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

59. The Covenant

Season: 3
First Air Date: 10 July 1998 (Showtime)
Alternate Title(s): Todsuende (German)
MGM/Showtime Photos: no photos
Ingrid, Derek's sister who is a nun, begs him to investigate the eerie and peculiar suicide/murder of a Convent novice.


Derek de Lint

"Dr. Derek Rayne, Ph D"

Helen Shaver "Dr. Rachel Corrigan, MD"
Martin Cummins "Nick Boyle"
Robbi Chong "Alexandra (Alex) Moreau"
Kristin Lehman "Kristin Adams "
Guest Actors


Gabrielle Miller "Mary Miller" (young novitiate who died)
Chad Lowe "Josh Miller " (Mary's brother)
Kevin McNulty "Paul Miller" (Father of Mary, Josh)
Lisa Maris "Anne Thompson" (a young nun)
Camille Mitchell "Ingrid Rayne" (Derek's sister)
Sheila Moore "Sister Margaret, Mother Superior"
mentioned, not casted "Daniel Miller " (the younger brother)
mentioned, not casted

Jimmy Boyle (Nick's older brother)

Co-Executive Producer Garner Simmons
Co-Executive Producer Grant Rosenberg
Producer David Tynan
Produced by Robert Petrovicz


Director -
This description by:

Tracey -

  Credits/Quotes by Emmalee



A young woman falls to her death from the bell tower, witnessed by Sister Ingrid (Derek's sister). Ingrid rushes over to the fallen woman and is very upset. The ghostly apparition of the young woman appears next to Ingrid and asks her what happened. The young woman looks closer at the body and becomes distraught when she recognises herself. She fades away.

Legacy House

Kristin enters the library and tells Alex that all she could find was a bag of corn snacks. Alex laughs and says they are Nick's favourite. Kristin asks how Nick can stay in shape and still eat this stuff. At that point, Nick comes into the room, grabs the bag of corn snacks from Kristin and starts eating them. He tells Kristin that "road work" keeps him in shape and five miles will burn off a double cheeseburger, large fries and two beers. Kristin says she can't believe he eats so much junk and Nick informs her that he has all the major food groups covered although he isn't sure which category hops would fall under. Alex and Kristin just laugh. Getting serious, Nick asks them where Derek is and tells them that a friend of his just died and he has to go to San Diego for the reading of the will. Alex tells him that Derek went to Napa to see Ingrid. Both Alex and Kristin express their condolences, but Nick shrugs it off by saying that he and his friend hadn't been close for sometime. Kristin offers to accompany Nick to San Diego and he warns her that he will be stopping for junk food. Kristin grimaces and says she'll pack some yoghurt.


Derek is driving in his car while talking to Rachel on the phone. He informs her that he will be staying with Ingrid for a while, as there has been a suicide at the convent. Stopping the car in front of the convent, Derek gets out and is greeted by Ingrid. Derek asks if Ingrid has any idea why the young woman would kill herself. Ingrid sighs and tells him that Mary was very troubled when she first came to the convent and she thought they had helped her. Derek tells Ingrid that she must not blame herself. Ingrid gets angry and says Derek would do the same thing if it had been Alex, Rachel or Nick. Ingrid starts to cry and apologises for her harsh words, the whole situation hasn't been easy for her. Derek hugs her and says no apologies are necessary. Ingrid says it is good to be with family and tells Derek that the Mother Superior would like to see him.

Mother Superior's Office

The Mother Superior, Sister Margaret, is working at a computer behind a large desk. She stands when Ingrid shows Derek into the room, saying it is good to see him again. Derek thanks her for allowing his visit since they are not accustomed to visitors at the convent. Sister Margaret says they have all been disturbed by the tragedy and assures him that Ingrid takes great comfort in his presence. Sister Margaret asks to speak to Derek alone and Ingrid leaves the room. Derek sits down and Sister Margaret tells him that she is aware of his work in studying "unusual occurrences".  She adds that there has been talk amongst the sisters of events that cannot be explained away by logical reason and urges Derek to ignore the talk. Derek argues that they may be worth investigating, but Sister Margaret informs him that he is solely there to comfort Ingrid and nothing more. Derek agrees to respect her wishes.

En-route to San Diego

Nick and Kristin have stopped for some food and are seated outside in the sunshine. Kristin comments that they have been driving for four hours and Nick hasn't mentioned his friend yet. Nick says there isn't much to say and that it was his brother who died. Kristin is shocked and says she didn't know that he had a brother. Nick shrugs and says it never came up. Kristin asks how he died and Nick says it was a car accident but the lawyer didn't elaborate. (This totally contradicts the S4 episode "Brother's Keeper" where we learn that police shot Jimmy after trying to help a girl in trouble).  Kristin notes that Nick seems to be coping with the news very well and Nick reveals that he hasn't seen Jimmy for twenty years. Jimmy had a harder time dealing with their father and left when he was seventeen. Kristin asks if Nick ever looked for him. Nick says he was too young and by the time he was old enough, he had built up enough resentment not to care anymore. Kristin wonders why he would be needed at the reading of the will and Nick says he has no idea. Kristin smiles and tells Nick that things are never dull around him. Nick laughs and says it's part of his charm.


Ingrid has shown Derek to his room and tells him that there have been strange events in the night in different parts of the convent, like the bell in the tower rings when no one is there. Ingrid admits that some of the sisters believe it is Mary's ghost. Derek asks what Ingrid believes. Ingrid starts to tell him that suicide is an unpardonable sin in the eyes of the church when she is interrupted by crashing noises. They both rush downstairs to be met by Sister Margaret. They trace the noise to Mary's room and Sister Margaret insists the noises are caused by the wind. Derek barges into the room and the wind blasts around them. The room is in chaos with the window opening and shutting on its own, papers billowing around the room, the bed is upright against the wall and is rocking. A pen writes the word "SIN" in large letters on the wall. The wind suddenly dies down and the bell in the tower begins to ring.

The following day, Alex and Rachel arrive. Rachel reveals that she was sent to a convent for the summer when she was twelve and very rebellious. Alex laughs and says it sounds like a match made in heaven. Rachel simply says they had different ideas. Ingrid overhears and hopes to change Rachel's mind about convents. They greet each other warmly and Rachel asks Ingrid what's been going on.

Mary's Room

Alex and Rachel are looking through Mary's belongings while Derek examines the writing on the wall. Derek asks if they have found anything. Alex holds up some paper, saying they are mostly poems. Ingrid smiles and says Mary liked to write and probably used it as a release. Curious, Rachel asks a release from what. Ingrid looks uncomfortable and doesn't answer. Derek prompts her to answer and Ingrid says Mary confided in her. Rachel urges her to tell them. Ingrid reveals that Mary had a hard time dealing with the death of her younger brother, Daniel, who died the previous year. Six months after his death Mary came to the convent. Rachel asks if there is anything else, but Ingrid says Mary was more at ease with the younger sisters, especially Sister Anne.

Convent Library

Rachel and Alex approach Sister Anne, but she is very reluctant to talk to them and wonders if they will use Mary's death to slight the convent. Alex denies it and asks why Anne would think such a thing. Anne admits that people don't understand why they dedicate their lives to God and she finds it hard trusting people. Rachel assures Anne that they are there to help. Alex asks if Anne can tell them anything about Mary's family. Anne admits that Mary confided in her but doesn't want to betray that trust. Rachel says she understands and points out that as a psychiatrist she has taken an oath to protect her patients' confidences but sometimes circumstances outweigh that. Anne tells them that she must return to her task and Rachel and Alex turn to leave. Anne suddenly tells them that they won't find answers at the convent and they are looking in the wrong place.


Derek and Ingrid are both looking at the bell tower. Derek asks who was the last to see Mary alive besides Ingrid herself. Ingrid reveals that Mary's father, Paul Miller, visited that night. Derek wonders if he has been back since and Ingrid says he claimed Mary's body along with his son Joshua. Paul Miller is a widower with a strong religious conviction, but he did not approve of Mary joining the convent.

Alex and Rachel arrive and admit that no one is sharing information. Ingrid says the sisters have a high regard for secrecy much like the Legacy. Alex repeats Sister Anne's comment that they are looking in the wrong place and Rachel surmises that it has to mean Mary's family as she had few friends outside the convent. Derek asks Ingrid if Paul Miller would come to the convent to speak to him. Ingrid says he might but doesn't understand why Derek wouldn't go to his house. Derek says Rachel and Alex will be talking to Joshua there.

Convent Library

Paul Miller is shown into the library and is met by Derek and Ingrid. Paul tells them that he believes Mary was taken from him for a reason and he doesn't have to understand why because his faith will sustain him. Derek asks about his visit with Mary that night and Paul says it was about family business but won't elaborate. Derek tells Paul that he believes Mary is still with them as strange things have been happening. Paul looks stunned.

Miller House

Alex and Rachel arrive to talk with Joshua who seems very edgy. They express their condolences for Mary's death and Joshua tells them Mary is with the Lord. Alex asks what she was like and Joshua says she was a

decent person and they were all very close until she went into the convent. Rachel asks why Mary entered the convent and Joshua says things were hard after their younger brother died. Mary needed some other place to turn. Alex asks how their father took it when she left. Joshua reveals that Paul didn't want her to leave but Mary changed after Daniel died. Joshua starts to become agitated. Rachel notices the chessboard nearby and asks about his opponent. He says he is playing against himself and likes to play in the park sometimes.

Beach, San Diego

Nick and Kristin are walking along the beach. Nick tells her that twenty years ago his family were getting ready to go on a real vacation when his father had a last minute emergency and couldn't go. They were all disappointed, especially Jimmy, but no one was really surprised. The three of them decided to go anyway and ended up at this beach. When Jimmy and Nick went for a walk, Jimmy revealed that he was leaving once they got back home. He made Nick promise not to tell anyone. Nick never really believed he would go. Kristin says that it sounded like Jimmy had made his mind up. Nick hopes that the decision weighed as heavily on him as the rest of them.


Sister Anne is walking on the grounds in the dark when the bell begins to ring.  She calls out Mary's name and asks why she did it. The wind picks up and Sister Anne screams.

Mother Superior's Office

The following day, Derek and Sister Margaret are looking very solemn. Sister Margaret comments that she was the last one to speak to Sister Anne and she was upset about Mary. Sister Anne was planning on speaking to Derek but she talked her out of it. Derek asks if she knew what Sister Anne wanted to tell him. Sister Margaret reveals that Mary kept a journal and Sister Anne hid it after Mary's death. Derek asks where but no one knew except Sister Anne. Derek asks for permission to search the convent, but Sister Margaret insists that Sister Anne's death was an accident. Derek challenges that she doesn't really believe that. Sister Margaret confesses that this is all going against her beliefs and she can't believe that Mary's spirit would take a life. Derek suggests that something may have happened to Mary on the other side that changed her and they have to investigate before others die. Sister Margaret reluctantly agrees.

The Millers

Rachel returns to talk to Joshua and tells him about Sister Anne's death. Joshua is very upset and says she was Mary's best friend. He asks how she died and Rachel says she had a massive concussion presumably from a fall. She adds that they believe Anne was killed. Joshua becomes highly agitated and begins rubbing his forehead. First his brother dies, then Mary and now Sister Anne - Joshua blames himself, saying he is being punished. He starts to hit himself on the forehead and Rachel tries to soothe him. She asks why he would think like that. Joshua says they are sinners and were born unclean. Rachel says they need to find Mary's journal to seek answers. Joshua tells Rachel that the answers are in the book (the Bible) and in the word  (of God).

At that moment, Paul Miller arrives home and orders Rachel to leave. After she is gone, Paul demands to know what Joshua said. Joshua, getting more nervous, assures him he said nothing. Paul orders Joshua to pray with him. Paul clasps his hands together and asks for forgiveness for his sins and says he has tried to do God's will. Joshua stands next to him looking very distraught.

San Diego

Nick leaves the lawyer's office carrying an A5 sized manila envelope. Kristin comments that it didn't take long. Nick says there wasn't much of an estate to settle - $30,000 went to a homeless shelter. Kristin looks surprised and wonders why they needed Nick to be there. Nick hands her the envelope. Kristin opens it and pulls out a photo of Nick and Jimmy as children on the beach they just visited. Kristin says it looks like Jimmy never forgot that day either. Nick gets emotional and wonders why Jimmy never called, especially after their father died. Kristin says maybe he couldn't.


Derek comes down the stairs and tells Ingrid that there is no sign of the journal. Ingrid says she's looked in the kitchens, the cellar and Anne's room with no luck. Derek asks where Alex is and Ingrid says the library. It is the only place they haven't looked yet. They head towards it.


Alex is searching through the shelves when the bell begins to ring. She pauses and pulls a thick book from the shelf. Opening it, she finds the journal tucked inside. As Alex opens the journal, the voice of a young girl cries out and a wind whirls paper about the room. Mary appears and rushes toward Alex. The bookshelf topples over on top of Alex.

Later, as Rachel wraps a bandage around Alex's wrist, Alex explains that she had the journal in her hand and was just starting to read it when the room caved in. Rachel says there is no sign of the journal anywhere. Derek asks how Mary sounded. Alex says she felt fear and desperation but it wasn’t aimed towards her. Derek wonders if there was someone else in the room unseen by Alex. Alex wonders whom and Rachel surmises it could have been Paul Miller. Ingrid argues that Paul is an upstanding member of the community. Rachel points out that he was with Mary the night she died and that he disapproved of her joining the convent. Maybe there was something in the journal he didn't want made public. Derek muses that the younger son died in an accident.

Rachel is in front of a laptop and is hooked into the Legacy mainframe. She pulls up some information on Daniel Miller and finds out that he died from carbon monoxide poisoning a year ago. He was working on in his car in the garage, left the motor running and he was overcome with fumes. Derek asks her to access more of his medical history. Rachel pulls up an Admission Record from County Memorial Hospital that states Daniel was admitted for ingesting liquid pesticide 6 months prior to his death. Derek wonders if it was another accident, but Rachel says it could have been his first attempt at suicide. Ingrid wonders why he would do such a thing. Rachel says Paul believes his truth is the only truth and his children are paying the price. Ingrid argues that they can't blame Paul for Mary's suicide. Derek thinks that Mary's death may have not been suicide since Ingrid saw Mary fall rather than jump - she may have been pushed.  If Paul drove his son to suicide, Mary may have known the truth and Paul silenced her to prevent a scandal. Rachel agrees with Derek and points out that someone was willing to take a life to get the journal. Derek says Joshua may know something and urges Rachel to talk to him again. Rachel says she will try but Joshua believes he will bring the wrath of God upon himself. Derek adds, "Or the wrath of Paul Miller."


Joshua is watching two old men play chess when Rachel approaches. He moves to leave, saying that his father doesn't want him to talk to her. She wants to cause trouble. Rachel asks if she looks like trouble and offers to buy him a soda.

Afterwards, they sit on a bench in the park and Joshua admits that he didn't know Mary kept a journal. He wonders what it said, but Rachel tells him Alex was attacked before she could read it and then the journal was taken. Rachel asks if Joshua believes in the supernatural and Joshua says the Bible speaks of miracles. Rachel tells him that sometimes Alex can see things others can't, like spirits. She tells him that Alex spoke to Mary and Mary told her things about her father. Joshua looks concerned and asks what things. Rachel looks at him and says she was hoping Joshua would tell her. Joshua gets to his feet, growing more agitated by the minute. He accuses Rachel of tempting him into saying something bad about his father. Rachel urges him to tell the truth, but Joshua says his father is a good and righteous man. Getting angrier, Joshua whirls around and throws his bottle of soda to the ground. Again, he accuses Rachel of trying to cause trouble and leaves.

Beach, San Diego

Nick is sitting on the boot of the Mustang deep in thought. Kristin sits next to him and asks if he has had any great revelations. Nick jokingly replies that the seat is "damn cold" before adding that if Jimmy missed them so much he had a hell of a way of showing it. Kristin muses that maybe Jimmy couldn't find his way back to them. Nick looks thoughtful and wonders if Kristin is going to spend the rest of the trip trying to figure it out. Kristin smiles and says it is her way of passing the time. Looking amused, Nick says she must be really bored.  Nick looks at the photo and says he would give anything to know what was going on inside Jimmy's head back then. Kristin tells him he should let it go since he'll never know and he should look at things from a different angle. His father was estranged and when his brother left, Nick stayed behind and became the glue that held his family together - their weaknesses made him stronger. Nick says that although he never saw or spoke to Jimmy, he knew that he wasn't alone in the world. They both go quiet and then lean in to kiss. They both pull back embarrassed and greatly amused. Kristin says "whoa" and Nick agrees.


Derek and Rachel approach Paul Miller who is seated in a pew. Paul gets angry and says they have no business there, as it is a place of worship. Derek says they came to talk but Paul argues there is nothing to talk about - his daughter is dead and her suicide a painful memory. Rachel says, "Like Daniel's." Paul looks stunned and Derek says they know what happened. Paul says Daniel was weak like Mary and his faith would not sustain him. Rachel informs him that they don't believe Mary committed suicide. Paul asks what she means and Rachel simply says he knows. Derek adds that it is no longer just about his family as Alex was attacked in the library. Paul is horrified and says not another one. Derek asks what he means and Paul replies that the anger of the Lord overflows in him and he can't help himself. Paul blames himself. Rachel asks whom he is talking about. Paul adds that he told Mary to keep silent to keep Daniel's shame in the family. Rachel suddenly realises that he is talking about Joshua and Alex is in danger. Derek and Rachel rush to leave, but Paul says that Joshua was only trying to protect him. Joshua is his son so what else could he do. Rachel says he's already done it.

Bell Tower

Alex is lying in bed, dreaming about Mary's accident. She tosses restlessly and hears Mary's cry for help. Alex awakens and gets out of bed and heads to the bell tower, watched by Joshua who pulls on gloves. Alex makes her way inside and climbs to the top. She hears a noise and turns to see Joshua climbing up after her. Alex asks him what he is doing there. Joshua says Rachel told him that Alex spoke to Mary and did she say that he had no choice. Alex realises that Joshua killed Mary, but Joshua denies it, saying the Spirit was working through him. Alex asks why he killed Mary, as she would never have hurt anyone. Joshua says that Mary was going to hurt their father like Daniel did when he killed himself. People would have blamed their father for Daniel's suicide so he tried to tell Mary to stay silent but she wouldn't listen. 

As Joshua advances towards Alex, Alex retreats closer to the edge of the tower. Alex rushes forward and tries to get passed Joshua, but he grabs her and pushes her back towards the ledge. Joshua says the anger of the Lord rose within him and everything became clear. Abraham didn't falter when asked to kill his own son. He's already killed his sister so killing Alex will be easy.


Derek and Rachel rush into Alex's room only to find the bed empty. Derek says they must search the grounds.

Bell Tower

Alex asks Joshua how many more have to die since he's already lost a brother and sister. Joshua says they were merely grains of sand and the winds of righteousness swept them away. At this moment, the wind is beginning to stir in the bell tower. Alex tells Joshua that Mary can see what he is doing. Joshua falters but accuses Alex of saying that in an attempt to save her life. A gust of wind blows through the tower and Joshua loses his grip on Alex.

Alex looks down at the steep drop and clings to the wall. Joshua tells her it is time for her to jump and grabs her by the throat. He starts to push her from the ledge and Alex struggles to hold on.

Derek and Rachel arrive below and see the struggle. They rush to the door but it is jammed shut.

Mary appears, calling out to Joshua, asking why. Joshua reels back and says she was going to hurt their father. Mary denies she would ever hurt them.

Derek and Rachel finally get the door open and rush inside.

Mary advances towards Joshua and Joshua pulls back afraid. She reaches out to touch his face and smiles. She then pulls back and disappears. Joshua doesn't understand why she did that and Alex says Mary has forgiven him. The bell rings again.


Rachel and Alex pack their luggage into the car as Derek says goodbye to Ingrid. Ingrid says she doesn't know what they would have done without him. Derek laughs and says next time she should come to them for some peace and quiet. Ingrid laughs and they hug.

Derek's voiceover: "Faith has many faces. For the sisters of this convent it was a face of silence, of love, of tranquil  worship. For Paul Miller it was the face of anger, of self-righteousness without compassion, and   ultimately it destroyed those closest to him. Whatsoever a man seweth, that shall he also reap."

Description last revised: 13 April 2003

EXTRAS - descriptions of the characters and a few Nick quotes:

Mary Miller - young novitiate at Ingrid’s convent, she appeared to have committed suicide.  It was later revealed that her brother, Josh, was responsible for her death.

Josh Miller - son of Paul and brother of Mary.  Because of the religious righteousness and anger of his father, he somehow developed a psychic power that destroyed his sister Mary.

Paul Miller - father of Mary, Josh and Daniel, he is a man of intense religious beliefs, "a zealot" according to Rachel.

Anne Thompson - a young sister, she was a close friend of Mary’s.  Killed by a blow to the head.

Ingrid Rayne - she asked Derek for help after Mary apparently committed suicide at the Napa convent.

Sister Margaret - Mother Superior at the convent, she is a skeptic about supernatural occurrences.

Daniel Miller  - younger brother of Josh and Mary, he committed suicide by carbon monoxide.

Jimmy Boyle - other brother of Nick, by seven years.  Died in a car accident at 37 years of age.  He left home at 17, when Nick was 10. He and Nick never spoke again.

Nick Quotes:

"Five miles a day. I’ll burn off a double cheeseburger, large fries and a couple of beer." Nick’s answer to Kristen’s wondering how he stays in shape while eating junk food.

"Milk, dairy, meat. What category does hops fall under?" Nick’s explanation of his food chart.

"I’m warning you now. I stop for fast food." Nick, telling Kristen what to expect on their road trip to San Diego.

"Nick, I knew you could keep a secret.  You were the strong one." Note left for Nick at a San Diego attorney’s office, left by his brother Jimmy.

"Anybody can run, Nick. Jimmy was right. You are the strong one." Kristen, talking to Nick in "The Covenant."

"Even though I never spoke to him, never saw him, I wasn’t alone in the world. Does that make sense?" Nick, talking to Kristen, about his brother’s death, in "The Covenant."