Reverdy Johnson: I really want you to do this for me, Freddie.
Frederick Aiken: You're not serious.
Reverdy Johnson: As serious as the charges against our client.
Frederick Aiken: Me? Defend her?
Reverdy Johnson: She doesn't stand a chance with an old Southerner like me defending her. She needs a Yankee captain like you.
Frederick Aiken: I'm sorry, sir. I... I can't do it.
Reverdy Johnson: No, you'll do fine, son. Experience matters for nothing when they're making up the rules as they go along. Besides, this government has never executed a woman.
Frederick Aiken: They've never considered a woman, nor a man for that matter, capable of murdering the president. Sir, I can find you a rebel to defend her, but I ca... I won't do it.
Reverdy Johnson: There is no court in the Union that would fairly judge that woman with a Confederate counsel.
Frederick Aiken: I won't betray my country. I won't betray my friends who died defending it.
Reverdy Johnson: I'm not asking you to betray your allegiances, Freddie. I'm simply askin' you... rather tellin' you... to obey your oath as a... as an attorney and do your job.
Frederick Aiken: He wants me to represent Mary Surratt.
Nicholas Baker: What?
Man: Yeah. He can't be serious.
Jail warden: They're the actors from the theater. Open up.
Frederick Aiken: Thank you, soldier. That'll be all. This conversation is privileged.
Soldier: Sorry, sir. Orders.
Mary Surratt: Where is Senator Johnson?
Frederick Aiken: The senator has instructed me to handle your case. You understand what you've been charged with? Conspiring to murder the president, secretary of State and the vice president... if found guilty, you could hang?
Mary Surratt: No disrespect, Mr...
Frederick Aiken: Aiken.
Mary Surratt: Mr. Aiken. How many years have you?
Frederick Aiken: 27.
Mary Surratt: So you've handled cases like this before?
Frederick Aiken: There's never been a case like this before.
Mary Surratt: But you have defended others. They've left nothing to chance.
Frederick Aiken: Very well. You own a boarding house on 541 H Street? Is that correct?
Mary Surratt: Yes.
Frederick Aiken: How long you been there? Ma'am? All I know about you is what I read in the papers. It's not flattering.
Mary Surratt: I moved to Washington a year ago with my son and daughter after my husband passed.
Frederick Aiken: And the assassins were frequent visitors to your home.
Mary Surratt: Yes.
Frederick Aiken: Well, you... heh. You don't even deny having been acquainted with John Wilkes Booth and the others behind bars?
Mary Surratt: No, sir, I do not. My husband died a drunk, Mr. Aiken, and left me loads of debt. I had to support my family, so I rented rooms to boarders. Those men were customers, nothing more.
Frederick Aiken: And you never considered their allegiances?
Mary Surratt: I didn't ask about their allegiances.
Frederick Aiken: What about yours, ma'am?
Mary Surratt: I am a Southerner. I'm a Catholic and a devoted mother above all else... but I am no assassin.
Frederick Aiken: Your freedom is gonna require greater assurances than that.
Mary Surratt: Then you tell me what I should say to those generals.
Frederick Aiken: Oh, you can't say a thing. You're prohibited from testifying in your own defense. Perhaps your son could speak for you. Any idea where he's hiding?
Mary Surratt: No, I don't.
Frederick Aiken: All right. Is there anyone who will give your version of events?
Mary Surratt: You mean the truth?
Frederick Aiken: Well, obviously the government believes your version is not the truth.
Mary Surratt: Based on what?
Frederick Aiken: They're not releasing their list of witnesses or the evidence they'll use against you.
Mary Surratt: And can they do that?
Frederick Aiken: This kind of proceeding, they can do to you whatever they want.
Mary Surratt: Well, then what difference does it make? Those generals have made up their minds. I can tell by the way they look at me.
Frederick Aiken: The way they look at you?
Mary Surratt: Just the same way you're looking at me.
Frederick Aiken: I have to go. Good day.
Mary Surratt: Mr. Aiken, I haven't a word from my daughter since I've been here. Would you look in on her for me? I'd be most grateful. Thank you.