How The Nightingale Killer Plot Changes On 'Frequency' While Maintaining The Movie's Biggest Twist
A serial killer from the past is seriously messing with Raimy's future on Frequency. The CW series, which is an adaptation of the 2000 film of the same name, borrows more from the movie than just a ham radio that can communicate 20 years into the past: it's also revisiting one of the film's most heartbreaking plot points. In the movie, John rescues his dad Frank from a fire by warning him of his demise via radio, which inadvertently leads to his mother Julia, a nurse, being murdered by the Nightingale Killer. The series has reintroduced fans of the original film to that disturbing plot twist, albeit in a totally new way. Though there is a serial killer on the TV show, the Nightingale plot differs between the Frequency movie and show in one big way.
On the CW series, Raimy is essentially the John role, and similarly causes a series of events that leads to her mother's murder. Raimy tells her father, Frank — a detective in this version, instead of a firefighter — that the so-called sting operation that he planned to partake in would lead to his death, allowing him to survive the attack. Later, when Raimy and her mother, Julie, visit an injured Frank in the hospital, Julie receives keys and a nurse's pass from her friend, a woman who would later be murdered by the Nightingale Killer in Raimy's original timeline. However, it seems that because Raimy's mother was wearing that pass, the Nightingale Killer targeted her instead.
That's not exactly how things work in the original film. In the movie, Frank's death is an accident, not a setup, and unlike on the TV show, Frank and his wife are not estranged. In the movie's original timeline, Julia leaves the hospital early when she learns that Frank has been killed in a fire. After she leaves, the real Nightingale Killer comes into the hospital, where he dies due to a medical mixup. However, when John saves Frank after warning him via the ham radio, his mother never leaves the hospital. In a cruel ironic twist, Julia saves the Nightingale Killer, thus allowing him to continue his murder spree — which, eventually, puts Julia in danger. It also causes Frank, who attempts to save the new victims of the killer, to be framed for the crimes himself when the Nightingale Killer plants his driver's license at a crime scene.
The Frequency TV show is clearly expanding the story so that the mythology behind the Nightingale Killer is deeper than the movie could have explored in its two-hour runtime, and to give Frank more mysteries to solve as it continues. However, as in the original film, these plot twists bring sad consequences that Raimy will have to figure out how to fix without making things worse.
Images: Bettina Strauss, Diyah Pera/The CW