Need to Know (The Twilight Zone)

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"Need to Know"
The Twilight Zone (1985 series) episode
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 21a
Directed by Paul Lynch
Written by Sidney Sheldon
Original air date March 21, 1986
Guest appearance(s)

Frances McDormand: Amanda
William Petersen: Edward Sayers
Robin Gammell: Jeffrey Potts
Ellen Albertini Dow : Mrs. Hotchkiss
Harold Ayer: Mr. Strickland
Eldon Quick: Dr. Benitz
Shay Garner: Dr. Fall
Ray Ballard: Jack Henries
Clarence Brown: Wiley Whitlow

Episode chronology
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"Button, Button"
Next →
"Red Snow"
List of The Twilight Zone (1985 TV series) episodes

"Need to Know" is the first segment of the twenty-first episode of the first season (1985–86) of the American television series The Twilight Zone. It first aired on March 21, 1986.

Opening narration[edit]


Edward Sayers is a government scientist/agent sent to a small town to help investigate a bizarre outbreak of insanity which is spreading through the town. With the help of a local woman, Amanda Strickland, he methodically goes through the town trying to find an answer. Amanda's father just rambles about his dead wife, and that he had visited Mrs. Hotchkiss earlier that morning. They visit her and find that she appears normal but hysteria overtakes her and she threatens them with a knife. Amanda suggests that it may be a disease, since it is spread from person to person.

He eventually discovers that the source of the problem is not a physical disease, but an idea—a short secret phrase—that is being passed by word of mouth from person to person. The phrase is about the purpose and meaning of existence. It was somehow discovered by the local resident, Jeffrey Potts, during his travels abroad; his brother Andrew was the first victim of the "plague". Jeffrey is compelled by a desire to share this insanity-inducing phrase with others.

Jeffrey will be on the local radio station and able to tell the entire town the secret. Sayers cannot make it to the station to stop the disclosure but he is able to reach Amanda in time to smash her radio. She then points out that she has already been visited by two townspeople, and that she has something very important to tell him. She whispers in his ear, and his eyes widen in dawning comprehension.

The scene shifts to a point outside of Amanda's house, before a sudden howl of madness is heard from inside.

Closing narration[edit]

External links[edit]