Shadow Play (The Twilight Zone, 1985)

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"Shadow Play"
The Twilight Zone episode
Episode no.Season 1
Episode 23a
Directed byPaul Lynch
Written byJames Crocker and Charles Beaumont
Production code59
Original air dateApril 4, 1986
Guest appearance(s)

Peter Coyote: Adam Grant
William Schallert: Father Grant
William Smith: Guard
Guy Boyd: Mark Ritchie
Ramon Bieri: Flash
Earl Billings: Jimmy
Gilbert De la Pena: Munoz
Janet Eilber: Erin Jacobs
Hank Garrett: Warden
Deborah May: Carol Ritchie
Ellaraino: Jury Foreman
George O. Petrie: Judge

Episode chronology
← Previous
"The Library"
Next →
"Grace Note"
List of The Twilight Zone (1985 TV series) episodes

"Shadow Play" is the first segment of the twenty-third episode of the first season (1985–86) of the American television series The Twilight Zone, and is a remake of the original series episode of the same name. The episode first aired on April 4, 1986.

Opening narration[edit]


Adam Grant (Peter Coyote) is being judged for murder in the first degree and is found guilty. After being told that he will be executed, he laughs in disbelief. He tells the judge that his execution won't matter because he is only dreaming. After returning to his cell, Grant continues talking about his dream. Of course, his fellow inmates don't believe what he's saying, even after Grant is able to provide detailed accounts of what it feels like to be executed each night.

While Grant is in his cell, his prosecutor Mark Ritchie (Guy Boyd) ponders his case. His wife Carol Ritchie (Deborah May) attempts to distract him but then Grant's attorney Erin Jacobs (Janet Eilber) shows up and tries to explain that Grant may be telling the truth despite the overwhelming evidence against him. For evidence, Jacobs asks why there was no press in or around the courtroom despite this being a murder trial. Ritchie is puzzled by this notion.

Ritchie visits Grant and claims that he is using a crazy dream theory to try to fool everyone, even though Grant can lip-sync everything Ritchie says to him. Grant asks Ritchie if he is to be executed today, which is the right day for executions (Mondays at 12:01 am), then how is it that he was sentenced on a Sunday, as courts do not operate on Sundays. Grant then mentions Carol who is the only person who never changes in the dream because she is in fact Grant's sister in reality. Grant even knows what Carol told Ritchie earlier that evening which makes Ritchie panic and leave.

The execution proceedings begin and a priest visits Grant in his cell. Grant claims that the priest is actually his own father who died years ago. Meanwhile, Ritchie frantically tries to get a stay of execution, and just as the governor calls the execution chamber - the switch is thrown. Grant is hanged but disappeared along with everyone in this world.

Suddenly, a courtroom scene appears and Grant is being sentenced for murder in the first degree, only the characters in the courtroom are different now—Jacobs is now the judge, Grant's father is the jury foreman, inmate Flash is now the prosecutor, and Jimmy (another inmate) is the defense attorney. It's implied that Grant is doomed to repeat the same nightmare forever with the same people always changing parts.

Closing narration[edit]

External links[edit]