As he leaves Desi’s house, Nick gets a voicemail from Gilpin asking him to meet the detectives at his and Amy’s house at four. He drives back to Carthage, and soon finds himself in the living room with Gilpin and Boney “for the first time since The Day Of.” Boney begins telling Nick that she has “some stuff [she wants] to get clear on” with him, but Nick tries to digress by telling them he’s just paid a visit to Desi and believes they should look into him more. Boney stonily replies that Desi is not a suspect, and will not relent in spite of Nick’s accusations against the man. Nick mentions that other men have been calling the tip line obsessively, including one old boyfriend of Amy’s named Tommy O’Hara, but Gilpin insists the three of them need to focus on the basic facts of the case.
As Nick feels Boney and Gilpin trying to corner him—though he’s not sure to what end—he tries to throw other ideas and stories at them. At this point in the narrative, it’s still unclear what’s really going on, and whether Nick’s desire to look into other options is borne out of truth or the desire to disguise more lies. The objective truth doesn’t matter right now to the detectives—they clearly have a narrative in front of them that they want to test out, and seek Nick’s help in sorting through the clues they’ve found.
Boney asks Nick about his whereabouts during the time frame Amy went missing—when he was down at the beach. She says if he could give them the name of anyone who might have seen him there, they could “cross this little thing off [their] list.” They question Nick about where he got his coffee that morning, and why he was at the beach—most people who know him have said he isn’t a “beach person”—but Nick dodges their questions smugly. He has an answer for everything.
Nick is one step ahead of the cops, with answers to all of their questions. Nick knows he has no alibi for the morning of Amy’s disappearance—and whether his answers are genuine or not, he’s clinging to them for dear life.
Gilpin and Boney tell Nick that they have seen countless home invasions—and have determined that the scene in the living room is odd and obviously staged. When Gilpin stomps, three picture frames fall off the mantelpiece—and yet when they first arrived at the scene, all three were upright. If there had been a real struggle, the detectives say, there would have been a much different crime scene. Gilpin adds that a Luminol sweep of the kitchen “lit up”—Amy lost a good deal of blood in there. They have matched trace amounts of blood to her blood type. Nick feels “a clot of heat” in the middle of his chest. Boney adds that the blood on the floor was poorly but obviously mopped up.
The inconsistencies in the living room mess showed the cops that something in the house was either amiss or afoot. As they’ve looked into more evidence within the home they’ve found some frightening stuff—and as Nick realizes this, he begins feeling nervous and ill.
Boney and Gilpin begin questioning Nick about the state of his and Amy’s marriage—he insists everything between them was fine, but knows she can tell he’s lying. Nick asks if Amy might have run away, but Boney states that Amy hasn’t used a cell phone, credit card, or made a cash withdrawal since her disappearance. Boney asks Nick one more time how his marriage was, warning him that holding back information from the cops is the only thing that will make him look bad.
Nick has an opportunity to tell the cops the truth, and admit to the problems within his and Amy’s marriage—but he knows that to do so would make him even guiltier, and so he continues spinning the yarn that everything between him and Amy was sunny and happy.
Boney and Gilpin continue asking Nick about his marriage, and the kinds of things he and Amy would fight about. Nick eventually admits that he and Amy squabbled about domestic responsibilities—and their move back to Missouri. Gilpin asks how their financial situation was, and Nick admits that though they’ve had some money problems of late, they’ve had a good foundation thanks to Amy’s wealth. The detectives point out that at the beginning of Nick and Amy’s marriage, Amy was wealthy and they wanted for nothing—now, they are living a “very different lifestyle” than the one Nick originally signed up for. Nick chastises himself for playing into their hands.
Boney and Gilpin clearly want to come down hard on the money angle. They believe that Nick grew frustrated with the depletion of Amy’s funds, and became upset that his life with her was not the wealthy and comfortable life of plenty he’d envisioned. Nick can’t escape this narrative, even though he tries.
Boney pulls out a bunch of credit card statements and asks Nick about the two hundred thousand dollars in debt they reveal. Nick is shocked, and stutters as he asks to see the statements. The statements reveal charges to a dozen different credit cards, all long overdue. Nick insists there has been identity theft of some sort—he doesn’t even golf, and yet “someone” has paid seven thousand dollars for new clubs. Boney says that Noelle Hawthorne has told them that Amy was upset about finances, and worried Nick had “married her for her money.” Nick insists that Noelle and Amy weren’t even friends, but Boney states that the Hawthornes’ living room is “covered” with framed photos of Noelle and Amy. Nick insists Amy has never spoken Noelle’s name to him. Nick suggests the pictures could be photoshopped. Gilpin accuses Nick of “casting about for someone to blame.”
There are several inconsistencies in what Nick has told the detectives—and here, they begin to lay bare all of the damning evidence they’ve found which suggests that Nick has been lying to them all along. Though Nick is genuinely bewildered by everything they show and tell him, it’s hard to argue with credit card bills and negative character statements from a neighbor.
Gilpin and Boney begin peppering Nick with other incriminating information. They point out that Nick bumped up Amy’s life insurance coverage to over a million dollars last month, and googled “Body Float Mississippi River” two months ago. Nick insists that it was Amy’s idea to bump up the policy, and that the strange internet search was related to book research. Nick, exasperated, accuses the police of trying to pin Amy’s disappearance on him and asks why they aren’t looking into anyone else. Boney softly says that they’re just trying to make sure he’s “in the hundred percent clear,” but Nick counters angrily, stating that he wants a lawyer. Gilpin and Boney look one another “as if they [have] settled a bet.”
All of the evidence mounting against Nick makes him look completely guilty. Nick insists that he hasn’t been behind any of it—but as the cops continue to pile more and more on him, he’s forced to realize that the deck is stacked against him. When he declares he wants a lawyer, he feels the cops look at one another as if at least one of them believes he is truly guilty. Nick has lost control of the narrative here, and must find a way to get it back.