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 H O M  E :: p:tl episode guide :: season two :: episode description

26. The Gift

Season: 2
First Air Date: 28 March 1997 (Showtime)
Alternate Title(s): Puppenspiel (German)
Le cadeau (French)
MGM/Showtime Photos: see Season Two photos page
Kat's deceased brother makes a special visit for Christmas and gets his living sibling in trouble.


Derek de Lint

"Dr. Derek Rayne, Ph D"

Helen Shaver "Dr. Rachel Corrigan, MD"
Martin Cummins "Nick Boyle"
Robbi Chong "Alexandra (Alex) Moreau"
Alexandra Purvis "Katherine (Kat) Corrigan"
Guest Actors


Chad Krowchuk "Connor Corrigan" (Kat's brother)
John Novak "Patrick Corrigan" (Kat's father)


Co-Executive Producer -
Co-Executive Producer Garner Simmons
Producer Fran Rosati
Writer Gary Sherman
Director Michael Robison
This description by: Kris Kroner (1997)


Late Christmas Eve at the San Francisco Legacy House

The entire house is bedecked with decorations and lights both inside and outside. All the windows are framed with real greens and hundreds of white lights. The banisters and balconies in the house are festooned with lights. Poinsettias are everywhere. Wreaths, as well as garlands of live greens covered with Christmas lights and decorations are in every possible place.

Outside Balcony

Rachel, wearing a gold necklace with a single pearl pendant, stands looking pensive. She wears a low cut black dress trimmed in red. Behind her are decorated small trees and lights. Derek, wearing a dark suit and tie with a grey vest, finds her there and asks if she thinks there will be a white Christmas. She smiles, commenting that's unlikely in San Francisco. Derek smiles charmingly and notes that stranger things have happened. She then thanks Derek for inviting her and Kat to spend Christmas there since it feels almost like family. She confides that last year was difficult for her and particularly for Kat since it was her first Christmas without her Daddy and Connor, her brother. "I don't know how she'd have made it through another Christmas." Derek chides her to stop thanking him since his reasons for inviting them were purely selfish. He smiles slyly and says it's not Christmas without children and Kat is the only child he could find.

Living Room

Meanwhile, inside the living room, Alex and Nick decorate a huge Christmas tree. Under the tree are dozens and dozens of beautifully wrapped presents. Nick stands on a ladder and turns on the light on the angel that's at the top of the tree while Alex sings "On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me." As he climbs down the ladder, Nick places silver garland near the top parts of the tree as he sings in reply, "7 minutes of peace and quiet." Alex grins widely and while moving towards the tree with a candy cane says to Nick, "The chains'll be rattling for you tonight , Ebenezer." Nick, also smiling, folds up the ladder and moves it away from the tree, as he replies, "Bring it on. Anything but that stupid song."

Kat dressed in a red and white pajama set walks in carrying her doll and looking for her mother. Alex complements her pajamas, saying they're the most adorable ones she's ever seen.

Outside Balcony

Rachel, appearing very melancholy, says sardonically that she gets paid to help people deal with their emotions and she's a basket case. Derek reassures her but she continues, "Most of the time, I am fine. Then something happens. Christmas happens and I look into her little face and what I feel inside me..." She's near tears then and Derek puts his arm around her comfortingly as he replies, "That's why you're here tonight, with people who love you." They look into each others eyes and kiss.

Kat, standing inside, looks out the window and sees them. As tears well up in her eyes, she turns away, very upset and begins running from the room. Nick swoops her up, grinning, and asks playfully, "Where to do think you're going?" She screams at him to put her down which causes Rachel to come in and ask what's wrong. She goes to Kat who's crying and decides that she's one tired little girl. Rachel tells her she needs to go to bed and have sweet dreams so Santa can bring her lots of presents. Kat replies desolately that there is no Santa Claus. Nick replies, "No Santa Claus? Of course there's a Santa Claus." Kat sobbing, "No there is not. Or if there were he can't give me what I want." Derek tries to comfort her by telling her he knows Mr. Claus personally and will call him if she tells him what she wants. She refuses.

Rachel tells Kat to go up "the wooden hill" and Alex will bring up hot chocolate and cookies to her room. Kat is obviously still very upset so Derek tells her there was a tradition in his family on Christmas eve where his sister and he got to open one gift. Just one, and he asks if she wants to open one. She smiles and says OK and chooses one wrapped in pinkish-purple foil paper. It has no card so they don't know who it's from. She opens it and delightedly pulls out a nesting doll. Her eyes are wide with happiness.

Suddenly, Kat sees her father Patrick, visible only to her. He calls her "Kitty Kat" and smiles. She excitedly tells Rachel, "It's from Daddy, Mommy. He's here!" Rachel looks alarmed. Patrick holds his finger to his lips to shush Kat, whispering, "I love you, Kitty Kat." His spirit leans forward and kisses her. Kat reaches to hug him and nearly falls. Rachel catches her and comforts her as she sobs.

Derek looks around the room worriedly as Rachel tells Kat that sometimes you miss someone so much you think you can see them. Alex chimes in with whoever bought you that present loves you very much. It's so beautiful. She asks Kat to open up the doll so they can see the next one inside. Kat, extremely angry, stands up crying, saying, "I don't care what any of you think. It's from my Daddy, I know it is!" Alex quietly comments, "Poor Baby. It was a lovely gift though." She looks at Derek and Nick who both indicate it wasn't from either of them.

Kat's bedroom

Kat lies in bed clutching the nesting doll as Rachel comforts her telling her she misses them too. Rachel tells her that they are really there inside their hearts. She moves to kiss Kat goodnight but is rebuffed as Kat tells her to leave her alone. She's crying now as she tells her she saw what Rachel and Derek did. "You kissed him and you can't kiss me ever again." Rachel looks surprised and replies that she won't kiss her but she also won't stop loving her. She gets up to leave.

Hallway outside bedroom

Rachel leaves the bedroom as Derek walks down the hall. He came to tell her that Alex has hot chocolate in a thermos in the kitchen for them. Rachel tells him, "We got caught." Derek surprised, says, "I'm sorry." Rachel tells him not to be sorry because she was there too and she doesn't know what exactly happened but it did. She then goes on to say she can handle her having seen them but Kat also believes she saw her Daddy.

Derek looking intense, tells Rachel that perhaps she did. Rachel warns him, "Don't, it's way too close to home." Derek nods and tells her she's right and to get some sleep. She wishes him Merry Christmas and goes into her room.

Kat's bedroom

Kat sits up in bed and holds a picture of her brother Connor, up to the nesting doll and tells Connor to look what Daddy gave her for Christmas. She decides to name the doll Angelina and looks for her other doll, Samantha, so she can introduce her to Angelina. She realizes that she left the other doll downstairs by the tree.

Living room

All the decorations in the house, including the tree, are still lit. A fire burns in the fireplace, illuminating the display of Christmas cards hung around it. Kat makes her way to the tree carrying Angelina. She finds Samantha and tells her not to cry, then asks her if she wants to see what her Daddy gave her. She confides to the doll that she saw her Daddy too but he didn't let anyone see him because he was mad about what her Mom and Derek did. She thinks her Daddy may even be madder than she is.

Derek hears her conversation as she talks to her doll and as he comes into the room, he clears his throat so she isn't frightened. He mentions he only came in to turn the lights out on the tree. Derek leans down to her level and tells her he knows what's she's going through because he was just a little bit older than she was when he lost his father and Christmas didn't seem the same after that.

Kat retorts that she did see her Daddy and he did give her the gift. Derek gently responds that he believes she saw him and that the angel is from him because her Daddy knew she wanted one and was sure she got one. Kat, inconsolable, sobs, "My Daddy was here tonight. I saw him. I don't care what you say." Derek reassures her that crying is OK as is feeling bad because it's what we're supposed to do.

He offers to tuck her in and she tells him no. Then he offers to walk her to her door. She replies firmly, "I'll go in a few minutes. I'm not quite ready yet." Derek agrees, asking her to turn the decorations off when she leaves. She nods and he leaves.

Kat looks at her dolls and tells them she doesn't like Derek anymore. Then she decides to open Angelina to see what's inside her. She finds another nesting doll inside that is just as beautiful. She opens that one and finds inside her an angel that emits a light. Kat is amazed and opens that angel and finds a small human figurine. She holds it in her hand very puzzled. Suddenly, it jumps up and yells. She shrieks and tosses it away from her. It becomes life sized in a flash of light and materializes as her brother, Connor.

Kat totally shocked and disbelieving says, "Connor? This is a dream. You're not really here." Shaking her head she asks him to stop scaring her because he's dead. Connor comes up to her and tells her to touch him but she won't. He retorts that she wasn't afraid of Daddy and he's dead too. She replies that may be so but he's Daddy and that's makes it different. Connor reassures her he's not there to hurt her and that he came to play. He reaches out his hand and this time she does touch it. "You ARE here!" She grins delightedly and he says "That's what you asked Santa for, isn't it?" They begin to play hide and seek around the tree. He disappears and reappears at will. Then they play tag for awhile until Kat calls a time out because she wants to talk about being dead.

They sit on the couch and Connor tells her it's lonely and he misses her and Mommy. He wistfully wishes he could talk to Mommy but she can't hear or see him. Kat replies they miss him too and asks if he can write on a mirror or something so Mommy can see him. Connor sadly replies it doesn't work that way and even though you're dead there are rules and they still treat you like a kid. Kat asks if her Daddy is coming back but Connor tells her that Daddy gets sad after seeing her and Mom. Kat asks seriously if their dad ever kisses anyone. Connor scoffs, "You don't kiss anyone after you're dead. Time in!"

The tag game resumes in earnest. While they're chasing each other around the suit of armor they accidentally knock it over and it falls with a loud bang. Connor looks up alarmed and announces that someone heard them. Kat directs him to hide with her under the sofa.

Outside the room

Nick wearing sweat pants and a T-shirt, comes barefoot down the stairs with his gun drawn. He enters the living room slowly and looks around. Connor, from under the sofa, tells Kat to watch as he makes the french doors blow open suddenly. Nick rushes to the doors and looks out. Before closing them, he puts his gun in his waistband. Next he picks up the suit of armor and replaces the santa hat on the helmet. Connor then makes another noise like it's coming from upstairs and Nick rushes out again to check it. With a gleeful, "Being a ghost is really fun sometimes," he reaches his hand through the floor and makes a noise from basement. Nick runs down the steps and continues searching the house with his gun drawn. Connor laughs delightedly noting to Kat that he has this guy running around like a chicken with his head cut off. Kat objects, telling him that Nick is her friend and she likes him. Connor replies that Nick will tell her Mom about this as well as the fact that she's been out of bed all night.


Derek, in grey pajamas with a charcoal colored robe on, comes down the stairs looking concerned. Suddenly, from around the corner, Nick appears with his gun pointing directly at him. Derek stops suddenly and says, "It's me! What the hell are you doing?" Nick replies that he's sorry he woke him but he heard a noise and came down to check it out. Derek, exasperated, "With a gun?" Nick looks at the gun, smiles, holds it up and says, "With a gun!" Derek, totally frustrated replies, "And then from the roof, I heard such a clatter, I jumped from my bed to see what was the matter. I thought you believed in Santa Claus, Nick." Nick replies, "Very funny." Then Derek asks Nick if he at least had checked to see if Kat was awake "before you went began this search and destroy mission." Nick looks seriously at Derek and walks away as Derek shakes his head and goes upstairs.

Upstairs hallway

Derek knocks on Rachel's bedroom door and asks if Kat is in there with her because she's not in her room. Rachel awakens very alarmed. She jumps up, grabs a gold robe and pulls it on as she runs outside her room. Alex hears the commotion and pulling a black robe with grey dots tightly around her, joins them in the hall and they all begin to search for Kat.

Living Room

From their hiding place under the couch, Connor tells Kat how much trouble she's in and asks her to come with him. He promises to help her hide and help her find Daddy. Kat worries that she would be dead if she goes with him but he reassures her he wouldn't do that to her. She agrees and they disappear.

Rachel comes into the living room and looks under the couch, surprised she's not there because its always been her favorite hiding place. Nick comes in saying he looked everywhere and didn't find her. Derek asks him to recheck the basement and sends Alex to look at the security tapes. Rachel tells him she thinks Kat is trying to punish them. Derek worriedly tells her he doesn't think so. He picks up the nesting doll from under the tree and has a vision of the car wreck that killed Patrick and Connor. They leave the room.

Connor and Kat then reappear on the couch and Kat tells him she likes it on that side and considers staying there for good. "I'll show her!"

Control room

Alex scans the cameras and the tapes as Derek walks in and confidently asks, "Nothing, right?" Alex replies, "Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse." Meanwhile, Connor and Kat's spirits have come to the room and watch.

Derek tells Alex that he thinks Patrick is there with the brother as well and that they have taken Kat. Connor, across the room begins to play with the controls on a keyboard and all the video monitors start going haywire. The error message "System Conflict", is displayed across the screens. Alex complains, "I can't get control."

Derek, looking around the room decides, "They're here," and he shuts off the power and calls out gruffly, "All right. Disneyland is closed for the night, kids. Stop all this right now. Come back to this side, Kat." Kat looks frightened and Connor urges her to come with him and get out of there. They exit the room. Derek senses it , "Damn it. I think I scared them off."

Upstairs hallway

As Rachel searches, she gets increasingly angry as she calls for Kat to come out. The spirits of the kids shadow her as she searches. She pulls down the attic staircase and prepares to ascend to search up there. Connor and Kat get on the steps and begin to go up while Connor asks Kat why she's so mad at Mom. Kat simply says she's can't tell him, she can only tell Daddy.

Derek with Alex, finds Rachel and worriedly tells her that Kat has gone over to the other side. Rachel refuses to believe it and tells him he's out of his mind. She's sure Kat is just mad at her and hiding. With desperation in her voice she continues, "If you knew anything about children, you'd understand that and help me find her." She ascends the attic stairs. Derek looks at Alex and tells her to find Nick.


Nick wanders barefoot among the boxes and objects covered with sheets as he searches for Kat, calling her name gently and encouragingly. Kat and Connor watch from the rafters and Kat tells Connor she hates the basement because it's spooky. Connor happily replies he likes it because its a good place to scare people.

Connor then knocks a box off so it nearly strikes Nick on the head. Kat is very upset at this and asks why he did it. He replies, "Because I'm a ghost and that's what we're supposed to do."


Meanwhile, Derek tries to reason with Rachel, saying she's the only one that can get Kat back to this side. Rachel is very angry and denies Derek's belief, telling him this is her daughter, not a tortured soul. Derek tells her firmly that she is not one of the uninitiated and she knows the power of the spirit world. Kat's on the other side, probably with Connor or Patrick. Probably Connor because of the childish behavior they witnessed. If she stays there too long they may never get her back. "Every second she's there her feelings for life wane. Children don't have the necessary tools to fight off these forces that live there. She will get consumed and not want to come back." He tells Rachel resolutely that she needs to appeal to Connor and Patrick to make her come back.

Rachel stares at Derek and says, "You know what really scares me, Derek, is that you actually believe what you've said." Derek, staring at her, replies, "Yes. I do."


Alex finds Nick and says Kat is in trouble and Derek wants them upstairs. They head to the top of the stairs and suddenly the door closes and locks. Alex exasperated, shouts at Nick, "Can't you just kick it in or whatever you macho guys do?" Nick sarcastically replies, "Right. 2 inches of oak. You got a sledgehammer handy?" They pound on the door and call out to Derek.


Derek tells Rachel that Kat's not in the house but she never left it. Rachel extremely worried and upset, accuses him of wanting her to believe that she might be gone. Lost. She tells him she only loved 3 people in her life and now 2 of them are dead and if Kat is with them...she bursts into tears.

They hear pounding from the basement and Derek opens the door and asks how that happened. Nick shrugs and answers, "Ghosts." Rachel asks if they found her and Alex approaches Rachel saying, "It's Connor. There's no question about it, Rachel. She's gone over to the other side." Upon hearing that, Rachel collapses against the banister and slumps to the bottom step, sobbing.

Connor and Kat have observed all this. When Rachel begins crying Kat tries to go back to her but Connor won't let her, saying if he has to be dead so does she. He physically drags her off despite her protests. Derek senses and hears some of it, cautioning everyone to listen. Nick doesn't hear anything but Alex also cautions that they listen. Derek tells Rachel that Kat is calling out to her and that she's getting weaker and wants her help. Meanwhile Kat screams that Connor won't let her come back. Derek tells Rachel she must call out to Kat and Connor and let them know they know they're there. Rachel looking terrified, calls out to Kat. Derek tells them that Connor is taking her and instructs Rachel to tell him to leave her there.

Rachel calls out to Connor telling him she loves him very much and misses him every single day. Connor responds with great anger asking her why she didn't die with them. Derek senses this and reports that he's very angry. Rachel continues calling for Kat and Connor screams, "If I don't get to grow up, why should she?" Rachel, extremely frightened, and through her own tears, suddenly begins screaming for Patrick. "You promised me, Patrick! We promised each other we'd always be there. I need you, Patrick!"

From the side of the room, Patrick's sprit appears, looking very concerned. Derek senses he's come and tells everyone that Patrick is there. Kat immediately runs to Patrick and he picks her up and hugs her. He looks at Connor and reminds him sadly that he promised he wouldn't do anything like that . "I know why you did it, but you promised." He tells them to make up and tells Connor to say good-bye to Kat and then to go. Connor sadly tells Kat good-bye and she replies good-bye. As Connor turns to leave he looks back very sadly and extremely longingly at his mother who stands in the foyer crying. He then turns away and disappears.

Derek is still able to hear the conversation between the spirits as it continues.

Patrick tells Kat not to be mad at Connor because he's very lonely because he'll never get to grow up and he's very angry about that. He tells her that's why she has to go back and see Mommy. Kat asks if he can let Mommy see him sometimes because she misses him so much. He tells her he knows that. Then Kat tells him that Mommy kissed Derek. Patrick looks at her and tells her he knows and that Mommy's alive and has a life to lead. "We're both sad we can't be together anymore." Kat doesn't understand so Patrick carries her to the window telling her he has something to show her.

Rachel terrified, asks Derek where Kat is and what's happening.

Patrick holds Kat up to the window and tells her to look. The view of the San Francisco skyline changes to overlook a cabin tucked against a mountain in a snow scene. Kat smiles delightedly as Patrick tells her that's Mommy and him before she and Connor were born. He tells her he'll show her and they leave the Legacy house.

Derek looks alarmed. Rachel asks what happened and he replies they lost her.

Rachel, distraught, begins screaming Kat's name.

Cabin in the snow

Inside the cabin, Patrick and Kat's spirit settle in a chair and watch a scene replay from years earlier.

A fire burns in the fireplace and Rachel and Patrick look out the window at the scenery. Rachel smiles at Patrick and asks for a souvenir of their time there. What she specifically wants is a crystal ball; a glass ball with a scene inside it where you turn it upside down and shake it and it snows. She tells him she loves him more than life itself and he replies that she's his love and his life forever. They kiss.

Patrick asks Kat if she sees how much her mother and him loved each other. She nods and he goes on to explain that's why it's better she can't see him. It would hurt her too much. Kat tells him he should bring Mommy there then they could be all together. Patrick sadly tells her he can't do that and she has to go back. Kat begins crying and runs out into the storm.

Foyer - Legacy House

Derek, Nick and Alex try to comfort Rachel. Suddenly, Derek hears Kat as her spirit comes running back into the room begging her mother to come with them so they can all be together again. Patrick's spirit comes right behind Kat and hugs her as Derek senses that she's back. He tells Rachel to call her. "Ask her to come back. There's not much time."

Rachel sits on the step, hugging the nesting doll, with Nick and Alex on either side of her. She looks in the direction Derek was facing and rocks back and forth as she says, "Katherine, it's not time to be with Daddy and Connor now. You deserve to live, little girl, to kiss a boy, and walk down the aisle and hold your own baby in your arms. And then, after you've lived your whole life, then you can go. Then we'll all be together again." Kat listens and cries dejectedly as Patrick tries to comfort her. "She's right, Kat. You have to take care of her for me. Give her lots of love and big hugs and kisses. Mommy is very lonely. She needs you."

Derek urges Rachel to keep on talking. She begs Kat to come back. Kat sobbing as she talks, begs her father to make her come with them or to stay there himself. Patrick sadly tells her he can't do that and that he's decided to take himself and Connor and leave her and Mommy, and asks her, "OK?" Kat looks at him and nods. Patrick looks at her, "I love you, Kitty Cat." Kat, trying to control her sobs, replies, "I love you too, Daddy." They kiss and Kat disappears.

Patrick turns to leave but stops and looks at Rachel longingly before disappearing.

Suddenly, they hear Kat's voice from the basement crying out for Mommy. They rush to the basement where they find her in a locked room. Rachel scoops her up and comforts her, telling her she's had a nightmare. Kat looks at Rachel and tells her Connor and Daddy were there but they had to leave and she begs her to make them come back. Rachel, carrying Kat, comforts her as she heads towards the stairs telling her she wishes it were that easy.

Nick tells Derek he looked there and she wasn't there before. He states matter of factly that there is no way she could have unlocked and locked the door. Derek replies simply, "I know." They follow Rachel upstairs.

Kat's bedroom

Rachel tucks Kat under the covers being sure she has her angel. Kat corrects her and says, "Daddy's angel." Rachel smiles and tells her she's Daddy's angel and kisses her and wishes her "Merry Christmas, little girl." Kat smiles and sleepily replies Merry Christmas.


Rachel comes out into the hall as Alex walks up to her, hugs her and tells her to try to get some sleep, then heads to her room. Nick walks by, hugs Rachel and kisses her cheek wishing her a Merry Christmas before he heads to his room.

She sees Derek and becomes very accusatory, telling him, "You're good. You're real good. Sucked me right in, didn't you? Your own personal brand of mass hysteria." Rachel believes Kat was in the basement the entire time and Derek purposefully turned it into a ghost story. Derek is hurt and angry as he replies, "If I was wrong, I would apologize, but you have to know one thing, Rachel Corrigan, I would never, ever, intentionally hurt you. Never." He gives her a hard stare and then turns around and walks to his room, shutting his door firmly behind him. Rachel looks at his departing figure then turns to her own room.

Rachel's bedroom

She enters her room and sees a present on her nightstand. It's wrapped in the same pinkish-purple foil paper as Kat's had been. She opens it and inside is a crystal globe, the kind with a scene inside that you turn upside down and shake and it snows. The scene inside it is a replica of that same cabin from years before. She cries with delight and hugs it to her face as she lies down in her bed clutching it tightly.

Derek's bedroom

Derek sits at his desk and writes in his journal.

"Christmas Eve. We had the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future. We had sorrow and happiness, grief and joy, loss and reunion, and love and jealousy. The jealousy was mine. It's funny. I've hated ghosts, feared them. Been awed by them. This is the first time I've ever been envious. I wonder if I will ever be lucky enough to have a family who will love me that much."

Description last revised: December 1997