Contents: Overview - Backplot - Questions - Analysis - Notes - JMS
Sheridan faces an inquisitor from Earthdome. Wayne Alexander as Drazi. Raye Birk as William. Bruce Gray as Interrogator.
P5 Rating: 8.08 Production number: 418 Original air week: June 16, 1997 Written by J. Michael Straczynski Directed by John LaFia
The interrogator clearly knew of his relationship with Delenn -- not a big secret after the ISN report in "The Illusion of Truth." Will the next interrogator realize that Sheridan is using her as an anchor, and try to undermine that directly, e.g. by presenting faked evidence that something has happened to her?
(shrugs) Well, sure...I work for Warner Bros.
Usually at 3 in the morning when I can't sleep....
And yeah, I wanted this to function almost as a play in structure. In fact, when we shot it, we did it in full-act chunks. The actors would come in in the morning, rehearse it as they would a play, then we'd shoot it the way we'd shoot a play, straight through.
Not so much "following orders," we've heard that before, applied to the military...but just "doing my job." To the interrogator, he was simply doing his job, and doing it to the best of his ability. It is something he does, then he goes home to his wife and kids, and has dinner, and sits out on the porch trying to forget what he does because he thinks he *has* to do it...assuming he thinks about it at all.
Which is what the Inquisitor said he would have to face.
Interrogations usually take place in one cell. Take a look at "Midnight Express," or any of a dozen or so other interrogation movies.
the two main characters;
Closetland had just two; here we had others, a second interrogator, the Drazi, others.
the taunting with food and drink;
Standard fare for any such interrogation.
the recorded message about cooperation and rewards;
the talk about breaking the body to then break the mind;
the ruse of taking the prisoner to another room, yet having it be just another prison.
Where did this happen in Closetland? It didn't, from what I dimly recall of the thing.
I based this episode on a fairly substantial amount of reading and background in knowing about how people are treated in prison camps and the like. There are only so many things you can do to someone in a closed room to try and break them. Heck, look at William Saroyan's "Hello, Out There" for other similarities that *way* precede Closetland. I'm sorry to astonish you, but the techniques of interrogation existed long before B5 or ST or Closetland came into existence, and will continue (sadly) long afterward. The techniques are the techniques, and those are well documented. The *stories* have nothing whatsoever in common.
Over the last ten years or so, there have been a number of films which have looked at the process of interrogation in South American and European countries, using a very similar structure to what was done here, because the ways in which the "problem" are handled are pretty much universal. They don't all stem from the same film, or book, or story...but rather from the realities involved. They did what they did, and we did what we did, for the same reasons: to bring this sort of behavior into the light. There have also been innumerable plays with a similar structure.
In cop movie #1, a suspect is arrested, read his Miranda rights, brought to the station, stuck into a cell with one or two other people, brought into an interrogation room with one or two cops, goes round and round with them, and finally confesses. Cop movie #2 does a similar thing...now, did movie #2 take from movie #1, or did it just draw on what is *done*?
No, I'm sorry, but I wasn't thinking about Closetland, or Star Trek, or The Prisoner, or much of anything else when I wrote this episode. I was thinking about this character, from this show, who must be made to confess to alien influence, *which has been paraded by Earthforce for almost a year now*. It is an absolute and logical extension of what has gone before. As someone who has degrees in both Psychology and Sociology, and who has been a supporter of PEN International (a multinational group that monitors the treatment of writers who are prisoners of conscience in other countires) for years, I have had a longstanding interest and familiarity with this area...and through my European roots with relatives who were in Germany and Poland when the camps were in full swing, and later when the Russian government beat down its people. I have plenty of personal background on this one.