By Terri Blackstock
An Hour-long TV Drama—3 Seasons of 13 Episodes
Barbara Covington is desperate when she hires an interventionist to take her drug-addicted daughter to rehab, but when the woman is found murdered and Emily vanishes, Barbara and her son set out to find her. Though they believe Emily is innocent, they can’t be sure. Has drug abuse turned Emily into a killer, or is she a kidnap victim?
Barbara and her fourteen year old son Lance set out to find Emily before the police do. Security video in the parking garage (where the murder happened) shows Emily getting into the car with Trish, then jumping back out and running to a waiting vehicle, leading police detective Kent Harlan to believe Emily’s the killer.
Terrified for Emily’s life, Barbara maintains her daughter’s innocence. But she’s changed so much over the last couple of years. Does she really know her anymore? Kent‘s gut tells him this is the desperate act of an addict separated from her drugs, but as he gets to know the courageous mother determined to find her child, he’s drawn to her and hopes he’s wrong about Emily.
After an exhaustive search that takes them to dangerous places, the story cuts to Emily who’s being held in a basement. We see her flashback of what happened on the day of the murder. Trish was murdered by a man waiting in her car, and Emily fled. A passing driver slowed to help her, but when she got into his car, he slapped a rag of Chloroform over her mouth. She lost consciousness and didn’t wake again until she was in a cabin in the mountains. It soon became clear that he’d hired a man to kill Trish in revenge for his own daughter’s overdose while she was in Trish’s care. He watched the murder from his car across the garage, and when he saw Emily fleeing the scene, he drove up to “rescue” her. Unstable and delusional, he’s now trying to remake her into his dead daughter.
Barbara and Kent follow a series of leads that don’t connect until they combine forces and clues that lead them to the killer and to Emily.
Drug Addiction, Prodigal Child, Sacrificial Love, Revenge, Courage, Forgiveness
Parking garage, hotel rooms, cabin & parking lots in Atlanta & northern Georgia
Barbara Covington (46) is the widowed mother of Emily and Lance. She has raised her children in a Christian home and never expected drugs to invade their family. She has an interior design business, and is close to getting the contract to redecorate the governor’s mansion, when she’s sidetracked with Emily’s disappearance. Her faith in God butts against her fear for Emily. She’s willing to give her life for her children, and she knows she may have the chance to prove it.
Emily Covington’s (18) life has spiraled out of control since her father’s death when she was twelve. She’s combative and rebellious when she’s on drugs, but when she’s kidnapped, fear awakens her and brings her back to a reliance on God. At heart, she’s a good kid who would never commit murder, but her actions for the past couple of years cast doubt on what she’s capable of doing.
Lance Covington (14) is goofy and funny, and he’s a huge resource to his mother even while he slows her down. He provides comic relief and appears in most of the scenes with his mother as she searches for his sister. His social networking and computer expertise enable him to help solve the mystery. He feels a keen sense of responsibility for protecting his mom, even when it means disobeying her.
Kent Harlan (45) is a homicide detective. His wife left him for another man years ago, and he hasn’t trusted a woman since. He hasn’t been on speaking terms with God in a long time. He has a drug addicted brother, so he can relate to Barbara and her family. Her determination and courage in searching for her daughter make him fall in love with her. He also grows attached to Lance and feels compassion for Emily as he learns more of her story.
Season 1 Arc—Adapted from the novel Intervention
After Emily’s disappearance, Barbara and fourteen year old Lance search for her, hoping to find her before police do. The more they learn about her, the more they realize she may have been capable of murder, but they cling to the hope that she’s innocent. Whatever the case, she’s in danger, and their fear for Emily takes them to deadly places. The story switches back and forth between their search, the detectives’ investigation, and Emily being held in a man’s basement.
Pilot Episode: “Where is Emily?”
The pilot episode opens with the crime scene in the Atlanta airport parking garage, where a woman is dead in her car. Detectives view the security footage and see a girl running from the scene and getting into a passing car, then speeding away. They find two cell phones in the dead woman’s possession and realize one belongs to the girl. Det. Kent Harlan finds the number for the girl’s mother and calls Barbara. Barbara is devastated to learn that her daughter has vanished and her interventionist has been murdered. Flashback to earlier that day, when they woke Emily for the drug intervention. We see Emily’s anger and the fight to convince her to go, then her grudging agreement and her mother’s emotions as she takes her to the airport and puts her on the plane with her escort. After the phone call from the police, distraught Barbara and her fourteen year old son take the next flight out to Atlanta to search for her daughter.
Episode 2: “Relapse in Rehab”
When Kent goes to the Road Back Recovery Center, which the victim owned, he learns of the failure rate and the parents suing over their children’s relapses while in their care. As Barbara reads Emily’s journals, which Lance got from her room, we flashback to Emily in the days leading up to today. Barbara and Lance arrive in Atlanta and learn Emily is a suspect in Trish’s murder.
Episode 3: “help me mom”
As Kent searches Trish’s office and home, his partner Andy discovers that her credit cards have been used since her death. After harassment from reporters, Barbara holds a press conference to enlist the help of the public and convince them of Emily’s innocence, after which she gets a text from an unknown phone:
help me mom
Episode 4: “Dark Places”
After getting the text she thinks is from Emily, Barbara tries to call back, but there’s no answer and no voicemail. Barbara goes to the police station and sees an address on Kent’s desk. She writes it down, thinking this is a lead.
Barbara leaves Lance in the hotel room, and takes off to a part of town she would never have ventured to before. When men block her in and try to rob her, she’s relieved to see the blue strobe lights in her rear view mirror. Kent gets out and frightens the men away, and tells her that the address she’s looking for doesn’t exist. Kent has learned that the cell phone Emily texted from pinged off a Dalton, Georgia tower.
Episode 5: “Not My Daughter”
Barbara finds the cab driver who drove two people who used Trish’s credit card from the airport after the murder. Did Emily and the man ditch the car and escape in the cab? She learns the cabbie took the man and young blonde woman to a seedy drug motel. She plans to go there, but when she tries to leave Lance at the hotel, he fears for her, so he throws a fit and threatens to have a party for the press if she leaves him there. She finally agrees to take him, but he insists that she call Kent to meet them there. She finally agrees.
But as they drive there, Barbara can’t help wondering. Would Emily really go to such a horrible place?
Episode 6: “Pawn Shop Paycheck”
Barbara grills the motel manager before Kent arrives. When Kent gets there, he searches the motel room where the cab driver saw the girl go, but she’s gone. He threatens drug dealers into telling him where the girl went. A pawn shop check gives him the name of the guy she was with, the one who used Trish’s credit card—Gerald Tredwell. They find him and make an arrest.
Episode 7: “The Phone Number”
Kent gets the toxicology report and learns Trish was injected with a drug called Tubarine, that paralyzed her and kept her from breathing. He learns Tredwell is a registered nurse who’s also an opiate addict with a list of arrests. He works for a general surgeon named Greg Leigh. Tredwell’s tattoo matches that of the man they saw getting out of the car after Emily ran away.
Kent tries to interview the doctor, but Dr. Leigh is out. He returns the call from his cell phone, and admits that he hired Tredwell because he has a soft spot for addicts. Kent asks him if Tredwell could have gotten Tubarine from him. Dr. Leigh confirms that he uses that in surgery. When Kent gets off the phone, he enters Leigh’s cell phone number into his Contacts. Only then does he realize it’s the same number from which Emily texted her mother. It’s registered under a fake name.
Episode 8: “Payback”
Emily is sick with withdrawals, being held in a basement. Flashback to Trish’s car and the man who murdered her with a syringe to the neck. Emily fled, screaming, and a man picked her up to help her. But instead of calling the police (since Trish had confiscated Emily’s phone), he chloroformed her and kidnapped her. Dr. Leigh is detoxing her and calls her Sara, his dead daughter’s name. He’s keeping her in Sara’s room.
She searches through Sara’s drawers and finds a school ID card. She uses it to unlock her door when he’s outside, and she sneaks into the kitchen. He’s by the door, so she can’t escape, but she sees his phone. She texts her mom just before he comes back in. Then she deletes the text, puts his phone on Silent in case her mother calls back, and locks herself back in Sara’s room. He never realized she’d done it. She prays it will lead to her rescue, but no one ever comes.
Episode 9: “Rock Bottom”
Kent learns Dr. Leigh is one of the angry parents who were suing Trish’s rehab, after his daughter Sara died of an overdose while there. Tredwell confesses that Leigh blackmailed him into killing Trish. Tredwell claims he refused, but Kent knows he was at the airport that day. But he’s beginning to think Dr. Leigh was too. They get a warrant to search Leigh’s house in Atlanta while Kent is questioning him, but they find nothing. Kent has to let him go. Barbara shows up as he’s leaving, and she finds out Leigh’s name. With Lance’s help, Barbara gets online and researches Dr. Leigh. She begins to think he is the one who killed Trish, and maybe he has Emily.
When Leigh gets back to Emily a couple of hours later, Emily attempts an escape, but Dr. Leigh overtakes her and drags her back. When she fights, he chloroforms her again. She wakes up in a different house, in a damp, dark basement, and realizes this is her rock bottom.
Episode 10: “Father/Daughter”
Dr. Leigh continues trying to bond with Emily as a father, but he’s growing more unstable. Emily prays her text to her mom will lead to her rescue, as she keeps plotting her escape.
Barbara finds Dr. Leigh’s ex-wife and learns that he has a cabin in the mountains north of Atlanta. When she tells Kent, he admits that the text from Emily pinged off a cell tower in Dalton, and that it was from Leigh’s phone. He begs her to let him take it from here, but Barbara has no intentions of standing down. She decides to put Lance on a plane home to stay with his friend’s family. She keeps his phone since she’s given that number to the press, hoping people will call her with tips. She heads to Dalton.
Episode 11: “Cabin in the Woods”
Emily breaks a mirror that was in the bathroom, and when Leigh approaches her, she gashes his face and escapes through the house. She gets into the woods and keeps running until she reaches a strip mall. She goes into a store and asks to use their phone, but Leigh catches up to her and comes in, claiming she’d mugged him. Emily escapes out the back with the store’s phone. She gets her mother’s voicemail and tells her where she is. Barbara sees the call come in, but it’s the name of a dress boutique, so she ignores it. She quickly checks the message and hears Emily’s message. She calls the store back, but doesn’t get through. She finds the address of the shop from which Emily called, then she calls 911. But since her phone is registered in Jefferson City, Missouri, she gets their 911. She tries to call Kent, but loses her signal.
As Barbara speeds to Dalton, Lance gets off the plane before it pulls away from the gate. He walks back to the hotel in the rain.
Episode 12: “Back Alleys”
Lance gets back to the hotel, soaking wet from the rain, and his mother has checked out. He tries to call her from the hotel phone, but doesn’t reach her. He calls Kent, who is trying to get an arrest warrant for Dr. Leigh, and his partner has gone ahead to Dalton to brief local police. Kent has a patrol officers pick Lance up.
Barbara arrives at the strip mall, but Emily isn’t there. Clerks say the girl mugged a man and stole the phone. Barbara realizes the man is Dr. Leigh, and that he’s chasing her. She calls Kent as she runs through the back alley looking for Emily. Kent tells her Lance is with him and he’s bringing him to her. He begs her to wait for him to get there, but she is determined to find Emily before Leigh does. Cut to Dr. Leigh, waiting in the parking lot. He knows Emily called for help, and he sees her mother arrive. He determines to follow her to Emily, then kill them both. He steals across the dark parking lot to her car, finds the door unlocked. He gets into the back seat and waits.
As Emily hunkers in a dumpster, she begs God to forgive her for the mess she’s created and rescue her. She finally gets out and walks to a convenience store, and begs someone to let her use their phone. She tries calling her mother, but the call fails. She texts the address, but doesn’t know if her mother got it.
Barbara feels helpless and can’t find Emily, so she collapses in a doorway out of the rain and begs God to help her. Suddenly her phone lights up. She sees Emily’s text and rushes back to her car. As she drives to the location, she calls Kent and tells him where Emily is. He says he’ll meet them there, that he’s only a few minutes out. He calls his partner and the local police to meet them there too. Barbara gets to the Exxon and sees Emily. They have a poignant reunion, then get into her car to wait for Kent. Suddenly, a voice from the backseat: “I should have killed you while I had you.” Dr. Leigh has a gun on Emily’s head and tells Barbara to drive.
Episode 13: “Now She Dies”
When Kent and Lance arrive, Barbara is gone. Kent makes Lance stay with a police officer, and he takes off to find Barbara.
Dr. Leigh takes them back to the cabin in the woods and puts them in the basement again (after cleaning up the glass), and nails the door shut. He tells them police won’t come here because he doesn’t own this place. He paid cash for it under a false name.
When Kent searches Leigh’s cabin and doesn’t find them, he realizes it doesn’t have a basement. Emily had told Barbara she was being held in a basement. He pulls the records of all the houses sold in the last few days, and he and his partner go from house to house, looking for any sign of Barbara and Emily. Finally, they find the cabin in the woods, with Barbara’s rental car out front.
Barbara and Emily get a plank free in the structure of the basement, and when Leigh comes back in, they hit him. But he rallies and is about to kill Barbara when he hears a crash and footsteps upstairs. Kent comes to the door, sees him with a gun on Barbara, and he fires. Dr. Leigh drops.
He gets Barbara and Emily out. He has Lance brought there to reunite with his family. As they cling to each other, he watches off to the side, wishing he were part of it, and hoping his time with these people has not come to an end.
Season 2 Arc—Adapted from the novel Vicious Cycle
When fifteen-year-old Lance Covington finds an abandoned baby in the backseat of a car, he knows she’s the newborn daughter of a meth addict he’s been trying to help. But when police arrest him for kidnapping, Lance is thrust into a criminal world of baby trafficking and drug abuse.
His mother, Barbara, looks for help from Det. Kent Harlan—the man whom she secretly, reluctantly loves and who [last season] helped rescue her daughter from a mess of her own. Kent flies to her aid and begins the impossible work of getting Lance out of trouble, protecting a baby who has no home, and finding help for a teenage mother hiding behind her lies.
Season 3 Arc—Adapted from the novel Downfall
Emily Covington has turned her life around after recovering from her drug addiction, but her family still has trouble trusting her. Though Emily has committed herself to a year-long treatment program and has been sober for almost a year beyond that, even her mother walks on egg shells around her, fearing she’ll relapse. After her behavior during her drug years, Emily realizes she has a lot to prove.
When police discover a home-made bomb under Emily’s car, and Emily learns the wife of one of her friends was murdered that same morning, she knows things are deadly serious. But who wants Emily dead? And why?
A conversation she had with two men, an Alfred Hitchcock movie, and a plan for a double-murder all conspire for one explosive ride … and Emily is the only one who can identify the killer and save the life of the next potential victim. As she frantically works to solve this ever more complicated puzzle, Emily finds herself playing right into the killer’s hands.