For much of the movie, Gale seems like the obvious culprit in Harraway’s murder, as there is ample evidence, including DNA evidence, linking him to the crime. However, as Bloom’s investigation continues, what actually happened to Harraway comes into focus.
In between her visits with Gale, Bloom is followed by a mysterious man in a cowboy hat named Dusty Wright (Matt Craven). Bloom begins to suspect that Wright — a former lover of Harraway’s and a fellow member of the DeathWatch advocacy group — is actually the murderer. When someone leaves a videotape for Bloom in her motel room, the journalist watches shocking footage of Harraway’s asphyxiation and death.
As she struggles to put the pieces together, yet another tape confirms that Harraway, who was suffering from terminal leukemia, actually took her own life and framed it as an elaborate murder, with Wright as her accomplice. Bloom races to reveal this exonerating evidence, but unfortunately, she isn’t able to stop Gale’s execution. And the twists don’t end there. Just when a distraught Bloom thinks she can leave the Gale case behind her, she receives one more tape in the mail labeled “Off the Record.” The footage reveals Gale consciously planting his fingerprints on Harraway’s body. He then stares into the video camera before shutting it off.
The final reveal confirms that Gale was in cahoots with his DeathWatch colleagues the whole time. Both Harraway and Gale martyred themselves for their beliefs. After Gale’s execution, Bloom does release the tape that confirms that Harraway and Wright staged Harraway’s “murder.” It causes a huge uproar, as the evidence confirms that the state executed an innocent man. Clearly, Harraway and Gale hoped that by sacrificing their own lives in such a fashion, it would help sway public opinion against capital punishment.
If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).