28th May 1998 Phil Hartman has just wrapped up production of the fourth season of NewsRadio as well as a new comedy called There's Something About Mary which sees him play the part of a sleazy private detective given the job of tracking down an old high school prom date only to fall in love with her himself. He stars with Ben Stiller and Cameron Diaz. His marriage is falling apart, largely due to his wife Brynn's drug problem. His co-stars, who look up to him like a father figure, are very supportive.
Hartman is asleep in his Encino home when he is loudly awakened by his drunk and coked up wife's philandering downstairs. Irritated, he goes down to the kitchen and tells her to stop taking drugs or he'll divorce her and take the kids with him. She tells him to go fuck himself. He goes back to bed. An hour or two later Brynn creeps into their bedroom and points a revolver at Phil's head and shoots. She misses and the bullet tears through the pillow. Immediately awakened, Phil jumps onto Brynn and a scuffle ensues. Phil receives a few kicks to the abdomen while he tries to wrestle the gun off of his crazy wife. Eventually he gets the gun. Brynn lunges at Phil, punching him repeatedly in the back. Phil elbows Brynn in the face, knocking her to the ground. Her nose is broken. Ashamed of what he's done, he apologizes but says "this ends here, I'm sorry" and calls the police. Brynn is handcuffed and brought to the Santa Monica Police Station and charged with attempted murder. Phil is initially charged with assault and battery but is cleared once it's established that he hit Brynn in self-defence. He's free to go. He immediately returns home and gets the kids who are with a social worker. He tells them that it's ok and that mommy and daddy just had a little argument. He vows to protect them and to one day tell them the truth as to why their mother is in a federal prison.