Shadow Play (1986 The Twilight Zone episode)

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"Shadow Play"
The Twilight Zone episode
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 23a
Directed by Paul Lynch
Written by James Crocker and Charles Beaumont
Production code 59
Original air date April 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]


A man named Adam Grant is being judged for the crime of murder in the first degree and he is found guilty. After being told that he will be executed, Grant just sputters and laughs in disbelief. He then walks to the judge and tells him that all this doesn't matter because he is only dreaming it. All of what is happening is only a dream of his. After being returned to his cell, Grant continues telling his dream theory. Of course, his fellow death row 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, every night...

While Grant is in his cell, the prosecutor, Mr. Ritchie, is at home, pondering the oddity of Grant and his case. His wife attempts to take his mind off it, but then Grant's attorney, Erin Jacobs, shows up. She tries to put into words that Grant may be telling the truth despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Jacobs claims the odd circumstances have her frantic: she herself feels that she is continually being watched and that she has this feeling that being so successful is too good to be true, like in a dream. Also, Jacobs asks why there was no press in or around the court, despite this being a big murder trial. Ritchie then looks very puzzled.

Ritchie shows up at Grant's cell. He claims that Grant is just using this crazy dream theory to try to fool everyone, but he's not fooled, even though Grant can lip-sync everything Ritchie says to him. Grant tries to explain how this has to be a dream. If he is to be executed today, which is the right day for executions (Mondays at 12:01 am), how is it that he was sentenced on a Sunday. What court does business on Sundays? Grant then brings up Ritchie's wife, Carol, who is the only person who never changes—because, in reality, she is Grant's sister. Grant even quotes what Carol said earlier to Ritchie that evening. Ritchie panics and leaves.

Back at Ritchie's house, Jacobs asks Carol how long she's been married to Ritchie, but neither he nor his wife can remember. Then the execution begins: a priest visits Grant in his cell. Grant claims that the priest is actually Grant's own father, who died years ago. Meanwhile, Ritchie frantically tries to get a stay of execution. Just as the governor is calling, the switch is thrown and Grant lurches forward in the chair. But there is no body, and everything in the Ritchie house they themselves do.

Suddenly, the dark courtroom comes alight with Adam Grant being sentenced for the crime of murder in the first degree...again...only the characters are different: 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]