Season 5

Episode 521: “Made in the U.S.A.”

Episode 521:  “Made in the U.S.A.”
Original Air Date:April 11, 1999
Written by::Christine Pettit & Rosanne Welch
Directed by:Bethany Rooney
Produced by:

Martha Williamson
Jon Andersen
R.J. Visciglia, Jr.

Guest Cast:


Nick Stratton Eric Roberts
Am-Nhac Jennifer Paz
Cadao Toshi Toda
Lang Kieu Chinh
Young Nick Joshua Keaton
Del John Colella


Nick Stratton, owner of Stratton Apparel, hires Vietnamese women to work in his sweatshop because they are willing to work for little pay. Monica’s assignment is to help Nick, a “good man with a bad attitude.” Nick hires Monica as his accountant the same day that Am-Nhac Nguyen starts at the factory, pressing pants on a faulty steam press. Am-Nhac and the other women are willing to work for Nick because he will pay for citizenship classes if they meet their rigorous daily quotas. Tess, who teaches the class, tells Am-Nhac that her father, Cadao, can attend as well.

The next day Nick, under pressure from his clients, raises the quotas, and Am-Nhac, in a hurry to meet hers, severely burns her arm. Nick fires Am-Nhac because her injury will slow her down. Monica asks Nick why he is so hard on his workers, and Nick tells her his story. As a soldier, Nick helped a captured Vietnamese boy escape. Nick knew the boy was not Viet Cong because he had a peace symbol, an American fad, tattooed on his shoulder. Nick was court-martialed for aiding the enemy and returned to the U.S. a war criminal. His uncle left the factory to him when he died. Monica convinces Nick to let Am-Nhac keep her job. Am-Nhac, with Tess’ help, works through the night to meet her quota.

When Cadao picks her up, Nick sees the tattoo on his shoulder, a peace symbol. Nick realizes that Cadao is the boy he helped escape, and the person, Nick believes, who is responsible for ruining his life. Meanwhile, Tess teaches her students about how the early Americans protested against British rule, and Am-Nhac decides to protest the dangerous working conditions at the factory. The plan backfires, however, when Nick fires everyone. When Andrew, posing as an I.R.S. agent, explains that Nick owes the government several thousand dollars in back taxes, Nick plants a time bomb in the factory. Before he can leave, however, one of the rickety shelves collapses, trapping Nick. Seconds before the bomb is to detonate, the timer stops ticking and Monica appears to Nick. She tells him that God loves him and is proud of him for saving the young man’s life.

Nick asks God to forgive him for the hatred he has lived with for so long. The clock begins ticking again and when Nick screams for help, Am-Nhac arrives with Cadao, who diffuses the bomb. Nick asks Am-Nhac for forgiveness and reveals that he is the soldier who helped Cadao in Vietnam. Am-Nhac and Cadao are happy to finally be able to thank him for his act of kindness. Later, Nick attends the swearing-in ceremony for Am-Nhac and her Cadao, finally United States citizens.

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