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Factory Girls
Factory Girls.JPG


Season : 2
Episode: 2
Directed by: David Von Ancken
Written by: Meredith Stiehm, Stacy Kravetz
Production Number:
Airdate: October 10, 2004
Date of Crime: September 1943
Previous: The Badlands
Next: Daniela


External Links
IMDB Site

Description

On the eve of the 60-year reunion of women who worked in a weapons factory during World War II (real-life Rosie the Riveter, women put to work in factories since men were at war), Lilly is asked to re-investigate the 1943 death of Alice Miller, one of the workers. The death was deemed accidental at the time, but her friend, Martha begs Lilly to look closer into the case.

Synopsis

On April 5, 1943 in a weapons factory, two women are talking, Dottie is showing her neighbor Alice Miller around because it's her first day on the job. Alice's husband is overseas and she is nervous because she has never had a job. Dottie introduces Alice to Martha, one of the line workers. Another woman walks by. Dottie tells Alice that her name is Fannie. The owner and a younger man walk up right before an air raid signal goes off and the women crouch for cover. Cut to all the women leaving the factory for the day and we see Alice Miller dead on the ground behind parts and then a man putting her case file away with the date Sept. 1943.

Present Day Lilly shows up at a Women of the Homefront 60th reunion. She greets Dana Hunter, a reporter who is covering the reunion but has discovered a bigger story. She explains that she invited Lilly because her great-aunt was Alice Miller and a guest named Martha has information to share. Martha says that it was her last night on the job and she wanted to say good-bye to Alice. When she asked the owner where Alice was he said she quit. Her body was found in her work clothes at the factory the next morning. She states the owner's name was Henry Walker, who was a drinker and mean. Martha knew he had been drinking that night. Although the official report stated Alice died from a fall, Lilly wonders if Alice was pushed.

Opening Credits

Lilly is getting coffee with the guys and she's telling them about the murder. Most of the guys don't want to work the case because it's so old but Stillman tells Valens and Lilly to go out to storage and get the file. The report states that Alice broke her neck in an accidental fall. Henry Walker was the one to find the body. Alice's husband reported her missing that night at 11:20. He came home to find two whiskey glasses on the table but his wife was gone. The detectives wonder if Alice and Henry were drinking together. Lilly states Henry Walker died in 1988 but Alice's husband is still alive.

Lilly and Valens visit Alice's husband, Nelson. He and Alice did not drink so he was always curious about the glasses of whiskey. He states he was out that evening trying to get his old job back. He got home around 8 found the glasses and called the police around 11. He said she quit working at the factory when he got back from the war a few days before. He said when they found her body at the factory he just figured she had gone back for one more shift. It was Nelson's idea for her to go work at the factory in the first place. She enjoyed the job but was looking forward to being a housewife again.

In a flashback we see Alice and Dottie working on a victory garden. Nelson gets the mail and finds he has been drafted. Alice worries about what she will do in his absence and Dottie offers to bring Alice to the factory and introduce her to her boss.

In present day, the team interviews Dottie, who was Henry Walker's secretary. He was a good Christian man, she tells them, who was grieving the loss of two of his sons in the war. He would not have had a drink with a factory girl. She may have been drinking with her new friends at work. Dottie has a secret. In a flashback, Alice tells Dottie that she has discovered that every third day a box of rivets goes missing. Dottie tells Alice not to go to the boss with this information. Dottie tells the detectives that Henry Walker did disappear for awhile the night of the death. He was there the next morning and that was unusual.

The detectives meet with Henry's son, Buddy. His father was a life-long alcoholic who died due to his addiction. His father was the one who stole the rivets and Alice had confronted Henry about it.

In a flashback, 17-year-old Buddy asks 22-year-old Alice to go to the movies but she says no. He then listens in on a conversation she has with Henry. Alice knows about the rivets and his "side business" and needs help with something related to "Ivan."

The detectives later learn of a bank account Alice opened in May 1943. Usually she deposited her $35 weekly pay but in July of that year, $2,000 was deposited.

Dana and Nelson have never heard of Ivan. They tell Lilly that Alice was a writer, but too shy to let anyone read her writings. Dana gives Lilly Alice's diaries. They read something interesting.

In flashack about the diary entry, Alice has been sent to a dance hall by Henry in June 1943. She asks a bartender named Bruno to see the owner, whose name is Richard. Fannie meets Alice at the bar, asking what she wants from Richard. Richard can get nylons and other items from the black market. She knows they told Alice to steer clear of her at work and tells Alice this is because she shot her husband in the shoulder.

In the present, the detectives discuss the shooting with Fannie. She shot the her husband in self-defense in 1940. Fannie adored Alice. Ivan was Alice's Jewish cousin in Europe. In a flashback, Fannie tells Alice, Buddy and Martha about the concentration camps. They are shocked and in disbelief due to the lack of media attention to the matter. Present-day Fannie tells Lilly that for $2,000, Richard could smuggle Ivan into Lisbon. Fannie seems surprised and pleased that Alice got the money. Alice had begged Nelson to help Ivan and he refused.

The detectives interrogate Nelson about Ivan. Nelson did not believe there was a danger to Ivan. He was a frugal man who did not know about the camps. He would not help and two months later Ivan was dead. He has brought letters written by Alice. She wrote of Ivan in every letter until July 11 and he was never mentioned again, so she must have gotten the money by then or Ivan had died. Nelson has felt shame for 60 years.

Stillman and Lilly gather Richard, Fannie and Martha at the restaurant that used to be the dance hall. They discuss the events of a Swing for Victory dance on July 10, 1943. Richard had worked at the bar. He served Alice when she requested a rum and Coke. Fannie and Alice were dancing with men for a quarter a dance. Buddy came in, demanding Alice's company. He was willing to pay $20 if she would only dance with him all night. She reminds him that he is too young for her and they go outside to talk.

The investigation leads Lilly and Vera to speak to Buddy. He and Alice had left the dance hall and gone for a drive. In flashback we see them in a car. Henry had given Buddy money to bribe him not to join the army. He could not bear to lose a third son to the war. Buddy is going to enlist anyway and he gives Alice the $2,000 and asks her to wait for him and kisses her. Dottie is walking her dog, sees the kiss and a verbal confrontation occurs between the two women.

The detectives tell Dottie they know she was jealous of Alice's lifestyle. She states that is not true. She didn't want anything but Nelson's love. She had written love letters to him, informing him of the changes in Alice.

They discuss the night Alice died and we view a flashback. When Nelson comes home wounded, Dottie brings him his favorite pie and insults Alice. Alice states she is going to continue working at the factory because she is proud of her work and she likes earning her own paycheck. Dottie states she would prefer to stay home and be a perfect housewife. Alice set down the whiskey and the glasses in front of Nelson, implying she was letting him know she had changed. She leaves Nelson and Dottie and goes to work.

Nelson later admits to Lilly that he went to the factory that night. In flashback we see the factory girls celebrate Martha's last night at work. At the same time, Nelson confronts his wife, demanding that she quit. He does not like the outgoing, independent woman she has become and wants the shy, frugal teetotaler that he married. He grabs her arm and they struggle causing her to fall backward off a high platform. At least some of this was witnessed by the factory owner, Henry Walker.

Dottie watches from her window as Nelson is taken away in handcuffs. Buddy joins Richard, Martha and Fannie for a happy reunion at a park.

Also in this episode, Scotty Valens tells Stillman that Elisa is back in the hospital and that he is tired of the cycle her mental health issues bring. Nick Vera is cranky because his marriage is failing and it is his anniversary.

Cast

Main Cast

Special Guest Star

Guest Cast

Co-Starring

Notes

  • Jeffries mentions the Gail Chimayo case from Our Boy Is Back.
  • Jenna Fischer and Rance Howard would later costar in the film Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (2007).
  • This episode uses some elements from the film Swing Shift.

Music

  • Four Vagabonds "Rosie the Riveter"
  • Mills Brothers "Till Then"
  • Peggy Lee "Waiting For The Train To Come In"
  • Duke Ellington "I'm Beginning To See The Light"
  • Andrews Sisters "Rumors Are Flying"
  • Glenn Miller & Orchestra "American Patrol"
  • Louis Jordan "Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Baby"
  • Closing Song: Bing Crosby "Don't Fence Me In"

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