Note: This is the overall critique. For scene by scene critique click here
Note: This is the synthesis. See scene by scene analysis here
|Dialogue||8.2||83||Mo: 8.1||a few good men: 8.2|
|Conflict Level||7.6||51||The Shawshank Redemption: 7.5||Get Out: 7.6|
|Characters||8.1||40||Narcos: 8.0||Everything everywhere all at once: 8.1|
|Plot||7.9||40||Killers of the flower moon: 7.8||Everything everywhere all at once: 7.9|
|Concept||7.7||39||Community: 7.6||get out: 7.7|
|Emotional Impact||6.9||25||Madmen: 6.8||a few good men: 6.9|
|Overall||8.0||19||Requiem for a dream: 7.9||legally blonde: 8.0|
|Story Content||Character Development||Scene Elements||Audience Engagement|
|Scene Number||Full Analysis||Tone||Overall Grade||Concept||Plot||Characters||Character Changes||Conflict||High stakes||Story forward||Emotional Impact||Dialogue|
|1||A Nighttime Abduction||"Tense"||7||8||6||7||0||9||0||0||7||6|
|2||The Code Red||"serious"||7||8||6||9||0||7||0||0||5||8|
|3||The Right Man for the Job||"light-hearted"||7||6||8||7||0||5||0||0||4||8|
|4||Prepping for a Legal Case||"Businesslike"||7||7||7||7||0||5||0||0||4||7|
|5||Meeting with Jo||"Serious"||8||8||7||9||0||6||0||0||7||8|
|8||Arrival at the Brig||"serious"||8||7||8||8||0||9||0||0||7||7|
|9||Kaffee's Lack of Experience is Exposed||"Sarcastic, serious"||7||6||7||8||0||8||0||0||5||7|
|12||Conversation with Jo||"sarcastic"||8||7||8||8||0||8||0||0||6||9|
|13||Negotiating a Plea||"serious"||8||8||8||7||0||7||0||0||7||8|
|14||Arriving at Guantanamo Bay||"Tense"||8||7||8||7||0||8||0||0||6||7|
|16||Investigating Santiago's Room||"Serious"||9||8||8||9||0||7||0||0||6||9|
|17||Code Red Investigation||"Tense"||8||9||7||8||0||10||0||0||8||9|
|18||The Code Red is Revealed||"tense"||9||8||9||8||0||10||0||0||8||9|
|20||The Plea Offer||"Tense"||8||9||7||9||0||9||0||0||8||8|
|23||Preparing the Defense||"tense"||7||7||8||7||0||6||0||0||5||7|
|24||Preparation for the Defense||"Tense"||8||8||9||8||0||7||0||0||6||8|
|26||The Opening Statements||"Serious"||9||9||8||8||0||8||0||0||8||10|
|27||The Trial Begins||"Tense"||7||7||8||7||0||8||0||0||7||6|
|28||The Poisoning Allegation||"Serious, tense"||8||9||8||7||0||7||0||0||6||8|
|29||Kaffee and Jo Discuss Dinner Plans||"Tense"||5||3||4||7||0||3||0||0||2||5|
|30||Trial Testimony and Dinner Discussion||"Serious"||8||7||8||8||0||6||0||0||7||8|
|32||Guarding the Witness||"tense"||9||8||9||8||0||8||0||0||7||8|
|33||The Stakes Are High||"Serious"||7||7||8||7||0||7||0||0||6||8|
|34||Kaffee's Examination of Kendrick||"Tense"||9||8||9||10||0||10||0||0||9||9|
|35||Unraveling the Coverup||"Intense"||9||9||9||9||0||9||0||0||8||9|
|36||The Letter and the Suicide||"Tense"||8||8||9||7||0||9||0||0||8||8|
|37||The Code Red Revealed||"tense"||9||8||9||9||0||10||0||0||9||9|
|38||Revelation and Despair||"Serious"||8||8||7||8||0||6||0||0||8||8|
|40||Preparing for the Final Stretch||"Defeated"||7||6||6||8||0||4||0||0||6||7|
|41||Jessep Testifies in Court||"Tense"||8||8||9||8||0||10||0||0||7||8|
|42||The Ace Up the Sleeve||"tense"||9||8||8||9||0||10||0||0||8||10|
|46||Verdict and Discharge||"dramatic"||9||8||8||9||0||7||0||0||10||9|
Revised Third Draft
July 15, 1991
EXT. A SENTRY TOWER --
-- in the middle of the night, in the middle of nowhere.
Small beams of light coming from lamps attached to the tower
cut through the ground mist. We HEAR all the unidentifiable
sounds of night in the woods. We also HEAR, very, very
faintly, a slow, deliberate drum cadence. And as this
starts, we begin to MOVE SLOWLY UP THE TOWER, more becomes
visible now:... the sandbags on the ground piled ten-high...
the steel, fire escape-type stairway wrapping around the
structure and leading to the lookout post, and finally...
THE LOOKOUT POST, maybe forty feet off the ground.
Standing the post is the silhouette of A MARINE. He's
holding a rifle and staring straight out.
The drum cadence has been building slightly.
A WIDER SHOT OF THE FENCELINE. And we see by the moonlight
that the tall wire-mesh fence winds its way far, far into
SUBTITLE: UNITED STATES NAVAL BASE GUANTANAMO BAY - CUBA.
The drum cadence continues, and we
INT. A MARINE BARRACKS
We HEAR two pairs of footsteps and then
THE BARRACKS CORRIDOR
where we see that the footsteps belong to DAWSON and DOWNEY,
two young marines who we'll get to know later. They stop
when they get to a certain door. The drum cadence is still
growing. DAWSON puts his hand on the doorknob and turns it
slowly. He opens's the door and they walk into
INT. SANTIAGO'S ROOM - NIGHT
WILLY SANTIAGO, a young, very slight marine, lies asleep in
DAWSON kneels down by the bed, puts his hand on SANTIAGO'S
shoulder and shakes him gently. SANTIAGO opens his yes,
looks at DAWSON, and for a moment there's nothing wrong --
-- and then SANTIAGO's eyes fill with terror. He lunges out
of the bed -- but forget about it. In one flash DAWSON and
DOWNEY grab him out of bed, and before the scream can come
out, DOWNEY's shoved a piece of cloth into SANTIAGO's mouth.
Everything that happens next occurs with speed, precision
-- A strip of duct tape is pulled, ripped, and slapped onto
his mouth and eyes --
-- A length of rope is wrapped around his hands and feet.
You're lucky it's us, Willy.
-- An arm grabs him tightly around the neck, not choking
him, just holding his head still --
-- The drum cadence has built to a crescendo. We HEAR four
sharp blasts from a whistle and we
SMASH CUT TO:
EXT. THE WASHINGTON NAVY YARD - DAY
and the drum cadence we've been hearing has turned into
Semper Fidelis and it's coming from THE U.S. MARINE CORPS
BAND, a sight to behold in their red and gold uniforms and
polished silver and brass.
The BAND is performing on the huge and lush parade grounds
before a crowd made up mostly of TOURISTS and DAY-CAMPERS.
As the TITLES ROLL, we watch the BAND do their thing from
various angles. Incredible precision is the name of the
game. Each polished black shoe hitting the ground as if they
were all attached by a rod. Each drumstick raised to the
same fraction of a centimeter before striking. A RIFLE DRILL
TEAM that can't possibly be human. Flags, banners, the
SUBTITLE: THE WASHINGTON NAVY YARD, WASHINGTON, D.C.
HIGH ANGLE of the entire band an we end credits.
EXT. A RED BRICK BUILDING - DAY
It's an important building, a main building. A few SAILORS
enter and exit and
as she walks across the courtyard toward the brick building.
The WOMAN is JOANNE GALLOWAY, a navy lawyer in her early
She's bright, attractive, impulsive, and has a tendency to
speak quickly. If she had any friends, they'd call her JO.
As she walks, she mutters to herself ...
I'm requesting... I'm... Captain,
I'd like to request that I be the
attorney assigned to rep -- I'd
like to request that it be myself
who is assigned to represent --
"That it be myself who is assigned
to represent"? ...Good, Jo, that's
We follow JO, still muttering, as she walks into the brick
building which bears the seal of the
UNITED STATES NAVY - JUDGE ADVOCATE GENERAL'S CORPS
As JO enters. CAPTAIN WEST and two other officers, GIBBS
and LAWRENCE, sit around a conference table.
Jo, come on in.
Thank you, sir.
Captain West, this is Lt. Commander
Galloway. Jo, you know Mike
Captain, I appreciate your seeing
me on such short notice.
I understand there was some trouble
over the weekend down in Cuba.
Yes sir... This past Friday
evening. Two marines, Corporal
Harold Dawson and Private Louden
Downey, entered the barracks room
of a PFC William Santiago and
assaulted him. Santiago died at the
base hospital approximately an hour
later. The NIS agent who took their
statements maintains they were
trying to prevent Santiago from
naming them in a fenceline shooting
incident. They're scheduled to have
a hearing down in Cuba at 4:00 this
What's the problem?
Dawson and Downey are both
recruiting poster marines and
Santiago was known to be a screw-
up. I was thinking that it sounded
an awful lot like a code red.
Jo lets this sink in a moment.
(under his breath)
I'd like them moved up to
Washington and assigned counsel.
Someone who can really look into
this. Someone who possesses not
only the legal skill, but a
familiarity with the inner workings
of the military. In short, Captain,
I'd like to suggest that... I be
the one who, that it be me who is
assigned to represent them.
Jo looks around the room for a response.
Joanne, why don't you get yourself
a cup of coffee.
Thank you, sir, I'm fine.
Joanne, I'd like you to leave the
room so we can talk about you
behind your back.
JO gets up and walks out.
I thought this Code Red shit wasn't
going on anymore.
With the marines at GITMO? Who the
hell knows what goes on down there.
Well lets find out before the rest
of the world does, this thing could
get messy. What about this woman?
Jo's been working a desk at
internal affairs for what, almost a
And before that?
She disposed of three cases in two
Three cases in two years? Who was
she handling, the Rosenbergs?
She's not cut out for litigation.
She's a hall of an investigator,
In Internal Affairs, sure. She can
crawl up a lawyer's ass with the
best of 'em, but when it comes to
trial work --
I know. All passion, no street
smarts. Bring her back in.
LAWRENCE goes to the door and motions for JO to come back
Commander, we're gonna move the
defendants up here in the morning.
Thank you, sir.
And I'll have Division assign them
But... not me.
From what I understand from your
colleagues, you're much too
valuable in your present assignment
to be wasted on what I'm sure will
boil down to a five minute plea
bargain and a week's worth of paper
Don't worry about it. I promise
you, division'll assign the right
man for the job.
THE RIGHT MAN FOR THE JOB
His name is LIEUTENANT JUNIOR GRADE DANIEL ALLISTAIR KAFFEE,
and it's almost impossible not to like him.
At the moment he's hitting fungoes to about a dozen LAWYERS
who are spread out on the softball field on a corner of the
bass. The '27 Yankees they're not, but they could probably
hold their own against a group of, say, Airforce dentists.
KAFFEE's in his late 20's, 15 months out of Harvard Law
School, and a brilliant legal mind waiting for a courageous
spirit to drive it. He is, at this point in his life,
passionate about nothing... except maybe softball.
(calling out to the team)
Alright, let's get two!
He smacks one to the SECOND BASE. The ball bounces right
between his legs.
Nothing to be sorry about, Sherby.
Just look the ball into your glove.
He smacks one out to the same place. It bounces off the heel
of SHERBY's glove and into center field.
SECOND BASE (SHERBY)
You gotta trust me, Sherby. You
keep your eyes open, your chances
of catching the ball increase by a
factor of ten.
SPRADLING, a young naval officer, sweaty and out of breath,
walks up behind the backstop.
Let's try it again.
Dave. You seem upset and
We were supposed to meet in your
office 15 minutes ago to talk about
the McDermott case. You're stalling
on this thing. Now we got this done
and I mean now, or no kidding,
Kaffee, I'll hang your boy from a
Sherby, does the Navy still hang
people from yardarms?
I don't think so, Danny.
(back to SPRADLING)
Dave, Sherby doesn't think the Navy
hangs people from yardarms anymore.
(back to the field)
Let's go, let's get two!
He goes back to hitting fungoes.
I'm gonna charge him with
possession and being under the
influence while on duty. Plead
guilty and I'll recommend 30 days
in the brig with loss of rank and
It was oregano, Dave, it was ten
dollars worth of oregano.
Yeah, well your client thought it
My client's a moron, that's not
against the law.
Swapp! The THIRD BASEMAN takes one in the face.
Ow. That had to hurt.
Way to keep your head in the play,
Lester. Walk it off!
I've got people to answer to just
like you, I'm gonna charge him.
With what, possession of a
Dave, I've tried to help you out of
this, but if you ask for tall time,
I'm gonna file a motion to dismiss.
You won't got it.
I will get it. And if the MTD is
denied, I'll file a motion in
liminee seeking to obtain
evidentiary ruling in advance, and
after that I'm gonna file against
pre-trial confinement, and you're
gonna spend an entire summer going
blind on paperwork because a
Signalman Second Class bought and
smoked a dime bag of oregano.
B Misdemeanor, 20 days in the brig.
C Misdemeanor, 15 days restricted
I don't know why I'm agreeing to
'Cause you have wisdom beyond your
years. Dave, can you play third
About 16 NAVY AND MARINE LAWYERS (several of whom are women)
are taking their seats around a large conference table.
A PARALEGAL is handing out folders and some photocopied
papers to the LAWYERS.
We might notice that one of the lawyers is Lieutenant Junior
Grade SAM WEINBERG. Sam's serious and studious looking. If
he weren't in uniform, you wouldn't guess that he was a
CAPTAIN WHITAKER walks in.
'Morning Captain Whitaker.
Sam, how's the baby?
I think she's ready to say her
first word any day now.
How can you tell?
She just looks like she has
something to say.
KAFFEE walks in.
Excuse me, sorry I'm late.
I'm sure you don't have a good
excuse, so I won't force you to
come up with a bad one.
Thank you, Isaac, that's nice of
Sit-down, this first one's for you.
He hands KAFFEE some files.
You're moving up in the world,
Danny, you've been requested by
"Oooh"'s and "Ahhh"'S from the other LAWYERS. (Subtle Note:
Kaffee doesn't want to move up in the world.)
Requested to do what?
WHITAKER hands him a file.
Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. A marine
corporal named Dawson illegally
fires a round from his weapon over
the fenceline and into Cuban
What's a fenceline?
A big wall separating the good guys
from the bad guys.
PFC William Santiago threatens to
rat on Dawson to the Naval
investigative Service. Dawson and
another member of his squad, PFC
Louden Downey, they go into
Santiago's room, tie him up, and
stuff a rag down his throat. An
hour later, Santiago's dead.
Attending physician says the rag
was treated with some kind of
They poisoned the rag?
Not according to them.
What do they say?
Not much. They're being flown up
here tomorrow and on Thursday at
you'll catch a transport down to
Cuba for the day to find out what
you can. Meantime, go across the
yard and see Lt. Commander Joanne
Galloway. She's the one who had 'em
brought up here. She'll fill you in
on whatever she has. Any questions?
The flight to Cuba, was that 0600
in the morning, sir?
It seems important to Division that
this one be handled by the book, so
I'm assigning co-counsel. Any
I have a stack of paper on my desk -
Work with Kaffee on this.
Doing what? Kaffee'll finish this
up in four days.
Do various... administrative... you
know... things. Back-up. Whatever.
In other words I have no
My kinda case.
JO sits behind her desk. KAFFEE and SAM stand in the
doorway. KAFFEE knocks politely.
JO looks up.
I'm Daniel Kaffee. I was told to
meet with --
-- Commander Galloway.
JO is staring at him. KAFFEE doesn't know why.
About a briefing.
JO is finding this hard to believe.
You're the attorney that Division
I'm lead counsel. This is Sam
I have no responsibilities here
JO's deeply puzzled.
Come in, please, have a seat...
KAFFEE and SAM come into the office and sit.
Lieutenant, how long have you been
in the Navy?
Going on nine months now.
And how long have you been out of
A little over a year.
Have I done something wrong?
No. It's just that when I
petitioned Division to have counsel
assigned, I was hoping I'd be taken
KAFFEE and SAM exchange a look.
No offense taken, if you were
Commander, Lt. Kaffee's generally
considered the best litigator in
our office. He's successfully plea
bargained 44 cases in nine months.
One more, and I got a set of steak
Have you ever been in a courtroom?
I once had my drivers license
Commander, from what I understand,
if this thing goes to court, they
won't need a lawyer, they'll need a
No. They'll need a lawyer.
During this, she'll hand KAFFEE a series of files, which
KAFFEE will pass To SAM without even glancing at them.
Dawson's family has been contacted.
Downey's closest living relative is
Ginny Miller, his aunt on his
mother's side, she hasn't been
None of this really means anything to KAFFEE.
Would you like me to take care of
Sure, if you feel like it.
JO takes another beat to size this guy up.
One of the people you'll be
speaking to down there is the
barracks C.O., Colonel Nathan
Jessep, I assume you've heard of
He's been in the papers lately.
He's expected to be appointed
Director of Operations for the
National Security Counsel.
Passing KAFFEE another file --
These are letters that Santiago
wrote in his 8 months at GITMO --
(whispering to kaffee)
I know that one.
He wrote to his recruiter, the
fleet commander, HQ, Atlantic, even
his senator. He wanted a transfer.
Nobody was listening. You with me?
This last letter to the Naval
investigative Service --
She hands it to KAFFEE who hands it to Sam --
-- where he offers information
about Corporal Dawson's fenceline
shooting in exchange for a
transfer, was just a last ditch
Right. Is that all?
Lieutenant, this letter makes it
look like your client had a motive
to kill Santiago.
And Santiago is... who?
Write that down.
Am I correct in assuming that these
letters don't paint a flattering
picture of marine corps life in
Yes, among other --
And am I further right in assuming
that a protracted investigation of
this incident might cause some
embarrassment for the security
Colonel Jessep, yes, but --
Twelve years. I can get it knocked
down to Involuntary Manslaughter.
You haven't talked to a witness,
you haven't looked at a piece of
Pretty impressive, huh?
You're gonna have to go deeper than
Commander, do you have some sort of
jurisdiction here that I should
My job is to make sure you do your
I'm special counsel for Internal
Affairs, so my jurisdiction's
pretty much in your face. Read the
letters. You're not under any
obligation, but I'd appreciate a
report when you get back from Cuba.
KAFFEE gets up without waiting for JO to say --
Sorry, I always forget that.
KAFFEE's gone. SAM's standing in the doorway.
He's a little preoccupied.
The team's playing Bethesda Medical
Tell your friend not to get cute
down there. The marines in
Guantanimo are fanatical.
And in VOICE OVER we HEAR --
About being marines.
SERIES OF SHOTS - DAY
And while we HEAR the letter read in V.O., what we're seeing
is this: SANTIAGO's life in Guantanimo Bay over the last 8
months. He had a rough time of it.
-- SANTIAGO running along at the rear of a group of MARINES.
It's been over seven miles and he's matted with sweat. A
SERGEANT runs up along side, grabs his back, and pushes him
to keep up with the group. SANTIAGO falls, struggles to get
back up and keep running, and
EXT. MARINE BARRACKS - DAY
-- SANTIAGO doing push-ups alone in the rain. He's being
supervised by a SERGEANT who sees to it that his face hits
the mud every time down and
INT. MESS HALL - DAY
-- SANTIAGO sitting alone in the mess hall, not a friend
within four seats of him and
EXT. MARINE BARRACKS - DAY
-- SANTIAGO being chewed out by a Lieutenant in front of his
EXT. ROCKY HILL - DAY
-- SANTIAGO running with the squad of MARINES again, this
time down a rocky hill. It's hot as hell and it looks like
he's gonna pass out.
He stumbles, and the SERGEANT picks him up and pushes him
down the hill. He rolls about 30 feet before he stops. Over
this, we HEAR
"...My name is PFC William T.
Santiago. I am a marine stationed
at Marine Barracks, Rifle Security
Company Windward, Second Platoon
Delta. I am writing to inform you
of my problems with my unit here in
Cuba and to ask for your help. I've
fallen out on runs before for
several reasons such as feeling
dizzy or nauseated, but on May
18th, I'd fallen back about 20 or
30 yards going down a rocky,
My sergeant grabbed me and pushed
me down the hill. Then I saw all
black and the last thing I remember
is hitting the deck. I was brought
to the hospital where I was told I
just had heat exhaustion and was
explained to by the doctor that my
body has trouble with the hot sun
and I hyperventilate. I ask you to
help me. Please sir. I just need to
be transferred out of RSC.
Sincerely. PFC William T. Santiago.
U.S. Marine Corps."
At this point, with SANTIAGO's letter still in V.O., we
THE LETTER - DAY
It's the last paragraph of the letter we've been hearing,
and at the moment, we can't see the hands that are holding
"P.S. In exchange for my transfer
off the base, I'm willing to
provide you with information about
an illegal fenceline shooting that
occurred the night of August 2nd."
And as these last words are spoken, we PULL BACK TO REVEAL
COLONEL NATHAN R. JESSEP, who drops the letter he's been
reading on his desk, where it joins a stack of other letters
just like it.
JESSEP's a born leader, considered in many circles to be one
of the real fair-haired boys of the Corps. He's smart as a
whip with a sense of humor to match. As soon as he drops the
letter, he says
Who the fuck is PFC William T.
He's talking to his two senior officers. CAPTAIN MARKINSON
is in his late 40's. He's a career marine and a nice guy in
a world where nice guys may not finish last, but they sure
as shit don't finish first. Lt. JONATHAN JAMES KENDRICK is
from Georgia, and an Academy graduate.
If you asked him he'd tell you that the gates to heaven are
guarded by the U.S. Marine Corps.
Sir, Santiago is a member of Second
Yeah, well, apparently he's not
very happy down here at Shangri-La,
cause he's written letters to
everyone but Santa Claus asking for
a transfer. And now he's telling
tales about a fenceline shooting.
He tosses the letter over to MARKINSON. MARKINSON is looking
it over. JESSEP is waiting for a response.
I'm appalled, sir.
You're appalled? This kid broke the
Chain of Command and he ratted on a
man of his unit, to say nothing of
the fact that he's a U.S. Marine
and it would appear that he can't
run from here to there without
collapsing from heat exhaustion.
What the fuck's going on over at
Colonel, I think perhaps it would
be better to hold this discussion
That won't be necessary, Colonel,
I'll handle the situation.
The same way you handled the Curtis
Barnes incident? You're doing
something wrong, Lieutenant this --
My methods of leadership are --
Don't interrupt me, I'm still your
And I'm yours, Matthew.
The room calms down for a moment.
I want to know what we're gonna do
I think Santiago should be
transferred off the base. Right
He's that bad, huh?
Not only that, but word of this
letter's bound to get out. The
kid's gonna get his ass kicked.
Transfer Santiago. Yes I suppose
you're right. I suppose that's the
thing to do. Wait. Wait. I've got a
better idea. Let's transfer the
whole squad off the base. Let's --
on second thought -- Windward. The
whole Windward division, let's
transfer 'em off the base. Jon, go
on out there and get those boys
down off the fence, they're packing
The ORDERLY cones in from the outer office.
Got me the President on the phone,
we're surrendering our position in
Wait a minute, Tom.
The ORDERLY stops.
Don't call the President just yet.
Maybe we should consider this for a
second. Maybe -- and I'm just spit
balling here -- but maybe we as
officers have a responsibility to
train Santiago. Maybe we as
officers have a responsibility to
this country to see that the men
and women charged with its security
are trained professionals. Yes. I'm
certain I once read that somewhere.
And now I'm thinking that your
suggestion of transferring
Santiago, while expeditious, and
certainly painless, might not be in
a manner of speaking, the American
way. Santiago stays where he is.
We're gonna train the lad. You're
in charge, Jon. Santiago doesn't
make 4.1 on his next fitness
report, I'm gonna blame you. Then
I'm gonna kill you.
I think that's a mistake, Colonel.
Matthew, I believe I will have that
word in private with you now. Jon,
that's all. Why don't you and I
have lunch at the "O" club, we'll
talk about the training of young
Yes sir, I'd be delighted to hear
any suggestions you have.
KENDRICK is gone.
Matthew, sit, please.
What do you think of Kendrick?
I don't know that --
I think he's kind of a weasel,
myself. But he's an awfully good
officer, and in the end we see eye
to eye on the best way to run a
marine corps unit. We're in the
business of saving lives, Matthew.
That's a responsibility we have to
take pretty seriously. And I
believe that taking a marine who's
not yet up to the job and packing
him off to another assignment, puts
lives in danger.
MARKINSON starts to stand --
We go back a while. We went to the
Academy together, we were
commissioned together, we did our
tours in Vietnam together. But I've
been promoted up through the chain
with greater speed and success than
you have. Now if that's a source of
tension or embarrassment for you,
well, I don't give a shit. We're in
the business of saving lives,
Captain Markinson. Don't ever
question my orders in front of
JESSEP grabs his hat and walks out, leaving MARKINSON
sitting all alone, and we
It's maybe a little hazier today than it was yesterday. An
M.P. is waving a procession of three Military Police sedans
and a fourth unmarked car through the gate. The cars drive
through and we
EXT. THE BRIG - DAY
Another red-brick building. A few M.P.Is stand out front as
the cars pull up. As soon as they come to a stop, all the
doors swing open and various uniformed and non-uniformed
officers hop out and move to the unmarked sedan where they
escort DAWSON and DOWNEY, in handcuffs, out of the car.
HAROLD DAWSON's a handsome, young, black corporal. Intense,
controlled, and utterly professional.
LOUDEN DOWNEY's a 19-year-old kid off an Iowa farm. He's
happiest when someone is telling him exactly what to do.
DAWSON's his hero.
The two prisoners stand still for a moment. They might as
we'll be in Oz.
DAWSON doesn't say anything.
Is this Washington, D.C.?
Alright, let's move.
and KAFFEE's at it again.
Alright, let's get tough out there!
JO walks up from behind the backstop.
You want to suit up? We need all
the help we can get.
No, thank you, I can't throw and
That's okay, neither can they.
I wanted to talk to you about
Corporal Dawson and Private Downey.
Dawson and Downey.
Those names sound like they should
mean something to me, but I'm just
Dawson! Downey! Your clients!
The Cuba thing! Yes! Dawson and
I've done something wrong again,
I was wondering why two guys have
been in a jail cell since this
morning while their lawyer is
outside hitting a ball.
We need the practice.
That wasn't funny.
It was a little funny.
Lieutenant, would you feel very
insulted if I recommended to your
supervisor that he assign different
I don't think you're fit to handle
You don't even know me. Ordinarily
it takes someone hours to discover
I'm not fit to handle a defense.
Jo just stares.
Oh come on, that was damn funny.
Jo moves close to KAFFEE to say this with a degree of
I do know you. Daniel AlliStair
Kaffee, born June 8th, 1964 at
Boston Mercy Hospital. Your
father's Lionel Kaffee, former Navy
Judge Advocate and Attorney
General, of the United States, died
1985. You went to Harvard Law on a
Navy scholarship, probably because
that's what your father wanted you
to do, and now you're just treading
water for the three years you've
gotta serve in the JAG Corps, just
kinda layin' low til you can get
out and get a real job. And if
that's the situation, that's fine,
I won't tell anyone. But my feeling
is that if this case is handled in
the same fast-food, slick-ass,
Persian Bazaar manner with which
you seem to handle everything else,
something's gonna get missed.
And I wouldn't be doing my job if I
allowed Dawson and Downey to spend
any more time in prison than
absolutely necessary, because their
attorney had pre- determined the
path of least resistance.
KAFFEE can't help but be impressed by that speech.
I'm sexually aroused, Commander.
I don't think your clients murdered
What are you basing this on?
There was no intent.
The doctor's report says that
Santiago died of asphyxiation
brought on by acute lactic
acidosis, and that the nature of
the acidosis strongly suggests
Now, I don't know what any of that
means, but it sounds pretty bad.
Santiago died at one a.m. At three
the doctor was unable to determine
the cause of death, but two hours
later he said it was poison.
Oh, now I see what you're saying.
It had to be Professor Plum in the
library with the candlestick.
I'm gonna speak to your supervisor.
Okay. You go straight up
Pennsylvania Avenue. It's a big
white house with pillars in front.
I don't think you'll have much
luck, though. I was assigned by
Division, remember? Somebody over
there thinks I'm a good lawyer. So
while I appreciate your interest
and admire your enthusiasm, I think
I can pretty much handle things
Do you know what a code red is?
KAFFEE doesn't, but he doesn't say anything.
What a pity.
And an M.P. is leading KAFFEE and SAM down to DAWSON and
Officer on deck, ten-hut.
DAWSON and DOWNEY come to attention. Through the following,
the M.P. will unlock the call door and let the lawyers in.
Sir, Lance Corporal Harold W.
Dawson, sir. Rifle Security Company
Windward, Second Platoon, Delta.
Someone hasn't been working and
playing well with others, Harold.
Sir, yes sir!
Sir, PFC Louden Downey.
I'm Daniel Kaffee, this is Sam
Weinerg, you can sitdown.
DAWSON and DOWNEY aren't too comfortable sitting in the
presence of officers, but they do as they're told. KAFFEE's
pulled out some documents, SAM's sitting on one of the cots
(continuing; to DAWSON)
Is this your signature?
You don't have to call me sir.
Is this your signature?
Sir, yes sir.
And you certainly don't have to do
it twice in one sentence. Harold,
what's a Code Red?
Sir, a Code Red is a disciplinary
What does that mean, exactly?
Sir, a marine falls out of line,
it's up to the men in his unit to
get him back on track.
What's a garden variety Code Red?
Harold, you say sir and I turn
around and look for my father.
Danny, Daniel, Kaffee. Garden
variety; typical. What's a basic
Sir, a marine has refused to bathe
on a regular basis. The men in his
squad would give him a G.I. shower.
Scrub brushes, brillo pads, steel
Was the attack on Santiago a Code
Do you ever talk?
Sir, Private Downey will answer any
direct questions you ask him.
Swell. Private Downey, the rag you
stuffed in Santiago's mouth, was
there poison on it?
Silver polish, turpentine, anti-
No sir. We were gonna shave his
When all of a sudden...?
We saw blood drippinq out of his
mouth. Then we pulled the tape off,
and there was blood all down his
face, sir. That's when Corporal
Dawson called the ambulance.
KAFFEE tries not to make too big a deal out of this last
piece of news.
Did anyone see you call the
Were you there when the ambulance
Yes sir, that's when we were taken
KAFFEE kinda strolls to the corner of the cell to think for
On the night of August 2nd, did you
fire a shot across the fenceline
My mirror engaged, sir.
His mirror engaged?
For each American sentry post
there's a Cuban counterpart.
They're called mirrors. The
corporal's claiming that his mirror
was about to fire at him.
Santiago's letter to the NIS said
you fired illegally. He's saying
that the guy, the mirror, he never
made a move.
DAWSON says nothing.
SAM is staring at DAWSON.
You see what I'm getting at? If
Santiago didn't have anything on
you, then why did you give him a
Because he broke the chain of
He went outside his unit, sir. If
he had a problem, he should've
spoken to me, sir. Then his
Sergeant, then Company Commander,
Yeah, yeah, alright. Harold, did
you assault Santiago with the
intent of killing him?
What was your intent?
To train him, sir.
Train him to do what?
Train him to think of his unit
before himself. To respect the
What's the code?
Unit Corps God Country.
I beg your pardon?
Unit Corps God Country, sir.
The Goverrment of the United States
wants to charge you two with
murder. You want me to go to the
prosecutor with unit, corps, god,
DAWSON stares at KAFFEE.
That's our code, sir.
KAFFEE takes a long moment. He picks up his briefcase and he
and SAM move to the door.
We'll be back. You guys need
anything? Books paper, cigarettes,
a ham sandwich?
Sir. No thank you. Sir.
KAFFEE smiles at DAWSON.
Harold, I think there's a concept
you better start warming up to.
I'm the only friend you've got.
And as KAFFEE and SAM walk out the open cell door, DAWSON
and DOWNEY come to attention and snap a salute.
They hold the salute until KAFFEE and SAM are well out of
sight, and we
He's packing up stuff into his briefcase at the end of the
work day. Lt. JACK ROSS, a marine lawyer maybe two years
older than Kaffee, opens the door and walks in..
Sailin' Jack Ross.
Welcome to the big time.
You think so?
I hope for Dawson and Downey's sake
you practice law better than you
Unfortunately for Dawson and
Downey, I don't do anything better
than I play softball. What are we
They plead guilty to manslaughter,
I'll drop the conspiracy and the
conduct unbecoming. 20 years,
they'll be home in half that time.
I want twelve.
Can't do it.
They called the ambulance, Jack.
I don't care if they called the
Avon Lady, they killed a marine.
The rag was tested for poison. The
autopsy, lab report, even the
initial E.R. and C.O.D. reports.
They all say the same thing: Maybe,
The Chief of Internal Medicine at
the Guantanamo Bay Naval hospital
says he's sure.
What do you know about Code Reds?
ROSS smiles and shakes his head.
He closes the office door.
Are we off the record?
You tell me.
I'm gonna give you the twelve
years, but before you go getting
yourself into trouble tomorrow, you
should know this: The platoon
commander Lt. Jonathan Kendrick,
had a meeting with the men. And he
specifically told them not to touch
KAFFEE holds for a moment. Dawson and Downey neglected to
mention this... He packs up his briefcase and cleats.
I'll talk to you when I get back.
Hey, we got a little four-on-four
going tomorrow night. When does
your plane get in?
It's dusk and people on the base are going home from work.
We can see the flag being lowered in the background.
KAFFEE's walking toward his car. JO intercepts him and
starts walking along with him.
Any luck getting me replaced?
Is there anyone in this command
that you don't either drink or play
Listen, I came to make peace. We
started off on the wrong foot. What
do you say? Friends?
Look, I don't --
By the way, I brought Downey some
comic books he was asking for. The
kid, Kaffee, I swear, he doesn't
know where he is, he doesn't even
know why he's been arrested.
You can call me Joanne.
Jo, if you ever speak to a client
of mine again without my
permission, I'll have you
I had authorization.
Downey's closest living relative,
Ginny Miller, his aunt on his
You got authorization from Aunt
I gave her a call like you asked.
Very nice woman, we talked for
about an hour.
You got authorization from Aunt
Perfectly within my province.
Does Aunt Ginny have a barn? We can
hold the trial there. I can sew the
costumes, and maybe his Uncle
Goober can be the judge.
Jo steps aside and lets KAFFEE got into his car.
I'm going to Cuba with you
And the hits just keep on comin'.
HOLD on KAFFEE and Jo. JO smiles.
EXT. SIDEWALK NEWSSTAND - DUSK
KAFFEE IN HIS CAR
He's driving down a Washington street and pulls over at a
He gets out of his car, leaving the lights flashing, and
runs up to the newsstand.
As he plunks his 35 cents down and picks up a newspaper, he
engages in his daily ritual with LUTHER, the newsstand
How's it goin', Luther?
Another day, another dollar,
You gotta play 'em as they lay,
What comes around, goes around, you
know what I'm sayin'.
If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.
Hey, if you've got your health, you
Love makes the world go round. I'll
see you tomorrow, Luther.
A baby sleeping in a crib pull rack to reveal SAM is
standing over the crib. KAFFEE's sitting on a beer.
When Nancy gets back, you're my
witness. The baby spoke. My
daughter said a word.
Your daughter made a sound, Sam,
I'm not sure it was a word.
Oh come on, it was a word.
You heard her. The girl sat here,
pointed, and said "Pa". She did.
She said "Pa".
She was pointing at a doorknob.
That's right. Pointing, as if to
say, "Pa, look, a doorknob".
SAM joins KAFFEE in the living room.
Jack Ross came to see me today. He
offered me twelve years.
That's what you wanted.
I know, and I'll... I guess, I mean
I'll take it.
It took albout 45 seconds. He
barely put up a fight.
Danny, take the twelve years, it's
KAFFEE finishes off his beer, and stands.
You don't believe their story, do
you? You think they ought to go to
jail for the rest of their lives.
I believe every word they said. And
I think they ought to go to jail
for the rest of their lives.
KAFFEE nods and puts down the empty beer bottle.
I'll see you tomorrow.
Sam opens the front door for him and they stand out on the
stoop for a moment.
Remember to wear your whites, it's
hot down there.
I don't like the whites.
Nobody likes the whites, but we're
going to Cuba in August. You got
Dramamine keeps you cool?
Dramamine keeps you from throwing
up, you get sick when you fly.
I get sick when I fly because I'm
afraid of crashing into a large
mountain, I don't think
I've got some oregano, I hear that
works pretty good.
KAFFEE starts toward his car, then turns around.
You know, Ross said the strangest
thing to me right before I left. He
said the platoon commander
Lieutenant Jonathan Kendrick had a
meeting with the men and
specifically told them not to touch
I never mentioned Kendrick. I don't
even know who he is.
What the hell.
I'll see you tomorrow.
We hold for a moment on KAFFEE as he walks to his car, then
The whole place, in stark contrast to the Washington Navy
Yard, is ready to go to war. Fighter jets line the tarmac.
Ground crews re-fuel planes. Hurried activity.
A 36 seat Airforce Jet rolls to a stop on the tarmac and a
stair unit is brought up.
HOWARD, a marine corporal, is waiting by the stairway as the
passengers begin to got off. Mostly MARINES, a few SAILORS,
a couple of CIVILIANS, and KAFFEE, JO and SAM. KAFFEE and
SAM are wearing their summer whites, JO is in khakis.
KAFFEE and SAM stare out at what they see: They're not in
HOWARD shouts over the noise from the planes.
Lieutenants Kaffee and Weinberg?
I'm Corporal Howard, ma'am, I'm to
escort you to the Windward side of
I've got some camouflage jackets in
the back of the jeep, sirs, I'll
have to ask you both to put them
Regulations, sir. We'll be riding
pretty close to the fenceline.
The Cubans see an officer wearing
white, they think it's someone they
might wanna take a shot at.
KAFFEE turns and glares at SAM.
Good call, Sam.
Tearing along down the road, and now we see a beautiful
expanse of water, maybe 1000 yards across. It's a section of
We'll just hop on the ferry and be
over there in no time.
Whoa! Hold it! We gotta take a
Yes sir, to get to the other side
of the bay.
Nobody said anything about a boat.
Is there a problem, sir?
No. No problem. I'm just not that
crazy about boats, that's all.
Jesus Christ, Kaffee, you're in the
Navy for cryin' out loud!
Nobody likes her very much.
The jeep drives on and we
JESSEP, MARKINSON and KENDRICK are standing as the LAWYERS
are led in.
Nathan Jessep, come on in and
Thank you. I'm Daniel Kaffee, I'm
the attorney for Dawson and Downey.
This is Joanne Galloway, she's
observing and evaluating --
Pleased to meet you, Commander.
Sam Weinberg. He has no
responsibility here whatsoever.
I've asked Captain Markinson and
Lt. Kendrick to join us.
Lt. Kaffee, I had the pleasure of
seeing your father once. I was a
teenager and he spoke at my high
KAFFEE smiles and nods.
Well what do you know. Son, this
man's dad once made a lot of
enemies down in your neck of the
woods. Jefferson vs. Madison County
School District. The folks down
there said a little black girl
couldn't go to an all white school,
Lionel Kaffee said we'll just see
about that. How the hell is your
He passed away seven years ago,
Well... don't I feel like the
Not at all, sir.
Well, what can we do for you,
Not much at all, sir, I'm afraid.
This is really a formality more
than anything else. The JAG Corps
insists that I interview all the
The JAG Corps can be demanding that
Jonanthan'll take you out and show
you what you wanna see, then we can
all hook up for lunch, how does
EXT. THE FENCELINE - DAY
A SQUAD OF MARINES jogs by as a jeep carrying KENDRICK and
the three LAWYERS cruises down the road.
We FOLLOW the jeep.
I understand you had a meeting with
your men that afternoon.
What'd you guys talk about?
I told the men that there was an
informer among us. And that despite
any desire they might have to seek
retribution, Private Santiago was
not to be harmed in any way.
What time was that meeting?
KAFFEE turns around and looks at SAM.
INT. THE BARRACKS CORRIDOR - DAY
KENDRICK leads the LAWYERS down the corridor to Santiago's
Two strips of tape which warn DO NOT ENTER - AT ORDER OF THE
MILITARY POLICE are crisscrossed over the closed door. They
open the door and step under the tape and walk into
The room is exactly an it was left that night. The un-made
bed, the chair knocked over... The LAWYERS look around for a
moment. The room is sparse.
Kaffee goes to the closet and opens it: A row of uniforms
hanging neatly. He thumbs through then for a second, but
there's nothing there.
He opens the footlocker: Socks, underwear... all folded to
marine corp precision... A shaving kit, a couple of
photographs, a pad of writing paper and some envelopes...
Kaffee closes the footlocker.
Sam, somebody should see about
getting this stuff to his parents.
We don't need it anymore.
Actually, the uniforms belong to
the marine corps.
The LAWYERS take a moment.
Lt. Kendrick -- can I call you Jon?
No, you may not.
Have I done something to offend
No, I like all you Navy boys. Every
time we've gotta go someplace and
fight, you fellas always give us a
Lt. Kendrick, do you think Santiago
Commander, I believe in God, and in
his son Jesus Christ, and because I
do, I can say this: Private
Santiago is dead and that's a
tragedy. But he's dead because he
had no code. He's dead because he
had no honor. And God was watching.
SAM turns to KAFFEE.
How do you feel about that theory?
Sounds good. Let's move on.
SAM and KENDRICK walk out the door. JO stops KAFFEE.
You planning on doing any
investigating or are you just gonna
take the guided tour?
I'm pacing myself.
JESSEP, MARKINSON, KENDRICK and the LAWYERS are seated at a
table in the corner.
Stewards clear the lunch dishes and pour coffee. Jessep is
finishing a story.
...And they spent the next three
hours running around, looking for
Americans to surrender to.
JESSEP laughs. KENDRICK joins him. SAM and KAFFEE force a
MARKINSON forces a smile. JO remains silent.
(continuing; to the
That was delicious, men, thank you.
Our pleasure, sir.
Colonel just need to ask you a
couple of questions about August
On the morning of the sixth, you
were contacted by an NIS angent who
said that Santiago had tipped him
off to an illegal fenceline
Santiago was gonna reveal the
person's name in exchange for a
transfer. An I getting this right?
If you feel there are any details
that I'm missing, you should free
to speak up.
JESSEP's not quite sure what to say to this Navy Lawyer
Lieutenant-Smartass guy who just gave him permission to
speak freely on his own base.
Now it was at this point that you
called Captain Markinson and Lt.
Kendrick into your office?
And what happened then?
We agreed that for his own safety,
Santiago should be transferred off
Here's something else KAFFEE didn't know. Neither did Jo.
SAM jots something down on a small notepad.
MARKINSON doesn't flinch.
Santiago was set to be transferred?
On the first available flight to
the states. Six the next morning.
Three hours too late as it turned
There's silence for a moment.
KAFFEE takes a sip of his coffee. Then drains the cup and
puts it down.
Alright, that's all I have. Thanks
very much for your time.
The corporal's got the jeep
outside, he'll take you back to the
Wait a minute, I've got some
No you don't.
Yes I do.
No you don't.
Colonel, on the morning that
Santiago died, did you meet with
Doctor Stone between three and
Of course I met with the doctor.
One of my men was dead.
See? The man was dead. Let's go.
I was wondering if you've ever
heard the term Code Red.
I've heard the term, yes.
Colonel, this past February, you
received a cautionary memo from the
Naval Investigative Service,
warning that the practice of
enlisted men disciplining their own
wasn't to be condoned by officers.
I submit to you that whoever wrote
that memo has never served on the
working end of a Soviet-made Cuban
Ml-Al6 Assault Rifle. However, the
directive having come from the NIS,
I gave it its due attention. What's
your point, Jo?
She has no point. She often has no
point. It's part of her charm.
We're outta here. Thank you.
My point is that I think code reds
still go on down here. Do Code Reds
still happen on this base, colonel?
Jo, the colonel doesn't need to
Yes he does.
No, he really doesn't.
Yeah, he really does. Colonel?
You know it just hit me. She
outranks you, Danny.
I want to tell you something Danny
and listen up 'cause I mean this:
You're the luckiest man in the
world. There is, believe me
gentlemen, nothing sexier on earth
than a woman you have to salute in
the morning. Promote 'em all I say.
JO's not upset. JO's not mad. But she's gonna ask her
question 'til she gets an answer.
Colonel, the practice of code Reds
is still condoned by officers on
this base, isn't it?
You see my problem is, of course,
that I'm a Colonel. I'll just have
to keep taking cold showers 'til
they elect some gal President.
I need an answer to my question,
Take caution in your tone,
Commander. I'm a fair guy, but this
fuckin' heat's making me absolutely
crazy. You want to know about code
reds? On the record I tell you that
I discourage the practice in
accordance with the NIS directive.
Off the record I tell you that it's
an invaluable part of close
infantry training, and if it
happens to go on without my
knowledge, so be it. I run my base
how I run my base.
You want to investigate me, roll
the dice and take your chances. I
eat breakfast yards away from 4000
Cubans who are trained to kill me.
So don't for one second think
you're gonna come down here, flash
a badge, and make me nervous.
A moment of tense silence before --
Let's go. Colonel, I'll just need a
copy of Santiago's transfer order.
Santiago's transfer order. You guys
have paper work on that kind of
thing, I just need it for the file.
For the file.
Of course you can have a copy of
the transfer order. For the file.
I'm here to help anyway I can.
You believe that, don't you? Danny?
That I'm here to help anyway I can?
The corporal'll run you by
Ordinance on your way out to the
airstrip. You can have all the
transfer orders you want.
(to JO and SAM)
The LAWYERS start to leave.
But you have to ask me nicely.
KAFFEE stops. Turns around. Sam and JO stop and turn.
I beg your pardon?
You have to ask me nicely. You see,
Danny, I can deal with the bullets
and the bombs and the blood. I can
deal with the heat and the stress
and the fear. I don't want money
and I don't want medals. What I
want is for you to stand there in
that faggoty white uniform, and
with your Harvard mouth, extend me
some fuckin' courtesy. You gotta
ask me nicely.
KAFFEE and JESSEP are frozen. Everyone'staring at Kaffee;
The OFFICERS at their tables... KENDRICK... SAM...
MARKINSON... JO... KAFFEE makes his decision.
Colonel Jessep... if it's not too
much trouble, I'd like a copy of
the transfer order. Sir.
HOLD for a moment. JO's very disappointed.
JESSEP stands there and watches the LAWYERS as they turn and
leave the Officer's Club.
I hate casualties, Matthew. There
are casualties even in victory. A
marine smothers a grenade and saves
his platoon, that marine's a hero.
The foundation of the unit, the
fabric of this base, the spirit of
the Corps, they are things worth
MARKINSON looks at the ground.
Dawson and Downey, they don't know
it, but they're smothering a
MARKINSON looks up as we
As a plane touches down on the runway. It's dusk in
EXT. KAFFEE'S APARTMENT - DAY
A little one-bedroom. Just the essential furniture, barely
KAFFEE's sitting and watching a baseball came on t.v. He's
holding a copy of The Baseball Encyclopedia, normally his
favorite reading material, but right now he's having trouble
keeping his mind in it. He's holding a baseball bat and
fiddling with it.
The remnants of a pizza and Yoo-Hoo dinner sit next to him.
His white uniform in a pile in the corner. There's a BUZZ at
the door. KAFFEE's not expecting anyone. He goes to the
Who is it?
KAFFEE opens the door and JO walks in.
I've really missed you, Jo. I was
just saying to myself, "It's been
almost three hours since I last saw
Markinson resigned his commission.
This afternoon. Sometime after we
I'll talk to him in the morning.
I already tried, I can't find him.
You tried? Joanne, you're coming
dangerously close to the textbook
definition of interfering with a
JO hands KAFFEE the file she's been holding.
I'm Louden Downey's attorney.
KAFFEE's stunned. He opens the file and begins to read.
Aunt Ginny. She said she feels like
she's known me for years. I
suggested that she might feel more
comfortable if I were directly
involved with the case. She had
Louden sign the papers about an
KAFFEE looks up. Still too stunned to say anything. Then
I suppose it's way too much to hope
that you're just making this up to
Don't worry, I'm not gonna make a
motion for separation, you're still
KAFFEE hands her back the file.
I think Kendrick ordered the Code
So do you.
INT. A HOLDING ROOM IN THE BRIG - NIGHT
DAWSON and DOWNEY come to attention as KAFFEE and JO are led
Officer on deck, ten hut.
KAFFEE starts in immediately.
Did Kendrick order the code red?
Don't say sir like I just asked you
if you cleaned the latrine. You
heard what I said. Did Lt. Kendrick
order you guys to give Santiago a
You mind telling me why the hell
you never mentioned this before?
You didn't ask us, sir.
Cutie-pie shit's not gonna win you
a place in my heart, corporal, I
get paid no matter how much time
you spend in jail.
Yes sir. I know you do, sir.
Fuck you, Harold.
There's some understandable tension in the room, broken by --
Alright. Let's sort this out. There
was a platoon meeting on August 6th
at four in the afternoon. And Lt.
Kendrick, he gave strict
instructions that nothing was to
happen to Santiago. Now is that
true? I want you to speak freely.
Ma'am, that's correct. But then he
dismissed the platoon and we all
went to our rooms.
And what happened then?
Lt. Kendrick came to our room,
About five minutes after the
meeting broke, sir. About 16:20.
And what happened then?
Lt. Kendrick ordered us to give
Santiago a Code Red.
ROSS is playing a game of full-court basketball with some
A door at the far end of the court opens and KAFFEE and JO
walk in. They head down the sideline toward Ross.
KAFFEE shouts --
But ROSS is into the game...
(waving him off)
They were given an order.
ROSS stops cold and looks over at Kaffee. The game flies by
him. He motions to the locker room door in the corner of the
gym and the three of them make their way to privacy.
How long have you known about the
I didn't --
Who is this?
This is Jo Galloway she's Downey's
lawyer. She's very pleased to meet
What exactly are you accusing me
I'm accusing you of --
They're in the
LOCKER ROOM - NIGHT
and KAFFEE slams the door shut behind them.
Jack didn't know about the order.
Because if he did and he hadn't
told us, Jack knows he'd be
violating about 14 articles of the
code of ethics. As it is, he's got
enough to worry about. God forbid
our clients decide to plead not
guilty and testify for the record
that they were given an order.
Kendrick specifically told the men
not to touch Santiago.
That's right. And then he went into
Dawson and Downey's room and
specifically told them to give him
a code red.
That's not what Kendrick said.
You have proof?
I have the defendants.
And I have 23 marines who aren't
accused of murder and a lieutenant
with four letters of commendation.
Why did Markinson resign his
We'll never know.
You don't think I can subpoena
You can try, but you won't find
him. You know what Markinson did
for the first 17 of his 21 years in
the corps? Counter Intelligence.
Markinson's gone. There is no
Some of the wind has been taken Out of Kaffee's sails.
Jessep's star is on the rise.
Division'll give me a lot of room
to spare Jessep and the corps any
How much room?
I'll knock it all down to assault.
Two years. They're home in six
No deal, we're going to a jury.
No you're not.
'Cause you'll lose, and Danny knows
it. And he knows that if we go to
court, I'll have to go all the way,
they'll be charged with the whole
truckload. Murder, Conspiracy,
Conduct Unbecoming, and even though
he's got me by the balls out here,
Dan knows that in a courtroom, he
loses this case. Danny's an awfully
talented lawyer, and he's not about
to send his clients go to jail for
life when he knows they could be
home in six months.
This is now clear: Ross is as good as Kaffee.
That's the end of this negotiation.
From this moment, we're on the
record. I'll see tomorrow morning
at the arraignment.
ROSS turns and heads back to the gym as we
Kaffee and JO are sitting at a table. Dawson and Downey are
at parade rest. Kaffee lights a cigarette.
Here's the story: The Goverment's
offering Assault and Conduct
Unbecoming. Two years. You'll be
home in six months.
DAWSON and DOWNEY say nothing.
"Wow, Kaffee, you're the greatest
lawyer in the world. How can we
ever thank you?" Fellas, you hear
what I just said, you're going home
in six months.
I'm afraid we can't do that, sir.
Make a deal, sir.
What are you talking about?
We did nothing wrong, sir. We did
our job. If that has consequences,
then I accept them. But'I won't say
I'm guilty, sir.
KAFFEE can't believe this. He looks over at JO.
Did you --
(to DAWSON and DOWNEY)
Did she put you up to this?
We have a code, sir.
Well zippity-doo-dah. You and your
code plead not guilty and you'll be
in jail for the rest of your life.
Do what I'm telling you and you'll
be home in six months.
DAWSON just stares at him.
Do it, Harold. Six months. It's
nothing. It's a hockey season.
Permission to --
What do we do then, sir?
After six months. We'd be
dishonorably discharged, right sir?
What do we do then, sir? We joined
the corps 'cause we wanted to live
our lives by a certain code. And we
found it in the corps. And now
you're asking us to sign a piece of
paper that says we have no honor.
You're asking us to say we're not
marines. If a judge and jury decide
that what we did was wrong, I'll
accept whatever punishment they
give. But I believe I was riqht,
sir. I believe I did my job.
And I won't dishonor myself, my
unit, or the Corps, so that I can
qo home in six months.
HOLD ON the four of them for a moment, then
Commander, I want to talk to
corporal Dawson alone for a minute.
Jo waits Just a moment before she calls out --
Let's go in another room. Louden,
everything's gonna be alright.
The M.P. has shown up and unlocked the cell door.
(continuing; to M.P.)
We're gonna go into a holding room.
Aye, aye, ma'am.
JO, DOWNEY, and the M.P. are gone. KAFFEE paces a moment
before he says --
You don't like me that much, do
Forget it, don't answer that, it
KAFFEE paces another moment, then sits on the cot. He's
trying to choose his tack carefully.
You know, Downey worships you. He's
gonna do whatever you do. Are you
really gonna let this happen to him
because of a code? Harold?
Do you think we were right?
It doesn't matter what I --
Do you think we were right?
KAFFEE gets up.
I think you'd lose.
You're such a coward, I can't
believe they let you wear a
KAFFEE stares at DAWSON.
I'm not gonna feel responsible for
this, Harold. I did everything I
could. You're going to Levenworth
for the better part of your life,
and you know what? I don't give a
KAFFEE calls out --
KAFFEE and DAWSON are staring each other down. The M.P.
shows up and unlocks the cell door. KAFFEE steps out to
What happened to saluting an
officer when he leaves the room?
DAWSON holds on KAFFEE. Then DAWSON, a man who would rather
die than breach military protocol, takes his hands and puts
them in his pockets.
The cell door closes and we
One light is on at the end of the hall.
SAM has joined KAFFEE and JO. The mood is somber.
Dawson's gonna go to jail just to
spite me. Fine. If he wants to jump
off a cliff, that's his business.
I'm not gonna hold his hand on the
I want to get him a new lawyer. How
do I do it?
You just make a motion tomorrow
morning at the arraignment. The
judge'll ask you if you want to
enter a plea. You tell him you want
new counsel assigned.
Then that's that.
Yeah. One thing, though. When you
ask the judge for new counsel,
Danny, be sure and ask nicely.
What do you want from me?
I want you to let 'em be judged! I
want you to stand up and make an
An argument that didn't work for
Calley at My Lai, an argument that
didn't work for the Nazis at
For Christ sake, Sam, do you really
think that's the same as two
teenage marines executing a routine
order that they never believed
would result in harm? These guys
aren't the Nazis.
There's a pause in the room.
Don't look now, Danny, but you're
making an argument.
Tomorrow morning I'll get them a
Why are you so afraid to be a
lawyer? Were daddy's expectations
really that high?
Please, spare me the psycho-babble
father bullshit. Dawson and
Downey'll have their day in court,
but they'll have it with another
Another lawyer won't be good
enough. They need you. You know how
You know they have a case. And you
know how to win. You walk away from
this now, and you have sealed their
Their fate was sealed the moment
Do you believe they have a defense?
You and Dawson both live in the
same dreamland. It doesn't matter
what I believe, it only matters
what I can prove. So please don't
tell me what I know and don't know.
I know the law.
JO looks at him, shakes her head, and turns to walk away.
She turns back.
You know nothing about the law.
You're a used car salesman, Daniel.
You're an ambulance chaser with a
rank. You're nothing.
Live with that.
Jo walks off leaving KAFFEE alone. We HOLD on KAFFEE. He's
not having a good night.
INT. A GEORGETOWN BAR - NIGHT
KAFFEE sits at the bar. The place is crowded with YUPPIES
and STUDENTS. KAFFEE's been drinking there a while now. Next
to him is a YUPPIE LAWYER, regaling his FRIENDS with the
story of his latest brilliant maneuver in the world of high
stakes corporate law.
We HOLD on a KAFFEE a moment longer, then
...So I told duncan if we leverage
the acquisition of Biotech, the
interrogatories would be there on
demand. All I have to do is not
pick up the phone and it'll run
Flaherty ten thousand a day in
EXT. A GEORGETOWN STREET - NIGHT
KAFFEE sits on a bench in the night. He takes a sip from a
bottle he's holding in a brown paper bag.
EXT. THE PARADE GROUNDS - DAY
A bright, sunny morning. The BAND is performing for a group
of day campers.
DAWSON and DOWNEY are at the defense table, ROSS is his
place. KAFFEE walks in and joins JO and SAM at their table.
Papers are being passed back and forth between ROSS and the
SERGEANT AT AMS. Quiet activity.
The door in the back of the courtroom opens and RANDOLPH, a
marine colonel, enters and takes his place at the bench. We
can HEAR the band in the background.
SERGEANT AT ARMS
Everyone present in the courtroom stands.
Where are we?
SERGEANT AT ARMS
Docket number 411275. VR-5. United
States versus Lance Corporal Harold
W. Dawson and Private First Class
Loudon Downey. Defendants are
charged with Conspiracy to Commit
Murder, Murder in the First Degree,
and Conduct Unbecoming a United
Does defense wish to enter a plea?
They're not guilty.
JO, SAM, ROSS, RANDOLPH... it's hard to say who's the most
surprised. It takes everything Jo's got to suppress a smile.
The silence is broken by ROSS, who takes the two files,
drops them into his briefcase, closes the lid, and snaps it
RANDOLPH looks at KAFFEE and ROSS, then turns to the
SERGEANT AT ARMS.
Enter a plea of not guilty for the
defendants. We'll adjourn until ten-
hundred, three weeks from today, at
which time this Court will
reconvene as a General Court-
He raps the gavel.
RANDOLPH walks out. ROSS walks up the aisle without a word
to anyone. The M.P.'s come to escort DAWSON and DOWNEY back
to their cell.
KAFFEE and JO and SAM are the only ones remaining. SAM is
looking at KAFFEE with question marks in his eyes.
Why does a junior grade with six
months experience and a track
record for plea bargaining get
assigned a murder case?
Would it be so that it never sees
the inside of a courtroom?
KAFFEE picks up his briefcase and begins heading toward the
We'll work out of my apartment.
Every night, seven o'clock. Jo,
before you come over tonight, pick
up a carton of legal pads, a half-
dozen boxes of red pens, a half-
dozen boxes of black pens. Sam get
a couple of desk lamps. I need you
to start on a preliminary medical
profile and Jo, we need all the
fitness reports on Dawson, Downey
and Santiago. The only thing I have
to eat is Yoo-Hoo and SugarSnacks,
so if you want anything else, bring
it with you. Okay?
Jo's still stunned.
KAFFEE's at the door, stops, turns around, and takes it all
in for a moment.
So this is what a courtroom looks
He walks out the door, and we
Among the stuff, is a blackboard that's been hung on the
wall. Written across the top are three headings:
INTENT CODE RED THE ORDER
Sam is on the floor, sorting papers into piles. KAFFEE comes
in from the kitchen with a fresh bottle of Yoo-Hoo and joins
Sam on the floor.
Were you able to speak to your
friend at NIS?
She said if Markinson doesn't want
to be found, we're not gonna find
him. She said I could be Markinson
and you wouldn't know it.
Are you Markinson?
Well, I'm not Markinson, that's two
SAM doesn't laugh.
I was wondering, now that Joanne's
working on this... I was wondering
if you still need me.
They were following an order, Sam.
An illegal order.
You think Dawson and Downey know it
was an illegal order?
It doesn't matter if they know, any
decent human being would've refused
They're not permitted to question
Then what's the secret? What are
the magic words? I give orders
every day, and nobody follows them.
We have softball games and marching
bands. They work at a place where
you have to wear camouflage or you
might get shot.
Sam looks away. He doesn't buy it.
I need you. You're better at
research than I am and you know how
to prepare a witness.
Jo lets herself in. She's carrying a huge stack of papers
under one arm, and a large brown paper bag under the other.
But we stay with KAFFEE and Sam a moment longer.
I've got medical reports and
Chinese food. I say we eat first.
KAFFEE's still looking at SAM. SAM nods his head.
Did you get any dumplings?
INT. KAFFEE'S APT. - LATER - NIGHT
The remnants of the Chinese food is spread around. SAM and
JO are sitting and taking notes from KAFFEE. As he speaks,
he'll pace slowly around, carrying his baseball bat. He
refers to the blackboard.
This is our defense. Intent: No one
can prove there was poison on the
raq. Code Red: They're common and
accepted in Guantanamo Bay. The
(he writes) A) Kendrick
gave it. B) They had no
choice but to follow it.
What about motive?
We're a little weak on motive. They
Just because a person has a motive
doesn't mean --
Relax. We'll deal with the
fenceline shooting when it comes
up. For now we start here --
(pointing to INTENT)
I don't know what made Santiago
die, I don't want to know. I just
want to be able to show it could've
been something other than poison.
Jo, talk to doctors. Find out
everything there is to know about
lactic acidosis. Let's start
prepping for Stone.
As long as we're on the subject of
the doctor --
Here we go.
Listen to me, three o'clock he
doesn't know what killed Santiago,
then he meets with Jessep, and at
five o'clock he says it was poison?
The doctor's covering up the truth.
Oh, that's a relief. I was afraid I
wouldn't be able to use the "Liar,
Liar, Pants on Fire" defense. We
can't prove coercion!! Alright,
fitness reports and biographical
Cartons 3 and 4.
KAFFEE looks at the cartons and the mind-numbing amount of
No Cliff-Notes on these things?
INT. KAFFEE'S APARTMENT -
SERIES OF SCENES
The scenes cover the three weeks of preparation leading up
to the trial, and are interspersed with shots of Kaffee's
apartment getting messier, KAFFEE, JO and SAM flipping
through documents and reference books, writing on the
blackboard, dozzing off...
We start with
Jo's on the phone, KAFFEE and SAM are going over testimony,
with SAM sitting in a mock witness chair. During this,
KAFFEE will go to the door, pay the PIZZA Man for the pizza,
and return without missing a single beat.
Captain Hill, this is Lt. Commander
Galloway, I'm an internal affairs
officer with the JAG Corps in
Washington, D.C. I'm trying to
track down a Captain Matthew Andrew
Doctor, other than the rope marks,
was there any other sign of
He resigned his commission a week
Bruises? Broken bones?
No, please don't put me on hold --
Doctor, was there any sign of
You mean other than the dead body?
Fuck!! I walk into that every
Don't ask the last question.
INT. A LAW LIBRARY - NIGHT
MOS -- JO pulls two thick volumes off a shelf and takes them
to the table where SAM and KAFFEE are working. She plops the
books down where they join a pile of about two-dozen just
like them and we
INT. A COFFEE SHOP - DAY
The LAWYERS have their books and papers spread out in front
Lt. Kendrick, the type of
disciplinary action, or "training''
as you say --
Please the Court, I main