. Later, Jordan correctly surmises that her father would never let anything happen to Rose and Lhasa.

In a remote mountain cabin, Eddie wishes Rose and Lhasa a Merry Christmas.

 

Photographs:

- Frank's vacation is cut short

- Frank and Jordan check into the hotel

- Emma arrives to lend Frank assistance

- Frank interviews Al Ryan behind bars

- Eddie plays with Lhasa and Rose

- Legal representatives observe the trio

- Frank shows Jordan a statue of Littlefoot

 

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Trivia:  "Omerta," the third season's Christmas-themed episode, was written by Millennium staff writer Michael R. Perry, who also scripted the third season's offbeat Halloween episode.

 

Musician Mark Snow considers the unusual underscore music for "Omerta" among his most remarkable work on the series. Prior to the episode's first airing Snow told the Abyss, "In 'Omerta,' the Millennium Christmas show, I really push the envelope by incorporating elements of opera and classical choral elements, soloists and groups. I'm very proud of the work I've done on this episode." Snow included tracks from the episode on the official Millennium soundtrack released electronically by Apple's iTunes in 2004.

 

Viewers may recognize guest star Jon Polito, seen here as Eddie "Scarpino" Giannini. The prolific character actor has appeared in films such as Highlander, Barton Fink, The Crow, The Big Lebowski, and The Man Who Wasn't There, has had starring roles in television shows including Homicide: Life on the Street and The Chronicle, and has guest starred on such shows as Miami Vice, NYPD Blue, Tales From the Crypt, and Seinfeld.

 

Death Toll:  2

 

Title:  The word omerta is the Sicilian term for a code that prohibits speaking or divulging information about certain activities, especially the activities of a criminal organization. Eddie comes to apply the code of silence that he obeyed in the Mafia to his life with Lhasa and Rose. The episode shares its title with the last novel written by Mario Puzo, the author of The Godfather.

 

Starring:

Lance Henriksen as Frank Black

Brittany Tiplady as Jordan Black

Klea Scott as Emma Hollis

 

Guest Starring:

Jon Polito as Eddie Scarpino Giannini

Keegan Tracy as Lhasa

Michelle Beauchamp as Rose

R. Nelson Brown as Al Ryan

Salvatore Sortino as Paolo Stefano

Arthur Corber as Donny

James DiStefano as Boney Nerone

Patrick Keating as Dr. Rice

Annabel Kershaw as Carol

Tom MacBeath as Jonathan Polgreen

Bob Morrisey as Sheriff Earl Parker

Nicole Robert as the Front Desk Clerk
 

Production Credits:

Production #6C08

Music by Mark Snow
Production Designer Mark Freeborn
Director of Photography Robert McLachlan
Associate Producer Jon-Michael Preece
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 Chip Johannessen

Executive Producer Michael Duggan

Executive Producer Chris Carter

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