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Sports Night - Mystery


CSC; late Monday night. Casey and Danny are in their office, watching the NBA finals, cheering, laughing, high-fiving, arguing, joking, acting like guys do at a basketball game.

Dana appears in the doorway.

CASEY: Hey, Dana, come watch the game. (Then he sees her expression.) What's wrong?

DANA: Nothing. (She seems to be looking for something.)

CASEY: Something's wrong. What are you looking for?

DANA: You two haven't seen a black cat, have you?

CASEY: A black cat?

DANA: Yes, a black cat. I just saw a black cat running down the hall, through the newsroom, and I thought it came in here.

DANNY: You know what that means, Dana. Seven years bad luck.

CASEY: That's a broken mirror. Or is it spilled salt?

DANNY: No, when you spill salt--(He looks up, but Dana is walking away.)--Dana, wait, where are you going? (Just at that moment Shaq makes a terrific play and they are back to the game, Dana and black cats forgotten.)

Dana walks through the newsroom looking for that cat. Everyone else is clustered in little groups around monitors, watching the game, laughing, having a good time. She stops Kim to ask about the cat but Kim hasn't seen a cat. Dana walks into the conference room. Natalie and Jeremy are sitting close together, supposedly watching the game. Actually, they are kissing.

DANA: Have either of you seen a black cat?

JEREMY: A black cat? In here?

DANA: Yes, I could have sworn it came in here. But, of course, you two wouldn't have seen it if it had jumped into your collective lap.

NATALIE: Sorry, Dana.

JEREMY: Are you all right?

DANA: I'm all right. Just as soon as I find that cat.

She leaves. They go back to what they were doing. Dana continues walking through offices, into the control room, onto the set, searching for that cat. And every now and then she catches a glimpse of it just as it disappears around a corner. Once she even sees it looking back at her before it quickly moves on.

At some point she becomes convinced that there is something strange going on here, more than just a cat loose at CSC. She is sure that it is a real cat, not some illusion, but there is something about the way that cat looks at her. As she turns a corner, she sees Isaac walking towards her.

DANA: Isaac, have you seen a black cat?

ISAAC: A cat?

DANA: Yes, this really beautiful black cat keeps running just ahead of me.

ISAAC: (He smiles, puts his hand on her arm.) Dana, are you sure about this?

DANA: I know what I saw, Isaac. A black cat.

ISAAC: I haven't seen one. Look, why don't you come with me? I'm going to watch the rest of the game with Casey and Danny.

DANA: I'll be there later. I want to keep looking. (She walks on....)

Dana walks into her office. She turns on the light on the desk and walks to the window to look out. She wonders if the pressures of the last weeks haven't caused her to start seeing things. No, she saw a cat. She turns and sits at her desk and when she looks up, of course, there is the cat, looking back at her from the chair on the other side of the desk. Oddly, Dana is not startled. She sits back in her chair and she and the cat look at one another.

DANA: There you are! How did you get in here? Then Dana sees the open door. You are such a beautiful cat--obviously someone takes care of you. A pretty collar--someone must love you.   But where did you come from? And why have you been leading me on such a merry chase? Why I think I've followed you through all of CSC; I've talked to almost everyone. (The cat begins to lick a paw, but her eyes never leave Dana's.)

DANA: They say black cats are bad luck, but I don't believe that. So why are you here? And then she knows. Tears come to her eyes.

DANA: This is it, isn't it? That's why you're here, to tell me that this is the end. (The cat settles on the chair, purring.)

DANA: I need to gather the staff together and tell them. (But she looks at the cat, so content in that chair.) No, tomorrow is soon enough to cry, isn't it? They need to be together tonight, happy, enjoying each other, one more time. In the safest and best place, as Danny says. No, tomorrow is soon enough.

The cat gets up, jumps out of the chair, and goes to the door. She stops and looks back at Dana.

DANA: (smiling) I know. And I need to be with them, enjoying them, too.

She stands and walks toward the door, but stops to turn off the lamp. When she looks back at the doorway, the cat is gone. She smiles. She knows that she will not see the cat again. She hurries out to be with the others. And she finds them all together, gathered in the newsroom watching the end of the game. They are happy, laughing, enjoying themselves, as she has seen them so many times. She goes to stand next to Isaac and he puts his arm around her and pulls her close.

Over in the corner, Elliott is putting a black cat into a cat-carrier.

ELLIOTT: Mystery, you naughty cat. Why did you run away from me? I'm lucky that Dana didn't see you. She wouldn't understand that I had to bring you here today because of the painters in the apartment. Don't you scare me like that again.

The scene ends with the cat looking out at the newsroom, purring, watching Dana, who is laughing now . . . among friends.

This script was written by CD and the page was made by Subana, with special thanks to Mystery, the star of this story.

Characters created by Aaron Sorkin. Thanks for a wonderful 2 years on Sports Night, Mr. Sorkin!