A Hawk and a Handsaw is the twelfth episode of Due South's first season.

Storyline: Fraser uncovers illegal prescription drug tests being conducted in a psychiatric ward when he comes to the aid of one of its patients.

Original Air Date: January 19, 1995

Written by Paul Haggis and David Shore

Directed by George Bloomfield

Synopsis Edit

Fraser accompanies Ray to the psychiatric ward of a hospital for his biannual psych evaluation, about which Ray is terribly nervous. While Fraser is trying to reassure him, an emergency call over the hospital's PA system draws his attention to a ledge outside the fifth-storey windows. A bearded John Doe walking along the ledge claims to have seen someone he knows about to jump from it, but to prevent him from jumping himself, Fraser lies that he saw the man - who is identified as Ty - inside the hospital. Seeing the John Doe's desperation, Fraser resolves to find Ty.

Fraser and Ray start with the manager of a city transit agency who turned in John Doe five years ago; he tells them that John Doe spent weeks trying to get to "Mike's house." After several hours of riding city buses all over town, Fraser and Ray end up at St. Michael's Church, which once operated a halfway house for troubled juveniles. The priest, Father Behan, recalls Ty and his brother Walter; Ty, a drug addict, killed himself by jumping from the ledge of his apartment, and Walter blamed himself for not getting to him in time. Fraser views some photographs of Walter and Ty, and recognises Walter as the John Doe he met on the ledge. Returning to the hospital, Fraser and Ray find a bleached patch of sidewalk below the ledge, indicating that someone jumped from it very recently and that Walter was taken back to his brother's suicide.

Soon after, a dead body turns up on the riverbank, displaying all the signs of having struck pavement from a great height. To investigate further, Fraser gets himself admitted to the psychiatric ward and declines to give his real name, thus earning himself the "John Doe" moniker. He catches the attention of a Dr. Martins, who has been paid under the table by a pharmaceutical company to administer an experimental prescription drug throughout the ward. The company's representative, Dr. Farmer, coldly brushes off Martins's contention that the drug has caused five of his patients to commit suicide, and orders him to find another John Doe to replace the most recent jumper.

Ray visits Fraser and informs him that the dead body had an unidentified drug in his system; having received - and hidden - his first dose of the experimental drug, Fraser gives it to Ray for analysis. He then converses with Walter and several other patients, who tell him about a "Blue Room" where some of their fellow patients have been taken to die. When Fraser asks them to show him the Blue Room, they lead him on an extended tour of the ward: they all claim different rooms to be the Blue Room.
Fraser Vecchio Hawk and a Handsaw

In another conversation with Ray, Fraser determines that the mysterious prescription drug caused the dead man from the river to jump off the ledge, and that his body was dumped in the river by the hospital staff to cover up the results of the experiment. When Ray tells him that the drug merely causes depression at its most lethal, he suddenly realises that the "Blue Room" is not literally blue, but emotionally - that it triggered a suicidal tendency in each of the deceased and they each went to a different room to kill themselves. Too late, Fraser notices that Martins and his staff are eavesdropping on the conversation. Fraser and Ray are both bound in straitjackets and thrown in a padded cell to await disposal, but Fraser manages to work his way free and break out of the cell via an air duct.

Meanwhile, Dr. Farmer shows up to see to it herself that Fraser and Ray will never talk, in spite of Martins's objections to murder. Fraser hacks into the head nurse's computer and prints out the medical histories of each of the jumpers, but he and Ray are once again captured and this time readied for a lethal injection. The head nurse notices the goings-on and calls the police; Walter, seeing Fraser and Ray being herded down the corridor with needles at their necks, attacks Martins and throws the situation into chaos. Farmer and an orderly are detained by the other patients just before the police arrive. Martins is cut off by the arriving officers and prepares to jump from the ledge himself, but Fraser and Ray stop him just as he takes the plunge.

The episode closes with a clean-shaven Walter released from the hospital, cleaning up the sacristy at St. Michael's. Having learnt the truth behind the deaths of his brother and the others, he has finally accepted that he was not responsible for Ty's death and has regained his sanity.

Cast Edit

  • Michael Riley as Walter Sparks
  • Deborah Rennard as Dr. Esther Pearson
  • Shay Duffin as Father Behan
  • Graham McPherson as Dr. Martins
  • Terri Hanauer as Dr. Farmer
  • Kate Trotter as Nurse Unger
  • Ann-Marie MacDonald as Psychologist
  • Philip Jarrett as Danny

Memorable Quotes Edit

Benton Fraser: There's something going on inside that hospital, Ray.
Ray Vecchio: You're crazy!
Benton Fraser: That's a good idea.

Elaine Besbriss: Vecchio, they just fished a body out of the river near Michigan. Lieutenant says he'll meet you down there.
Ray Vecchio: On the way. Look, that doesn't prove a thing, okay? Bodies turn up every day in this city.
Benton Fraser: Oh, I'm sure that's the case.
Ray Vecchio: Oh, all right, so what's your theory? The guy jumped from the fifth floor of the hospital, caught a thermal updraft and flew the sixteen blocks to the river?
Benton Fraser: Well, that's just silly, Ray.
Benton Fraser: I wonder what Ty was doing that Mr. Doe felt he needed to stop?
Ray Vecchio: Fraser, the guy's insane! He could be talkin' about Ty Cobb or Tai Babilonia! Maybe he wants him to stop figure-skating - which, by the way, I'd prefer all men would stop doing immediately!
Benton Fraser: Do you know where Mike is?
Bus driver: Uhh, I think he was killed in the fourteenth century.
Ray Vecchio: Oh, great, so at least we've got a murder investigation on our hands.
Psychologist: So you're a Mountie, are you?
Benton Fraser: A Constable, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, yes.
Psychologist: Here in Chicago.
Benton Fraser: Well, I used to live in the Yukon, but I uncovered a plot that involved drowning caribou, and then some men who were dressed in white came after me with homicidal intentions. It's a rather long story, takes exactly two hours to tell, but the upshot of it is that I was sent here. I think I embarrassed some people in the government.
Psychologist: Do you have anyone who can vouch for you here?
Benton Fraser: Well, yes, there's my wolf, although I'm not sure he would vouch for me. If you know anything about lupine behaviour, you know how moody they are, and on top of that, he's deaf.