Based on the novel by James Ellroy
November 16, 1995
OVER the opening strains of "I LOVE YOU, CALIFORNIA," a
MONTAGE: a mixture of headlines, newsreel footage and
live action. Economy Booming! Postwar Optimism! L.A.:
City of the Future! But most prominent among them:
GANGLAND! Police photographers document crime scenes.
The meat wagon hauls ex-button men to the morgue. Where
will it end?
EXT. L.A. SKYLINE - SUNSET
Palm trees in silhouette against a cherry sky. City
lights twinkle. Los Angeles. A place where anything is
possible. A place where dreams come true. As the sky
darkens, triple-kleig lights begin to sweep back and
EXT. MANSION (HANCOCK PARK) - NIGHT
The KLEIG LIGHTS are out front. Valets hurry to park a
line of elegant cars.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you
the future of Los Angeles!
INT. HANCOCK PARK MANSION - BALLROOM - NIGHT
The MAYOR yanks a cloth to reveal a MODEL of L.A. criss-
crossed by an elaborate FREEWAY SYSTEM. The CROWD oohs.
A COUNCILMAN claps. A SOCIETY MATRON nods her approval.
PIERCE PATCHETT, 50, tuxedoed, watches off to one side.
A behind-the-scenes power broker, Patchett exudes
authority much more so than the Mayor does.
The Arroyo Seco freeway is just
the beginning. We're planning
freeways from Downtown to Santa
Monica, from the South Bay to the
San Fernando Valley. Twenty
minutes to work or play is the
longest you'll have to travel.
More applause. One REPORTER asks a little too loudly...
How many bodies you think Mickey
Cohen'll be able to hide in all
The Mayor wears a plastic smile, ignores it.
INT. THE MOCAMBO - NIGHT
A CLUB PHOTOGRAPHER pops snapshots, but the real action
is on the floor where MICKEY COHEN does a wicked "Lindy
Hop" with THREE different GIRLS at once. A fireplug of a
man, he hardly seems a public menace. Nearby is his
bodyguard JOHNNY STOMPANATO. Over it all:
Meyer Harris Cohen, Mickey C to
his fans. He's the big moocher,
local L.A. color to the nth
degree. You know Mickey. He runs
dope, rackets and prostitution.
He kills a dozen people a year.
But who you may not know is
bodyguard Johnny Stompanato.
His hair in a slick pompadour, Stompanato keeps an eye on
Cohen and comes onto a CIGARETTE GIRL at the same time.
Johnny's handsome, ladies, but the
real attraction is below the belt.
Second only to Steve Cochran, he's
sometimes known as 'Oscar' because
of his Academy Award-size
Mickey works a sweat on the dance floor. A bottle of
champagne pops; Stompanato reacts, nearly draws a pistol
from his shoulder holster. As he laughs at himself...
INT. HUSH-HUSH MAGAZINE OFFICE - DAY
Lurid page one headlines cover the wall where SID
HUDGEONS types. The essence of sleaze, Sid is the
publisher-photographer-writer of Hush-Hush magazine and
keeper of inside dirt supreme. As he continues...
Remember, dear readers, you heard
it here first, off the record, on
the Q.T. and very Hush-Hush.
INT. HANCOCK PARK MANSION - BALLROOM - NIGHT
The party continues. The Mayor has moved off to the side
with the power brokers. Patchett is a presence.
We're selling an image, gentlemen.
Beautiful weather. Affordable
Trouble-free transportation. And
the best police department in the
world to keep it all running
EXT. STOREFRONT - NIGHT
A dozen people watch a display windoe TELEVISION as it
rolls the opening of the hit show "Badge of Honor." Over
familiar THEME MUSIC, "Sgt. Joe Reno" (actor BRETT CHASE)
walks the streets of Los Angeles.
My name? Joe Reno. The city?
Los Angeles. A big town. Full of
all sorts of people. It's my job
to help them. I like what I do.
I'm a cop.
INT. HANCOCK PARK MANSION - BALLROOM - NIGHT
The Mayor continues.
But with a second rate Al Capone
out there, L.A. looks like Chicago
in the '30s. Something has to be
As Pierce Patchett nods sagely.
INT. OLYMPIC AUDITORIUM - NIGHT
Wrestler GORGEOUS GEORGE primps and poses before flatten-
ing an opponent with a drop kick.
INT. MOVIE THEATER - NIGHT
An enthusiastic crowd adjusts their 3-D glasses.
EXT. COHEN MANSION (BEVERLY HILLS) - DAY
In monogrammed silk pajamas, Mickey Cohen answers the
door, his pet BULLDOG Mickey Jr. at his feet. The police
are waiting. REPORTERS' flashbulbs pop.
Mr. Cohen, you're under arrest.
Bullshit. What's the charge?
Non-payment of federal income tax.
EXT. GRAUMAN'S CHINESE - DAY
JOHN WAYNE gets his hand prints in the sidewalk.
EXT. WESTCHESTER BEAN FIELD - DAY
MIGRANT WORKERS hurry to finish the harvest. We PAN
TO CONSTRUCTION WORKERS who wait impatiently with bull-
dozers under a "Spirit of the Future" BANNER. As the
last picker leaves the field, the bulldozers move in,
leveling the bean rows to make way for a housing tract.
EXT. FEDERAL COURTHOUSE - STEPS - DAY
Flashbulbs pop as Mickey Cohen exits and starts down
the steps. Accompanied by his LAWYERS, bodyguard
Stompanato and mob lieutenants DEUCE PERKINS and NATE
JANKLOW, Cohen ignores REPORTERS' shouts.
How's your bullshit now, Mickey?!
As Cohen gets into a waiting car, the media turn their
attention to District Attorney ELLIS LOEW. A singularly
ambitious man, Loew loves the spotlight.
Today is an auspicious one for the
city of Los Angeles. Mickey Cohen
has just been sentenced to ten
years in federal prison for
failure to pay income tax.
As the District Attorney for Los
Angeles County, it is my pleasure
to declare our great city
organized crime free. It is truly
the dawning of a new day.
The SONG ENDS and so does the MONTAGE.
INT. PACKARD (ACROSS FROM BULLOCKS WILSHIRE) - NIGHT
December 24th. Wendell "BUD" WHITE, 30, stares at the
enormous Christmas tree on the deco platform over
Bullocks' entrance. An LAPD cop, Bud's rep as the
toughest man on the force has been well earned. In the
back seat, with cases of Walker Black and Cutty Sark, is
Bud's partner -- DICK STENSLAND. Older, but also a tough
hump, "Stens" sucks on a pint of Old Crow.
The passenger door opens and Mickey Cohen bodyguard
Johnny Stompanato slides in. Guinea handsome, Johnny
wears his curls in a tight pompadour. With his boss
behind bars, he's out of work. Bud just stares at him.
Officer White. I heard you got a
hard-on for wife beaters.
And you fuck people up for a
living. That don't make me you.
Stompanato smiles. Nervous. Through the window, Bud
watches a Salvation Army Santa palm coins from a kettle.
Bud ain't in the mood for small
Look, Mickey C's doing time and
half the other guys who'd hire me
are dead or left town. I need
money. If your snitch-fund's
green, I'll get you some fucking-A
Impatient, Bud tugs at a finger, CRACKS a KNUCKLE.
There's this guy. He's blond and
fat, about forty. Likes the
ponies. Been pimping his wife to
cover his losses. Knocks her
around to keep her in line.
Bud's eyes narrow at this last bit of info. Stompanato
holds up a slip of paper.
I figure the address is worth
Bud digs into his wallet, pulls out twenty bucks,
exchanges it with Stompanato. Stompanato smiles smugly,
grabs a bottle of Scotch from the back.
Yuletide cheer, fellas.
Without warning, Bud grabs Stompanato's tie and yanks,
slamming his forehead into the dash.
Happy New Year, greaseball.
EXT. 1486 EVERGREEN - NIGHT
A stucco job in a row of vet prefabs. A neon Santa
sleigh has landed on the roof. Through the front window,
we see a fat guy browbeating a woman. Puff-faced, 35-
ish, she backs away as he rages at her.
The Packard pulls up out front. Stensland could care
Leave it for later, Bud. We got
to pick up the rest of the booze
and get back to the precinct.
Bud KILLS the IGNITION, picks up the radio.
Central, this is 4A-31. Send a
prowler to 1486 Evergreen. White
male in custody. Code 623 point
one. Domestic assault and
battery. I won't be here, but
they'll see him.
EXT. 1486 EVERGREEN - BUD - NIGHT
steps to the house. Inside, we hear SLAPS, MUFFLED
CRIES. Bud grips an outlet cord coming off the roof and
yanks. The sleigh crashes to the ground with REINDEER
EXPLODING around it. A beat. The fat guy runs out to
investigate, trips over Rudolph.
Bud pounces. Fat guy takes a swing, misses. Grabbing
fat guy's hair, Bud smashes his face to the pavement.
Once, twice. Teeth skitter down the walk.
Touch her again and I'll know
about it. Understand? Huh?
Another face full of gravel. Fat guy's WIFE watches with
apprehension from the steps as Bud cuffs her husband's
hands behind his back, empties his pockets. A cash roll
and car keys. Bud looks over at her.
You got someplace you can go?
She nods. Bud hands her the keys and the cash.
Go get yourself fixed up.
Merry Christmas, huh?
Bud watches as she gets into a pre-war Ford in the drive.
She backs over a blinking reindeer as she goes.
You and women, partner. What's
next? Kids and dogs?
INT. STAGE FOUR (VARIETY INTERNATIONAL PICTURES) - NIGHT
The "Badge of Honor" set. A Christmas party in full
swing. Eating, drinking, and dancing. Star Brett Chase,
seen earlier on television, is holding court.
LAPD Sgt. "Trashcan" JACK VINCENNES, late 30s with slick,
good looks, dances with a young ACTRESS. Grinding their
way through a ballad, they're obviously hitting it off.
Brett Chase told me you're the cop
who busted Bob Mitchum.
These 'Badge of Honor' guys like
to pretend, but being the real
thing must be a thrill.
Let's go someplace quiet. I'll
give you the low-down on Mitchum.
You got your handcuffs with you?
I'll get my coat.
They're interrupted by Sid Hudgeons.
Big V Jack Vincennes! May I have
Karen, this is Sid Hudgeons from
I know who he is.
The Actress storms off. Jack looks to Sid.
We did a piece last year.
'Ingenue Dykes In Hollywood.' Her
name got mentioned.
Beats me. Look, Jackie-Boy, a
friend of mine just sold some
reefer to Matt Reynolds. He's
tripping the light fantastic with
Tammy Jordan at 2245 Maravilla,
Hollywood Hills. It's right
around the corner.
You lost me, Sid. Who?
Contract players at Metro. You
pinch 'em. I do you up feature in
the next issue. Plus the usual
fifty cash. Tell me, am I fucking
I need an extra fifty. Two
patrolmen at twenty apiece and a
dime for the watch commander at
Jack! It's Christmas!
No. It's felony possession of
EXT. 2245 MARAVILLA - NIGHT
WITH a VIEW of Grauman's Chinese. Jack and two uniformed
patrolmen wait on the darkened street. An arc light has
been set up. Hudgeons creeps back over from the house.
They're sitting in the dark,
goofing on the Christmas tree.
Stand there with your camera.
I'll stop here so you get
Grauman's Chinese in the
I like it! I like it!
INT. 2245 MARAVILLA - NIGHT
The arc light floods the living room about the same time
that Jack kicks the door in. The room is caught flush:
Christmas tree, a bag of weed on the couch, two kids
necking in their BVDs. MATT REYNOLDS and TAMMY JORDAN.
EXT. 2245 MARAVILLA - NIGHT
Jack exits, hauling Jordan and Reynolds by the neck.
Jack stops with Grauman's FRAMED behind him and Hudgeons
CLICKS off several shots with his CAMERA.
Cut! Wrap it!
Windows light up. Rubberneckers appear. Jack hands the
kids to the patrolmen, heads back in with Hudgeons in
INT. 2245 MARAVILLA - NIGHT
Jack scoops the pot, flips through an address book. A
card falls out. "Fleur-de-Lis. Whatever you desire..."
Jack looks from the card out the window at the kids being
loaded into a black and white. They're both crying now.
It's Christmas morning in the City
of Angels, and while decent
citizens sleep the sleep of the
righteous, hopheads prowl for
marijuana, not knowing that a man
is coming to stop them. The free-
wheeling, big-time Big V,
celebrity crime-stopper, Jack
Vincennes, the scourge of
grasshoppers and junk fiends
everywhere. You like it, Jackie-
Yeah, it's subtle.
Sid hands him a President Grant 50.
Remember: you heard it first here,
off the record, on the Q.T. and
INT. HOLLYWOOD STATION - DISPATCH DESK - NIGHT
Suspects, mostly drunk and disorderly, are ushered
through. Sgt. ED EXLEY, 30, bespectacled, is at the desk
with a YOUNG OFFICER. Exley is an up-and-comer. Burning
with ambition. The faster he rises through the ranks,
the more resentment he leaves in his wake.
What's on the call sheet?
A guy dressed as Santa has been
exposing himself to kids in Los
Feliz. Apparently, sir, he's
With tinsel and plastic icicles
and... on his penis, sir.
I get the idea. You got a
Of his penis, sir?
EXT. HOLLYWOOD BOULEVARD - HOLLYWOOD LIQUOR - NIGHT
Tinsel-trimmed photos of movie stars look down from the
walls as the OWNER takes an order from LYNN BRACKEN.
A case each of gin, Scotch, and
rum. Everything top shelf. None
of that watered-down stuff you
push on Errol Flynn.
Sounds like a helluva party.
Her hair kerchiefed, Lynn waits as the Owner writes it
up. There's glamour, a cat-girl grace about Lynn. She
seems like she belongs up on the wall with the movie
stars. Lynn looks across as Bud White heads toward the
counter. Spotting her, Bud doesn't look so tough for a
You want it delivered?
Before five tomorrow.
The Owner spots Bud. A big smile turns to a frown.
I'll be right with you, Lynn.
The Owner begins indiscriminately loading hard liquor
into a cardboard box, leaving Bud and Lynn to look at
each other. Bud says the only thing he can think of.
Merry Christmas yourself, Officer.
That obvious, huh?
It's practically stamped on your
As the Owner bangs a case of liquor on the counter...
EXT. HOLLYWOOD LIQUOR - NIGHT
Bud exits with his booze, heads for the car. Something
catches his eye. A woman in the rear passenger seat of a
new Cadillac. SUSAN LEFFERTS. Both her eyes are black.
Bud starts over. The case on his hip, he motions for her
to roll down the window. The driver's side door opens
and bodyguard TURNER "BUZZ" MEEKS menaces his way out.
Get lost why don't you?
Meeks stops short as Bud shoves his badge in Meeks' face.
Setting the case on the car's hood, Bud spins Meeks
around, pats him down. He finds a .38 in a shoulder
I got a license for that.
Bud removes Meeks' wallet, checks the ID.
Cut me some slack. I used to be a
Turner Meeks? Never heard of you.
We just call him Buzz.
Bud raps on Susan's window with his badge. It comes
Beside her, a man leans over. Pierce Patchett, seen
before at the freeway unveiling, is a man used to being
chauffeured. Like FDR, he smokes his cigarette in a
I'm not asking you.
Patchett has no idea he's walking on thin ice. As he
stares impatiently at Bud, Bud looks back to Susan.
Somebody hit you?
It's not what you think.
Bud looks to see Lynn Bracken moving to the driver's
What is it then?
You got the wrong idea, Mister.
Susan laughs. Patchett eases back into the shadows.
(getting in the car)
But it's nice to know you care.
Bud considers Meeks' gun license, then hands him back the
.38 and wallet. Lifting his booze, Bud watches Meeks get
back in the car.
Stensland steps up as the cabbie starts to pull away.
What's going on?
For an odd moment, Stensland and Meeks lock eyes.
You know him?
Seen him around. He used to be a
CLOSE ON DUDLEY SMITH
Fifty, handsome in his police captain's uniform. Singing
"Silver Bells" in a beautiful low tenor. Tough,
respected, Dudley goes to bed as a cop every night of his
life. He's a department power to be reckoned with.
INT. PRECINCT HOUSE - MUSTER ROOM - NIGHT
An L.A. Herald Express REPORTER and photographer listen
along with the gathered patrolmen as Dudley finishes to
applause. Dudley joins the press.
Captain Smith, I --
Drop the formalities; it's
Christmas Eve. Call me Dudley.
Dudley, I came up with a title for
the story. I'm calling it "Silent
Night with the L.A.P.D."
Excellent. How's this?
The sanctity of the night is an
invitation to the darker criminal
element. Our vigilance will not
As the Reporter scribbles down the quote...
That's Smith with an S.
They laugh. Dudley points the way out.
This way, gentlemen.
Dudley's the last one out the door. As he goes, he turns
back to give the men a wink. He's no sooner out the door
when the first case of Johnny Walker is brought in.
INT. PRECINCT HOUSE - DISPATCH DESK - NIGHT
Ed Exley gets another report from the Young Officer.
Two police officers were assaulted
in a bar. Brown and Helenowski.
He hands the report to Exley. It's now that Dudley comes
through on his press junket.
This is Sergeant Ed Exley. Son of
the legendary Preston Exley. He's
the watch commander tonight and a
damn fine job.
As the photographer snaps Exley's picture...
I was fortunate enough to be
partnered with his father when I
was a rookie. It makes a man feel
old. That's a fact.
Feel free to get a feel for the
As the Reporter and photographer wander off, Dudley turns
to Exley a bit more serious.
A word with you, lad.
INT. DUDLEY SMITH'S OFFICE - DAY
Dudley pours two drinks, hands one to Exley.
To the memory of your father.
They drink. Exley looks to a photo on the wall.
Himself as a ten-year-old standing between Dudley and his
father Preston, both in police uniform.
The day he got the Medal of Valor.
A simpler time.
Remembering, Exley invokes his father's favorite toast.
To the solving of crimes that
require absolute justice.
Exley raises his glass, but Dudley just watches him.
That was his favorite toast.
I saw the test results on the
lieutenant's exam. You placed
first out of twenty-three.
The youngest applicant by eight
You'll make lieutenant inside a
year. Patrol division?
I was thinking Detective Bureau.
We can see Dudley doesn't approve.
You don't have the eye for human
weakness to be a good detective.
Or the stomach. You're a
political animal, Edmund.
The criticism stings, but Dudley's a straight shooter.
Am I...? Would you be willing to
plant corroborative evidence on a
suspect you knew was guilty in
order to ensure an indictment?
Dudley, we've been over this.
Answer yes or no.
Would you be willing to rig crime
scene evidence to support a
prosecuting attorney's working
hypothesis...? Yes or no, Edmund.
Would you be willing to beat
confessions out of suspects you
knew to be guilty?
Would you be willing to shoot
hardened criminals in the back to
offset the chance --
Then for God's sake, don't be a
detective. Stick to assignments
where you won't have to make those
choices. Patrol, Internal
Affairs, but not the Bureau.
I know you mean well, Dudley, but
I don't need to do it the way you
did. Or my father.
At least get rid of the glasses.
I can't think of one Bureau man
who wears them.
INT. PRECINCT HOUSE - MUSTER ROOM - NIGHT
A large impromptu bar has been set-up. The party is in
full swing, the floor packed with nightwatch blues. A
PHONOGRAPH SPEWS DIRTY CHRISTMAS CAROLS.
Stensland pours eggnog and Old Crow into the water cooler
as Bud elbows his way in with another case.
Hey, partner. Grab a cup.
I got to write my report first.
PASSING COP #1
Hear about Helenowski and Brown?
They got into a helluva scrap with
six taco benders at some bar.
Helenowski lost six pints of
blood. Brown's in a coma.
PASSING COP #2
We ought to teach Paco and his
friends a lesson.
More cops vocie their agreement. Bottles are passed.
Only Bud doesn't seem as caught-up as the rest.
INT. PRECINCT HOUSE - NARCO PEN - NIGHT
Jack Vincennes at his desk. Holding the Fleur-de-Lis
card, Jack dials the number. A corkboard on the wall is
posted with press clippings. "Dope Crusader Wounded in
Shootout." "Actor Mitchum Seized in Marijuana Shack
Raid." That one includes a shot of Jack ushering Mitchum
(over phone, like
Whatever you desire.
Hi... I'd like to get a delivery
to Beverly Hills.
I don't think I know you.
CLICK. The line goes dead. Jack redials.
Whatever you desire.
Look, a friend of mine gave me
this number. I just --
The line goes dead again. Jack dials a new number.
Pacific Coast Bell.
This is Sgt. Vincennes.
Requesting a name and address on a
phone number. Hollywood zero-one-
Please hold the line... No such
number is assigned.
I just called it.
No, Sergeant. I checked twice.
(realizes, hangs up)
INT. MUSTER ROOM - NIGHT
Exley surveys the carousing rowdies. Raising his
All right, men. You've had your
fun. Time to break it up.
The party continues undiminished. From across the room,
Stensland eyes Exley with disdain.
Fucking Exley. Guy's got a pole
so far up his ass, every time he
farts the flag waves.
WATCH COMMANDER'S OFFICE
The command not really his, Exley reads a report, ignores
the party, though his window looks into the thick of it.
Suddenly a ripple goes through the room. The men begin
to push out through a rear door. Exley stands, stops a
What's going on?
They got the spics who japped
Helenowski and Brown. Helenowski
lost an eye and Brown's got brain
I have the report right here.
They're home with bruises and
muscle pulls -- Oh shit...
Exley starts out after them.
INT. CELL BLOCK - NIGHT
Stensland in the lead. Pulling out a blackjack, he
enters Cell #4, begins wailing on one of the Mexicans --
For ours, Pancho. And you're
getting off easy.
Cheered on by drunks in the tank and his fellow officers,
Stensland goes wild. He's joined by Lentz, Crumley and
Tristano. Shaking his head, Jack Vincennes moves away.
INT. SQUAD ROOM - NIGHT
Bud types his report with one finger. Jack looks in.
White, you better get a lease on
Stens before he kills someone.
INT. CELL BLOCK - NIGHT
Followed by Jack, Bud forces his way through the crowd.
The men who see it's him quickly clear a path.
Swigging from a pint of gin, Stensland works skinny
GARCIA. Head saps. The kid drops to his knees drooling
Bud grabs Stensland, hauls him off of Garcia who looks
Fuck you, pendejo.
And fuck your mother too.
Bud sees red. Letting go of Stensland, Bud White picks
up Garcia by the neck. There are cheers, "Attaboys" and
"Holy Fucks" as Bud bangs Garcia's head on the ceiling.
Stop, Officer! That's an order!
Cops block Exley's way. As Bud looks over, Garcia kicks
him in the balls. A dangling shot. Bud keels into the
bars, Garcia stumbles out of the cell, smack into Jack.
Jack looks down aghast at blood on his cashmere blazer,
then puts Garcia down with a left-right.
Exley pulls a pad of paper and pen form his pocket.
You're going in my report! All of
Exley has just started taking names when Bud grabs him by
the scruff of the neck and hauls him off balance into...
As Exley struggles, a cop opens the door to the store
room. Bud slings Exley inside, then slams the door
tight. Exley is locked in. As Bud moves off, we hear
Let me out! That's an order!
The Herald Reporter and photographer enter unchaperoned
and unnoticed. Stensland swings like a madman. That's
when a flashbulb goes off. Freezing everyone in black
INT. CHIEF'S OFFICE - DAY
The CHIEF sits behind a desk in a four-star uniform.
Dudley Smith sits to his left, D.A. Ellis Loew to his
right. Seen earlier at the Mickey Cohen press
conference, Loew is the only civilian. Bud White stands
across from them. There to be judged.
Officer White, you've refused to
cooperate with Internal Affairs.
But you should know this is bigger
than a police board. Indictments
may be handed down. Quite
frankly, we need police witnesses
to offset the damage done to the
Department's image. Will you
Bud glances to a gray tinted mirror, then to the Chief.
No, sir. I won't.
The Chief sighs, looks to Loew.
District Attorney Loew.
Loew steps to Bud, holds up a newspaper with the cell
block photo. The headline: "BLOODY CHRISTMAS."
Bloody Christmas. The press love
to label. You and Officer
Stensland brought the liquor into
the precinct. Stensland was
already drunk. Do you see how
appearing as a voluntary witness
against him could offset the
damage you've done to yourself?
I won't do it.
(staring at mirror)
I won't testify against my partner
or anyone else.
This man is a disgrace.
Your badge and gun, Officer.
Bud sets them on The Chief's desk.
This is the new L.A.P.D., White.
You're suspended from duty and
Turning, White shoots the mirror a stiff middle finger as
he makes his way out. Dudley Smith hides a smile.
OTHER SIDE OF GLASS
Exley watches, involuntarily leans back as Bud passes on
the other side of the glass.
THE CHIEF'S OFFICE
Dudley, Loew and The Chief wait as Exley enters.
Ed, your observations have been
astute. What's your assessment of
The public demands justice, sir.
This was a full-fledged riot of
policemen. Shift the guilt to men
whose pensions are secured. Force
them to retire. But someone has
to swing. Indict, try and convict
Stensland and Bud White. Secure
them jail time. Feed them to the
sharks, sir. Protect yourself;
protect the department.
Dudley gives Exley a look. He's angry with him.
Stensland's a disgrace. Straight
D fitness reports from every C.O.
he ever served under. But White
is a valuable officer.
White's a mindless thug.
No, Edmund. He's a man who can
answer yes to those questions I
ask you from time to time.
The Chief interrupts with his own concern.
I want to know who we give the
public in contrast? The
department needs role models.
Clean-cut, forthright men the
public can admire.
I'll testify, sir. I'm not afraid
to do what's right.
And I'll promote you. You'll be a
Exley seizes the moment, going over Dudley's head.
The Chief and Dudley exchange a look. Neither approves.
Ed, you're 30. Your father didn't
make lieutenant until he was 33.
I know that, sir. I also know
that when he made lieutenant, it
was as a detective.
Before we start polishing our
laurels, it would look better if
we had a corroborative witness.
That'll be hard to come by. The
men hate a turncoat.
Jack Vincennes. He's the
technical advisor on 'Badge of
Honor,' sir. He lives for it.
That's the way to get him.
All right, Ed.
Call Sergeant Vincennes.
As Exley starts out, Dudley pulls him aside, speaks low.
You'll reap the benefits, but are
you truly prepared to be despised
within the department?
Yes, Dudley. I am.
So be it.
Looking sharp, he strides down the hall, enters the...
Round two. Centred on Jack. Exley is gone.
Sergeant, we'll get right to it.
Nine civilian witnesses have
identified you as hitting Ezekiel
But my office has a stellar
witness who will tell the grand
jury that you hit back only after
What do I have to do?
Testify against the three officers
who have already earned their
pensions. Our key witness will
testify roundly, but you can plead
ignorance to questions directed at
the other men.
I'll guarantee you a slap on the
wrist. A brief suspension
followed by a temporary transfer
from Narcotics to Ad Vice.
When you transfer out of Vice,
you'll be back on the show.
The show, sir?
Badge of Honor, Vincennes. We
need to tone down your profile for
The Chief just got Jack where he lives.
John, I doubt you've ever drawn a
stupid breath. Don't start now.
Okay. I'll do it.
Smiles all around. Loew smiles at the two-way. A move
not lost on Jack who wonders who might be on the other
Jack leaves. The Chief steps to the mirror, looks
So be it. Detective Lieutenant.
OTHER SIDE OF GLASS
Exley clenches his fist in victory. The Chief continues.
Ace them at the grand jury
tomorrow, son. Wear the smart-
looking suit and ace them. And,
Ed? Lose the glasses.
INT. ROOM 114 (GRAND JURY WITNESS ROOM) - DAY
Glasses off, Exley waits, looks up as Jack enters.
You're the key witness?
I should've known. What's the
Chief throwing you?
Yeah, Exley. What's the payoff?
You're the payoff expert. I'm
just doing my duty.
You're playing an angle, college
boy. You're getting something out
of this so you don't have to
hobnob with the fucking rank and
file cops who'll hate your guts
for snitching. If they're making
you a detective, watch out. Some
Bureau guys are gonna burn in this
and you're gonna have to work with
friends of theirs.
What about you?
I'm snitching three old timers
who'll be fishing in Oregon next
week. Next to you I'm clean. And
At that, a CLERK steps in from the hallway.
Edmund J. Exley to chambers.
As Exley's about to go...
Just remember, Bud White'll fuck
you for this if it takes the rest
of his life. They already
suspended him. Just pray he cops
a deal and stays on the Department
because that is one civilian you
do not want on your case.
INT. TWILIGHT LOUNGE - NIGHT
An old black guy in a frayed, threadbare tux plays piano.
Bud, nursing a highball at the bar, steps over to a
REDHEAD with too much make-up on too many miles.
That an old fashioned you're
(as she nods)
My name's Bud.
Nobody was born with the name Bud.
They stick you with a name like
Wendell, you look for an alias.
What do you do, Bud?
I'm sorta between jobs. Look,
what do you say we, uh...
A hand on Bud's shoulder. He turns to see Dudley Smith.
Lad, may I have a word with you?
This business, Captain?
Say goodnight to your friend and
join me by those back tables.
Dudley starts off. Bud turns back to Redhead, but she's
already talking to a sailor.
Dudley sits at a table. A newspaper is opened, a little
mound underneath. Bud joins Dudley.
Does that paper say we've been
indicted? Does it say Exley's a
hero for squealing me and
He made his play amd he got what
he wanted. They're making him a
Captain, what do you want?
Call me Dudley.
Dudley, what do you want?
Lad, I admire your refusal to
testify and your loyalty to your
partner. I admire you as a
policeman, particularly your
adherence to violence as a
necessary adjutant to the job.
And I am most impressed with your
punishment of wife beaters. Do
you hate them, Wendell?
Yeah, I hate them.
And for good reason judging from
what I know of your background.
Bud looks back over. Dudley's getting too personal.
What's going to happen to
Stensland? He'll give himself
cirrhosis over this. He's one
year from his pension.
It would've happened years ago if
you hadn't carried him. Why the
He helped me out once. That's all.
Your partner's through.
Department scapegoat on the
Chief's orders. He's been billed,
he'll be indicted and he'll swing.
Him and me both. Fucking Exley.
Don't underestimate his skills.
As a politician he exceeds even
myself. But the department needs
smart men like Exley and... direct
men like yourself
What do you want?
Wendell, I want you to come to
work for me.
Doing what? Mowing your fucking
Smith yanks the newspaper revealing Bud's badge & .38
Special. Bud can't believe his eyes.
They're yours. Take them.
I knew you had juice, but...
There's no goddamn bill on me?
Four of the defendants recanted
Dudley dismisses the question with a wave of his hand.
I need you for an assignment the
Chief's given me the go-ahead on.
A duty few men are fit for, but
you were born for. You'll be
working out of Homicide.
Homicide? A detective?
Your talents lie elsewhere,
Wendell. It's a muscle job and
shooting job. You'll do what I
say and not ask questions. Do you
follow my drift?
Will you work for me?
Of course... But how?
How what, Wendell?
How'd you get them to retract?
Dudley lays brass knuckles on the table. They're
chipped, caked with blood.
Over the pop song "STRANGER IN PARADISE."
A) EXT. GRAUMAN'S CHINESE - NIGHT
Frank Sinatra at the premiere of From Here to
B) INT. KLUB ZAMBOANGA - NIGHT
Charlie "Bird" Parker makes magic before an
appreciative, mostly black crowd.
C) TORCH SONG TAVERN (RIVERSIDE) - NIGHT
Nate Janklow exits with his latest flame. A mob
lieutenant, Nate was last seen with Mickey Cohen
outside the Federal Courthouse in the opening
montage. A CAR SCREECHES up. TWO GUNS aim and Nate
and his date do down in a proverbial HAIL OF LEAD.
D) EXT. FREEWAY - DAY
A groundbreaking. The Mayor scrapes at the ground
with a gold shovel. Pierce Patchett is among the
END OF MONTAGE
EXT. HOLLYWOOD HIGH SCHOOL - DAY
The marquee gushes: "Today Sgt. Joe Reno: Badge of
Honor Star Brett Chase."
INT. HOLLYWOOD HIGH SCHOOL - AUDITORIUM - DAY
A nerdy 14-YEAR-OLD asks Brett Chase:
Why'd you become a policeman?
I'm not a policeman. I just play
one on television. But I think I
can answer for them. To help
people. That's why I do the show.
Chase looks over and winks at Jack who waits in the
To protect and serve. It's not
just a motto.
As the kids applaud, Chase joins Jack who gives him a
quick drag of a cigarette. A nervous PA joins them.
Chase points out a fetching girl in the second row.
That one. In the sweater.
They also serve who only stand and
Chase and Jack watch the PA ask "Sweater" a question
while pointing to Chase. Maybe sixteen, she nods "yes"
Jack, I'll see you Monday on set.
I won't be there. They're toning
down my profile.
The latest issue of Hush-Hush flies through. On the
cover: "Gail Russell Caught In Love Nest. Nymph or
INT. CITY JAIL - DAY
Bud White flips through today's booking slips, finds one
that's interesting. Reading to himself...
Domestic. Assault and battery.
Containment Squad strong-arms, BREUNING and CARLISLE
pause as they pass.
Ready to go, Bud?
I'll be there in five minutes.
CITY JAIL - HALLWAY
Bud walks to a door covered in sheet metal. He opens it
to reveal a holding tank with a burly, jumpsuited
I hear you like to hit women.
My wife. She's dropping charges
so it's none of your business.
Bud enters, closes the door behind him. A beat, we hear
the sounds of FISTS ON FLESH. It's Bud's business now.
INT. BEVERLY HILLS MANSION - STUDY - NIGHT
Deuce Perkins (the Mickey Cohen narcotics lieutenant seen
earlier) stands at the bookshelf. He pulls down books to
reveal a shoe box. He sets it on his desk, pulls back
the cover to reveal several bags of white powder.
A BRANCH SNAPS outside. Perkins opens a drawer, fishes a
revolver. Turning off the light, he heads to the window.
His finger parts the curtains. At that instant, he
staggers, falls as GUNFIRE rips into him.
The heroin just sits there on the desk.
EXT. McNEIL PENITENTIARY - DAY
Grim-faced guards scan the yard from machine-gunned
INT. McNEIL PENITENTIARY - VISITOR BOOTH - DAY
Mickey Cohen sits across from visitor Johnny Stompanato.
Cohen is going off the handle.
What do you mean Deuce Perkins got
clipped last night?!
They shot him in his library.
I don't want a floor plan; I want
to know who! Who's taking the
ticket for this, Johnny?
Nobody. At least not yet.
And what about the merchandise
Deuce was holding for me?
Gone. Not a trace.
Some ferstunkener is moving in and
we don't know who?! Maybe we
should ask Hedda Hopper!
As "STRANGER IN PARADISE" ENDS, so does the MONTAGE.
INT. BRIEFING ROOM - AD VICE - DAY
Addressing the squad, a no-nonsense VICE CAPTAIN picks up
a stack of magazines.
Picture-book smut, gentlemen.
There's been a bunch of it found
at collateral crime scenes lately.
Mostly narcotics and prostitution
As the Vice Capt. hands it out for the men to examine,
new member Jack Vincennes arrives late.
Look who's back from suspension.
We're honored, Sergeant Jack.
The men laugh. Jack sits, flips a magazine. Men and
women. Men and men. Girls and girls. Girls and horses.
Gee. The Great Jerk-Off Book
Caper of 1953.
Vincennes, is there someplace
you'd rather be?
Yeah, Cap. Back in Narcotics.
Oh? Anyplace else?
Working whores with squad two.
Maybe you should have thought of
that before you made Bloody
Christmas page one.
Vice Capt. retrieves the magazines, hands them to Jack.
They're yours. Make a major case,
Sergeant. It's the only way
you're getting out of here.
Exaggerated "oohs" and "aahs" from the men.
As they go, Jack sees the books are stamped: "Fleur-de-Lis
Whatever you desire." Jack takes the matching
business card from his wallet, the one he found on
Roll, Vincennes. No sidetracks.
This is Ad Vice, not Narco.
INT. HOLLYWOOD STATION - NARCO PEN - DAY
Jack Vincennes is at his desk. Holding the Fleur-de-Lis
card, magazines spread before him, Jack dials the number.
INT. HUSH-HUSH MAGAZINE OFFICE - DAY
Sid Hudgeons sits behind his desk, answers the phone.
Hush-Hush. Off the record and on
Sid, it's Vincennes.
Jackie, are you back on Narco? I
INTERCUT WITH Jack at his desk:
No. But I've got something going
with Ad Vice.
Don't know. I'm chasing picture
books. Fuck shots, but the posers
don't look like junkies. It's
well done stuff. I thought you
might have heard something.
Hudgeons reaches into a stack of papers, pulls out a
magazine like the one Jack has.
Not a word.
What about Fleur-de-Lis? Their
slogan's 'Whatever you desire.'
No. No, I've heard bupkis. Jack,
I'll talk to you later. Call me
when you get something I can use.
Smut's from hunger. For sad sacks
who can't get their ashes hauled
The LINE CLICKS off. Jack hesitates a moment before
cradling the receiver. Something's not right here.
EXT. HOLYWOOD STATION - PARKING LOT - TWILIGHT
As Exley pulls in, his two-way drones:
Park Rangers report three Negro
youths discharging shotguns into
the air in Griffith Park.
Suspects are driving a late model
purple Mercury Coupe.
As the report ends, Exley switches off the two-way and
gets out of his car.
INT. HOLLYWOOD STATION - SQUAD ROOM - NIGHT
Accompanied by Bud, Dick Stensland crams the contents of
his desk into a box. Well-wishing cops pat him on the
back, offer words of encouragement, but Stensland looks
like he's going to cry.
It's very bad timing as Exley enters, comes face-to-face
with them. This is hatred.
Acting on impulse, Bud goes after Exley. It's a mauling.
Four vicious body shots. A potentially lethal head shot
sails wide as Exley falls to the ground.
As four men move to hold Bud back, Exley looks up at him.
You're just a thug, White. That's
all you'll ever be.
Dudley steps into the fray. He helps Exley to his feet.
You should stay away from a man
when his blood is up.
His blood's always up.
Four cops are genuinely having trouble holding Bud back.
Dudley watches with something bordering on admiration.
Then maybe you should stay away
from him all the time.
EXT. HOLLYWOOD STATION - PARKING LOT - NIGHT
Accompanied by Bud, Stensland reaches his car, loads his
box of stuff into the trunk. Bud is moody, pensive.
Don't look so down in the mouth,
Bud. You nailed him good.
Yeah, sure... I got a couple of
hours before I have to be at the
Victory. Want to grab a beer?
Rain check me, partner. I got
something big going on tonight.
What? That new mystery girl
you've been seeing?
No. I'll tell you sometime. Not
now. Don't want to jinx it. But
it could take the edge off that
jail time I got coming.
What are you talking about?
It's confidential, Bud. Like that
magazines Vincennes scams for.
I'll see you tomorrow. And hey,
if it works out, you'll get a
piece of it.
Stensland gets in the car, drives off. Bud is left
INT. HOLLYWOOD STATION - SQUAD ROOM - NIGHT
Exley sits alone in a sea of desks. The SQUAWK BOX
DRONES. Exley squints at the clock on the wall, can't
make it out. He takes his glasses from the inside of his
jacket. 2:00 A.M. Finally, something to do. He walks
to the wall calendar, tears off Feb. 28 to reveal Mar. 1.
As Exley sits, the call SQUAWK BOX booms to life.
Squad call! Nite Owl Coffee Shop
Multiple homicides! Multiple
homicides! Code three!
EXT. HOLLYWOOD AND CHEROKEE - NIGHT
Patrol cars. Blues setting up a crime scene blockade.
Exley pulls up, DOUSES his SIREN. PATROLMAN #1 runs
Loads of people down. Men.
Women. I stopped for coffee --
Exley pushes him aside, heads for the door. It's wide
INT. NITE OWL - NIGHT
Exley takes mental snapshots. Ten stools front a
counter. The side wall mural-papered: winking owls
perched on street signs. On the right a string of
tables. Three in disarray. Food spilled, dishes broken.
A high-heel pump by an upended chair.
Heel drag marks across the linoleum floor heading back
toward the kitchen. Exley follows. Past an open, empty
cash register. Outside -- SIRENS.
Crisscrossed drag marks connect, lead to a walk-in...
Blood-soaked bodies on the floor. Five, maybe six in a
tangle. Dozens of shotgun shells float in the pools of
blood. As Exley struggles to maintain his composure...
Holy shit fuck...
Exley looks at a green-faced ROOKIE in the locker
S-s-sir, there's a captain outside
wants to see you.
Don't get sick! Not in here!
Exley shoves the Rookie, puking, out the door.
EXT. NITE OWL - NIGHT
Patrolmen hold back a swarm of reporters and rubber-
neckers. HORNS BLAST. Motorcycles run interference for
meat wagons cut off by the crown. As Ed emerges,
reporters surge, shout questions. Exley hurries past,
finds Dudley in command and barking orders.
Sir, I took the call. It's my
Edmund, you don't want it and you
can't have it.
Yes, I do, sir.
It's mine. I'll make you my
second in command.
Exley spots a photographer moving in. He looks properly
serious as the flash bulb pops.
INT. NIGHT OWL - NIGHT
Forensics Chief RAY PINKER walks Exley and Dudley
We got a total of forty-five spent
12-gauge Remington shotgun shells.
Three men with five-shot-capacity
pumps. All of them reloading
Hold on... We need to canvass.
See if a purple Mercury was seen
around here tonight.
We got a call earlier on three
Negro youths. Firing shotguns in
Griffith Park from a late-model
purple Mercury Coupe.
(to his adjutant)
Get on it.
A FORENSICS COP approaches Pinker.
We got an I.D. on one of the
victims, sir... I think it's Dick
Exley and Dudley react, look at each other.
EXT. VICTORY MOTEL - DAWN
Set in a no-man's-land of bulldozed homes. A sign
proudly announces the impending arrival of the freeway.
The motel is surrounded by a barbed-wire fence.
Abandoned but for a pair of LAPD cars and a light burning
in room 6.
An unmarked pulls up and Exley and Dudley step out. They
start forward, but a SCREAM inside 6 stops Exley short.
With Mickey Cohen in prison, Los
Angeles is organized crime free.
The Chief wants it to stay that
way, Edmund. The means are not
for the weak-hearted.
INT. VICTORY MOTEL - ROOM 6 - DAWN
Bare. A table and chair bolted to the floor. A tough
FLAT-NOSED GANGSTER is cuffed to the hot seat. On the
table are a .45 and a fat roll of $100 bills.
Breuning and Carlisle watch as Bud White delivers a
couple of short, stiff body shots. Flatnose is not used
to being on the receiving end. All the same, we get the
idea Bud's a bit reluctant.
Bud's back is to Dudley and Exley who enter behind him.
Come, Wendell, you can do better
Bud turns, sees Exley and Dudley. A beat. As Bud looms
over Flatnose, the gangster babbles. Snitch-frenzied.
I know things. I hear things.
Like with the Mick inside, things
are on this weird slowdown.
These shooter teams, bang bang
bang, they're 86-ing Mickey
We know all that, lad. Tell us,
who do these shooters work for?
I don't know. No one knows.
Maybe they're mavericks. You want
a prostie roust? Huh? Some narco
What do you want?!
We want you to go home.
Uncuff him, Michael.
Dudley turns to Exley.
Mr. Sifakis is a known loan shark
from San Francisco. He arrived
this afternoon at Union Station.
Looking for business opportunities
in our fair city. An organized
crime associate in need of re-
education in the ways of polite
Uncuffed, Flatnose rubs his wrists. Wary. As Breuning
steps back, Flatnose snatches the .45 off the table.
Exley dives for cover, but the other four cops just stand
there. Dudley looks down on the floor at Exley.
It's part of the play, Edmund. A
Flatnose looks at the gun a beat, then squeezes the
TRIGGER. CLICK CLICK. No bullets.
Sit him back down.
CLICK, CLICK. They shove Flatnose back in the hot seat.
Dudley offers a hand to Exley, helps him to his feet.
Wendell, you need to accompany
Detective Lieutenant Exley on
official police business. I'll
finish up here.
INT. EXLEY'S PLYMOUTH - DAY
They drive in silence. No love lost here. Finally.
Where are we going?
It's a surprise. You like
surprises, don't you, White?
EXT. COUNTY MORGUE - DAY
Exley pulls up. Bud looks to him. Really curious now.
INT. COUNTY MORGUE - HALLWAY - DAY
Exley and Bud walk. An orderly wheels a covered corpse
toward them from the other end of the hall. Bud's
spooked. The orderly wheels the body in to the
As Bud and Exley pass, the CORONER pulls back the sheet,
is surprised at the sight of a woman who we don't quite
Call me crazy, but for a second I
thought it was Rita Hayworth.
MORGUE MEAT LOCKER
Exley and Bud walk past a wall of drawers to where a
coroner's assistant waits.
We need you to I.D. the body.
There's no next of kin and you
knew him best. So tell me...
The assistant pulls open drawer 12. A naked man.
A tag on his toe and half his face blown off.
Is that Dick Stensland?
Stunned, Bud stares at what's left of his old partner.
Yeah, that's Stens.
Hell of a way to avoid a prison
Bud's torn between wanting to smash Exley and finding out
why Stensland is dead. He squeezes out the words.
Someone held up a coffee shop,
panicked and killed six people.
Then, from the hall...
Not my baby! Not my little girl!
INT. COUNTY MORGUE - EXAMINATION ROOM - DAY
HILDA LEFFERTS, 50, enters with the coroner to ID the
body of her daughter, Susan.
There's stray buckshot in the upper chest and shoulders,
but a sheet hides the real damage. It's the girl Bud saw
outside Hollywood Liquor. Without the black eyes, she
does look like Rita hayworth.
As Bud and Exley appear, Mrs. Lefferts looks confused.
Is this your daughter, Mrs.
I -- I don't know.
We know this is difficult. Just
take your time and look again.
Exley doesn't realize, but Bud recognizes the deceased.
It seems like my Susan, but...
When was the last time you saw
her, Mrs. Lefferts?
At Christmas. We had fought. I
didn't like her boyfriend. I --
she has a birthmark on her hip.
The Coroner lifts the sheet. Mrs. Lefferts gasps.
It's her. My baby. Dear God...
As Mrs. Lefferts swoons, Bud and Exley both hold her up.
INT. LAPD HEADQUARTERS - BRIEFING ROOM - DAY
The room buzzes, jammed to the rafters with every
detective standing ready. The Chief waits as Dudley
Smith takes the mike, holds up an L.A. Times headline.
'Nite Owl Massacre.' Hyperbole
aside, this is a heinous crime
that requires a swift resolution.
The public will demand it and this
department will provide it. Six
victims. One of them, one of our
own -- Dick Stensland.
(as the cops react)
As it happens, he was a Nite Owl
regular. In the wrong place at
the wrong time.
Bud White listens, not too sure. Stensland said he had
something big going on...
Robbery looks like the motive. We
have rubber glove prints on the
register and preliminary forensics
strongly lean toward a trio of
gunmen. We do have one hot lead,
so listen well. Three Negro
youths were seen last night
discharging shotguns in the air at
A park ranger I.D.ed them as
driving a 1948 to 1950 Mercury
Coupe, purple in color. An hour
ago, a canvassing crew found a
news vendor who saw a purple Merc
Coupe parked across from the Nite
Owl around 3:00 A.M.
The room goes loud, a big rumbling. Dudley holds up a
The D.M.V. worked all night to get
us a registration list on '48 to
'50 purple Mercs. There are 142
registered to Negroes in L.A.
County. Fifty two-man teams will
shake three names apiece. Hot
suspects you'll bring here.
Interrogation rooms have been set
up. They'll be run by Lieutenant
Edmund Exley. Hollywood Squad.
Catcalls. Boos. The Chief steps to the mike.
Enough on that. Gentlemen, just
go out and get them. Use all
necessary force. The people of
Los Angeles demand it.
The men exchange knowing looks. The real message: kill
them clean. Exley doesn't approve. As the men hurry
He might as well have put a bounty
INT. SQUAD ROOM - DAY
Detectives pairing up and moving out. Scanning his three
name list, Bud joins his PARTNER for the day.
Can you take them? I got
I got something I gotta do.
Christ, I don't know. What if one
of these names...
What I gotta do is for Stensland.
The guy looks at him a beat, nods. As Bud heads off...
watches everyone go. Wishes he could be part of the
action. He spots Jack talking to his REDNECK partner for
for the day.
JACK AND REDNECK
Redneck chews tobacco, has a Texas drawl.
Where to, Trash?
If we go by the list, we have
about zero chance of making the
collar. But I know a guy who
knows what's going on south of
Jefferson. I'm betting he could
put us at 50/50.
I don't know...
As Redneck thinks, Exley steps up. He's overheard.
I'll take those odds.
Take off. We got it from here.
Jack stares. Redneck shrugs, spits tobacco juice in a
Between the two of you guys, you
should bring along a photographer.
INT. HOLLYWOOD LIQUOR - DAY
Last time we saw the Owner was Christmas Eve. He looks
up from a customer as Bud strides in, badge out front.
I need an address on a customer of
yours. Her name was Lynn.
That's all I have to go on?
Yeah. And I think you already
know who I mean, so cough it up.
Lynn Bracken. There's a billing
address and a delivery address.
Give me both. Billing first.
EXT. 1184 GRETNA GREEN, BRENTWOOD (PATCHETT'S) - DAY
A big, pink Spanish mansion with lots of tile. Also last
seen outside Hollywood Liquor on Christmas Eve, Pierce
Patchett is in the front yard, chipping golf balls over a
koi pond. They land in a tight grouping. As he tees up:
You must slay 'em at the country
Bud's halfway up the walk. Patchett sees the cuffs
hooked to his belt. Patchett is cool as can be.
Are you Pierce Patchett?
I am. Are you soliciting for
police charities? The last time,
you people called at my office.
I'm a homicide detective. Where
were you last night?
I was here, hosting a party. Who
was killed and why do you think I
I don't know him. Mr...
Officer White. How about Susan
Lefferts? You know her?
You know I do or you wouldn't be
here. How did you find me?
We met outside Hollywood Liquors
on Christmas Eve. This is where
Lynn Bracken's booze bills go.
Sue Lefferts died at the Nite Owl.
Patchett studies Bud a beat, weighing his options.
Patchett's burly BODYGUARD starts over from the house.
Everything alright, Mr. Patchett?
(waves him off)
Fine, Philip. Thank you.
Where's the other guy? Buzz.
He no longer works for me.
Find Susan's killer, Mr. White.
I'll give you a handsome reward.
Whatever you desire.
If only Jack had been around to hear that.
Thanks, but no thanks.
Against your code?
I don't have one. Lefferts looked
beat-up Christmas Eve, but didn't
act it. How come?
Do you care about criminal matters
peripheral to Susan's murder?
Then you wouldn't feel obligated
to report them?
Then listen closely, because I'll
only say this once and if it gets
repeated, I'll deny it. I run
call girls. Lynn Bracken is one
of them and so was Susan Lefferts.
I treat my girls very well. I
have grown daughters, myself, and
I don't like the thought of women
being hurt. I sense you share
Why were Lefferts' eyes black?
I think she'd been hit in the face
with a tennis racket. She is --
was -- a big doubles fan.
You wanna go downtown and discuss
Wait. Our deal still holds?
Bud nods, his patience running thin.
I needed a Rita Hayworth to fill
out my little studio.
What little studio?
There's Gardner, Hepburn, Grable,
Turner. Lynn Bracken is my
Veronica Lake. I use girls who
look like movie stars. Sometimes
I employ a plastic surgeon.
That's why her mother couldn't
I.D. her... Jesus fucking Christ.
No, Mr. White. Pierce Morehouse
Patchett. Now, I sense you're on
your best behavior, but that's all
I'll give you. If you persist,
I'll meet you with my attorney.
Now, would you like Miss Bracken's
address? I doubt she knows
anything, but --
I got her address.
Of course... this is personal with
you, isn't it, Mr. White?
Bud turns, heads down the walk. Patchett hits his golf
ball. It lands just past the koi pond, with the rest.
EXT. 1736 NOTTINGHAM, LOS FELIZ (LYNN BRACKEN'S) - DAY
A modern-looking triplex. A projector's flicker strobes
against the closed curtains. We hear a PHONE RING.
INT. 1736 NOTTINGHAM (LYNN BRACKEN'S) - DAY
The film is This Gun For Hire with Alan Ladd and Veronica
Lake. It's projected on a wall in front of which stands
Lynn Bracken and an OLDER GENTLEMAN, in his underwear.
Lynn's long, blonde hair hangs down over one eye. She
looks more like Veronica Lake than Veronica Lake. The
film flashes over them as they kiss.
The PHONE RINGS. Lynn ignores it as long as she can
before breaking away to go answer it.
Is it the cops?
She waves him off. As he practices pointing his finger
like Ladd points a gun, Lynn reacts to the news on the
EXT. 9781 SOUTH DUQUESNE - DAY
A South Central plywood and tar-paper dive. A BLACK
BOXER pounds a heavy bag/speed bag combo bolted to the
porch. Wiry, a welterweight, he doesn't see Jack and
Exley till they're almost on top of him.
The Boxer leans on the bag to catch his breath. Looking
them over, he finally nods.
How's the left these days?
What's it to you?
I saw you fight Kid Gavilan. I
like your style.
What do you want, Mr. Policeman?
You got a brother up in Folsom. I
know because I put him there.
How'd you like to make it 1960? I
know the judge and Sergeant Exley
here is friends with hte D.A.
Exley nods, this is true. The Boxer's still listening.
We're looking for three colored
guys who like to pop off shotguns.
One of 'em owns a purple Merc
You wanna get me a fuckin' snitch
You wanna buy your brother ten
years...? You don't have to say
anything. Just look at this list
and point. Here.
Jack holds the DMV list out to the Boxer, who waves it
He's bad, so I'll just tell you.
Sugar Ray Coates. Drives a '49
coupe, a beautiful ride. Don't
know about shotguns, but he gets
his thrills killing dogs. He is
Jack and Exley scan the list. Jack's finger stabs down
on, "Coates, Raymond, 9611 South Central, Room 414."
That's five minutes from here.
EXT. 1736 NOTTINGHAM (LYNN BRACKEN'S) - DAY
Lynn does her best to usher the slightly disheveled
Older Gentleman out the door.
I don't understand, doll, we just
I'm sorry, but I'll make it up
to you. I promise.
Gosh, kitten, I don't know...
As he begins to mash up against her...
Hit the road, gramps.
Bud's standing at the bottom of the stairs. The Older
Gentleman strikes a pose. He still thinks he's Alan
Alright. This time I'll go, but
next time --
L.A.P.D., shitbird. Get the fuck
out of here or I'll call your wife
to come get you.
Sputtering, the Older Gentleman exchanges a look with
Lynn then hurries away, giving Bud a wide berth.
I've been expecting you. Pierce
called. Told me what happened
INT. 1736 NOTTINGHAM (LYNN BRACKEN'S) - DAY
A nice breezy feel. The perfect place to shack up.
It's Officer White, isn't it?
Bud nods, eyeballs the place.
Can I get you a drink?
Yeah, plain scotch.
Bud watches her move to the bar. God, she's beautiful.
I was friendly with Sue Lefferts,
but we weren't really friends.
You know what I mean?
Are you sorry she's dead?
Of course I am. What kind of
question is that?
She steps back with a scotch for both of them.
Have you ever heard of Dick
No I haven't. Do you know why
Pierce is humoring you?
You use words like that, you
might make me mad.
Yes. But do you know?
Yeah I know. Patchett's running
whores and judging by his address,
probably something bigger on the
side. He doesn't want any
That's right. Our motives are
selfish, so we're cooperating.
Why was Susan Lefferts at the
I don't know. I never heard of
the Nite Owl till today.
Did Lefferts have a boyfriend?
Like I said we were friendly,
How'd she meet Patchett?
Pierce meets people. Sue came
on the bus with dreams of
Hollywood. This is how they
turned out. Thanks to Pierce,
we still get to act a little.
Tell me about Patchett.
He's waiting for you to mention
You want some advice, Miss
Miss Bracken, don't ever try to
fucking bribe me or threaten me
or I'll have you and Patchett
in shit up to your ears.
Lynn smiles again. She likes Bud. A beat.
I remember you from Christmas
Eve. You have a thing for
helping women, don't you,
Maybe I'm just fucking curious.
You say 'fuck' a lot.
You fuck for money.
There's blood on your shirt. Is
that an integral part of your job?
Do you enjoy it?
When they deserve it.
Did they deserve it today?
I'm not sure.
But you did it anyway.
Yeah, just like the half dozen
guys you screwed today.
Actually, it was two. You're
different, Officer White. You're
the first man in five years who
didn't tell me I look like
Veronica Lake inside of a minute.
You look better than Veronica
Lake. Now, Pierce Patchett.
He takes a cut of our earnings
and invests it for us. He makes
us quit the life at thirty. He
doesn't let us use narcotics and
he doesn't abuse us. Can your
policeman's mentality grasp
He had you cut to look like
No. I'm really a brunette, but
the rest is me. And that's all
the news that's fit to print.
Lynn starts toward the door. Bud watches her a moment,
then follows. She takes his glass at the door.
It was nice meeting you, Officer.
Out the door, Bud turns back. Blurts:
Look. I want to see you again.
Are you asking me for a date or
I don't know.
If it's a date I think you'd
better tell me your first name
because I --
Forget I asked. It was a
Lynn watches thoughtfully after Bud as he walks away.
He opens his car door like he's going to tear ir off.
A last glance back at Lynn and as he gets in the car...
EXT. TEVERE HOTEL - DAY
An L-shaped walk-up. Jack coasts the car to the curb.
He leaps out with Exley. Exley holds up at the sight
of a late model sedan. He leans down to look in the
window at the two-way on the dash.
Shit. Someone beat us here.
VOICES from the carport ahead. We see a chrome bumper,
the purple fender of a '49 Mercury coupe. A door slams.
Drawing a .45, Jack starts over with Exley, .38 in hand.
Toting shotguns, Dudley's boys from the Victory Motel,
Breuning and Carlisle, stand by the purple Mercury. Jack
and Exley come around the corner, lower their guns.
Breuning wheels, pumps a round into the chamber. He very
nearly fires before he sees who it is.
What the fuck are you guys doing
Think of us as back-up.
What do you got?
As Jack moves to peer through the Merc's window.
Three Ithaca pumps, an empty box
of double-ought buck and cash.
Jack spots them. Three shotguns on the passenger side
floor, an empty box of shells and loose dollar bills.
So long, Vice. Badge of Honor,
here I come.
Fuck you, Vincennes. It's our
Breuning actually has to restrain his partner.
Quiet. I'm ranking officer here.
We go as a team. End of story.
INT. CORRIDOR - TEVERE HOTEL - DAY
Breuning and Carlisle lead the way with Jack and Exley
bringing up the rear. Squinting, Exley reaches to his
pocket for something. Not there.
Just don't shoot me.
The door to 414. Two men on either side. Breuning rears
back. Jack rears back. They kick at the same instant.
The door flies off its hinges to reveal two young black
men, LARRY FONTAINE and TY JONES, waking from a couple
of flop mattresses.
Fontaine jumps up. Entering, Carlisle aims, but Exley
grabs his arm. The BLAST rips the ceiling. Jack aims.
Fontaine freezes. Jones doesn't dare get up.
Ace him, Jack.
Shut up, Carlisle!
Jack and Exley burst into a...
Another black, RAY COATES, passed out on mattress, sur-
rounded by empty beer cans. Jack sticks his .38 in his
back, starts to cuff him. As the cuff ratchets down...
INT. OBSERVATION ROOM - DAY
Dudley watches intently as Ed Exley skims a report,
memorizing names and dates. Jack and other brass are
also here along with a stenographer. So's Bud. One of
these guys killed Stensland. Through tinted glass, the
three suspects in three different rooms.
Casitas Youth Camp... Coates
twenty-two, a boxer... Manager
saw them burning clothes.
Satisfied, Exley sets the report down.
Ed, I want confessions.
I'll break them, sir.
As Exley steps into the #1 room, Jack joins Dudley.
You think golden boy can handle
I think you'll be surprised what
Edmund's capable of.
INT. #1 ROOM - DAY
Exley closes the door. Ray Coates is cuffed to a chair,
dressed in baggy County denims. One eye swollen shut,
lip split, a smashed nose with one nostril split.
Exley unlocks his cuffs. drops cigarettes and amtches
on the table. As Coates rubs his wrists...
They call you Sugar Ray because
of Ray Robinson?
They say Robinson can throw a
four punch combination in one
second. Do you believe that?
Coates just stares at him.
You're twenty-two, aren't you, Ray?
Say what and so what.
Did one of the officers work you
over a little?
No bite. Coates just stares back.
You look like Robinson after
that last LaMotta fight. 'Course
LaMotta looked a lot worse. So
you're twenty-two, right?
Man, why do you keep asking me
Just getting my facts straight.
Twenty-two makes it a gas chamber
You should have pulled this caper
a couple of years ago. Get life,
do a little Youth Authority jolt,
transfer to Folsom a big man.
Orbit on some of that good prison
brew, get yourself a sissy --
I never truck with no sissies!
That fucking Larry. I almost
That Larry, he's a pisser. You
did the Casitas Youth Camp with
him, didn't you?
Man, why're you talkin' about
Larry? His business is his
Unseen by Coates, Exley reaches under the table, takes
hold of one of three toggle switches.
Sugar, Larry told me you went
sissy up at Casitas. You
couldn't do the time so you
found yourself a big white boy
to look after you. He said
they call you 'Sugar' because
you gave it out so sweet.
Exley flips the toggle.
The speaker over Larry Fontaine's head crackles to life.
Larry gave it at Casitas! Man,
I was the fuckin' boss jocker on
my dorm! Larry's the sissy!
Larry gave it for candy bars!
Exley flips up the second toggle.
Ray, you protected Ty and Larry
up in Casitas, didn't you?
You ain't woofin' I did. Stupid
down home niggers got no more
sense than a fuckin' dog.
Exley flips the switches off.
I heard you like to shoot dogs.
Dogs got no reason to live.
Oh? you feel that way about
Man, what're you saying?
Ray, we got the shotguns.
I don't own no shotguns.
Why were you throwing clothes
in the building incinerator?
You guys were arrested this
morning, but none of you have
last night's clothes. You were
seen burning them. Add to that
the fact that you hid the car
you were cruising around in
last night and it doesn't look
I got nothin' more to say till
I see a judge.
Were you on hop? You were passed
out when you got arrested. Were
you hopped up, Ray?
Ty and Larry fuck with that
shit, not me.
Where do they get their stuff?
Come on. Give me one to feed
the D.A. Just a little one.
Coates nods. Exley flips up the toggles as he leans
Roland Navarette. Lives on
Bunker Hill. He runs a hole-up
for parole absconders and sells
Exley flips down the switches, stands.
I'm going to take a break.
Exley opens the door, looks back in afterthought.
You know, Ray, I'm talking about
the gas chamber and you haven't
even asked me what this is all
about. You got a big guilty
sign around your neck.
Masterful, Edmund. Your father
would've been proud.
This one's on the verge.
Exley looks through the glass into #2. Larry Fontaine
is weeping. A piss puddle on the floor by his chair.
Fontaine next, but give Jones
the newspaper. I want him
Fontaine tries to control his sniffles as Exley enters.
Larry, Ray Coates ratted you
off. He said the Nite Owl was
your idea. You want to tell me
I think it was Ray's idea. Talk
and I think I can save your life.
Larry, this is a gas chamber job.
If you don't talk, you'll be dead
in six months.
Son, six people are dead and
somebody has to pay. It can be
you or it can be Ray.
Larry, he called you queer. He
said at Casitas you took it up
the ass. He said --
I DIDN'T KILL NOBODY!
The voice is strong, full of conviction. Exley
glances at the mirror. Then...
Why'd you burn the clothes?
I just wanted to lose my cherry.
I didn't mean to hurt her.
Exley can't hide his surprise at this.
Hurt who? Was she a hooker?
But Fontaine is gone. Head lolling, eyes squeezing
Exley steps out of the interrogation room. Dudley
Don't get sidetracked. Stay with
the Nite Owl.
She may still be alive, whoever
Bud's all ears.
Reading, Jones has his feet on the table. Exley
This newspaper shit ain't shit.
Where's the girl? Did you kill her?
No answer, but Jones looks nervous.
You wanted Larry to lose his
cherry, but things got out of
hand. Is that right?
Everyone's attention is riveted, particularly Bud's.
They watch, listen over the speaker.
Kick loose, Jones. I know you
made her bleed, but that doesn't
mean you killed her.
No answer, but Jones is squirming.
If that girl's alive, you've
still got a chance on this one.
I think she's alive.
Jack turns to Dudley.
He's good. I'll give him that.
They don't notice as the chair back begins to splinter
in Bud's hands.
Exley sits across from him, tries to wrap it up.
Where is she now?
Did you leave her someplace?
Did you sell her out? Give her
to some of your buddies? Tell
me where the girl is!
The door blasts open. Bud slams Jones up against the
wall. As Exley stands, he bangs his knee on the table.
Pulling a .38, Bud breaks the cylinder, drops 5 shells
on the floor.
One in six. Where's the girl?
Officer White, put down that
weapon and --
Bud shoves the barrel into Jones' mouth, pulls the
trigger twice. CLICK, CLICK. Jones starts to slide
down the wall. Bud jerks him back up, roars.
Two more clicks. Jones spills.
S-sylvester F-fitch one-o-nine
and Avalon gray corner house...
EXT. AVALON BOULEVARD - EVENING
A four cordon. They coast up to a GRAY CORNER HOUSE.
Dudley Smith behind the wheel of the lead cruiser. Bud
White rides shotgun, reloading his revolver.
Give me one minute.
You've got it, Wendell.
Bud is out the door and scooting down an alley. Exley
moves to follow, but Dudley cuts him off.
We're going through the front.
Bud vaults a fence, pads up the back porch. A screen
door. Bud slips the catch with a penknife and walks
Bud heads for a blind-covered door. Unlocked, he
Light bouncing from side rooms. We hear the opening
spiel of "Badge of Honor" from the left. Bud wheels into
A NUDE GIRL spread-eagled on a mattress. Bound with
neckties. One in her mouth. Her eyes grow wide at the
sight of Bud, then flicker to the adjoining room.
Directing him. Raising the .38, Bud enters...
Sylvester Fitch sits naked at the table wolfing Rice
Krispies and watching "Badge of Honor" on a flickering
TV. He looks up, sees the .38 before he sees Bud beyond
it. Fitch drops his spoon, raises his hands.
Bud SHOOTS him in the face. Dead, Fitch just sits there.
Bud moves behind him. Pulling a spare piece from an
ankle holster, Bud FIRES back at the door from Fitch's
line of fire, then puts the gun in Fitch's hand.
We hear the FRONT DOOR CRASH OPEN. As Fitch slides off
the chair to the floor, Bud dumps the Rice Krispies on
EXT. GRAY HOUSE - NIGHT
The Girl on a stretcher. Being carried to an AMBULANCE.
Bud White walks alongside, looking like some ferocious
pet pit bull. The ATTENDANTS get her inside. One joins
her. The other closes the door, pauses to light a smoke.
Bud rips the cigarette out of his mouth, nearly taking
the guy's lips with it.
Get her to the fucking hospital.
One look at Bud, and the Attendant is running around to
the driver's side. Exley arrives, steamed.
A naked guy with a gun? You
expect anyone to believe that?
Get the fuck away from me.
Bud starts away, but Exley gets right in his face. Other
cops begin to take notice. The ambulance pulls out.
How's it going to look on your
It'll look like justice. That's
what that fat fuck got. Justice.
You don't know what the word means,
you dumb bastard.
Bud goes after Exley, but ten hands pull them apart.
Dudley on Exley. Four cops genuinely having trouble
And as if things couldn't get crazier, shouts from the
cops on the street. POLICE RADIOS CRANKED UP.
Repeat, three suspects escaped
from the Hall of Justice jail.
The Nite Owl killers: Raymond
Coates, Tyrone Jones and Larry
Fontaine. They are considered
armed and extremely dangerous.
Descriptions are as follows...
INT. SQUAD ROOM - DAY
Electrified, "Nite Owl Killers" on everyone's lips.
Exley strides through with purpose, beelines to a filing
cabinet. Exley pulls the file he's looking for. He
scans an interrogation transcript, reads to himself the
words he's looking for:
'Give me one to feed the D.A....
Roland Navarette. Lives on
Bunker Hill. Runs a hole-up for
INT. HOLLYWOOD STATION - JACK'S DESK - DAY
Police rush back and forth. Exley hurries over to the
desk, but he's not there.
Anyone seen Jack Vincennes?
A few cops mumble they haven't. As Exley decides what
to do, Carlisle from the original arrest steps over.
Is something up, Lieutenant?
EXT. 1ST & OLIVE - DAY
Exley and Carlisle pull up across the street from a
four-story Victorian with paint peeling off the clap-
boards. They jump out of the car toting SHOTGUNS.
Carlisle waits as Exley checks the mail slots:
"R. Navarette, 408. "
INT. STAIRWELL - VICTORIAN BUILDING - DAY
Exley and Carlisle take the steps two at a time.
INT. 4TH FLOOR HALLWAY - VICTORIAN BUILDING - DAY
Exley squints, reaches to a pocket. No glasses. He
passes an elevator, rounds a corner. There's 408. Exley
pumps the shotgun, nods to Carlisle who kicks the door
NAVARETTE LIVING ROOM
Exley and Carlisle burst in on four men eating sandwiches.
Fontaine and Caucasian NAVARETTE at a table. Coates on
the floor. Jones by the window. Exley squints.
Fontaine and Navarette raise their hands. A jostled BEER
BOTTLE CRASHES to the floor. Reacting, Carlisle JERKS
the TRIGGER. Fontaine goes down.
Navarette draws a .38, SHOOTS Carlisle twice in the
chest. Exley BLASTS Navarette.
Screaming, Jones pulls a .45 from his belt. Exley FIRES,
blowing him right THROUGH the WINDOW.
Coates draws and FIRES, makes a run for it. A bad pull
takes out half a back wall. Coates is out the door.
Coates makes it inside, frantically pushes buttons.
Here comes Exley. Stumbling, wiping Navarette's blood
out of his eyes, he closes on the...
Coates watches as the elevator doors begin closing.
The shotgun barrel juts through. The doors bang against
TONY BENNETT belts "BOULEVARD OF BROKEN DREAMS."
INT. HOLLYWOOD STATION - DAY
Exley returns to grudging respect. His white shirt
flecked with blood, he's clapped on the back by Dudley
who dubs him "Shotgun Ed." Exley doesn't enjoy it. He's
numb, stumbling along. As he notices the blood on his
INSERT - NEWSPAPER HEADLINE
NITE OWL HERO! Over a photo of Exley.
EXT. CEMETERY - GRAVE - DAY
A coffin is lowered into the ground. A WIDOW leans on
the Chief's arm, accepts a tri-folded American flag from
Dudley Smith. Exley drops a handful of earth on the
casket, has trouble getting the wet dirt off his hands.
We mourn the passing of a good
man. The loss of Sgt. William
Carlisle is the loss of his
wife, his family and the entire
Los Angeles Police Department...
A sea of dress blues. Jack looks bored, dressed too
flashy for a funeral. Bud looks grim, rain dripping off
the brim of his cap. As a TWENTY-ONE GUN salute is
EXT. CEMETERY (SOUTH CENTRAL, L.A.) - DAY
Larry Fontaine's mother mourns alone as her son is
INT. CITY OF ANGELS HOSPITAL - RECEPTION AREA - DAY
Exley talks with a tough, starchy NURSE.
I need the girl to give me a
chronology of events. No details.
Absolutely not. She barely
remembers her own name.
I was told the case was closed.
Should I call your superior to
No. that won't be necessary.
The Nurse turns, marches away. Exley is left with a
EXT. ORANGE GROVE (ANAHEIM) - DAY
People cheer as bulldozers mow down orange trees. A
banner heralds the future: "On this site: The World's
Biggest Amusement Park." Cartoon characters dance among
the fallen trees.
INT. STATE ASSEMBLYMAN'S OFFICE - DAY
Sitting behind a desk is the Older Gentleman last seen
doing his best Alan Ladd impersonation at Lynn Bracken's.
He stares emphatically at the SMARMY LAWYER who stands
before him holding a manila folder.
You tell Mr. Patchett I have no
intention of changing my vote.
The Lawyer simply hands him a stack of photographs. From
Lynn Bracken's apartment. The first is the Older
Gentleman naked except for his socks and garters.
INT. STATE ASSEMBLY - CHAMBER - DAY
The Older Gentleman rises for an assembly vote.
It may surprise some, but a mature
man, enlightened by the facts, can
change him mind...
EXT. 1736 NOTTINGHAM (LYNN BRACKEN'S) - NIGHT
Rain. A limo disgorges a heavy-set man who climbs steps,
knocks on the door. Lynn answers in an evening gown. He
gives her a peck on the cheek and continues in past her.
Lynn's about to follow him in when she pauses to deadpan
a look down the street.
Bud's Packard is parked there and we can see his darkened
silhouette behind the wheel. Smiling a bit sadly to
herself, Lynn disappears inside.
This is no stake-out. Bud watches after her with
INT. TROCADERO CLUB - NIGHT
Cigarette girls and club photographer make the rounds.
Johnny Stompanato enjoys the frenzien floor show.
EXT. WILSHIRE BOULEVARD - DAY
A horse parade, heavy on the law enforcement contingent,
Out of place in his suit and tie, District Attorney Ellis
Loew awkwardly rides atop a sleek Palimono.
INT. OLYMPIC AUDITORIUM - NIGHT
The crowd in a frenzy as Vincennes-snitch, the
welterweight black boxer, beats the shit out of a white
INT. MIDDLE CLASS LIVING ROOM - NIGHT
A father holds out his hand, counts along as Jack slaps
$100 bills into his palm. Maybe four thousand dollars.
Jack says something about "We appreciate your
understanding during this difficult time." As "Badge of
Honor" comes on the TV, the father responds with "Goddamn
Leading, Jack looks through an open door where Brett
Chase's high school "Sweater Girl" is being comforted by
her mother. As she locks eyes with him an instant...
INT. PIERCE PATCHETT'S HOUSE - NIGHT
The monied johns watch horny as hell as "Ginger Rogers"
twirls around the room with a female "Fred Astaire."
Clothes fly as they spin. Still, most eyes turn to Lynn
Bracken as she enters oozing that cat-girl grace.
EXT. POLICE HEADQUARTERS - DAY
Reporters scribble as the Chief speaks. Uniforms
everywhere along with Exley and Loew. Bus sits in the
Edmund J. Exley has amassed a
brilliant record in his seven
years with the L.A.P.D. Recently
he evinced spectacular bravery in
the line of duty. It is my honor
to present him with our highest
honor, the Medal of Valor.
Exley steps up. The Chief hangs a gold medallion around
his neck. Flashbulbs pop as the two men shake hands.
Exley then accepts a handshake from Dudley. The
policemen stand on cue, applaud without enthusiasm.
Dudley lifts the medal from his chest.
Your father would've been proud.
Exley uses the noise to have aprivate chat with Dudley.
There are loose ends out there,
Dudley. I --
There always are. But there are
also three men and three guns.
Matched forensically. A few loose
ends don't matter.
Something's wrong. I feel it
inside. Doesn't that sound crazy?
Dudley puts an arm around Exley's shoulder, smiles out as
more bulbs flash.
Breaking a big case sticks you in
a whirlwind. A little self-doubt?
It's natural. Just keep it
inside. Between you and you.
Exley considers his medal. It is an appealing thing.
In the back, Bud stays sprawled in his seat. No one's
watching as he takes out his gun, kisses it, and blows
pretend smoke off the barrel. As the song ends...
INT. VARIETY INTERNATIONAL PICTURES - STAGE 4 - NIGHT
A "Badge of Honor" fund-raiser for D.A. Loew's re-
election cmpaign. Hot dogs and sauerkraut. Fishbowls
stuffed with cash. Jack is here, returns a smile half-
heartedly. Loew sits with his wife and teenage daughter
as Brett "Joe Reno" Chase speaks.
This election is about the future
of law enforcement in Los Angeles.
Ellis Loew represents that future.
So dig deep and let's get a moral
Applause. Leaving the podium, Chase smiles at Ellis
Loew's daughter who absolutely gushes. Chase then winks
knowingly to Jack who returns a tired, humorless smile.
Jack scans the room. An odd moment as Jack catches his
own reflection in a mirror across the way. He puts a
hand to his face. Is that him?
Big V Jack Vincennes!
Jack turns to see Sid Hudgeons approaching.
You're back, boychick.
Sid, how are they hanging?
Down around my ankles.
Hudgeons scans the crowd, points someone out.
You remember Matt Reynolds?
Jack spots Matt Reynolds -- one of the young actors Jack
arrested on Christmas Eve.
The Grauman's Chinese pot bust.
He just got off the honor farm.
What's he doing here, Sid?
You tight with the D.A., trash?
Sure, he just tried to throw me
off the force last Christmas as a
How'd you like a little payback?
Not to mention a donation to the
widows and orphans fund. Did you
know Loew was a swish?
He's queer too. Metro paid him
two grand a week to fake it with
ingenues. On screen and off. I'm
getting him to fuck the D.A. for a
That's twice the fifty you got for
wrecking his career.
Even Jack's not immune to a comment like that.
Matt! Over here!
As Hudgeons heads over, Hudgeons points out...
That's D.A. Loew right there.
Reynolds gets a nervous bead on Loew. Hudgeons realizes:
You need a drink, kid... Jack,
look after him a minute. Kid,
this is Jack. No secrets between
me and him.
Hudgeons heads off. Reynolds, plae, nods at Jack.
Have we met before?
Jack doesn't really feel like talking to him. Reynolds'
nerves won't let him stay quiet.
Was it a party?
Something like that.
Oh, I know. A Fleur-de-Lis party,
Jack remembers the name, plays along for what it's worth.
Fleaur-de-Lis. 'Whatever you
Dope, liquor, hookers that look
like movie stars. Pierce Patchett
has it all.
Jack recognizes the name, bluffs for more information.
Yeah. Me and Patchett go way
Pierce isn't like regular people.
I dig him, but he scares me too.
(shakes his head)
You know, when I came out to L.A.,
this isn't exactly where I saw
myself ending up.
Yeah. Me neither.
Reynolds looks like he's going to cry. Hudgeons returns
with a double Scotch straight up and a hot dog with
sauerkraut. He hands the drink to Matt.
Dutch courage, kid. Drink up.
Reynolds downs a few gulps, looks across the room at
I don't know if I should do this.
Hey, it's not like you don't know
how. And Jack here has
connections on 'Badge of Honor.'
Pull this off and there'll be a
part for you. I smell a comeback.
Don't you, Jack?
Reynolds looks to Jack who gives a noncommittal shrug.
Loew's free. Congratulate him.
Reynolds nods, drains his glass and heads off. Hudgeons
hands Jack a folded slip of paper.
If Reynolds works his charms,
which he will, this is the address
where they'll be. Meet me at
midnight. I guarantee all sorts
of illegal activity.
Hudgeons takes out a President Grant $50 bill. Jack
doesn't take it.
Sid, why would a guy like Pierce
Patchett get involved with running
dope and hookers?
Where'd you hear that?
Jackie, all I know is what you
know. The man is very rich. And
he's invested in freeway
construction so he's gonna get a
lot richer. But that's it.
Patchett's what I like to call
'Twilight.' He ain't queer, he
ain't Red, he can't help me in my
quest for prime sinuendo.
Jack takes the $50 as Reynolds returns, shaking his head.
I can't do it.
Talk to him, Jack. Tell him about
the opening on the show.
I'm pretty sure I can get you a
part on the show... But tonight?
Pretend it's an acting job, kid.
And no one'll know about this?
It'll be our secret.
Emboldened by Jack's promise, Reynolds heads off. Jack
and Hudgeons watch as he strikes a conversation with Loew
who's captivated. Hudgeons chomps a bite of his hot dog,
gives Jack the high sign, but Jack just feels like a pimp.
INT. VICTORY HOTEL - ROOM SIX - NIGHT
Screams. A cauliflower-eared Cleveland mob enforcer on
Breuning works him with a rubber hose as Dudley asks
unanswered questions. Bud watches, revulsion growing.
Where did you intend to start.
Go back to Cleveland, lad. This
is the City of Angels and you
haven't got any wings.
More screams as the hose thwops down. Bud looks away,
then shuffles blindly out of the room.
INT. VICTORY HOTEL - BATHROOM - NIGHT
Bud runs water in the sink to drown out the SCREAMS. It
doesn't work. Finally, he leans down and sticks his head
under the stream of water. That doesn't work either.
EXT. VICTORY HOTEL - NIGHT
Hair dripping wet, Bud makes it to his car. The tires
spit gravel as he tears away. Dudley appears in the
doorway, watching curiously. As cauliflower continues to
INT. BUD'S PACKARD - 1736 NOTTINGHAM (LYNN'S) - NIGHT
Bud watches Lynn Bracken's apartment, Colored lights
play on the windows. Shadows pass. Finally the front
door opens. There's Veronica Lake, all sparkles and
spangles, kissing another distinguished gentleman
goodnight. Bud watches the man into a waiting limo. As
it pulls away...
INT. 1736 NOTTINGHAM (LYNN BRACKEN'S) - LIVING ROOM -
Now Lynn just looks tired. As she puts away Scotch
bottles and picks up empty glasses, there's a KNOCK on
the door. Lynn sighs, become sultry Veronica Lake before
INT. FRONT HALL - NIGHT
Did you forget some --
Bud stands there, filling up the door frame.
I wondered when you might ring the
bell again, Officer White.
Bud looks at Lynn a moment, then down at his own feet.
Embarrassed. She smiles.
You should see yourself. You look
like you're ten years old.
Bud looks back up. Lynn's smile fades as she studies his
face. She's not going to ask questions. Lynn looks at
him a moment more, then runs a hand through the blonde
hair covering one eye.
If you'd called first, I wouldn't
look this ridiculous.
INT. LYNN BRACKEN'S (1736 NOTTINGHAM) - BEDROOM - NIGHT
Lynn comes to Bud naked, her hair brushed back. Bud goes
slow, gently, takes time with his kisses: like she was a
lonely woman he wanted to love to death.
Lynn plays off his timing: her kisses back, her touches.
Finally, Bud forces himself to stop. He pulls back so he
can see her.
You're wondering if Patchett told
me to be receptive.
Bud doesn't answer, but yes.
It doesn't matter. I like you,
Bud. I really do.
She kisses him. Softly, drawing it out. Not a job. She
wants to make love to him. And as Bud stops thinking...
EXT. 5261 CHERAMOYA AVENUE (HOLLYWOOD) - NIGHT
Jack sits in his car waiting. He checks his watch...
1:30. Well past midnight.
Come on, Sid. Where are you?
Jack decides. MOVE WITH him as he gets out and crosses
the street. The apartment is dark, the front door a few
inches ajar. Suspicious, Jack listens. Dead quiet. He
INT. 5261 CHERAMOYA AVENUE - NIGHT
No one here it seems. Till Jack nearly trips over a
body. Matt Reynolds. Soaked in blood. Throat slit.
Jack looks down in horror as Reynolds seems to stare back
up at him. Jack stumbles out the door. We hear his CAR
DOOR SLAM shut, the SCREECH of RUBBER down the street.
EXT. 2345 HALBORO (HUDGEONS' HOUSE) - NIGHT
Jack pounds on Sid's door till lights switch on.
It's Vincennes! Open up!
Hudgeons opens the door. He's in his pajamas.
Jackie! You got some good scoop
for the Sidster?
Sid, cut the crap. I --
Give me some Narco skinny. I want
to put out an all hop-head issue.
Shvartze jazz musicians and movie
stars. Maybe tie it into the
Rosenbergs. You like?
Jack grabs him, jerks him into the door frame.
What's wrong, Trash?
What happened with the kid and
You didn't get my message? It got
called off. The kid chickened out
at the last minute.
He's dead. I was just there.
Somebody slit his throat.
Jesus. Jack, that's a story.
'Swish Actor Gets The Gay Blade.'
Let me get my camera.
Hudgeons starts away, but Jack grabs him.
Loew didn't go with him. You're
I put Reynolds in the cab myself.
The night cost me a hundred scoots
and I got bupkis.
Jack lets go of him, starts to ramble off into the night.
Jackie! Big V! Let me get my
camera! Where are you going?!
INT. AFTER HOURS CLUB - NIGHT
The BARTENDER walks down the bar to where Jack arrives.
What'll it be, Jack?
(pulls out wallet)
A bottle of Scotch.
As the Bartender turns for one, the only bill Jack finds
is the President Grant fifty. The things he's done for
fifty bucks... As he looks up with despair at his
reflection in the bar mirror, the Bartneder sets down a
bottle and shot glass. He plucks the fifty from Jack's
Jack grabs the bottle and starts out.
Hey! Your change!
INT. 1736 NOTTINGHAM (LYNN BRACKEN'S) - BEDROOM - NIGHT
Spent, Bud and Lynn lie in bed. SHe traces a finger over
his bicep as he muses on the ceiling.
Who was that guy who was here
Lynn's tracing finger stops on Bud's shoulder -- a small
It doesn't matter. All they get
is Veronica Lake. You got the
real Lynn Margaret Bracken...
Where'd this come from?
When I was ten, my old man threw a
bottle at my mother. I guess I
got in the way.
So you saved her.
Yeah. But not for long.
Bud looks away. Lynn sees he doesn't want to talk about
Do you like being a cop, Bud?
I used to. What I do now is
strong-arm. Sitting duck stuff...
No, I don't like it. If I could
work Homicide like a real
Lynn listens sympathetically. Bud's opening up.
There's something wrong with the
Nite Owl. That prick Exley shot
the wrong guys. But they made him
a hero and whoever killed my
partner is still out there.
Frustrated, Bud pokes at his own chest.
In here I know it. But I can't
prove it. I'm not a detective.
I'm not smart enough. I'm just
the guy they bring in to scare the
other guy shitless.
Bud looks away, embarrassed to have shown so much of
himself. Lynn reaches over, turns his face back to her.
You found Patchett. You found me.
You're smart enough. Be a
detective if that's what you want.
That simple, huh?
Lynn nods. That simple.
INT. HOLLYWOOD STATION - EXLEY'S OFFICE - NIGHT
Exley looks up as a CLERK enters holding two files.
I got the rap sheets on the black
guys, sir. Coates and Jones got
charges a mile long. But except
for some kid stuff, Fontaine's
More or less.
Until he gunned down six people.
EXT. GRIFFITH PARK - DAY
Exley stands in the trees as a PARK RANGER approaches.
I asked my men, Lieutenant. No
one remembers any colored guys
Then who phoned in the report?
INT. FORENSICS LAB - DAY
Ray Pinker looks up from his microscope as Bud enters.
Bud White, what brings you down to
I got a few Nite Owl questions.
I don't know if you read the
papers, but that case is closed.
I'm tying up loose ends. Padding
my report. You know how it goes.
What do you want to know?
Anything off. Anything that
didn't make sense.
You mean beside the fact that
thirty-five out of forty-five
rounds were gratuitous? I can't
think of anything.
Pinker is ticked as Bud steps over to where a group of
Nite Owl crime scene photos are posted on the wall. Bud
pauses at a photo which shows the floor around the table.
We see a high heel shoe, blood smears across the floor.
If she was sitting here, then it's
facing the wrong way. What are
these smears in the blood?
It looks like she was flailing,
trying to get away.
But she's moving away from the
Who was sitting at this table?
Had to be dumb panic. If she knew
him she would've been sitting with
Bud wonders, maybe a puzzle piece just fell into place.
Pinker remembers something.
You know, there is one thing.
Pinker rummages a shelf for a glass jar which he hands
Bud. Inside are two wax-saturated cotton balls.
Cotton balls. I found them just
inside the meat locker door.
Exactly. At least one of those
animals had the brains to protect
It doesn't exactly play like dumb
What do you mean?
It's like they knew they were
going to kill everyone before they
Bud just stares at the picture of Susan Lefferts.
EXT. LEFFERTS' HOUSE (SAN BERNARDINO) - DAY
A shingle shack dump. Bud walks the front steps, RINGS
the BELL. Hilda Lefferts answers. She doesn't look so
Mrs. Lefferts, I'm Officer White
with the L.A.P.D. I'd like to ask
a couple of questions.
Let my daughter rest in peace.
Five minutes. That's all.
INT. LEFFERTS' HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - DAY
Pictures of Susan smile down from four walls. Vamp poses
on a nightclub floor. Mrs. Lefferts is all twitchy and
nervous, her eyes darting to a closed door.
Tell me about the boyfriend she
had. The one you mentioned at the
First I want to go on record as
saying that my Susie was a virgin
when she died.
Ma'am, I'm sure she was.
Mrs. Lefferts talks directly to a photo of her daughter.
Susie, I told you I didn't approve
of that boyfriend. He was too old
for you. You let him come into
this house and be fresh to me. I
went out one day and old Mrs.
Jensen next door saw Susan's
boyfriend and another man and
thought she heard a ruckus.
What was that boyfriend's name?
We were never properly introduced.
Susan and I were fighting that
day. She called him by a
nickname. Muns or Lunts or
Stens? Was it Stens?
Maybe. I don't know.
Look at a picture for me.
Bud hands her a snapshot of Stensland taken in Tijuana.
Out of uniform. She recognizes him.
That's him. That's him.
You said a neighbor heard a
ruckus. Was it outside, inside?
Mrs. Lefferts' eyes go crazy, darting to a closed door.
Rolled towels are crammed against the bottom of it.
I don't know. You'll have to
leave now, Officer.
Bud starts for the closed door.
What's through here?
No! Please leave!
Bud kicks away the towels, opens the door, steps into...
Innocuous except for the smell. It hits Bud right off.
Don't mind the smell. I think a
rat died behind the wall... My
Susie was a good girl!
Easy. Tell me about the ruckus.
I came home that night and there
was blood on the floor. Susan
said Stams -- Stens had cut
himself. They were acting
nervous. And that Stens kept
going under the house.
As Mrs. Lefferts goes shrill, Bud beelines out the door.
EXT. LEFFERTS' HOUSE (SAN BERNARDINO) - DAY
Holding a flashlight, Bud crawls under the house, into...
Bud elbow-crawls over the dirt, between wooden pilings.
There's a long burlap sack ahead. It smells bad. Bud
rips burlap. A rat's nest explodes. Bud sweeps a
forearm at them. As they clear, he sees a gristle-caked
human skull staring back, a .38 hole in the forehead.
Undaunted, Bud tears the burlap back further. He pats
the corpse's pockets, comes up with a wallet. Bud checks
the ID. "Turner Meeks." Bus knows him by that name and
Buzz Meeks... Holy shit.
EXT. LEFFERTS' HOUSE - DAY
Bud crawls out, blinking sunlight and gulping fresh air.
Mrs. Lefferts is there. She's scared.
Was it... a rat?
Yeah. A great big one.
Bud opens Meeks' wallet, pulls out a couple hundred bucks
and gives them to Mrs. Lefferts.
Here. Compliments of the Los
Angeles Police Department.
INT. FORENSICS LAB - DAY
Ray Pinker looks up from an autopsy as Exley enters.
Hey, just in time for our stomach
of the week. Frankfurters with
sauerkraut, French fries,
Coca-Cola, alcohol and sperm.
Jesus, what a last supper.
The stiff is Matt Reynolds! Pinker continues working
The Nite Owl. Anything bothering
you about the case?
Yeah. The fact that you guys
won't let it get filed away.
What are you talking about?
Bud White grilled me on it this
morning. You know, he's not as
dumb as I thought.
As Exley's head swims...
EXT. LEFFERTS' HOUSE (SAN BERNARDINO) - DAY
Mrs. Lefferts waters the grass, watches as a car pulls
up. Exley gets up, starts toward her. She drops the
hose and runs for the front door Exley cuts her off.
Let my Susie rest in peace!
Mrs. Lefferts, I just want to ask
a few questions.
That other policeman already
checked under the house and found
not a thing amiss.
A sweet man.
Under the house.
All he found were rodents. No
signs of foul play. So there.
Exley spots the entrance to the crawlspace. He hurries
over, enters nearly flat on his belly. Mrs. Lefferts
calls in after him.
My daughter was a virgin!
I don't doubt it -- Oh, God.
INT. HOLLYWOOD STATION - JACK'S DESK - DAY
Jack sits unshaven and hung-over, the dregs of the Scotch
bottle on the desk. He considers a framed "Badge of
Honor" photo: Jack and Brett Chase, before a banner "To
Protect and Serve." Jack punches a fist through it.
INT. LAPD - FORENSICS LAB - DAY
Exley walks alonside as a body bag is wheeled into the
lab atop a gurney. Pinker steps over.
I need an I.D. ASAP. You talk
only to me on this one.
INT. JACK'S DESK - DAY
Sitting in disgust, Jack spots something amidst all the
clutter -- the Great Jerk-Off Books of 1962. He flips
one over, looks at the Fleur-de-Lis stamp. Jack
remembers something Matt Reynolds told him. He dials the
Yeah. Sergeant Jack Vincennes
requesting. I need the home
address on a Pierce Patchett.
Please hold, Sergeant...
As Jack waits, Exley appears in front of him.
I need to speak to you.
Give me a minute, will ya?
Exley clicks off the phone.
I want you to follow Bud White.
Even I'm not that crazy.
It's not a request. I need to
know what White knows. Follow him
or I'll have you pulled off 'Badge
of Honor.' Permanently.
Yesterday that might've meant
something. Pull me off. You'd be
doing me a big favor.
Yesterday yes, today no. What
happened last night?
Transfer me, suspend me. Just
leave me alone.
You make a mistake?
Yeah. My whole life.
Jack stands, heads out. Exley follows; he needs help.
Listen, I think I made a mistake,
I ain't a priest, Lieutenant. I
can't hear your confession.
Do you make the three Negroes for
the Nite Owl killings?
It's a simple question.
You should be the last person who
wants to dig any deeper into the
Nite Owl, Lieutenant.
Exley watches as Jack continues down a hall. Then:
Jack stops, looks back at him.
Is there more to that, or do I
have to guess?
Rollo was a purse snatcher. My
father ran into him off duty. He
shot my father six times and got
away clean. No one even knew who
he was. I made the name up to
give him some personality.
So what's the point?
Rollo's the reason I became a cop.
I wanted to catch the guys who
thought they could get away with
it. It was supposed to be about
truth and justice and Rollo. But
somewhere along the way I forgot
all that... How about you, Jack?
Why'd you become a cop?
Jack looks like he might cry, but smiles instead.
I don't remember...
Both men are quiet a moment.
I'm trying to figure what angle
you're playing this time, but I
sure as hell can't see one.
I've given up angles for awhile.
I just want to solve this thing.
The Nite Owl was solved,
I want to do it right.
So does Jack.
Okay, college boy, I'll help you.
But I want half the collar.
A third. I don't think we can
make a case without Bud White.
EXT. BROWN DERBY - DAY
A Packard pulls up out front. Bud gets out, heads
inside. Another car pulls up across the street.
CLOSE ON JACK
Watching Bud. Jack gets out, starts across the street.
INT. BROWN DERBY - BAR - DAY
At the bar, Johnny Stompanato looks over as Bud joins
him. Stompanato isn't happy about it, but he smiles
Wendell White, how's tricks,
I ain't your paesano, you wop
Nervous, Johnny taps his pinkie ring on a bottle of beer.
What do you want, officer?
You remember an ex-cop named Buzz
Meeks? He works for a guy named
Johnny taps his ring harder. The bottle almost tips.
His file listed you as a known
associate. Now spill.
Oh, yeah. That was a long time
ago. Before your day. The last
few years he's been muscle for
hire. But I heard he's
More's gonna cost you.
Bud's hand flashes out, grabs Stompanato by the crotch.
How 'bout I give you your balls
Before Meeks disappeared he was
popping off about trying to move
eighteen pounds of heroin.
Bullshit. Where would a two-bit
ex-cop get 18 pounds of heroin?
Deuce Perkins. Mickey C's
narcotics lieutenant. The night
he got clipped, eighteen pounds of
Mickey's heroin went missing.
Bud loosens his grip. Stompanato gasps for air.
Jack peels in, catches a glimpse of Bud and Stompanato.
Too far away too hear anything, Jack quickly ducks out.
Meeks is probably in Rio or
someplace like that by now.
He's under a tract house in San
Berdoo. And he don't smell too
good. What happened to the
I don't know. I swear it!
Bud starts to raise a hand. Stompanato cringes, but Bud
just slaps a twenty down on the bar and goes.
INT. BROWN DERBY - PHONE BOOTH - DAY
Jack's on the phone to Exley.
He's in the Brown Derby with
(sees Bud exit)
Check that. I gotta go.
EXT. 1736 NOTTINGHAM (LYNN BRACKEN'S) - DAY
Jack pulls up, sees Bud knock on the front door. It
opens and Bud steps in. Jack doesn't see who opens it.
EXT. BUSHES - 1736 NOTTINGHAM (LYNN BRACKEN'S) - DAY
LEAVES RUSTLE. There's movement in the underbrush. Jack
appears, followed by Exley. Jack pulls a gun as they
near a window.
What's that for?
Bud White. He sees us and we're
They press up to the glass for a partial view. Bud White
sits on a footstool massaging a pair of women's feet.
Jack and Exley exchange a long, curious look. This isn't
the Bud White they're used to. A pair of woman's hands
take Bud, the arms covered in glitter and satin.
The woman, Lynn Bracken, leans forward to kiss her
policeman. It may have been a long day, but she's every
inch Veronica Lake. Only the hair's not over her eye.
They stand, kiss again. Lynn's gown spills down around
her ankles. Bud scoops Lynn into his arms and the two of
them disappear into a bedroom. A long beat before...
Jesus... Maybe White's not so dumb
Rita Hayworth at the morgue and
now Veronica Lake with White.
What the hell's going on?
Movie star hookers. Whatever you
desire... It's Fleur-fr-Lis again.
High line whores. With plastic
surgery to look like movie stars.
And who knows what else? It's run
by this guy Pierce Patchett. You
want to talk to him?
Yeah. But first I want to brace
INT. BROWN DERBY - ENTRANCE - DAY
Exley and Jack enter.
Check the bar. I got the restaurant.
Exley scans. There's Stompanato with a girl who looks
amazingly like "LANA TURNER."
Engrossed, Stomapanato doesn't look up till Exley's nearly
on top of him.
Hey, you want an autograph, write
Since when do two-bit hoods and
hookers give out autographs?
As Stompanato stands, Exley flashes his badge.
L.A.P.D. Sit down.
Who in the hell do you think you
Take a walk, honey, before I haul
your ass downtown.
Who in the hell do you think
You are making a large mistake.
As Jack arrives, Lana tosses a drink in Exley's face.
Get away from our table!
(grabs her wrist)
Shut up. Being cut to look like
Lana Turner doesn't mean you are
Jack pulls him aside.
She is Lana Turner.
She is Lana Turner.
INT. EXLEY'S PLYMOUTH - SUNSET
Rolling. The sky glows ahead.
How was I supposed to know?
A moment before Jack begins to laugh. Exley joins him.
EXT. 1184 GRETNA GREEN (PIERCE PATCHETT'S) - NIGHT
Exley's Plymouth is parked on the street.
INT. 1184 GRETNA GREEN (PATCHETT'S) - LIBRARY - NIGHT
In a silk robe, the unflappable Pierce Patchett smiles
at Exley. Jack stands alongside.
I believe the Nite Owl's your area
of expertise, Mr. Exley. I saw
you on television getting your
(turns to Jack)
And you're that other celebrity
Hollywood policeman, aren't you?
A beat. Exley and Jack don't look like they appreciate
being joked with. Patchett finally sighs.
I'll tell you what I told Officer
White when he asked me about
(a look to Jack)
Bud White's been here?
For the last time. I may suborn
women into illicit activities, but
they're handsomely compensated, I
treat them well and make sure the
men they deal with show them every
Is the Veronica Lake look-alike
one of your whores?
A vulgar term, but yes.
What's her name?
Why's she seeing Bud White?
Why do men and women usually see
Anything else you want to add
before I talk to her?
Not good enough.
Then try talking to my lawyer.
Good evening, gentlemen.
EXT. 1184 GRETNA GREEN - NIGHT
Exley and Jack head for the car.
Guy's as cool as they come.
A call CRACKLES in over Exley's RADIO. Exley picks up.
This is Exley.
Ray Pinker wants to talk to you,
Lieutenant. Says he has your I.D.
Tell him Sergeant Vincennes is
coming in to talk to him.
What are you going to do?
I'm going to Lynn Bracken's. I'll
meet you at the Dining Car.
Great. You get the girl, I get
INT. LIBRARY (1184 GRETNA GREEN) - NIGHT
Watching Exley and Vincennes from the window, Patchett
picks up the phone, dials.
Hush-Hush. Off the record and on
INT. 1736 NOTTINGHAM (LYNN'S) - LIVING ROOM - NIGHT
KNOCKING on the door. Lynn answers to reveal Exley.
Miss Bracken, I'm Lieutenant
I know who you are. You're the
policeman Bud told me about.
Really? What did White say?
He said you were smart. He also
said you were competing with your
dead father. How did he put it?
Trying to measure up to a ghost.
Exley lets it pass. As he enters...
Let's concentrate on my smarts.
Pierce Patchett made you, didn't
he? He taught you how to dress
and talk and think and I am very
impressed with the results. But I
need some answers and if I don't
get them, I'm going to take you
and Patchett down.
He can take care of himself and
I'm not afraid of you. And you
forgot one thing, Lieutenant.
Pierce also taught me how to
fuck... Can I get you a drink?
Exley can't help but smile. Lynn smiles back.
Exley watches her as she steps over to fix the drinks.
I'm curious about you.
She hands him his drink.
Because Bud hates you more than he
Exley stews. Lynn watches him over the rim of her glass.
It galls you that I know so much
about you. You don't have
information to compete.
Don't underestimate me, Miss
The way you've underestimated Bud
Exley's had it. A menacing step forward. Lynn's smile
becomes a laugh. Lost to himself, Exley leans in and
kisses her. Lynn pulls back, then kisses back. In a
beat, they're rolling to the floor, shedding clothes.
As they trash the furniture, Lynn looks over his shoulder
at her own reflection in a closet door mirror.
REVERSE ANGLE - INSIDE CLOSET
Two-way glass. Sid Hudgeons is in here SNAPPING
pictures. As Lynn and Exley continue with their frantic
INT. FORENSIC LAB - NIGHT
Ray Pinker rubs his tired eyes.
God bless dental records. Stiff
used to be a cop. Turner Meeks.
You knew him?
Of him. He was around when I
first joined the force. A bad
Pinker could care less. As Jack's wheels turn...
INT. LAPD - RECORDS ROOM - NIGHT
Jack searches dusty filing cabinets with dates like 1939
and 1940. Reading one headed "Meeks," Jack lets out a
low whistle. He's found something.
INT. PACIFIC DINING CAR - NIGHT
Jack waits at the bar, watches the door anxiously.
Come on, Exley. Where are you?
INT. 1736 NOTTINGHAM (LYNN'S) - LIVING ROOM - NIGHT
Spent, Exley and Lynn sit, half-dressed, on the floor.
They're quiet. Then, through a smile:
How was I?
Oh, the best I ever had.
Absolutely the best.
You sound like you mean it.
The silver screen's loss is your
How about White?
You want to know what Bud's like
She actually embarrasses him with that one.
I want to know why you see him.
Is it a Patchett payoff?
I see Bud because I want to. I
see Bud because he can't hide the
warmth he has inside him.
I'll take your word for it.
I see Bud because he makes me feel
like Lynn Bracken and not some
Veronica Lake look-alike who fucks
for money. I see him because he
doesn't know how to disguise who
he is. There's more if you want
to hear it.
Exley shakes his head. He's heard enough.
Does all that make it harder for
you to hate him or easier?
I don't hate White. I really
don't. It's just, in my business,
it's the wild cars you have to
watch out for.
You don't like that you don't know
how to play him. He doesn't
follow the same rules of politics
you do. That makes him dangerous.
You cut to the heart of things,
don't you? What about Lynn
Bracken? She going to be a hooker
all her life?
I came out here with a dream.
That's gone, but I settled for
No. This is the means to the
reality. But I'm not going to
tell you what it is.
Because you'll use it against me.
Exley doesn't answer, but the answer is yes. Lynn
You're tougher than Bud thinks you
You're the first person to ever
call me tough.
Like recognizes like. I'm pretty
You, me and White, huh?
Actually, Bud's only tough on the
As Exley kisses her...
Exasperated that he's still stuck in here, Sid Hudgeons
checks his watch, shakes his head in disgust.
EXT. 9608 VENDOME (SILVERLAKE) - NIGHT
Jack knocks at a darkened house. The porch lights come
on. The door opens to reveal Dudley Smith in his
John Vincennes. It's three A.M.,
Two minutes, Dudley. It's
Lucky for you that my wife and
four fair daughters are at the
beach in Santa Barbara.
INT. 9608 VENDOME - KITCHEN - NIGHT
Jack sits at the table while Dudley makes coffee.
You remember Buzz Meeks, Dudley?
A disgrace as a policeman.
Straight D fitness reports from
every C.O. he ever served under.
What about him?
Twelve years ago he worked a vice
roust with Dick Stensland. They
arrested a Pierce Patchett on an
extortion scam. Guy ran hookers.
He'd have them photographed with
their johns, then double-dip for
some blackmail. Charges got
dropped. Insufficient evidence.
You were supervising officer on
the case and I was wondering if
you remember anything about it.
What's this all about, lad?
Part of it has to do with a
murder. I've been working with Ed
Exley on it.
You're Narco, lad, not Homicide.
And since when do you work with
It's a private investigation. I
fucked something up and I want to
Don't start trying to do the right
thing, John. You haven't had
Dudley walks over, hands Jack his coffee.
Have you discussed this with
anyone else, John?
Not even with Exley?
Jack shakes his head. Dudley raises a REVOLVER. He
FIRES it at point-blank range, right into Jack's heart.
Jack hits the floor, his cheek pressed flat on the
Jack opens his mouth to speak. His lips form the words,
but no sound comes out. Dudley crouches down beside him.
Have you a valediction, lad?
Dudley leans low, gives Jack an ear. As he dies...
Dudley frowns in ignorance at the name.
INT. LAPD HEADQUARTERS - BRIEFING ROOM - DAY
Nothing mobilizes the police like losing one of their
own. Dudley is at the podium along with Exley. Dozens
of detectives take notes, including Bud White.
Sergeant Vincennes' body was found
in Echo Park at ten o'clock this
morning. Killed by a single .38
round to the heart. One of our
own, gentlemen. We cannot
tolerate it. Justice must be
swift and merciless. That's all.
As the men move odd, Dudley approaches Exley.
Edmund, a word with you. We
received a tip this morning. Did
Vincennes ever mention the name
Exley tries to look like he's thinking as Jack calls from
the grave. Screaming the name Dudley!
No... Where'd the tip come from?
Anonymous. Probably nothing.
As Dudley moves off, Exley watches him go. Scared.
INT. LAPD HEADQUARTERS - BUD WHITE'S DESK - DAY
Bud looks over as Dudley sits down across from him.
You're perplexing to me these
days, Wendell. You're not your
old, cruel self anymore. I need
proof that the extracurricular
work I had planned for you remains
within your grasp.
I've long been involved in
containing hard crime in such a
way that myself and a few
colleagues might someday enjoy a
profit dispensation. That day
will soon be here and you'll share
handsomely. Grand means will be
in our hands, Wendell.
Imagine crime limited to the
criminal element who perpetrate
it. Imagine the means to keep the
nigger filth sedated. But don't
stop there. Extrapolate. Imagine
the police in control. It's big,
You lost me, Dudley. I don't know
what you're talking about.
You have your extracurricular
secrets, I have mine. We'll hold
a clarification session soon. For
now, I need your fearsome old
habits at the Victory Motel.
We're going to brace a man who may
know who killed Jack Vincennes.
Can I count on you?
Sure, boss. Sure you can.
INT. FORENSICS LAB - DAY
Pinker looks up as Exley enters.
I want to know what you and Jack
Vincennes talked about last night.
Anything and everything. Start
with the I.D. on the corpse.
A put-upon Pinker sighs.
An ex-cop. Buzz Meeks. I pulled
his police academy photo.
Pinker goes to his desk for a twenty-year-old photo of
Meeks. he hands it to Exley, whose wheels are turning.
We got a dead ex-cop and a girl
who looks like Rita Hayworth at
the Nite Owl. Another dead ex-cop
under the house of Rita's mother.
It's not a good week for ex-cops.
I got Vincennes in the next room.
It's not a good week for cops in
EXT. VICTORY MOTEL - DAY
A RAIN STORM has turned the courtyard into a mud bath.
As usual, a light burns in room six. Bud White parks
alongside the other cars already here. He makes a dash
for the door.
INT. VICTORY MOTEL - ROOM SIX - DAY
Sid Hudgeons is cuffed to the hot seat. Dudley sits
across from him. Dudley's henchman Breuning looms. Bud
This is Mr. Hudgeons, Wendell.
I'm happy to cooperate. You don't
need to tie me down.
It's for your own safety. Now
what can you tell us about
Sergeant John Vincennes?
Trashcan Jack. The Big V. I can
tell you he's on the Night Train
to the big adios.
Breuning cuffs Hudgeons in the side of the head.
Take it easy! I didn't have
anything to do with him getting
killed if that's what you mean.
But you were business associates?
What does that have to do --
Breuning cuffs him again.
Okay so we worked together. It
was an information exchange. I
got him first class collars and he
got me good stories. We were
friends for Chrissakes!
Alright. We'll drop that line for
now. Next topic. Please comment
on Pierce Patchett.
Bud looks over at mention of the name.
You think he had something to do
with Vincennes getting iced?
Dudley sighs, looks to Bud.
Wendell. I want full and docile
cooperation on all topics.
Hudgeons flinches as Bud steps up, twice Breuning's size.
Okay. Okay. Everyone knows
Patchett's worth a boat-load of
greenbacks. From aviation,
freeway construction. But the man
has hobbies, too. He bankrolls B
movies under the table and runs
movie star look-alike hookers.
And try this on: he's rumored to
be a periodic heroin sniffer. All
in all a powerful behind-the-
Bud digs a fist into Hudgeons' gut. As Hudgeons gasps to
get his breath back.
Reciprocity, Mr. Hudgeons, is the
key to all relationships.
He runs call girls. Primo tail.
Fixed up like movie stars.
Bud looms, rests his hands on the back of Hudgeons'
chair. He doesn't like where this is going.
In my car. Blackmail shit. The
trunk under the carpet. Patchett
got me to photograph a cop fucking
this gorgeous cunt Lynn, looks
just like Veronicaaa --
Wooden slats pop as Bud tears the bolted chair right out
of the floor. Hudgeons and the chair land sideways.
Bud can't hear him. He uprights the chair one-handed.
As his fist cocks back, he's restrained by Breuning and
Dudley. This is no act. They can barely hold Bud back.
Get him away from me!
Bud breaks free, heads outside.
EXT. VICTORY MOTEL - HUDGEONS' CAR - DAY
Bud jams a tire iron into the trunk seam and pops it with
a ferocious yank. He tears at the carpeting. A manila
envelope. Bud rips it open and 8x10 glossies of Exley
and Lynn spill out. Raindrops dot them, as Bud's in his
Packard and tearing out of there.
INT. VICTORY MOTEL - ROOM 6 - DAY
Dudley and Breuning watch from the door.
I wouldn't trade places with
Edmund Exley right now for all the
tea in China.
Breuning laughs. So does Hudgeons.
Dudley, I thought you were gonna
let the dumb bastard kill me.
And you! Learn to pull those
punches a little better.
Dudley and Breuning stare at him. A bit grimly.
You can uncuff me now, fellas.
But no one moves to do so.
We had a deal. You, me and
Patchett, We're a team!
Come on, we're friends. We're --
As Hudgeons protests, Dudley slaps a hand over his mouth.
As Breuning and Carlisle move in...
INT. RECORDS ROOM - LAPD - DAY
A wormish CLERK searches dusty filing cabinets with dates
like 1939 and 1940. The same ones Jack looked through.
Exley steps over from another row.
So on active duty, Meeks didn't
make an arrest from 1938 to '43.
Someone must've pulled the
Exley ponders the implications. Taking out the photo of
Meeks, he gets an idea.
Where are the police academy
I don't have time. I have --
Just show me where they are!
EXT. 1736 NOTTINGHAM (LYNN BRACKEN'S) - DAY
Blue, Lynn sits on her porch watching the rain come down.
A SCREECHING on the wet street as Bud's PACKARD pulls up.
She watches as he gets out and starts for the house.
Lynn stands, holds her arms out. Bud stops short on the
steps, out of reach, the rain soaking him.
Did you talk to Exley?
Come in out of the rain. In the
morning we'll have both our
stories for breakfast.
Lightning flashes. Bud shakes hs head.
I want to know about Exley.
He's the opposite of you. He's
more like me. Cold, calculating.
How'd you get to know so much
More lightning. Lynn looks God-awful sad.
Come in out of the rain, Bud.
You gonna tell me what happened
with you and Exley?
So tell me about it.
In the morning.
You fucked him.
Too tired to lie anymore, Lynn finally just nods.
I thought I was helping you. I
Bud backhands her, hard. Lynn faces straight into the
next one as Bud hits her again. A third time as the sins
of the father are visited on the son. Bud stops short as
the self-realization slams home. Lynn waits stoically.
She doesn't start crying till Bud turns and runs back
into the rain.
INT. RECORDS ROOM - LAPD - DAY
Drawers are open. Files are everywhere. Exley's reached
the end of the line. As he looks through one last file,
he finds a stack of official photos. Then he stops
short. There's a photo of four cadets and an academy
Two of the cadets are IDed as Turner Meeks and Dick
Stensland. The instructor is Dudley Smith!
Exley looks up at the sound of FOOTSTEPS and Bud is
there. Fury. He slams Exley, knocks him flat.
Bud's here to kill him. He hauls Exley up, pummels him,
then throws him over the table. Then up into a wall.
Plaster cracks. Bud's on some gonzo animal plane. Bud
strangles him. Exley gags. It'll be over in moments.
Until Exley's flailing hands finds Bud's .38. Yanking it
from his waistband, Exley smashes Bud in the forehead.
Bud reels. But, blind with rage, he moves back in only
to have the barrel of the .38 placed right between his
She told you?
Bud shakes his head. He's coiled, ready to make a move.
Who told you? Did Dudley have
anything to do with you finding
Bud hesitates, the answer obvious.
Listen to me. Dudley killed Jack.
It has something to do with Buzz
Exley points out the academy photo on the floor.
Look. Dudley and Meeks go way
back. Stensland, too.
Bud sees, but does he really? As Bud reaches for the
photo, Exley relaxes slightly. Bud slaps the gun away,
drops Exley to the ground. He grabs, begins slamming his
head into the floor.
Think, goddamn you. Think...
Exley's almost out. But maybe Bud heard him. The attack
slows, stops as Bud does think. Exley stays conscious.
I knew Stensland and Meeks knew
each other. Meeks was with Sue
Lefferts on Christmas Eve. The
night I met Lynn. Lefferts'
mother I.D.ed Stensland as
Lefferts' boyfriend, but Stens
pretended he didn't know either
one of them.
Stensland and Meeks. What were
they up to?
Johnny Stompanato told me when
Meeks disappeared, he was trying
to move the 18 pounds of heroin
that went missing when Deuce
Perkins was shot.
Stensland and Buzz Meeks. Two-man
triggers knocking off Mickey Cohen
lieutenants. When they killed
Deuce Perkins, they got heroin as
Then something goes wrong. Meeks
gets killed. Maybe Stens got
greedy, killed Meeks and left him
under his girlfriend's house.
The night he died, Stens was all
mysterious. Said he had something
big going down.
The Nite Owl! Stensland was going
there to sell the heroin.
Somebody got wind of it, killed
It wasn't the Negroes. The Griffith
Park report was a phony. And, who
says the purple Merc was spotted
outside the Nite Owl?
The first guys to the car when
Jack and I got there were Bruening
They didn't find the shotguns.
They planted them.
It all keeps coming back to
It's Dudley for the Nite Owl.
They just stare at each other a beat as it sinks in.
Pierce Patchett figures in, too.
That's the angle Jack was working.
Dudley must work for Patchett.
Let's just kill them.
For Jack, for Stensland, for
anybody else who got in the way.
I've been trying to be smart. A
detective. But killing those two
fuckers, that would be justice.
Stay smart, Bud. We build a case.
We play by the rules.
There are no rules! Why the fuck
are you doing this? The Nite Owl
made you. You want to tear all
With a wrecking ball. You want to
help me swing it?
Bud smiles. For a second he likes Exley.
Let's go see Pierce Patchett. Run
Which one are you and which one am
EXT. 1184 GRETNA GREEN (PIERCE PATCHETT'S) - DAY
Exley and Bud make their way up the walk. Bud pulls his
.38 from its shoulder holster, shoves it in his
You expecting problems?
Patchett uses a lot of ex-cop
Exley RINGS the BUZZER. Looking back, Bud sees a
pitching wedge and pile of golf balls abandoned in the
grass. A single ball floats in the koi pond. Bud's eyes
narrow at the sight. Not like Patchett at all.
And Bud shoulders the heavy door right off its hinges.
INT. 1184 GRETNA GREEN - HALLWAY - DAY
Bud draws his .38 as he strides in. Exley tries to keep up.
Double doors on the left open into a library. Bud stops
short, slowly lowers his gun. Exley steps up beside him.
Hanging from a ceiling light, Patchett's body slowly
twists around, a toppled chair beneath him.
I don't think his ex-cop did him
Bud goes to the body while Exley heads for a side table
on which rests a typed sheet of paper.
Bud checks Patchett's right hand, the knuckles are split,
two of the fingers badly distended.
It's a suicide note. Says he
killed Jack because Jack had
figured out a pornography scam
Patchett was running.
He had help getting up there. Two
of his fingers are broken.
We had one thing figured wrong. I
don't think Dudley workd for
At least not anymore.
Patchett's dead. He sent you
after me. I'd say Dudley's tying
up his loose ends.
(it hits him)
Bud dashes to the PHONE, dials. It RINGS. No one
I got a guy who owes me in the
Sheriff's department. West
Hollywood station. He can be at
her house in two minutes.
Bud shoves the phone into his hand.
EXT. 1736 NOTTINGHAM (LYNN BRACKEN'S) - DAY
A county sheriff's unmarked parked out front. A DEPUTY
behind the wheel. Exley's Plymouth pulls up behind. The
Deputy gets out. MOVE WITH him as he steps BACK TO
Exley, who's rolling down his window.
Is she inside?
We took her to Hollywood Station
for safekeeping. Someone worked
her over pretty good. She
wouldn't say who.
Exley looks at Bud. Bud looks down in shame.
Hold her as Joan Smith. No one
sees her unless I okay it.
You got it, Exley. And now we're
As the Deputy moves off.
What about him?
Jack thought he was up to his neck
in all this.
INT. DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OUTER OFFICE - DAY
A SECRETARY looks up as Bud and Exley beeline Loew's
You can't go in there!
Loew looks up as they burst in.
Do you want me to call the police,
Ask for Captain Dudley Smith.
We'll have a party. Hot dogs and
A beat as Loew considers his options.
It's okay. These are police.
(as she leaves)
What do you want?
I want D.A. bureau men to tail
Dudley Smith twenty-four hours a
day; I want you to get a judge to
authorize a wire tap on his home
phone; I want authorization to
check his bank records and I want
it all in an hour.
On what evidence?
None. Call it a hunch.
Absolutely not. Dudley Smith is a
highly decorated member of this
city's police department and I
won't smear his name without --
Without what, his smearing yours
first? What's he got on you,
Loew? Pictures of you and an out
of work actor with your pants
Do you have any proof?
The proof had his throat slit.
So far you're not denying it.
I'm not going to dignify youwith
answers. If you'll excuse me,
I've got a Jack Vincennes press
conference to prepare for.
Loew enters his bathroom. Bud looks to Exley who nods:
Loew is at the mirror clipping a few stray nose hairs.
Bud enters full of menace followed by Exley.
Unless you're here to wipe my ass,
I think we're through.
Bud just glares at him. Loew shakes his head.
Don't try this good cop/bad cop
with me. I practically
invented it. And so what if some
homo actor is dead. Boys, girls,
ten of them step off the bus to
L.A. every day.
The MIRROR SPIDERWEBS as Bud slams Loew's face into it.
Bud swings him around, forces him forward and shoves his
head in the toilet.
He holds it there, finally lets Loew up for breath. Then
backhands: one, two, three.
Dudley Smith. Spill.
Call him off, Exley!
I don't know how.
More backhands. Holding Loew by the scruff of the neck,
Bud marches him past Exley and back into the...
Bud heaves up the window, practically throws Loew through
it. Loew catches hold of the window framing. Bud
hammers his hands loose with a fist and pushes him
Bud holds his leg. Loew screams as coins, comb and
wallet spill from his pockets, plummet toward the street
Bud shakes Loew, could drop him at any time.
If I let you go, there'll be ten
more lawyers to take your place
tomorrow. They just won't come on
the bus, that's all.
We hear Loew's PANT LEG TEARING loose.
Okay! You're right! Dudley's got
photos of me and Reynolds.
What's Dudley's scheme?
More TEARING. Loew's life may depend on the answer.
Dudley's rotten to the core. He's
taking over Mickey Cohen's
rackets, his own hand-picked
cops'll be the new franchise
holders. Because of those
pictures I won't be able to
prosecute. Oh Jesus pull me up!
Exley helps pull Loew back inside. Bud dumps him on the
floor. Bruised and bloodied, Loew looks up at Exley.
Dudley's got everyone under his
thumb. Not just me, but the Chief
of Police, the lieutenant
Exley pulls his .38, shoves it into the side of Loew's
Not everybody. You tip-off Dudley
and Officer White visits you alone
Loew looks at Bud, nods, his face a bloody mess.
EXT. CITY OFFICE BUILDING - DAY
Exley and Bud exit. Bud's wheels are turning.
They never made a match on the
shotgun serial numbers. What if
Breuning and Carlisle took them
from the evidence room? Couple of
cold pieces that had been hanging
around a year or two.
We should check the records, and,
we should talk to Lynn.
Bud just stares at him a beat.
You want to talk to her?
Bud looks away, shakes his head "no." Finally...
You do it. I'll check the files.
INT. SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT - HOLDING ROOM - DAY
Lynn looks up as Exley enters. her face is puffy,
If I knew you were coming I'd have
baked a cake.
Forget everything else for a
second, Lynn. Is there anything
you can give me on Dudley Smith?
A blank look from her.
A police captain. I think he's
behind all of this.
(shakes her head)
I work for Patchett. I had a
feeling that there was someone
else, but I never knew who.
Okay. Look, if it helps, Bud
hates himself for what he did.
I know how he feels.
A beat as Exley wonders how he should interpret this.
I don't know if it's pathetic or
romantic, but when this is all
over I'd like to see you again.
Lynn looks away, can't help an ironic smile even as she
starts to cry. As Exley gives her his handkerchief...
INT. LAPD - EVIDENCE ROOM - NIGHT
Bud waits at the cage window as a RECORDER returns with
I got your guns, Bud. Signed in
April 3rd, 1950. Remember the
First Western bank robbery? They
were used in that.
I want to see them.
No can do. I can't find them.
As Bud thinks, a ROOKIE-TYPE approaches.
Uh -- Sergeant White?
Dispatch just got a call for you.
Lieutenant Exley wants you to meet
him at the Victory Motel.
EXT. VICTORY MOTEL - SUNSET
Bud's Packard crests the rise looking down on the
Victory. Exley's Plymouth is in the courtyard.
INT. VICTORY MOTEL - ROOM 6 - SUNSET
Exley in the hotseat. Sitting there thinking. At a CAR
DOOR CLOSING, he goes to the door.
Exley opens the door as Bud approaches, toting a shotgun.
The sun is down. The sky is just a dull glow.
You wanted to meet here?
Me? You called it. I got a
As the reality sinks in, Bud and Exley hear TIRES on the
GRAVEL; CARS are COMING. Being in a concavity, they
don't see them yet. Then the CARS STOP. But still Bud
and Exley can't see anything. They hear the CLICKS of
CAR DOORS OPENING, but they don't hear them shut. There
are FOOTSTEPS, MURMURED WHISPERS. More CARS PULL UP.
Shit... Come on.
Exley starts for his car, but Bud holds him back.
A beat. Resigned, Exley nods. They retreat back to Room
6, disappear inside. A beat. There's MOVEMENT in the
shadows to the left. To the right.
INT. VICTORY MOTEL - ROOM 6 - NIGHT
There's a big back window. Bud covers most of it with a
ratty old mattress. He pumps the shotgun.
He pulls a .45 automatic from his waistband.
He throws the auto to Exley, pulls out a .38. Bud's
armed for bear.
You figured this was a set-up?
And you showed up anyway?
A lot of bad stuff happened here.
It's as good a place as any for it
Bud switches off the light. They wait in silence. Then:
You know, all I ever wanted was to
measure up to my father.
I spent years trying not to live
down to mine.
We should block off the bathroom.
They could come through --
A CREAK outside the front door. Bud levels the SHOTGUN.
BOOM! The DOOR is BLOWN OFF ITS HINGES. We see the
figure of a man sprawl back in the dirt. In the darkness
beyond, MUZZLE FLASHES from all around. Exley and Bud
We hear the BACK WINDOW BREAK under a MUFFLED BLOW. Bud
charges back, yanks down the mattress revealing two men
climbing through. Sitting ducks: torn apart by THREE
TRIPLE-AUGHT ROUNDS close in. A beat, then...
We got him!
Bud smiles, in on the plan as theres an answering WHOOP.
A third man looks through the window. BOOM! Bud nails
Bud motions Exley to stay put, then slips out the window.
EXT. VICTORY MOTEL - NIGHT
Bud crouches, looks between the cinder blocks supporting
the room. Two sets of feet shuffling along. Bud FIRES
the SHOTGUN. Shrieks as the men go down. Bud extends
the .38 to fire point blank headshots. Then...
Bud flattens himself as a wicked CROSSFIRE TEARS UP ROOM
INT. VICTORY MOTEL - NIGHT
Exley is forced down as well, lying flat as plaster rains
The door frame splinters as more Dudley men charge in.
Four men with rifles. One is Patchett's Burly Bodyguard.
They spot Exley lying there. Hushed whispers as they
approach: "Dead meat." "Be careful." Kicks in the
side. The men look at each other, sneer.
Exley jerks a foot. The foot man stumbles as Exley spins
around SHOOTING. FIRING the .45 and his own .38. All
four men go down. Exley stands, digs into his pocket to
Bud scrambles back through the window. Exley looks over
and smiles as Bud reloads the shotgun. It's dead quiet.
I'm thinking we might walk away
At that instant, Dudley steps through the bathroom door.
He's got Exley dead to rights. As he squeezes the
trigger, Bud leaps forward, pushes Exley hard to the
The SHOT passes through Bud's back by his left shoulder
blade. It spins him around. A SECOND SHOT to the
stomach slows him to a walk as he charges Dudley. A
THIRD ROUND SHATTERS Bud's jaw, but still he comes.
Driven by rage, his hands reaching for Dudley's throat.
He even gets hold before a FOURTH SLUG tears his chest.
Bud falls hard.
Dudley swings his aim to Exley who's just managed to
shake the cobwebs of being flattened by Bud. A frozen
I'm loathe to kill my brother
Tell that to Jack Vincennes. To
Jack was a shame, but Dick
Stensland had the audacity to try
to sell me my own heroin. Through
his whore girl friend. I sent him
to make the buy. The rest is
A vacuum, Edmund. That's what we
have in Los Angeles. Sending
Mickey Cohen up created it. My
containment work maintained it.
Certain photographs guarantee it.
Organized crime has been held
back, but there's still a demand
for the services it provides.
And now you'll provide them.
Absolutely. Prostitution and
gambling are victimless crimes.
The heroin we'll run down to the
coloreds. Anesthetize them. As
long as it's not a middle class
problem, no one will care. It's
still a crime free city... for
Dudley aims the .38, cocks back the hammer. We hear
DISTANT POLICE SIRENS.
This isn't politics, Edmund.
There won't be winners and losers
when it's over...
Dudley doesn't see Bud stir, reach into a pocket.
Just the living and the dead.
It's always been that way in the
Bureau. You should've realized
that before you became a
It's over. Dudley's finger tightens on the trigger. But
Dudley screams as Bud buries a switchblade into his left
calf. It took all Bud had left. As he collapses...
Dudley wails; Exley dives for Bud's shotgun. Dudley
FIRES, misses. A wild SHOTGUN BLAST takes out half the
wall. Dudley stumbles out the door. SIRENS BLARE.
EXT. VICTORY MOTEL - NIGHT
Dudley drops his gun as the cruisers stream down. Exley
steps out behind him, but doesn't drop the shotgun. The
two of them are bleached white by headlights.
Dudley raises his badge over his head.
Let me do the talking. They'll
make you Chief of Detectives.
Exley steps ahead to block his way.
Why not, lad? Absolute justice?
Something like that.
Really? Would you be willing to
rig crime scene evidence to
support a prosecuting attorney's
Exley doesn't answer. Dudley smiles.
Would you be willing to beat
confessions out of suspects you
knew to be guilty?
Exley glares. Laughing, Dudley brushes by, limps toward
the gathering policemen.
Are you willing to shoot hardened
criminals in the back to offset
the chance they'll --
The SHOTGUN BELCHES flame. Dudley goes down, shot in the
back. Exley drops the gun, raises his hands over his
"RAGS TO RICHES" PLAYS.
EXT. ROSE BOWL PARADE - DAY
Riding in a convertible, waving to the crowds is the
Grand Marshal -- the new Vice President, a young
INT. OBSERVATION ROOM - NIGHT
A midnight assembly. The Chief, D.A. Loew and several
high ranking brass. Their attention riveted
THROUGH the one-way glass into...
INT. ROOM #1 - NIGHT
Bloody, exhausted, Exley sits across from two INTERNAL
INTERNAL AFFAIRS #1
You have a lot of explaining to
Yes. I do.
As Exley begins...
Where we're informed that tonight's episode of "Badge of
Honor" is: "Dedicated to the memory of technical advisor
Sergeant Jack Vincennes."
EXT. VENTURA FREEWAY - CAHUENGA PASS - DAY
A ribbon is cut. Eager motorists roll down the blacktop.
EXT. GRAUMAN'S CHINESE THEATER - DAY
Ronald Reagan applauds as Jane Wyman plunges her hands
into fresh sidewalk cement.
INT. OBSERVATION ROOM - NIGHT
The brass exchange concerned looks and raied eyebrows as
they watch Exley THROUGH the glass, his VOICE heard OVER
INT. UNION STATION - DAY
The Flatnose Frisco loan shark and Cauliflowered
Cleveland enforcer seen earlier at the Victory Motel
return to L.A., ready to fill the vacuum.
EXT. NEWSSTAND - DAY
Hush-Hush is delivered. The headline: "Actor Reynolds
in his Final Role: Conductor of the Night Train to Slice
INT. ROOM #1 - NIGHT
Exley stares across at the Internal Affairs Detectives.
That's it. That's the whole
As Exley looks to the gray-tinted wall mirror...
Loew leans over, whispers to the Chief.
The press would have a field day
When in doubt, feed them a hero.
In this case, we'll need more than
LOS ANGELES EXAMINER HEADLINE:
R.I.P. DUDLEY SMITH
Fabled L.A. Cop Dies Defending City
from Organized Crime!
INT. LAPD HEADQUARTERS - BRIEFING ROOM - DAY
Exley in his dress blue uniform. The Chief smiles, pins
gold stars to his shoulders.
Captain Edmund Exley. Chief of
Detectives. Los Angeles Police
Applause. Flashbulbs. Lynn watches from the back as
Exley runs a handshake gauntlet. Finally, he spots her.
She's returned to her natural brunette. Looks even
better. Exley steps over.
I tried to throw it all away and
they give it back in spades.
EXT. PARKING LOT - DAY
Exley walks Lynn out.
Where will you go?
Bisbee, Arizona. The air's good
for pensioners and I know where
Right now, before I back down.
Where is he?
Lynn gestures ahead. They walk to her car. She opens
the back door. Bud's in the back. Braces on his legs,
head sutured. Jaw wired shut and tubes running in and
out. But his hands still look strong. Bud forces a
smile through the wires, tries to say something, but
Thanks for the push.
Exley takes his hand. Bud squeezes till both men wince.
You just did what you did. No
rank, no glory.
Exley slips his Medal of Valor into Bud's hand.
From me to you. It'll mean
something if it's yours.
Bud takes it, turns away so Exley won't see the tears.
We should go now.
As Exley steps back, Lynn closes the door. PARTY noises
drift from upstairs. Exley looks to Lynn.
Do you think I ever could've been
in the running?
Some men get the world. Others
get ex-hookers and a trip to
A beat. Exley wishes he'd gotten the trip to Arizona.
She kisses him on the cheek, gets in the CAR. STARTS it.
Exley looks back at Bud. Bud presses his hands to the
glass. Exley touches his side, palms half the man's
size. Hands against hands.
The car moves. A turn into traffic, a good-bye TOOT on
the HORN. Exley's all alone. As he watches them go...
FADE TO BLACK.