Institution Rules

A Feature Length Screenplay

A new admission to a psychiatric ward recieves unusually harsh treatment from some of the staff. He gains the support of a nurse and together they realise that his rough treatment is no accident or random event.

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Setting:  Queensland – Australia.  Most of the script is set in the locked Psychiatric ward of a large institution. Ward 12A.    Time:  Early 1981.


Richard Anderson is a new, and reluctant, admission to the psychiatric ward at the insistence of his Psychiatrist Dr Trevor Elliot.  He quickly becomes acquainted with an assortment of other unusual patients.  However, it is not the patients that cause him the most concern.  Eddy, a long serving and burnt out psychiatric nurse, seems to be treating him more harshly than he does the others inmates.

Mike is one of the senior nursing staff and a long-standing friend of Eddy’s.  Generally he holds Ward 12A together reasonably well, but he is finding this increasingly difficult since Richard has been admitted.  Mike has a special relationship with Susan, an intellectually impaired young woman with a behavioural disorder, and a current patient of Ward 12A.  Susan can be quite volatile at times.

Theresa, a recently graduated psychiatric nurse with good intentions, supports Richard through his ordeals.  She has a very overt dislike of Eddy, but gets on reasonably well with Mike.  When she calls on Mike to do something about Eddy and his mistreatment of the patients their relationship takes a turn for the worse as Mike sticks solidly with his friend and colleague.

Richard has an unexpected and suspicious psychotic outburst during which he head-butts Eddy, smashing his nose.

It appears fortunate for both Richard and Theresa that Eddy’s retirement is only a matter of days away.  Only after Eddy has left does Theresa finally realise that it was Eddy’s deliberate interference and drug tampering that caused Richard’s severe psychotic episode.

At an opportunistic moment Theresa allows Richard the chance to escape.  However, despite his departure from Ward 12A, Richard’s nightmare is set to continue.

As relationships are tested and some of Eddy’s antics are revealed Theresa interrupts Mike in “therapy” with Susan only to find him having sex with her.  She is devastated.  While Richard arrives home to find that his wife has left him.  In the letter left by his wife – it seems clear that she has run away with Eddy.

Richard is life has been ripped apart and he seriously contemplates suicide.  Theresa gives up her job and heads back home to Horsham in Victoria.  Eddy is on his way to South Australia to meet up with his wife to be (Richard’s wife, Christine) when he develops a sudden and untimely nosebleed and collides with a train at a level crossing.

In Adelaide we see Christine meet up with Dr Trevor Elliot the psychiatrist who was treating Richard in hospital.  It looks like they may have got away with a devious plot.

Two weeks later Richard and Theresa meet with detectives from CIB and bust Christine and Dr Elliot together in his office.  They reveal that large quantities of Warfarin (an anticoagulant drug) were found in Eddy’s body and in his lunch.  They are both charged with murder.

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