[From one of his journals] What sick ridiculous puppets we are / and what gross little stage we dance on / What fun we have dancing and fucking / Not a care in the world / Not knowing that we are nothing / We are not what was intended
[from his journal] On the subway today, a man came up to me to start a conversation. He made small talk, a lonely man talking about the weather and other things. I tried to be pleasant and accommodating, but my head hurt from his banality. I almost didn't notice it had happened, but I suddenly threw up all over him. He was not pleased, and I couldn't stop laughing.
Wanting people to listen, you can't just tap them on the shoulder anymore. You have to hit them with a sledgehammer, and then you'll notice you've got their strict attention.
Mills: Now, I wasn't standing around guarding the Taco Bell, alright? I worked homicide for 5 years.
Somerset: Not here.
Mills: I understand that.
Somerset: Well, over the next 7 days, Detective, you'll do me the favor of remembering that.
Somerset: You meant what you said to Mrs. Gould, didn't you? About catching this guy?
Somerset: Hm. I wish I still thought the way you do.
Mills: Why don't you tell me what the hell it is you think we're doing, then?
Somerset: Picking up the pieces. We're collecting all the evidence, taking all the pictures and samples, writing everything down, noting the time things happen.
Mills: That's all?
Somerset: That's all. Putting everything into neat little piles and filing it away on the off chance it will ever be needed in the courtroom. Picking up diamonds on a deserted island, saving them in case we get rescued.
Mills: [sits up] Bullshit!
Somerset: Even the most promising clues usually only lead to others. So many corpses roll away un-revenged.
Mills: Don't try to tell me you didn't get that rush tonight. I saw you. We're getting somewhere.
Somerset: Why don't you tell me what's really bothering you, Tracy?
Tracy: David and I are gonna have a baby.
Somerset: [baffled] Oh, Tracy... I don't think I'm the one to talk to about this...
Tracy: I hate this city.
[A slightly uncomfortable moment passes]
Somerset: I had a relationship once. It was very much like a marriage. We got pregnant. This was long time ago. [sighs] I remember getting up one morning and going to work. Just another day like any other, except it was the first day after I knew about … pregnancy. And I felt this fear for the first time ever. I remember thinking, "How can I bring a child into a world like this? How can a person grow up with all this around them?" I told her I didn't want to have it, and over the next few weeks, I wore her down.
Tracy: I want to have children.
Somerset: I can tell you now that I know … I mean, I'm positive … that I made the right decision. But there's not a day that passes that I don't wish that I had made a different choice. If you don't keep the baby – I mean, if that's your decision – don't ever tell him that you were pregnant. But if you choose to have this baby, you spoil that kid every chance you get. [Tracy starts crying] That's about all the advice I can give you, Tracy.
Mills: Do you like what you do for a living? These things you see?
Man in Massage Parlour Booth: No, I don't. But that's life.
Mills: [about Victor] Has he tried to speak or communicate in any way?
Dr. Beardsley: Even if his brain were not mush, which it is, he chewed off his own tongue long ago.
Somerset: Uh... Doc, is there absolutely no chance that he might survive?
Dr. Beardsley: Detective, he'd die of shock right now if you were to shine a flashlight in his eyes. He's experienced about as much pain and suffering as anyone I've encountered, give or take... and he still has hell to look forward to. Good night.
Somerset: Victor's landlord said there was an envelope of cash in the office mailbox the first of every month. Quote: "I never heard a single complaint from the tenant in apartment 306, and nobody ever complained about him. He's the best tenant I've ever had." End quote.
Mills: Yeah, a landlord's dream: a paralyzed tenant with no tongue.
Somerset: Who pays the rent on time.
Mills: I'm sick of all this waiting!
Somerset: This is the job.
Mills: Why aren't we out there, huh? Why we gotta sit here, rotting, waiting until the lunatic does it again?
Somerset: It's dismissive to call him a lunatic. Don't make that mistake.
Mills: Come on, he's insane. Look, right now he's probably dancing around in his grandmother's panties, yeah, rubbing himself in peanut butter. Ooh. How's that?
Somerset: I don't think so.
Mills: His luck will run out.
Somerset: He's not depending on luck. We walked into that apartment exactly one year after he tied Victor to the bed. One year to the date. He wanted us to.
Mills: Don't know that for sure.
Somerset: Oh yes, we do. This note he left, his first words to us: "Long is the way, and hard, that out of hell leads up to light."
Mills: Fuck him. So what?
Somerset: He's right so far. Imagine the will it takes to keep a man bound for a full year, to sever his hand and use it to plant fingerprints, to insert tubes into his genitals. This guy's methodical, exacting, and worst of all, patient.
Mills: He's a nut-bag! Just because the fucker's got a library card doesn't make him Yoda.
[Mills and Somerset are reading through the FBI results]
Mills: Whatever. The Writings of Saint Thomas Aqua-something.
Somerset: Saint Thomas Aquinas? There it is. He wrote about the seven deadly sins. Is that it?
Somerset: Let's try it.
Mills: Jonathan Doe?
Mills: [picks up the phone] Hello?
Doe: I admire you. I don't know how you found me, but imagine my surprise. I respect you law enforcement agents more every day.
Mills: Well, I appreciate that, John. I tell you …
Doe: No, no, you listen, all right? I'll be re-adjusting my schedule in light of today's little … setback. I just had to call and express my admiration. Sorry I had to hurt … one of you, but I really didn't have a choice, did I?
Doe: You will accept my apology, won't you? I feel like saying more, but I don't want to ruin the surprise. [hangs up]
Somerset: You know, this isn't gonna have a happy ending.
Mills: Hey man, if we catch him, I'll be happy enough.
Somerset: If we catch John Doe and he turns out to be the Devil – I mean, if he's Satan himself – that might live up to our expectations. But … he's not the Devil. He's just a man.
Mills: You know, see, you bitch and you complain and you tell me these things – if you think you're preparing me for hard times, thank you, but …
Somerset: But you got to be a hero? You want to be a champion. Well, let me tell you, people don't want a champion. They wanna eat cheeseburgers, play the lotto and watch television.
Mills: Hey, how did you get like this? I wanna know.
Somerset: Well. [sighs] It wasn't one thing, I can tell you that.
Mills: Go on.
Somerset: I just don't think I can continue to live in a place that embraces and nurtures apathy as if it was a virtue!
Mills: You're no different. You're no better.
Somerset: I didn't say I was different or better. I'm not! Hell, I sympathize; I sympathize completely. Apathy is a solution. I mean, it's easier to lose yourself in drugs than it is to cope with life. It's easier to steal what you want than it is to earn it. It's easier to beat a child than it is to raise it. Hell, love costs: it takes effort and work.
Mills: We are talking about people who are mentally ill. We are talking about people who are fucking crazies.
Somerset: No. No, we're not. We're talking about everyday life here. You – you can't afford to be this naive!
Mills: Fuck off. See, you should listen to yourself. Yeah. You say that the problem with people is that they don't care, so I don't care about people. It makes no sense. You know why?
Somerset: You care?
Mills: Damn right.
Somerset: And you gonna make a difference?
Mills: Whatever. The point is that I don't think you're quitting because you believe these things you say. I don't. I think you wanna believe them because you're quitting. You want me to agree with you, and you want me to say, "Yeah, yeah, yeah. You're right. It's all fucked up. It's a fucking mess. We should all go live in a fucking log cabin." But I won't. I won't say that. I don't agree with you. I do not. I can't.
Mills: [to John Doe] I've been trying to figure something in my head, and maybe you can help me out, yeah? When a person is insane, as you clearly are, do you know that you're insane? Maybe you're just sitting around, reading Guns and Ammo, masturbating in your own feces. Do you just stop and go, "Wow! It is amazing how fucking crazy I really am!"? Yeah, do you guys do that?
Doe: It's more comfortable for you to label me as insane.
Mills: It's very comfortable.
Doe: Nothing wrong with a man taking pleasure in his work. I won't deny my own desire to see each sin turned against the sinner.
Mills: Wait, I thought all you did was murder innocent people...
Doe: [outraged]Innocent? Is that supposed to be funny? [his voice rising in anger] An obese man, a disgusting man who could barely stand up, a man who if you saw him on the street, you'd point him out to your friends so that they could join you in mocking him, a man, who if you saw him while you were eating, you wouldn't be able to finish your meal. After him, I picked the lawyer, and I know you both must have been secretly thanking me for that one. This is a man who dedicated his life to making money by lying with every breath that he could muster to keeping murderers and rapists on the streets!
Doe: A woman …
Mills: Murderers, John, like yourself?
Doe: A woman, so ugly on the inside she couldn't bear to go on living if she couldn't be beautiful on the outside. A drug dealer, a drug-dealing pederast, actually! And let's not forget the disease-spreading whore! Only in a world this shitty could you even try to say these were innocent people and keep a straight face. But that's the point: we see a deadly sin on every street corner, in every home, and we tolerate it. We tolerate it because it's common, it's trivial. We tolerate it morning, noon, and night. Well, not anymore. I'm setting the example. What I've done is going to be puzzled over and studied and followed … forever.
Mills: Uh... yeah. [to Somerset] Delusions of grandeur.
John Doe: You should be thanking me.
Mills: Why is that, John?
Doe: Because you're going to be remembered after this. Realize, detective, the only reason that I'm here right now is that I wanted to be.
Mills: No. No, we would have got you eventually.
Doe: Oh, really? So, what were you doing? Biding your time? Toying with me? Allowing five "innocent" people to die until you felt like springing your trap? Tell me, what was the indisputable evidence you were going to use on me right before I walked up to you and put my hands in the air?!
Mills: John. Calm down. I seem to remember us knocking on your door.
Doe: Oh, that's right. And I seem to remember breaking your face. [leans forward] You're only alive because I didn't kill you.
Mills: Okay, sit back.
Doe: I spared you.
Mills: Sit back!
Doe: Remember that, detective, every time you look in the mirror at that face of yours for the rest of your life, or should I say, for the rest of what life I've allowed you to have.
Mills: Sit back! Sit back, you fucking freak! Shut your fucking mouth! You're no messiah. You're a movie of the week. You're a fucking T-shirt, at best.
John Doe: Don't ask me to pity those people. I don't mourn them any more than I do the thousands that died at Sodom and Gomorrah.
Somerset: Is that to say, John, that what you were doing was God's good work?
Doe: The Lord works in mysterious ways.
Mills: What do you got?
Somerset: Dead dog.
Doe: I didn't do that.
Doe: Do you hear me, Detective? I'm trying to tell you how much I admire you...and your pretty wife.
Mills: What'd you fucking say?
Doe: It's disturbing how easily a member of the press can pay for information from men in your precinct. I visited your home this morning, after you'd left. I tried to play husband. I tried to taste the life of a simple man. It didn't work out, so I took a souvenir...her pretty head. All because I envied your simple life. And so, it seems envy is my sin.
Doe: She begged for her life.
Somerset: Shut up.
Doe: She begged for her life and –
Somerset: Shut up!
Doe: She begged for her life and the life of the baby inside her.