5ive Days to Midnight

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Written by Robert Zappia
David Aaron Cohen
Anthony Peckham
Cindy Myers
Directed by Michael W. Watkins
Starring Timothy Hutton
Randy Quaid
Angus Macfadyen
Kari Matchett
Country of origin United States
Producer(s) Gordon Mark
Running time 210 minutes
Original channel Sci Fi
Original release June 7, 2004 –
June 10, 2004

5ive Days to Midnight (sometimes called Five Days to Midnight) is a five-part miniseries which ran on the Sci Fi Channel in June 2004. It stars Timothy Hutton as J.T. Neumeyer, a physicist who discovers a briefcase containing postdated documents and evidence which indicates he will die five days into the future.

The miniseries was five hours long including commercials, each hour dedicated to relating the events of an entire day. It ran for four days, the first episode detailing the events of the first two days.



Day One[edit]

Physics professor J.T. Neumeyer is celebrating his daughter's tenth birthday, as well as mourning the ten-year anniversary of the death of his wife who died giving birth. While at the cemetery, Neumeyer's daughter Jesse finds a futuristic briefcase with her father's name on it behind her mother's headstone. Thinking that it must belong to some other "Professor J.T. Neumeyer" (despite the unlikelihood that such a person would also live in Seattle and have paid a visit to the same grave), he attempts to open the combination-locked briefcase in order to discover more about its owner. He finally succeeds by entering his daughter's birthdate. Upon opening the briefcase, Neumeyer finds a police file complete with photos, newspaper clippings and evidence detailing his brutal murder five days in the future.

Neumeyer is naturally unnerved, but intends to discover the source of the briefcase. At first he thinks it is a prank perpetrated by an exceptionally brilliant but eccentric graduate student named Carl Axelrod. He tracks down Irwin Sikorski, the homicide detective whose name appears on the police file as investigating officer. The detective points out the holes in the story, citing that the file says he missed the autopsy and he states that he doesn't know the last time he missed an autopsy. Neumeyer goes home to contemplate the days' events and figure out how to proceed. Neumeyer is given a blue parka by his girlfriend, Claudia; the case records show that Neumeyer will be wearing this same coat when he is found dead in five days.

Day Two[edit]

More things from the file start to come true. A rental company sends him a green Jeep Cherokee which also appears in the photos. Sikorski informs Neumeyer that he had previously scheduled a doctor's appointment on the date of the predicted autopsy, and wouldn't have been able to be there. On the back of a newspaper clipping found in the briefcase, there is the story of a young woman crushed to death by a tree that falls in heavy winds during a storm. Acting on this knowledge, Neumeyer prevents her death, thus altering the future. It isn't until this moment that he is completely convinced that the things in the briefcase are real. Carl Axelrod is cleared as a suspect and Neumeyer enlists him in discovering how the case could have come from the future. Another suspect on the list is Claudia's supposed ex-husband, Roy Bremmer, a gangster who has been tracing Claudia's movements. Claudia confesses to Neumeyer that she is still married to Bremmer, and she gives Neumeyer a gun for protection. Claudia plans to flee before Bremmer can locate her, but Neumeyer convinces her to stay so that he can protect her. A car across the street is taking pictures of them.

Day Three[edit]

Motives are established for the list of suspects in the police file:

  • It becomes clear that Carl — who worships physics — begins to see J.T.'s death as inevitable.
  • Brad[clarification needed] sees an opportunity to make money from reverse-engineering the suitcase but is rebuffed by J.T. With Brad facing repossession of all his belongings due to bad investing, he sees J.T. as standing in the way of his financial recovery.
  • Roy Bremmer finds J.T. and threatens him and Jesse if Claudia (revealed to be originally named Angela) is not returned to him.
  • Claudia increases the life insurance policy on J.T. to $4 million.

J.T. also seeks to escape his fate by buying a plane ticket to get out of the city. The plane takes off, giving J.T. a sense of relief, yet less than an hour into the flight, a sick passenger is needed to be removed from the plane, causing the pilot to return to the city.

At the end of the episode, it is revealed Mandy Murphy[clarification needed] died in a horrible car crash. Although J.T prevented her death in one accident, she still died in an accident. J.T. begins to believe that, though he can change the circumstances and details of someone's death, he cannot change someone's ultimate fate, including possibly his own.

Day Four[edit]

J.T. resigns himself to his fate and makes a video for Jesse, listing things he would've liked to have seen in the future. Jesse begins her own investigation, noting that Mandy Murphy's dog was also indicated and killed by the falling tree. The dog was not in the car, and no one knows what became of the dog, leading Jesse to believe that the future is still changeable.

J.T. changes his tactics to alter the future and tries to remove the motives or block the opportunities of the suspects on the list:

  • When unable to convince Carl that physics is simply physics, J.T. tricks Carl into a hospital for the mentally disabled.
  • J.T. promises Brad the briefcase after he solves his own case, to remove Brad's potential threat.
  • J.T. meets Roy Bremmer and offers him the money to be earned by reverse-engineering the briefcase, but Bremmer is not interested. J.T. even tries to shoot him as a last resort, but is not able to pull the trigger. Sikorski arrives at the scene and has Bremmer arrested.
  • J.T. does not believe Claudia has a reasonable motive to kill him, and instead works with her to remove the other threats.

The day ends with the escape of Carl from the hospital. He steals the briefcase from Neumeyer's house. Brad intercepts Carl leaving with it and attacks him, but without success. Roy is released from jail once his lawyer gets involved. All three suspects have the motive and freedom to kill J.T.

Day Five[edit]

Sikorski kills Bremmer, then turns on J.T. and Claudia. Sikorski reveals that he knew about $12 million worth of property that Claudia has now inherited from Roy, then announces his plans to make himself rich by forcing Claudia to sign a quitclaim, killing them all and gaining ownership of the property.

Carl steals J.T.'s rented green Jeep. Carl and Brad independently head to the bar where Sikorski has taken Claudia and J.T. Carl tries to kill Brad with the stolen Jeep, but Brad fires a gun at him. Losing control of the vehicle, Carl drives the Jeep into the bar, knocking down Sikorski. J.T. loads the empty gun Sikorski gave to J.T., with an unspent bullet from the briefcase. Sikorski bluffs that the bullet won't work because it is from the future, but J.T. kills him with it seconds before Sikorski fires his own gun.

Carl intends to kill J.T., believing that the events revealed by the briefcase must not be altered. J.T. tells Carl to look at the briefcase, predicting that the police file has changed to reflect the deaths of Bremmer and Sikorski, and now details their unsuccessful plot to kill J.T. Carl becomes fascinated by the change, believing that physics has been satisfied.

As the survivors leave the bar, J.T. surmises that Jesse — whose middle name is Tracy — is the "Professor J.T. Neumeyer" who owns the case in the future, and that she must be the one who will send the briefcase back as a warning to her father, via some as-yet nonexistent technology.

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