Act 2 Summary

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Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 408

Twenty minutes later, the reporters reveal that Williams escaped by shooting the psychiatrist. Hildy calls Burns and tells him that Sheriff Hartman gave his gun to the psychiatrist to be used as a prop in his psychological exam.

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Peggy enters, angry with Hildy for always putting his job before her. Peggy’s mother, Mrs. Grant, comes in; she has been waiting in a cab downstairs during the argument. Hildy tells them to go ahead to the station—he will meet them later.

In the meantime, the Mayor enters and refuses to make a statement on the escape. The Sheriff announces that they know where Williams is hiding; the reporters rush to the scene.

The Mayor asks the Sheriff why Williams escaped. Their conversation is interrupted by the appearance of Pincus, a man from the Governor’s office, who has come with a reprieve for Williams. The Mayor bribes Pincus to say that he never delivered the document. Pincus accepts the bribe and the men leave.

Hildy returns to the office. Suddenly, Williams falls through the window into the room. Williams gives Hildy his gun while he explains his actions. Hildy hides him in the bathroom and calls Burns.

Mollie enters, happy to see Williams. They hide him in a reporter’s desk. The disappointed reporters return and call their editors with new information: Williams was not in the house; and tragically, another man was shot in a case of mistaken identity.

Another reporter, Schwartz, theorizes that Williams is still in the building. The reporters decide to look for Williams. Hildy suggests they each take a floor. Before they can leave, Mrs. Grant enters, and reveals that Hildy has caught Williams. Hildy denies it, and the reporters do not believe her.

To deflect attention from Hildy, Mollie claims that she knows where Williams is. To avoid the insistent reporters, she jumps out the window. While the reporters rush out to pursue Mollie, Burns comes in and Hildy tells him that Williams is in the desk. Mrs. Grant sees this; to keep her quiet, Burns has an associate, Diamond Louie, take her to a safe place.

Hildy tries to leave to meet Peggy, but Burns will not let him; he convinces Hildy to finish the story while he smuggles Williams out in the desk. While Hildy writes the story, Peggy returns. She accuses Hildy of not wanting to get married. She leaves and Hildy declares that he loves his job.

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Act 1 Summary


Act 3 Summary