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CHERNOBYL

Episode 5 - "Vichnaya Pamyat"

Written by

Craig Mazin

August 3, 2018

Copyright© 2018 Home Box Office, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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EXT. PRIPYAT - DAY

501

501

The iconic "PRIPYAT 1970" sign on the outskirts of town.

Crisp and white. Colorful flowers planted at its base.

MUSIC: score, recalling memories of glory, or perhaps a

dream of a glory that never was.

EXT. PRIPYAT - VARIOUS - DAY

502

502

Even a planned Soviet city can look beautiful on a day like

this. Alive. Someone's dream of home...

SITNIKOV (who went to the roof) takes a stroll with his

wife. They hold hands. Their DAUGHTER, 4, toddles along in

front of them with their DOG.

OLD WOMEN sit together on a bench, gossiping and arguing as

they do each day.

YUVCHENKO (who held the reactor door open) - pulls his 2-

year old SON along in a little WAGON.

CITIZENS swim slowly across the community pool.

LYUDMILLA is in a shop with OKSANA. She looks out through

the shop window to the street, where she sees VASILY

standing with MIKHAIL, who holds his baby.

Mikhail offers to let Vasily hold the baby, and he does.

Lyudmilla watches her husband cradling the infant. Vasily

turns and sees her watching. He smiles at her. Pure love.

And she smiles back. Her husband. Her life. One day it will



be their baby. One day.

A figure passes behind Vasily in the background.

CLOSE ON - SHOES walking with purpose. We pull back to

reveal - ANATOLY DYATLOV.

Lunch sack in his hand. Cigarette in his mouth. Walking as

he does every single day. Walking to work. Ahead of him, up

and off in the distance... the CHERNOBYL POWER PLANT.

CUT TO TITLES

END TITLES, CUT TO:

1.


INT. BRYUKHANOV'S OFFICE - DAY

503

503

TITLE:


APRIL 25, 1986

2:00 PM

FOMIN sits patiently across from Bryukhanov's desk. DYATLOV

sits in the other guest seat. Glances at Fomin. Casually

disdainful of him. Silence.

Then, finally:

FOMIN


I hear they might promote

Bryukhanov. This little problem we

have with the safety test? If it's

completed successfully... yes, I

think a promotion is very likely.

Who knows, maybe Moscow.

Dyatlov's eyes narrow.

FOMIN


Naturally they'll put me in charge

once he's gone. And then I'll need

someone to take my old job. I could

pick Sitnikov...

It takes a moment for Dyatlov to swallow his pride. Then:

DYATLOV


I would like to be considered.

FOMIN


I'll keep that in mind.

The door opens, and BRYUKHANOV enters. Fomin rises, but

Bryukhanov gives him an annoyed wave to sit the fuck down.

Then he starts opening desk drawers. Looking for something.

FOMIN

Viktor Petrovich, preparations for



the test have gone smoothly. Comrade

Dyatlov has been working per my

instructions, and Reactor 4 output

has been reduced to 1600 megawatts.

With your approval, we're ready to

continue lowering power to--

BRYUKHANOV

We have to wait.

2.


Fomin and Dyatlov weren't expecting that. Not good.

FOMIN


Is there-- ?

BRYUKHANOV

You're going to ask me if there's a

problem, Nikolai? You can't read a

fucking face?

He's found a pack of cigarettes. Lights one. Tosses the

lighter down on his desk.

BRYUKHANOV

Three years I've been trying to

finish this test. Three years!

beat

(

)



I just got a call from the grid

controller in Kiev. He says we can't

lower power any further. Not for

another ten hours.

DYATLOV

A grid controller? Where does he get



off telling us--

BRYUKHANOV

It's not the grid controller's

decision, Dyatlov-- it's the end of

the month. All the productivity

quotas? Everyone's working overtime,

the factories need power, someone's

pushing down from above. Not that

we'll ever know who.

smokes, then

(

)

So do we have to scrap it or what?



FOMIN

No. I don't think so. If we need to

wait ten hours, we wait.

BRYUKHANOV

Running at half power? We're not

going to have stability issues?

FOMIN

No, I should think--



BRYUKHANOV

I'm not asking you.

Fomin musters a smile to cover his bile. As you wish, sir.

3.


DYATLOV

It's safe. We'll maintain at 1600.

I'll go home, get some sleep, and

come back tonight. We'll proceed

then. I'll personally supervise the

test. And it will be completed.

Bryukhanov considers that. Then a grunt of satisfaction.

BRYUKHANOV

Well I'm not waiting around. Call me

when it's done.

He gets up and walks out. Dyatlov follows. But Fomin

lingers behind. Waits until they're gone. Then runs his

fingers covetously along the edge of Bryukhanov's desk. The

desk of a powerful man. A man in charge...

SOUND: a loud ELECTRONIC BUZZER/BELL

EXT. CITY -

504

504

MORNING

A rambling, squat complex of white buildings dotted with

barred windows. We hear the BUZZER BELL again. The sound of

an institution on a rigid time schedule.

TITLE

LUKYANIVSKA PRISON, KIEV

MARCH, 1987

INT. LUKYANIVSKA PRISON CELL -

505

505

SAME

We PAN slowly across the dismal cell to find: FOMIN,

dressed in the uniform of a Soviet prisoner, sitting on his

cot. Crying. He barely looks like the same man.

Fomin removes his glasses with trembling hands to wipe his

eyes, but the tears don't stop. They never stop. He stares

at the glasses in his hand. Yes. Today.

INT. LUKYANIVSKA PRISON HALLWAY -

506

506

MINUTES LATER

The cell block door opens, and three SOLDIERS enter and

proceed down the hallway. The PRISON WARDEN stays behind.

We remain with him as he calls out names.

WARDEN

Bryukhanov.



4.

A soldier stops at the first door. Unlocks it and slides

open. BRYUKHANOV, prison uniform, steps out. As the soldier

escorts him toward the cell block door...

WARDEN


Dyatlov.

A soldier opens a second door. DYATLOV steps out. He's

attempted to regrow his mustache, but it's barely there.

His posture is stooped. His skin is papery.

WARDEN

Fomin.


Down the hall, the third soldier opens a door. Then takes a

step back. Frozen.

WARDEN

Fomin!


The soldier turns, then starts RUNNING back toward us.

INT. FOMIN'S CELL -

507

507

CONTINUOUS

We're ON THE FLOOR - looking across the room at the open

door through a CRACKED LENS. Fomin's SHATTERED GLASSES.

Shards are missing. BLOOD begins to SEEP FORWARD along the

floor. It pools around the glasses, then continues ahead.

More. And more.

An ALARM sounds.

EXT. MOSCOW STREET -

508

508

AFTERNOON

A QUEUE of people waiting to purchase tobacco from a KIOSK.

It's Legasov turn. He buys a pack of cigarettes, walks a

few steps, takes out a cigarette, then almost runs into:

A MAN IN A SUIT (KGB DRIVER). The man doesn't need to say a

word. It's obvious what he is. He nods for Legasov to

follow. Legasov dutifully does. No choice.

EXT. ALLEYWAY AROUND THE CORNER -

509

509

CONTINUOUS

A BLACK ZIL LIMO is parked on the street. The KGB Driver

opens the rear door, lets Legasov in, then CLOSES the door.

5.


INT. SEDAN -

510

510

MOMENTS LATER

CLOSE ON LEGASOV - sitting in the back seat, eyes forward.

CHARKOV (O.S.)

How do you feel?

Legasov turns. Reveal: CHARKOV, the head of the KGB,

sitting next to him in the back.

CHARKOV

You went to the doctor yesterday.



How is your health?

LEGASOV


You don't know?

Charkov smiles. Very good. He opens his briefcase and

removes a NEWSPAPER. Hands it to Legasov. It's in German.

Below the fold on the front page, a PHOTOGRAPH of Legasov,

from the IAEA conference. And a caption in German.

CHARKOV


From Vienna. Do you read German?

no?


(

)

It says, "At last, a Soviet



scientist who tells the truth."

Obviously I resent the insinuation,

but I think it's fair to say you

made an excellent impression at the

conference. It turns out you're

quite good at this.

Legasov stares at the photo. Guilt rising inside him.

LEGASOV


At what? Lying?

CHARKOV


Statecraft, Legasov. Statecraft.

Charkov takes the newspaper back from Legasov. Puts it back

in his briefcase.

CHARKOV


The West is now satisfied that

Chernobyl was solely the result of

operator error. Which it essentially

was. We have you to thank for that.

And we intend to.

He hands Legasov another piece of paper. A list.

6.


LEGASOV

reads


(

)

"Hero of the Soviet Union."



CHARKOV

Our highest honor. They haven't even

given it to me.

LEGASOV


"Promotion to Director of the

Kurchatov Institute."

Charkov gives that thin smile of his. He knows that's the

one Legasov wants.

LEGASOV

I'm humbled.



CHARKOV

I don't think there's anything

humble about you, Valery

Alexeyevich.

Charkov takes the paper back.

CHARKOV


And these rewards are not yours yet.

First, your testimony at the trial.

LEGASOV

Comrade Charkov, I understand my



duty to the State-- but you gave us

assurances. You said the reactors

would be made safe. It's been

months. There have been no changes

made, no changes even discussed...

CHARKOV


again

(

)



First, the trial. Once it's over, we

will have our villains, we will have

our hero... we will have our truth.

uninterested

(

)

After that, we can deal with the



reactors.

Charkov dismisses him with a wave of the hand. Nothing left

to say. Legasov opens the door to exit, and:

CHARKOV


Oh, I should mention-- the trial is

going to be somewhat delayed.

7.


LEGASOV

Why?


CHARKOV

Talk to Shcherbina.

LEGASOV

confused


(

)

Shcherbina's in Kiev. I haven't



heard from him in--

CHARKOV


He returned to Moscow an hour ago.

Charkov gives Legasov that smile again.

CHARKOV

Or so I've been told.



The KGB DRIVER opens the door fully to let Legasov out.

Legasov EXITS and watches as the ZIL drives away.



INT. LIVING ROOM - SHCHERBINA'S APARTMENT -

511

511

AFTERNOON

SHCHERBINA stands by the window, looking out. His hair is a

touch thinner. A subtle aging to his skin.

LEGASOV (O.S.)

When?

Shcherbina turns to LEGASOV - who sits in a chair. Ashen.



SHCHERBINA

Early this morning. He broke his

glasses and used the shards--

his wrist

(

)

They got to him in time. He's in the



hospital, under observation.

LEGASOV


Guilty conscience?

SHCHERBINA

Or he was making a statement.

SHCHERBINA'S DAUGHTER, 30, enters the room with a tea

service. Her son, 4, runs in and HUGS Shcherbina on the

leg. Shcherbina lights up. Lifts the boy with some effort.

SHCHERBINA

Did you bring grandpapa tea? Is that

what you did? You brought him tea?

8.


He kisses his grandson on the forehead, then puts him back

down. Again, an effort. It was easy a year ago.

His daughter takes her son by the hand and exits.

Shcherbina's smile fades. Then:

SHCHERBINA

There's something else. The trial

won't be in Kiev. They've changed

the venue.

LEGASOV

Here, then?



SHCHERBINA

No. Chernobyl. To be clear, not the

power plant. The town.

LEGASOV


The evacuated town thirty kilometers

away from the reactor?

SHCHERBINA

Twenty, actually.

LEGASOV

For god's sake, why?



SHCHERBINA

I presume they want to demonstrate

that the exclusion zone is now safe

enough to hold a trial.

LEGASOV

Well it isn't.



SHCHERBINA

You don't look good.

LEGASOV

I'm not sleeping.



SHCHERBINA

Is that all?

Legasov doesn't answer. He just removes his glasses, weary.

Turns them around in his hand. Thinking about Fomin again.

Mystified by the man's actions.

LEGASOV


His glasses...

CUT TO:


9.

INT. KHOMYUK'S LABORATORY - DAY

512

512

EXTREME CLOSE ON: the letters A3-5 (AZ-5 in Cyrillic).

Khomyuk stares at the Volkov article. Exhausted from

torturing herself. Wishing she'd never read it. Wishing she

didn't know.

Enough. She has work to do. She pushes the Volkov article

aside. Picks up a stack of requisition forms. Paperwork.

Endless paperwork. Scans the first form, then initials.

Next form. Initials. Next form...

She's lost focus again. This time, it's a FILE BOX that has

drawn her attention.

She hesitates, then crosses to the box, and lifts the lid.

Inside, NOTEBOOKS. About a dozen. She takes one out. Opens

it. Pages and pages... all filled with her handwriting.

She runs her fingers over the neat Cyrillic penmanship.

MEMORY (O.S.)



My name is Leonid Fedorovych

Toptunov. I am the Senior Reactor

Control Chief...

The voices are raspy. Strained. Turn a page...



MEMORY (O.S.)

Vasily Ivanovich Ignatenko. 6th

Paramilitary Fire/Rescue Unit...

Turn a page... the weakened voices begin to blend...

MEMORY (O.S.)

Svetlana Zinchenko, physician...

Anatoly Andreyevich Sitnikov, deputy

chief engineer...

Aleksander Genadyevich Kudryavtsev,

trainee...

She closes her eyes. She was with them all. Listened to

them all. Knew them all.

MEMORY (O.S.)



Electrical engineer...

Turbine operator...

Security guard...

She opens her eyes. Looks down at the page.

10.


MEMORY (O.S.)

My name is Aleksander Fyodorovich

Akimov, Unit 4 Shift Leader.

She looks up from the notebook. An idea. And now more than

an idea. A decision.

She snaps the book shut, and:

CUT TO:

INT. LEGASOV'S APARTMENT - KITCHEN - DAY

513

513

Legasov stares at: TECHNICAL SCHEMATICS spread out on his

table like a visual representation of a CONTROL PANEL.

He smokes. Studies them silently. The table clock tick tick



ticks. The cat pads softly over stacks of BOOKS.

Legasov notices: two strands of HAIR on the schematics.

Long. Like they fell from the root.

He reaches up to his head and runs his fingers through his

hair. A few more STRANDS pull away without effort.

He studies the hair in his hand, shakes it off and wipes

the schematics clean. This isn't the first time.

KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK

Legasov snaps out of it. Startled. Heads to the door.



INT. LEGASOV'S STUDY -

514

514

MOMENTS LATER

Khomyuk sits across from Legasov, the file box on her lap.

Neither of them sure who's supposed to talk first. Then:

LEGASOV


Did you take a train?

Oh for god's--

KHOMYUK

Yes, I took a train, now let's talk



about Vienna.

as he reacts

(

)

I haven't come to scold you. I know



how the world works. I'm a realist,

no matter what Shcherbina thinks.

11.


LEGASOV

Then why are you here?

KHOMYUK

Because I'm brutally stubborn. Which



you were hoping for.

Right. So. As if to convince her...

LEGASOV

Charkov is saying they're going to



fix the reactors after the trial.

KHOMYUK


Do you believe him?

A pause. No. Of course not. But Khomyuk leans in.

KHOMYUK

The State will never willingly fix



the reactors, because acknowledging

the problem means admitting they

lied. They will have to be forced.

Forced? What is she on about?

KHOMYUK


At the trial, you're going to tell

the truth. You're going to convince

a jury.

Legasov stares at her as if she's lost her mind.



LEGASOV

It's a show trial. The "jury" has

already been given their verdict...

KHOMYUK


I'm not talking about them. The

Central Committee has invited

members of the scientific community

to observe the trial. Our

colleagues. From Kurchatov, from

Sredmash, from Minenergo...

And now Legasov sees where she's going.

KHOMYUK


They will be sitting in the crowd,

listening to every word you say. A



jury only we know is there.

(MORE)


12.

And when your testimony arrives at

KHOMYUK (cont'd)

the moment of the explosion... that

is when our jury will finally hear

the truth.

LEGASOV


And do what with it?

KHOMYUK


Insist on reforms. Not just to the

RBMK, but the entire industry.

LEGASOV

No, no, no... no.



KHOMYUK

They need us to function. If

we refuse to work unless--

LEGASOV


Do you know what happened to Volkov?

The man who wrote the report you

found? They just removed him from

his position at the Institute.

Sacked for the crime of knowing. And

you think these scientists,

handpicked to witness a show trial,

will somehow be stirred to action?

By me? Because of some heroic stand

I take in defiance of the State?

KHOMYUK

Yes.


LEGASOV

Why?

KHOMYUK


Because you're Legasov. And you mean

something. I'd like to think if I

spoke out, it would be enough.

beat


(

)

But as I said, I know how the world



works.

LEGASOV


They will shoot me, Khomyuk.

Khomyuk lifts the lid off the box. Pulls out her notebooks,

and begins stacking them in a PILE on Legasov's table.

KHOMYUK


You told me to find out what

happened. I talked to dozens of

people. Every word they said, I

wrote down. All in these books.

13.


The stack is about twelve books high. She pulls out two

more notebooks, and places them next to the larger stack.

KHOMYUK

the two books



(

)

These are the ones who are still



alive.

the twelve books

(

)

These are the ones who are dead.



They died rescuing each other.

Putting out fires. Tending to the

wounded. They didn't hesitate. They

didn't waver. They simply did what

had to be done.

LEGASOV


So have I. I went willingly to an

open reactor. I've also given my

life. Is that not enough?

KHOMYUK


I'm sorry. But it is not.

RISING SOUND: a distant, whistling wind



EXT. COUNTRYSIDE - DAY

515

515

CLOSE ON: a RUSTING CAR.

We SLOWLY RISE to reveal: more cars. And buses. Trucks.

Fire engines. Bulldozers. Helicopters. Acres and acres of

DEAD, CONTAMINATED VEHICLES, stacked in rows. A CEMETERY.

A BARBED WIRE FENCE dotted with garish red and orange

RADIATION SIGNS surrounds the vehicle graveyard. We move to

FIND: a convoy of cars moving down a distant ROAD in the

background.

TITLE


CHERNOBYL EXCLUSION ZONE

JULY, 1987

INT. CAR - COUNTRYSIDE - AS THEY DRIVE

516

516

A limousine. Khomyuk, Legasov and Shcherbina sit in a row

in the back. Somber. Straight ahead. On their way.


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