Gerry Conlon | Heroes Wiki | Fandom

I'm an innocent man. I spent 15 years in prison for something I didn't do. I watched my father die in a British prison for something he didn't do. And this government still says he's guilty. I want to tell them that until my father is proved innocent, until all the people involved in this case are proved innocent, until the guilty ones are brought to justice, I will fight on. In the name of my father and of the truth!
~ Gerry Conlon

Gerry Conlon is the main protagonist in the 1993 feature film In the Name of the Father. He was victimized by a miscarriage of justice when he was falsely accused and imprisoned for carrying out the bombing of the Guildford Pub.

He is portrayed by Daniel Day-Lewis.

Biography

During Gerry's early adulthood, he lived in Belfast and spent his time stealing lead sheets from rooftops and selling them, unknown to his family. One time, he is mistaken as a sniper by the British soliders while holding a pipe, and becomes an active target. He is followed through several streets and even houses, including a munitions cache of the IRA. Consequently, a riot is started which Gerry participates in. Soon, IRA members capture him for causing the riots in order to scare some sense into him. His father Giuseppe appears and reasons with them, saving Gerry. Giuseppe is ashamed to learn that Gerry is a thief and lectures him about self-respect. Feeling that Gerry would be happier, Giuseppe sends Gerry to London to find work, and more importantly, to live a proper life and leaving him with the advice "honest money goes further."

On the boat to London, Gerry meets with his old friend Paul Hill and the two get drunk. In London, Gerry was suggested to stay with his aunt Anne Maguire, but moves into a squatters home where Paddy Armstrong and Carole Richardson are residing. He briefly stops at Anne Maguire's house to eat, who once again offers him a bedroom, but declines. Throughout his time in London, he regularly hangs out with the squatters, and becomes intimately connected to one of the women in the group. They hear bombs go off nearby, and Giuseppe asks if Gerry is keeping safe from them during a phone call at a booth.

Back at the apartment, the Englishman Deptford Jim is quick to blame Gerry and Paul for the bombings going off, claiming "the Irish are bringing all their troubles," causing a verbal dispute. The two decide to leave the apartment, and sit in a park up until night time, where they meet a homeless man named Charlie Burke. At eight o'clock that night, the Guildford pub is bombed, and Gerry and Paul wonder around the streets of London. They see a prostitute drop her keys as she heads into a taxi, and try to give her keys back. Having missed the chance, Gerry robs her apartment despite Paul's opposition towards it. They sleep in a hotel overnight, and Gerry buys clothes before heading back to Belfast.

Since Deptford Jim had falsely reported Gerry and Paul to the police, the police arrest all the Irish people in the squatting group in London. These suspects were Paul Hill, Paddy Armstrong and Carole Richardson. Shortly afterwards, British soldiers storm into Gerry's house and forcibly take him back to London for interrogation. The four of them are kept awake for seven days as they are brutally beaten and coerced into confessing at gunpoint, under Chief Inspector Robert Dixon's orders. Gerry refuses to give in, until a detective threatens to shoot his father Giuseppe. When Giuseppe arrives in London in an attempt to intervene, police witness him stopping at Anne Maguire's house, where they soon arrest everyone in the house. In police custody, Gerry witnesses his father getting tortured, and they are placed in the same cell afterwards. Giuseppe questions if Gerry committed the bombing, to which Gerry answers no, much to his relief. Gerry has a mental breakdown, confronting his father over his perceived failure to parent him right; that their rough relationship caused him to become a thief. Giuseppe calms him down, assuring him that it is not his fault. They are briefly allowed to speak to Sarah and the children. Sarah confronts Gerry for getting themselves into trouble, but Giuseppe stands up for him, iterating that they have done nothing wrong.  

Soon, they are taken to court. Gerry and his fellow Irish friends are branded as the Guildford Four, accused of carrying out the bombing. Anne Maguire, Giuseppe and five other family members in London are branded as the Maguire Seven, accused of making the bomb and storing others. The British authorities had fabricated evidence beyond the confessions; they denied and covered up that they tortured the four, and withheld an alibi from Charlie Burke that proved where Gerry and Paul were located as the bomb went off. In addition, they also claim that the Maguire Seven tested positive when scanned for traces of nitroglycerin. Gerry is uncooperative in court, not taking the case seriously and expecting the court to laugh it off. He interrupts Dixon as he lies through his teeth denying his torture of Gerry, and admits publicly that he robbed a prostitute's apartment, once again to Giuseppe's deep disapproval. He mentions where he was at the time of the bombing, and Dixon claims Charlie Burke didn't exist, and that no robberies were reported that night. The verdict is in favor of the prosecution, and the Guildford Four are sentenced to serve a minimum of 30 years in prison. The Maguire Seven, including Giuseppe, are also sentenced.

Gerry and Giuseppe are sent to a maximum security prison, where they share a cell, and are forced to wear blue denim outfits with yellow stripes: inmates who have committed the most despicable of crimes. In prison, they are cast out by the majority of other prisoners who are English, forcing them to keep a low profile. Giuseppe remains optimistic on fighting for an appeal, but Gerry becomes complacent quickly, not wanting to learn anything about the British legal system. He befriends Benbay, a Jamaican inmate, and becomes part of his circle, and starts using drugs. Needless to say, Giuseppe condems Gerry for it, refusing to have a conversation with him. To gain back his approval, Gerry reluctantly promises to stay away from the drugs.

Later on, another inmate joins the prison. Gerry learns that he is the true perpetrator of the Guildford pub bombing, whose name is Joe McAndrew. Similarly, Joe is ostracized by the British inmates, but manages to put up a fight against them. Motivated, Gerry joins and takes his side, but they are beaten up and temporarily moved into security before the other inmates are locked in their cells. When returning, they are applauded by the outcasts for standing up for themselves. Gerry introduces McAndrew to Giuseppe, who admits his crimes, informing him that the police know the truth but want to avoid public embarassment. Giuseppe wants nothing to do with McAndrew due to his violent methods, and Gerry is angry at him for this, causing the strain in their relationship to be deepened further. 

Gerry quickly becomes friends with McAndrew, and they are free to roam around the prison without fear of other inmates. He learns from McAndrew about the political tensions between Northern Ireland and Britain. They plan to confront the Chief Prison Officer Barker so that they can stage a protest proving the Conlons' innocence. In order to do so, they confront Ronnie Smalls, who is the most dominant of the inmates. Joe McAndrew threatens to have his family killed if any other Irish prisoners are harmed, which Gerry is visibly uneasy about. However, Smalls reluctantly keeps his promise, knowing full well that McAndrew's threat was not a bluff. 

Shortly, the inmates become fully united. McAndrew has full influence over the prison, which Barker becomes worried about what they are planning, ordering the wardens to vacate. This buys time for the inmates to hang up signs inside and outside of the prison, declaring the innocence of the Conlons, as well as stage their protest in front of the security cameras. Despite this, Giuseppe vigourously discourages their actions, believing it will damage the legal campaign and correctly sensing it will end in violence. Shortly after, Barker sends in a riot squad, and singles out Gerry, Giuseppe and McAndrew as the ring leaders, beating them and sending all inmates back to their cells by force. 

The protest gains media coverage, which attracts the attention of solicitor Gareth Peirce, who is interested in investigating the Conlons' case. Although Giuseppe is perfectly willing to work with her, Gerry is rather uncooperative due to his bad experience with lawyers. During Gerry's meeting with her, he expresses that he wants nothing to do with her, in spite of Giuseppe's deteriorating health, telling her not to give any false hope. As Giuseppe continues his campaign alone, McAndrew points out to Gerry that he's getting along with Barker, which Gerry is not concerned about.

Because Gerry was no longer caught up with Barker, McAndrew plans with other inmates to kill Barker, without involving Gerry. During a film screening, Joe carries out his plan by coordinating with inmates to lure Barker closer to his presence, signalling to have someone block out the projector with a blanket, having him doused with gasoline, and finally setting him on fire. Acting quickly, Gerry saves Barker with a blanket until other officers extinguish the fire. Having finally witnessed McAndrew's violent methods firsthand, Gerry chastises him, telling him that he wishes he could kill him, before parting from him. Joe is sent to another prison and put into solitary confinement, and Barker is maimed for life and replaced.

Wanting to make amends with his father, Gerry finally agrees to cooperate in the legal campaign to clear their names. Gareth Peirce tasks Gerry to write out his story in as much detail as possible, but feels better off recording his voice instead. Due to Giuseppe's health rapidly declining, Gerry starts to lead the campaign as he assists his father's treatment. They reminisce in a heart-to-heart conversation about Gerry's childhood, and Giuseppe expresses worry that he is dying, scared to leave his wife Sarah behind. Gerry unsuccessfully tries to reassure him that he is not dying, and Giuseppe has doubts in Gerry's capability to take care of his mother. 

Not long after, during one night, Gerry hears that Giuseppe has stopped breathing. He briefly succeeds in waking him up but is still unable to breathe, and Gerry calls for medical help. Giuseppe is quickly taken to the hospital, and Gerry is not allowed to go with him. He remains awake until he is visited by a priest who informs him of his father's death, which the other inmates hear about and show their compassion in a unique way. Gareth Peirce is upset about Giuseppe's death, and continues her part in the campaign, hosting protests with the slogan "Free The Four."

In an effort to weaken the campaign, Gerry is transferred to a prison in Scotland and is unable to stop thinking about his memories with Giuseppe. Feeling hopeless, he suffers a mental breakdown. However, he soon meets again with Gareth Peirce, who reveals she has found evidence of his innocence: the alibi containing a statement from Charlie Burke. Gerry is furious to find that this evidence was deliberately withheld from court, and cannot fathom how the British government could ever compensate him for what he has been put through. 

Finally, as the appeal case is set in motion, Gareth Peirce represents the Guildford Four and confronts Robert Dixon for destroying the lives of the defendants. She produces the evidence of Gerry's innocence, as well as a written note tasking to withhold it from the defendants. Robert Dixon is speechless, but is not charged with any crimes and is allowed to leave. The Guildford Four have their charges cleared and are allowed to leave. Thrilled at the victory, Gerry successfully fights to leave out the front door despite the security telling him he is not allowed. He speaks publicly for the first time, proclaiming his innocence and vowing to hold the British police accountable, as well as having Giuseppe's name cleared of any charges.

Quotes

I hope you burn in hell, Dixon.
~ Gerry Conlon during his prosecution trial.
Gerry Conlon: That was a good day's work, McAndrew. A good day's work.
Joe McAndrew: Get away from me.
Gerry Conlon: You're not looking me in the eye when you're speaking to me. You see, I know how to look at people without blinking as well. In all my god-forsaken life I have never known what it was like to want to kill somebody until now. You're a brave man, Joe. A brave man.
~ Gerry Conlon confronting Joe McAndrew for his murder attempt on Barker.
You're very good at the English, aren't you? You see, I don't understand your language. "Justice." "Mercy." "Clemency." I literally don't understand what those words mean. I'd like to put in an application to get all my teeth extracted. That way I could put my fist in my mouth and never speak another word of f**kin' English so long as I live. Do you see what I'm saying... Mrs. Peirce is it?
~ Gerry Conlon during his meeting with Gareth Peirce.
What I remember most about my childhood is holding your hand. My wee hand in your big hand, and the smell of tobacco. I remember, I could smell the tobacco in the palm of your hand. When I want to feel happy, I try to remember the smell of tobacco.
~ Gerry Conlon
I'm a free man, I'm going out the front door.
~ Gerry Conlon when he is proved innocent.

Gallery

Trivia

  • One may notice that after Giuseppe dies, Gerry starts to tie his hair back.
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