Directed by Ralph Hemecker
Air Date: December 20,1996
Opening Quote: "The cruelest lies are often told in silence."
- Robert Louis Stevenson
"The Well Worn Lock" is an ambitious Millennium episode dealing with power, family, and abuse. The plot deals with Judge Joe Bangs (Paul Dooley) a pillar of the community whose led a secret life as a sexual predator for years.
Chris Carter's script featured Catherine (Megan Gallagher) taking the lead and allowed Frank to be in a rare supportive role. Connie Bangs (Michelle Joyner), 32 year old daughter of the judge, runs away from home after years of surviving her father's crimes. Catherine takes on Connie's case but faces obstacles because of the judge's political influence. Later its revealed Connie's much younger sister Sara is also her daughter and is in danger of becoming a victim.
The episode resolves itself quickly with the judge being arrested after abducting Sara. The final segment jumps ahead five months for the trial, requiring a mentally fragile Connie to testify. She struggles at first, but Catherine gives her the courage make sure her story is told. The teleplay ends with Connie and Sara throwing away the lock (their safeguard against their father) into the river.
Sensitive issues of abuse within families and how victims emerge from such an ordeal do get simplified in the episode, but it is well paced with strong performances by Joyner and Gallagher. The sub theme of men in power getting away with abusive behavior was also prescient, especially considering the number of powerful males who abused women and children for years without consequences.