Family Man (Fear Itself)
|Fear Itself episode|
Dennis Mahoney talks to Brautigan
|Episode no.||Season 1
|Directed by||Ronny Yu|
|Written by||Daniel Knauf|
|Original air date||June 19, 2008|
|List of Fear Itself episodes|
Colin Ferguson plays Dennis Mahoney, a responsible husband and father. We first see Dennis with his family singing in church, and then at their home, a typical loving family. As Dennis drives to work, he receives a call on his cell phone from his wife Kathy (Josie Davis) asking him to pick up some milk on his way home. Suddenly, another car races through an intersection and slams into Dennis’ car. Blood drips onto the cell phone lying on the pavement as Dennis is slumped over in his seat.
In the hospital emergency room, Dennis wearing a hospital gown sees his family on the other side of a window in the waiting room. He tries to get their attention, but is unsuccessful. "She can't hear ya bro," says a man in a flannel shirt named Brautigan (Clifton Collins, Jr.). "She can't see ya either. You're dead. We both are." Dennis protests, but follows the man, who leads Dennis to an operating room. Brautigan's body, bleeding from a gunshot wound, lies on a gurney. Nearby, Dennis lies still from a massive head injury. "This can't be happening," Dennis says while staring at his own body.
Dennis wakes up and discovers he is chained to a hospital bed. He asks for his family. "Your family?” says Sheriff Weller (Michael St. John Smith). “You don't have a family unless you count the ones you slaughtered." Dennis turns to look at himself in the mirror. He is in Brautigan’s body.
While talking with his court appointed attorney, Dennis explains his situation, but all his attorney can say is that spiritual transmigration is not a good defense, and shows him a photo of himself (Brautigan) in a newspaper labeling him as "The Family Man," a prolific serial killer. Dennis insists that his attorney check out his story, but the attorney walks away in disbelief.
Dennis comes face to face with Brautigan, now in Dennis’ body, through the glass partition in the visitor room. Brautigan informs Dennis that he has taken over Dennis’ life and lives in his home with his family. Brautigan also suggests that they help each other, with Dennis telling him how to live his life on the outside while Brautigan will help Dennis survive on the inside. Dennis refuses.
During a second consultation with his attorney, Dennis learns that the police have found tapes of Brautigan torturing and murdering his victims. The attorney tells Dennis that if he wants to escape the death penalty, he should reveal where he buried all of the bodies. Dennis once again insists that he is not Brautigan and therefore does not know where any bodies are buried. When the attorney again starts to leave in disbelief, Dennis repeats his plea for the attorney to check out his story, and says if the details do not check out, he will cooperate with police.
Brautigan begins to find it difficult to adjust to life as Dennis. The family notices that the man they know as Dennis Mahoney has changed since his accident. Dennis attempts to call his family repeatedly, but the family does not understand and believe the strange caller is harassing them. Brautigan comforts Kathy and vows to change the phone number.
The attorney tells Dennis that the details of his story check out, but that he knows Brautigan, as Dennis, has visited him and could be feeding him the details.
Pressure mounts for Dennis as he faces a death sentence, and also for Brautigan, who starts to lose his temper with the family. Brautigan tries to stand up for the family when someone steals his parking spot, but realizes that Dennis is weak. Dennis has a dream in which he sees that it is a matter of time before Brautigan harms his family, and after waking, he calls to the sheriff that he is ready to show where the bodies are located. Outside in a police car, Dennis tells the driver to stop just near his church and neighborhood. As the police remove him from the car, Dennis grabs the shotgun from the officer and hits both the officer and the sheriff on the head, and runs for his house.
Dennis walks into his kitchen and finds Brautigan washing the dishes. When he asks where his family is Brautigan casually replies that they're not home and that he is trespassing, then pulls a kitchen knife with a trace of blood on it and a fight between the two men ensues. The two men struggle, but eventually Dennis gets the upper hand, throwing Brautigan into a table and choking him until he loses consciousness; saying to him; "Remember Brautigan. God doesn't make mistakes, the Lord can never let this happen. Thy. Will. Be. Done!" Wounded after the struggle, Dennis takes a moment to catch his breath, senses something behind him, turns, and is immediately shot by the sheriff.
Dennis is revived by a medical technician and is grateful to find himself back in his own body. He asks to see his family but notices that there is something wrong. He gets up and runs upstairs, calling their names, but discovers that Brautigan has killed his wife and son. His daughter Courtney (Nicole Leduc), however, seems to have been spared. But Dennis soon realizes the cruel irony; when the sheriff asks the girl who hurt her mommy and brother, she points at Dennis, who realizes that he will not be able to convince anyone of his innocence.